Sunday, May 31, 2009

P.S. to Last Post.... & a Little Photography Philosophy

Jan asked if I took any photos of the house to share, which I did not. It looked so bad this time, that frankly, I didn't want any pictures to remind me of how sad I felt seeing it like this. I have many years of photos where the presence of the Albrechtsen family was still so evident. Now the land seems just about ready to reclaim its own while waiting for new memories to be made.

I wanted to make a note about the photo of the lane, and my photography in general. The sunset was indeed beautiful and pink like in the photo; however, this was taken after the sun had set behind the mountains, so the sky and clouds were lit but the land was dark. Knowing that cameras are incapable of capturing the spectrum of light to dark that the eye can see, in the 'old' days, a photographer would put a special split level density filter on his lens to compensate for this to bring out the light in the foreground to get a proper exposure of the entire scene. With digital, all this can, and is, done with a combination of camera settings and in post processing on the computer. Camera settings can make scenes more or less vivid in color, show more or less contrast, etc. Computer software gives a photographer even more control. Today, as in the past, all photographers have to define what their art is. Even the famous photographers like Ansel Adams greatly manipulated their photos in the darkroom by dodging and burning and using other darkroom techniques to turn out their masterpieces. Today, however, the sky is the limit as to what photographers can do with their work, from just slight adjustments to creating something that looks nothing like the original photo. So today, good photography still requires skill and talent, but even more than in the past, it is also combined with advanced technology to help the photographer convey what he wants the viewers to see or know or feel about his photo. In my opinion, only in the strictest sense of photojournalism is a photographer obligated to present a photo exactly out of the camera as the scene is, including the best approximation of color (unless it's a black and white photo), and everything else that gives the viewer the correct idea of what the scene is all about, and must not exclude anything that would mislead. For example, if I were photographing a picture of a luxury resort to advertise what a beautiful place and location this would be for a vacation, and my photo cut off the garbage dump that was right next to the resort and blocked the view of the ocean from the resort windows, I personally think that is misleading and wrong. But other than strict photojournalism, every photographer is an artist and instead of using oils or watercolors, uses a camera and 'brushes' from computer software.

Whew...after all that, you never have to wonder if I've 'done' anything to my photographs, because the answer is "YES". I don't want anyone to think that all my photos are just a matter of pointing the camera at something and pushing the button. When I look at a photograph, I want to experience a moment of joy, beauty, fun, happiness, spirituality, humor, love....all the positive uplifting things in life. This is what I want other people to see in my photos, too, so I post process my photos, (some just a little, while others more), to bring out my interpretation of the scene in order to convey these same feelings for others. There is enough sadness, evil and struggle that we all must face, and for the most part, I'll let other people photograph that side of life....well, maybe if there is something really compelling and there's an uplifting message I might pick up my camera.....but not usually. ....So, that's a brief summary of Karen's Philosophy of Photography 101. There will be a quiz next week! J/K


Lisa said...

I think the colors help bring out more emotion

Lloyd said...

Drives my wife crazy when I get "interesting with the Post Processing" Layers, HDR, Masking etc... Oh Well!