COLOR!! Seems to be the theme for me this week.
Just after I decided to make color the target for my shooting while traveling in Sarasota I came across the quote for today’s conversation by Pete Turner.“I am steadily surprised that there are so many photographers that reject manipulating reality, as if that was wrong. Change reality! If you don’t find it, invent it!” – Pete Turner
From Pete’s web site – A pioneer of color photography, Pete Turner’s career began during the infancy of color photography, at a time when color was used almost exclusively for commercial purposes. Unlike many contemporaries, Turner embraced color, seizing opportunities that allowed him to master the process and to create the imagery he felt compelled to make. Unconcerned with the labels of “art” or “commercial,” I invite you to take a peek at Pete’s photos before reading more…
Many photographers upon first starting out say things like, “I would never put a filter in front of my lens, that would be cheating!” Or, “You use Photoshop that’s not really a photograph.” They then trot out the example of Ansel Adams as the master of reality and they are trying to emulate him. What these photographers don’t realize is that Ansel Adams was one of the original manipulators of all photographic materials to show the scene the way he wanted people to see it. Think about the Zone System and his altering of exposure and development to get different details into different areas of the negative, not mention dodging and burning in the darkroom that sometimes took days to pull one print he was happy with..
In Ansel Adams An autobiography from 1984 Adams said, “I will always embrace a credo of excellence in craft and vision; both are difficult to maintain. Photographers are composers in a sense, and the negatives are their scores. In the electronic age, I am sure that scanning techniques will be able to achieve prints of extraordinary subtlety from the original negative scores. If I could return in 20 years or so I would hope to see astounding interpretations of my most expressive images. It is true no one could print my negatives as I did, but they might well get more out of them by electronic means. Image quality is not the product of a machine, but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression.” – Link to full article ‘Inspired by Ansel’ on black and white imaging.
Please remember that the camera does not see as the eye sees. Your pupil expands and contracts imperceptibly allowing you to see detail in the darkest shadows and brightest highlights in a wide dynamic scene
So I offer these thoughts to you. Learn as much as you can to understand what is possible in our medium. Practice what you learn so you have it available to use when you need it. Have a vision and work to achieve that vision no matter what tools it takes to create the final image.
We now have cameras that can help fine-tune our images straight out of the camera. I was never one for using camera pre-sets but the technology has come a long way baby! Now you can tweak the settings from many of the in camera art type settings and make them your own. The Lumix GH3 has some wonderful black and white settings. The Lumix GX7 can do all that plus you can now set curves in-camera. It’s a great time to be a creative pushing the envelope with all the new tools at our disposal!!
And, isn’t it interesting that an article that started out about intense color and vision in photography ends with black and white??
Turner uses ‘in your face’ color and Adams uses the complete tonal ranges in black and white to tell their stories. How will use your camera to tell your stories in your images??