Re: Pondering the Purist Approach to Digital Photography
- Hi Sharani
This was a very interesting post. I think one can fall into the trap
of confusing misuse of a tool with the tool itself. In the case of
photo editing, someone can use it to bring out what he feels is the
'soul-sense' of a picture, or he can use it in the detrimental ways
you described. I guess its the same with mony, any other form of
technology - and since we cant put the genie back in the bottle, the
only alternative is to demonstrate how these things can be used for
the benefit of the soul.
I think edited photos and natural ones may give rise to subtly
different feelings when you look at them. This is probably not an
issue I will have time to explore further in this lifetime, let alone
articulate, so I'll cede the field to others for their opinion. Im
just glad other people take photos so I dont have to :)
--- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
> Your answer reminded me of a scene from the film "Modigliani" in which
> Picasso responds to a man who is disturbed that the portrait he
> commissioned of his wife looks nothing like her:
> "A man once criticized Picasso for creating unrealistic art. Picasso
> asked him: "Can you show me some realistic art?" The man showed him a
> photograph of his wife. Picasso observed: "So your wife is two inches
> tall, two-dimensional, with no arms and no legs, and no color but only
> shades of grey?"
> I'm probably not unlike that man in that I am a greenhorn in the art
> world, not having studied it formally since taking required classes in
> high school. I find your comments quite interesting but still feel
> torn about how completely I agree with you. During a morning earlier
> this month, I took photos as the sun rose at a nature preserve with a
> salt marsh. I took many, many photos and some showed one structure
> that looked like the skeleton of a teepee at various shades of light
> in the sky. The one that I loaded into my gallery
> is unedited and shows the light in the sky as best the camera could
> capture it at that stage of the sun rising.
> While you suggest that it is a starting point to be expanded upon, I
> have this feeling that the particular shade of pink tinged in the sky
> is already perfect and why even take the photo at all if I'm just
> going to alter the colour into something more completely of my
> imagination than of the sky that I witnessed that morning.
> Maybe too my perspective is influenced by all the ingredients that
> make up my personality. I used to be a history major and quite
> political so I find myself thinking of things like is it ethical to
> erase people out of the background at the Kamakura Concert given by
> Sri Chinmoy in July? The same person that was teaching me how to erase
> the microphone said she had removed all the people from the background
> of her concert photos from that day. In that case, why not just take a
> photo of Sri Chinmoy and superimpose it in front of the Buddha statue?
> If the purpose of the photo is simply to evoke something beautiful,
> then perhaps this is not as blasphemous as it feels to me...
> I also am perhaps influenced by knowledge of the great amount of
> alteration of images that exists in the media and advertising which
> portrays women in particular quite unlike what they look like in real
> life. I have actually seen films on the subject which delineate how
> these cultural influences seem to conspire to deflate the average
> female's self-esteem because such a premium is placed on a woman's
> appearance in society and the woman ends up feeling like she never
> measures up to the airbrushed heavily edited images in magazines, etc.
> Maybe the way I can shorthand it for myself is to use the analogy that
> if I were a filmmaker I guess I would be making documentaries rather
> than dramas. I can count on one hand (maybe even one finger) the
> number of times that I have "arranged" nature before I photographed
> it. Most of the time I am just observing the environment around me and
> delight in photographing things which in my eyes boast their own
> artistic sensibility untouched by my interference.
> Then again, your photos are some of the most striking shared on the
> Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries so if it is the impression on the viewer
> that measures the merit of art then seeking and realizing the vision
> latent in something rings true as well.
> Interestingly, your reply and Kedar's were at almost polar opposites,
> wherein he even eschews cropping a photo. Since you both exhibit
> mastery, perhaps the moral of the story is that each person has to
> find and follow their muse in a most unique and personal manner.
> --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
> <no_reply@> wrote:
> > Hi Sharani,
> > C'est moi, 'weighing in' again! What does it take for a Leo to learn
> > to tip-toe in?
