Keep Your Eye On The BallIf you want to win in baseball you have to keep your eye on the ball, in photography it is no different. In the case of photography “the ball” is your message, or what you want to say with your photography.
Recently I received a newsletter from a well known bird photographer. In the newsletter were several example photographs depicting a new software technique that retouched the photos to look like paintings. The resulting images reminded me of the black velvet paintings of Elvis Priestley that were popular in the 1970’s. My only hope is that the above software technique not last any longer than the black velvet painting fad.
Photography has a history of over 170 years, within its history there have been many movements or fads. One of the earliest photographic movements during the mid 1800’s that was popular with Photographic Societies (the fore-runner of Camera Clubs) was experimentation with the new medium. Artists and photographers discovered that by combining exposures of several different images into one print they could expand the subjects of their photographs. The resulting images were typically allegorical in subject matter and frequently shocking to the Victorian sensibilities of the times. This movement was intensely popular for a short time but quickly faded from popular acceptance.
Photographers are now working in an age that is not too different from the early years of photography in the mid 1800’s. New technology has expanded our subject matter and interpretation of the world. As practicing photographers our task is to select the tools that help us realize our vision and not be seduced by snake oil salesmen who hawk the latest software or gadget as the next answer to your photographic problems.
Nothing is more powerful than a clearly seen moment in time that depicts the human condition, or the natural world. No software can improve upon it. No photographic gadget can make it better. Light passing through a lens and recorded on a light sensitive medium is the basics of photography, anything that detracts from the basic methodology gets in the way of the message. JG