Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting Involved

Ansel Adams once said...."Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.

Creativity, by definition, would imply that SOMEONE is involved in the outcome...it was not an act of chance or fate.  I have championed for some time now my belief that "true" photography is not limited to the image that comes out of the camera.   Rather, it begins there.....and the image that has been captured can then be translated into any number of expressions that express a mood or emotion or focus of the artists choosing.



This image, taken about 3 weeks ago, is one example of what I'm referring to.  While sitting having a coffee, I noticed this particular clock that stands in an area of town that is gone to great lengths to preserve the beauty and character of the surrounding buildings.  Both the clock and the structures reflect an era of craftsmanship that is now being recognized and appreciated.  I knew when I took the shot I wanted to express a "vintage" feel to the finale image.  And without becoming too metaphoric, I wanted the finale image to have a timeless quality to it.   An understanding of appreciation there is a place in the present for what is now past.


There were some artistic issues I thought needed to be addressed to create the final image as well.  There were few vantage points for me to capture both the clock and the buildings in such a way as to not include taller more contemporary structures in the background or the clock being obscured by numerous tree branches.  This ended up with an alignment issue between the clock the the background building being more centered than I would have liked.  So, by adding more "grunge" and shadowing across the bottom and left side of the image, it helped the overall image to feel more asymmetrical.



Here is another shot from the same day and almost the exact same spot, but looking up the street.  The thing that was capturing my attention at the time  was not so much the details of the scene ( where there were many) but rather the shapes of the scene.  The long angle of shadows and how they seemed to match the angles of the railings and the awnings.  I loved the repeating curves from the rows of draped lights and the balancing softness they brought to all of the hard lines and angles.  Clearly, in my mind, the most interesting parts of the image were up by the father and daughter and the details of the lights over head. 



By adding a graduated blur across the bottom half of the image before texturing, I retained the more important pieces of information.....the railing draped in garland and long angled shadows....and obscured the less desirable bits like all the sidewalk cracks and the label covered trash bin on the left.  The softness helps to draw the eye up toward the parts that are more interesting while giving context to the scene as a whole.

I started out by quoting Ansel Adams and I finish doing the same...."Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution."  I couldn't agree more.  But it rarely happens by chance or straight out of the camera.  You certainly do not have to employ the methods I do to create artistic images.  Whatever your preferred end "look" might be, it takes your involvement.  We learn to train our eye for what to look for when taking an image and then train our ability on how to enhance what we have captured.  Sure, it takes some time, but with each step it becomes a little easier.

Here's wishing a wonderful and creative experience for you in this coming New Year.  May you learn, discover, and grow more in the months ahead than you have ever experienced so far.  Thanks for joining me as I continue to do the same.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dawn.....more than a moment.

I have been following Dawns' work for some time now.  I find her imagery to be a fresh and fascinating expression of the world around her.  I asked if she would be willing to write a piece for my blog explaining a bit about herself and her approach.  It is a wonderful addition to what I'm trying to offer here......enjoy.


A lot of people tell me that my images remind them of something they have long ago forgotten,
or that there is a sense of timelessness or memory in my photographs.  I think that the experiences that each of us have as children, becomes an important breeding ground for how we view the world and then later, how we interpret that world...whether through music, art, dance or writing.  The way that I shoot images is deeply connected to a way that I am needing to express myself at that time.  Often the subject and processing of the image is the way that I express the emotionality of what I am currently experiencing.  I have realized that the subject matter of many of my shots directly relates to my experiences as a child and still remains important to me today.

I like the intimacy of a shallow depth of field. I like to absorb the world around me in small ways, so I
photograph in the same manner.  Often times, I will shoot an image knowing exactly how I want it to be processed and the mood I want it to portray.  I might play with blurring the subject matter, over/under exposing it or shooting with other lenses like my lensbaby to get the effect I am searching for. 

There are other times that I shoot just because the sheer colors or light catches my eye....usually when I am outdoors.  The light is so the key element, but I also look for patterns and repetition.  When I shoot outdoors, I usually shoot many different perspectives and entertain people nearby when I get down in the dirt and wallow around on my belly.  I have ruined clothes, gotten spider bites, and suffered through poison ivy trying to get the perspective I was looking for, but I think most photographers do.

I would encourage other photographers to always be aware of why they are drawn to what they're shooting.  Be aware of the perspective that feels best to them, the mood, the lighting, the colors, the subject matter.  What is it that compelled them to shoot the image in the first place?  And, to be aware of the themes that seem to come up for them as they continue to shoot.  Lastly, of course, to shoot, shoot, shoot!

 - Dawn Hanna






To see more of Dawn's work visit her website at....
http://www.steerestreetphotography.com/

She also has a beautify blog of images and writings at....
http://dawnofanoldage.blogspot.com/