What is Photography To Me?

A very pedestrian bored-at-dinner shot turned into something a little more compelling by clicking a few buttons and moving some sliders. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, if you like the end result.

A very pedestrian bored-at-dinner shot turned into something a little more compelling by clicking a few buttons and moving some sliders. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, if you like the end result.

A friend in the Photo Club recently asked that we disqualify one of his images from our Annual Awards because he did a lot of post-processing and it is his personal belief that a photograph must come straight from the camera. That doesn’t explain why he submitted the image in the first place, but personally, I tend to tune out any discussion of “what photography is,” because I’m still trying to understand what photography is to me. And that changes sometimes.

Earlier this week, in a fit of insomnia, I opened a long-ago downloaded but never used iPhone app called Snapseed.  I modified some old images from my phone’s  library. I never thought I’d enjoy playing with all the heavy-handed photo filters I see on Instagram and Facebook, but I do. I like being able to turn weak or outright failed photos into something odd, and with more potential impact. And it lets me playfully experiment with composition and color and lighting even when I just have a few spare minutes to noodle on my phone. Here are some examples:

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This tree clings to the edge of Bryce Canyon. The original photo was interesting, but his adds a nice surrealism.

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This was a boring, pointless shot of tomatoes. I don’t even know why it was on my phone. Now I like the painterly feel of it.

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This one also springs from an okay original, but in my opinion the effects here add all sorts of mystery to an otherwise very straightforward shadow.

IMG_2012

Not my favorite model, but the most available. And I can get him to do almost anything.

This morning, I wandered outside with what I might consider the opposite of my phone: Nikon D7000, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17IIe teleconverter. I spent some time with my favorite subject: Backyard birds. I shoot in RAW, and the objective of my post-processing in Aperture is to recreate what I saw with my own eyes. It’s quite different from what I’ve been doing in Snapseed, and I cannot imagine myself layering a “grunge” filter onto one of my nature shots, although I might just to see what happens. It’s all photography to me. And a pure joy, too.

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2 Comments

Filed under Camera Gear, Composition, Just for FUN, Motivation, Nature Photography, Personal, Post Processing

2 responses to “What is Photography To Me?

  1. myrna

    Well … we can do both … creative and just recording of special or spectacular moments. I also love to veer into the creative and my very old film prints become chemically altered and turn into that series “Life Without Cyan” (Red, Yellow and Blue primary colored prints). Agreed … joy with both.

  2. Time for me to get on my soapbox….I don’t understand why people feel that Photoshop is somehow “cheating”. It makes no sense. Every professional picture out there has been photoshopped to enhance it. Think about Ansel Adams and his images. He spend hours in the dark room dodging and burning his photos to get just the right light effects. He would be using Photoshop today if he was still alive, no doubt about it.

    By the way, Snapseed rocks.

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