Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A natural man-made tension.

An area of tension for me (there are several, the rest outside the scope of this post) is the intersection of art and photography.

One of my declared intentions is to create images that people will want to hang on their walls, to look at and see something that makes them want to get closer, to catch a sense of beauty in stuff that's around them every day. Pictures that will lift the spirits and make someone feel better.

There is so often a tension between art and photography. It's very hard to create a great photograph that's also a pleasing piece of art - IMO of course, since definitions of what construes art vary, and for some, have nothing to do with beauty or pleasing appearance. What I want to do is create pictures that combine the crispness and detail of a really good image with the smoothness and subtlety of colours that one might expect from a good painting. Reality brought close, but gently instead of being sharply thrust in your face.

Last week I was able to download this book free from Amazon for the kindle app, and the images inside made me look again at how I photographed everything - not just flowers.

One of the instincts that seems to come with one's first forays into digital darkrooms is the pressure and expectation to give every image the fullest tonal range possible. Early on in starting to learn to use Lightroom I watched Anthony Morganti's learn Lightroom 5 series of training videos on youtube, and from the beginning adopted the technique he described to maximise tonal range in an image. It's a really useful technique for getting the best possible shadow and highlight detail, but sometimes making one's whites white and blacks black is fundamentally harmful for an image.

Another instinct is to make sure every image used is as sharp as possible, and I'd worked hard to do just that, even though my lenses aren't that good. And while it could create images with an enormous amount of fine detail in them, to benefit and enjoy that detail one had to view them at larger and larger sizes, while they just looked fussy and a bit too hard at web resolutions.

What a lot of waffle. ;-)

I've shot quite a lot of images over the last few weeks and have not had time to do any worthwhile processing on most, but here's a sample of the new approach, and how it's working at this point in time. Very likely my approach will change again, but at the moment, this style combines for me the most pleasing aspects of both photography & art when looking at found objects.

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