Luke McGuff (holyoutlaw) wrote,
Luke McGuff

I've been wrestling with photos all morning. Yesterday I was feeling like I should just get a Holga or a Lomo, have them printed at 5x7, and throw away the ones I don't like. It would be expensive, but I'd save a lot of photoshop phiddling time. Hah! On the other hand, I really like it when a picture comes together on my screen, when I lighten or darken something and the details just pop out. That rarely happens, though. When it does, it's a revelation. When it doesn't, it's a struggle. (With a little editing, the previous four sentences could be applied to any creative act. Even more general, any form of problem solving, whether it's considered artistic or not.)

One frustration I have with camera work currently is getting the camera's plane of focus parallel to the plane of composition. The difference is sometimes minor, and I think other people might not see the crookedness even if I pointed it out to them. But I also think that it would snap the pictures (for which this matters) into shape and turn a good snapshot into a good photograph.

This is for composed, objective photographs, still life pictures of architecture or bugs. There are plenty of other situations in which the camera's plane of focus defines the plane of composition. With the OPEN signs, for instance. The eventual plan is to montage them together into a poster or large print. Different angles of the individual signs will make the grid much more visually interesting (I hope).

The problem I have with phiddling is deciding when enough is enough. Okay, I've just decided: Cropping, adjusting the contrast, and sharpening the image is all. If it doesn't work for my eye at that point, I look at the captured image (as opposed to the processed image) and try to figure out what I'd do differently. One thing is if I have uneven light sources, expose on the brightest section and let the rest of the image be underexposed.

Oh well. I just finished The Photograph as Contemporary Art. It took me a while to get beyond the language; art criticism is pretty abstract writing. I think the main difference between pictures and photographs is the verbosity of the justifying aesthetic. By the end of the book, though, I understood the author's style well enough to not only understand what she was trying to say, but see what she was pointing out. And, ultimately, the book was inspirational to read.

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