Sharp Focus on Blur : 6
Plus Post Week 6 Blurs and Unsharp Photography:
Taking a Picture? or Making a Photograph?
I had a ‘Eureka!’ moment yesterday, while thinking about the latest lesson of the Blurs and Unsharp Photography: Guided Play 2015 mentorship. I looked at the work that was in my mentorship album and I considered the thought, experimentation and planning, as well as processing that had gone into each of the photographs.. I realized with a shock that I was no longer ‘taking pictures’. I was making photographs!
Up to this point in my photography I have always done my best to show my viewers the scene that I saw before me. I wanted the picture to be in focus – I saw it sharp, (or more or less sharp) didn’t I? I saw it in colour, so mostly I wanted accurate colour. This was a kind of documentary photography and there is nothing wrong with that. But I was often left feeling that I had somehow cheated the viewer. When I stood in front of the scene I didn’t just see nice clear objects or great colour. I felt much more than I saw because all of my senses and my emotions were at work, not just my eyes. My heartstrings were being pulled, which was what prompted me to stop and capture the scene in the first place. But all of that is very, very difficult to communicate using a still photograph. I felt dissatisfied. I needed to be able to convey the emotion that the scenes brought to me. Does a misty, drizzly landscape with a soft light give me a feeling of calm? How can I make the viewer of a photograph experience that when there is no damp in the air, when the soft sound of rain on leaves is absent? Does a fast running dog in a bright, sunlit field of dandelions give me a feeling of exhilaration and joy and freedom? How was I to help make you the viewer feel all of this with me? I had to learn to use colour, light and tonality to produce a more powerful reaction in the viewer. More, I had to learn how far I could push an image to do just that. And when to hold back. Again, it’s exhausting, but so exciting at the same time.
This week I was given the tools (and the understanding) to be able to do that. It’s no longer just ‘taking a picture’. It’s all about ‘making a photograph’. In the photograph accompanying this post I hope you get a sense of the energy, joy and excitement as well as the speed of Joni racing through a field. I hope I have given you more than just a snapshot of a fraction of a second of that race, but a share in the whole run. Maybe you can even feel the dandelions under your own feet.
Thanks to all in the mentorship –and assisting alumni and other students alike. All have been a terrific inspiration, help and encouragement to me. And of course to the
I hope you are enjoying accompanying me on this journey of discovery. I have a long way to go in my learning, but I feel that I am well on the way.
9 separate images taken in multi-shot mode, edited in Lightroom and processed and composited in Photoshop.
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