Stacked with Flare
The steps that went into/thought process behind today’s blog post:
A) I want to put up a warm weather picture, I’m already tired of the cold.
B) I have a photo that I gave as a gift to one of my close friends, that I never published. Since I only just got my computer up and running, that is the only choice for “warmer days” shots.
C) That photo is meaningful because it captures an essence of the gift recipient (she makes a rock stack on every girls’ trip we take, it’s something important to her and her personality). However, it’s also important in that I made a major change to it in Photoshop. Do I discuss the emotional aspect of photography? Or do we bring up the old “photography vs digital art” discussion?
So, you can see, I’m at a cross roads. Seeing as I’m always up for a challenge, I think I shall briefly tackle both. Let’s start with the label “digital art”.
As you can see from the original shot, I 100% added a sunflare. Why? Because I thought the original image was a little dull, and wanted to add a bit of flare to the image (pun intended). I remember the moment I took this shot. My friend Beth and I were out in Cali, on a photo trip with my friends David Pasillas and Monica. David and I were trying to capture every last bit of light on the beach, while Beth and Monica wandered back to the car. As David and I because trudging back up to the parking lot, I saw Beth’s creation. I knew a potential gift when I saw one. Quickly, so as not to hold up the group, I laid on the ground and grabbed a few handheld shots. In retrospect, 9 months later, I wished I had taken a few moments to really compose the image. I immediately saw the missed opportunity with the setting sun, the gap in the rocks, and how setting up a tripod and adjusting my ISO could have brought the image to life.
However, 9 months later, I was back in CT on the wrong coast. Like a wedding, there were no opportunities for a mulligan. (LESSON LEARNED, right?? There aren’t re-do’s in life, so take the time to do something correctly the first time!)
This left me with three options, only 2 of which were even remotely reasonable.
1) Fly back out to Cali, in December.
2) Used the unaltered, bland image.
3) Embrace the magic of Photoshop and make the photo shine!
I chose option 3. Now, I believe strongly that art is method of expression, and as such, gives the artist an awful lot of leeway. I’ll give you several examples that I stumbled across on the interwebs that resonated with me.
…“There is no ‘cheating’ unless your goal is to be strictly a documentarian and even at that, acknowledge that the camera does NOT see what you see due to imperfect technology etc etc.” quote courtesy of Howard M, http://photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00bNsg?start=0
…in the world of art, blending paint colors, using an eraser to lighten an area of a pencil drawing, dodging/buring in a darkroom are all considered “using the tools at your disposal”. Digital editing software is the “toolkit” for digital photography.
…some people argue that any composited image (which would include all HDR work) is digital art, not photography. Others argue if you use a camera to start the process, the end result will always be a photograph. I realized, I don’t give a hoot either way. If it’s purty, I’ll enjoy it, regardless of label.
That being said, I think you have to come to your own conclusion in the great digital art debate. Just like anything else in life, I tend to think we should all form our own opinions and respect the beliefs of the people around us. Once again, beyond being a method of capturing moments and memories, art gives us an opportunity for expression, which is something to be cherished in anyone brave enough to share their art with the world. Often, you aren’t just seeing their time and effort. You’re also seeing their thoughts and feelings.
It seems that the most notable artists have the ability to communicate through their work, with pieces that resonate with the viewers. As a photographer, I think that’s one of my on-going goals. I want to create images that I love, that I pour myself into, but also enjoy it when my photos touch another person. I want to be able to faithfully, reliably harness that intangible “something” that turns a photo into something magical. I want to capture the physical, but also the essense of the experience. There are so many “tips” out there for doing that…the emotion on people’s faces, capturing the same scene over multiple days to soak in everything a subject has to offer, just taking time to experience something before you pick up the camera so you feel inspired while you shoot… Or, as in the case above, put together an image of something meaningful to your intended audience.
Happy shooting, friends!