I don’t think that what other people are currently doing in computer generated imagery and digitally reprocessed imagery and so forth particularly influences my work, so far at least. There will always be technological advances - every day there’s something new. However, as the world around me accelerates, my tendency is to slow down and look for “centre.” I do not see many good reasons for jumping aboard this particular bandwagon. I find the simpler the technology the more freedom I have to look within myself. Exquisite music still comes from very old instruments, which is not to denigrate sophisticated electronic sound. Old and new can live side by side in peaceful co-existence. One does not replace the other, the repertoire just expands. I suggest though, that if we strive for perfect, digitally processed images and prints, the further away we might get from our own fallibility and accident prone humanity. My life seems to have flowed and flowered on accidental fortune, so has my photography. Many of my stronger photographs are the result of my option not to pre-visualise. I believe that it’s important to allow the possibility of accident and not be too controlling.
I think technical perfection is vastly over-rated. Not all photographs work when exposed, developed and printed as if Ansel Adams were the darkroom technician. Photography would be boring if all photographs looked that way. Do I think photographers need to know technique and craftsmanship so that they can consciously choose what they’re doing and can control their output? YES. Do they have to swear a life-long allegiance to the f64 School? NO. Not everything in life is sharp, not everything is grainless, and not everything fits in the Zone IV-Zone VIII tonal range.
There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
This quote by Ansel Adams emphasises the importance of having a well-defined idea when creating a photograph. It suggests that capturing a technically perfect image is meaningless if the underlying idea or concept is unclear or poorly defined.
Adams quote serves as a reminder for photographers to focus not only on the technical aspects but also on the clarity and coherence of their creative vision.
I want to be technical enough to pull it off, but careless enough to enjoy it.
Imperfection, is perfection.
Between sharpness and a better photograph, sharpness loses everytime.
I love sharp digital images, but I firmly believe our ongoing obsession with it is causing us to overlook our connection to the image. Imperfection is beautiful. Sharpness doesn’t make a good image, it can make a good image better (if used tactfully). But focusing on just getting something sharp can make an image lifeless and boring. I love the emotion of motion blur, and grain in film, it gives us something organic that connects us to the images we see.
The obsession of sharpness, and how it evolved.
It all started with the technical advances in digital sensors, when at some point 20+ megapixels at ISO 400 allowed for digital enhancements without creating excessive image defects. It is quite obvious, that digital prints shown in photography clubs or small exhibitions look a lot sharper than an analogue scan or darkroom print. They have also substantially more micro contrast, and photographers seems to be affected by this trend of over sharpness, and the look of unreality it gives to a picture.
People who have always yearned for high sharpness find that their wishes have finally come true, and what once was considered way overdone suddenly has became the norm.
It is up to photographers to either follow this trend, or to create one's own style.
I don't strive for sharpness or crispness in photographs.
Instead, I try to reproduce how my mind's eye sees and to evoke an emotional response
in the viewer.
Pre visualisation is the ability to see in your mind's eye the tonalities you want for the elements of an image, in the same way as a musician can hear in their head a piece of music.
When I find a location that interests me enough to make a photograph, I rarely look to a just record the scene. What interested me is expressing the mood, capturing the atmosphere, and conveying emotion to the viewer. To do this, I work on the form and composition by using the lighting and the tonalities of a scene.
After reading the different areas of the scene with my light meter I look at the relationships between the tones, and what textures there are present so I can then decide how I want to represent both the shadows and the mid tone areas in the final print. This enables me to then assess the potential for either using camera filters, or any future darkroom contrast controls, dodging, burning, bleaching work.
If, after all my meter readings I can see that my initial vision cannot be achieved. Then I’ll reject the image without making an exposure.
At a time when the world is saturated with easily produced and circulated colour pictures. Images today, are often moving, enormous, flashing, demanding, insistent and have become part of the wallpaper of everyday life. Is there an argument for continuing to work in silver-based monochrome beyond the patina and prestige of its heritage? It is the qualities of abstraction, stillness, and material presence that make analogue monochrome photography the medium I continue to work in.
Photographers should be artists, and care about the materials they use. Digital technology has numbed people down so much that they no longer see the differences or importance of these concepts. Its like a digital musician who laughs at a classic guitar player and makes fun of anyone who's emotional about music.
I simply dislike sitting at the computer, I will try and hold onto an analogue "wet" darkroom process as long as I can, simply because I enjoy it and I have persuaded myself that it gives me much more control than the electronic wizardry that is possible elsewhere.
How would you define Creative Photography? I would suggest an imaginative enhancement of a straight image to create something more dynamic, aesthetically appealing, thought provoking or artistic. The straight image is not what we see on the negative or the computer monitor, but what we see in the viewfinder. Very often the creative process starts with the adjustments to camera settings, composition, and viewpoint at the time of the exposure.
The thought process applied at the taking stage remains the most important creative input to our images.
A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.
Don’t be repressed in your work, dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction all the better.
There is only two kinds of music, good and bad.
Never fear the shadows, they simply mean there is a light shinning somewhere nearby.
Winnie the Pooh.