Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cutting Edge OK

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: - Photographers’ Voice, Part 1

I suppose I will never cease to ponder the role of subject in my photography, nor do I expect my approach to be consistent. What remains consistent, regardless of the part played by the photograph’s subject, is the primacy of composition, and the need to let each exposure shape the processing it receives.

There is a school of photography that believes that the entirety of the photographer’s art occurs at exposure and that processing should play a minimal role in the ultimate expression of the image. Some photographers go so far as to claim that emphasis on processing is an admission of a weakness or failure at exposure. I learned long ago that there are many ways to be a photographer, and I’m more interested in exploring the expressive capacity of photo images irrespective of time/place fidelity. Even so, pholography is always about a real subject, but it begins with an act of abstraction.

When I began processing this image my goal was to treat it in such a way as to make it a companion to the previous TODAY’S posting. The subject of both images is the same; they were taken on the same day as I studied the saw for its photographic potential. They are 3109 (previous TODAY’S) and 3117 (above) in the sequence. I’ve clearly moved my lens to a less obvious and more abstracted angle.

As I worked at processing this image to be like the earlier image, the more I was pulled in other directions. I sent contrary pairs to a few friends for their reactions. They came back mixed but with comments that often helped, adjectives to distinguish, details that stood out or were suppressed. Knowing my friends’ reactions helped me know my mind, indicated what connected and what missed. 

In the end I chose to follow the lead given by the image itself, made a new image that epitomized what I had discovered in the non-matching image. Whether that makes it a worse or a better partner to the first image I’ll leave to potential purchasers, should they appear. Is it possible that though mismatched, they may speak with a single voice? Where is the photographer inside the image?