> > For me it's simple, I have a vision, or an idea, or a perception of
> > how I want the finished image to look. All a camera does is transfer
> > shapes, colors, tones and forms to film or chip. The fact that the
> > end product actually appears to be an apple or a sunset is neither
> > here nor there. A good painter will take what is seen inwardly or
> > outwardly and use his/her skills to present that vision on canvas.
> > Why should photography be any different? Why should a finished photo
> > look exactly like the image that streamed through the lens onto the
> > negative or chip? The worst chain a painter, or indeed any artist,
> > could have around the leg is the one that holds them to what
> > is 'there', or what the eye or the camera lens (notoriously
> > selective and unreliable witnesses, both) perceive to be there.
> > If you painted a scene in oils and put a small dog somewhere in it,
> > then later decided that it didn't work, who could possibly say to
> > you, 'You can't paint over that dog!' If a microphone is in the way
> > of a fine photo, get rid of it, there's no difference between that
> > and the distracting dog! It's like an artist working outdoors and
> > then taking the painting home to continue it, and someone
> > saying, 'Oh, that's not valid; he carried on working at home'.
> > For all that, I do feel that no amount of post-processing can turn a
> > weak photo into a powerful or moving one. There has to be something
> > fundamentally true, composed or realized in the original photo.
> > However, until you have played around with photos either in the
> > darkroom or on the computer you may not see the full potential of a
> > photo you have taken. Remember, though, there is also a point in
> > photographic image manipulation where truth of vision becomes
> > artifice, and people will have a feeling that something is `not
> > right' or that's it's just too contrived.
> > For the purposes of this post I have just put on my Gallery a `from
> > camera' and `after editing' combined photo. It's nothing special,
> > just a simple photo of a peaceful evening. When I got home the image
> > from the camera just didn't correspond to my feelings about the
> > place, which were of clarity and space, hence the editing. I am
> > happier with the sense of space and quality of light in the edited
> > image; others may disagree. The two photos are on one page of the
> > Gallery at:
> > http://tinyurl.com/y7ayqj
> > That's a shortcut to the long Gallery web address.
> > There are also those times where through skill, chance or good
> > technology an image will come off the camera just right, and need,
> > or seem to need nothing doing to it. You will only really know that
> > for sure when you are aware of what is possible; a good photographer
> > can only become a better photographer by understanding what the
> > options are for the photograph he/she has produced.
> > Too many words already, so much for the tip-toe.
> > I can't resist finishing with this quote from the great Ansel Adams.
> > "I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the
> > electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will
> > have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics,
> > and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to
> > comprehend and control them."
> > pip-pip
> > Pavitrata
> > ...............................................................
> > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
> > <no_reply@> wrote:
> > >
> > > I just had my first lesson yesterday morning in New York in how to
> > > alter photos in Photoshop to do things like take out the microphone
> > > from a photo of Sri Chinmoy on stage in concert. I've observed
> > updated
> > > photos from Japan undergo this edit where first the photo was
> > uploaded
> > > with the microphone there then a revised version with the
> > microphone
> > > removed.
> > >
> > > I'm curious to know how people who like to take photos feel about
> > the
> > > level of editing and retouching they do to a photo. I've got lots
> > > still to learn since I've barely ever used Photoshop but I do often
> > > crop photos and perhaps sharpen or hit the auto enhance button on
> > the
> > > photo. And I must mention that Pavitrata has weighed in on the
> > subject
> > > feeling that the editing is practically where the real artistic
> > work
> > > begins.
> > >
> > > In a few categories I am a purist. I tend to feel that a photo of
> > the
> > > sky, clouds, the sunrise or sunset should stay unenhanced or
> > untouched
> > > in saturation because the colours of light in the sky are so
> > > multifaceted that I wish to keep them pristine just as they were
> > when
> > > I took the photograph.
> > >
> > > Then again, sometimes I've adjusted settings on the camera to the
> > > night setting or to manual mode and I've just learned about using
> > > polarizing? glass to reduce glare once the sun actually rises. On a
> > > recent sunrise photo shoot I didn't really use any of the photos
> > taken
> > > once the sun came up above the trees/horizon because there was too
> > > much glare in the photo.
> > >
> > > Then in things such as photography contests, I see sometimes that
> > they
> > > specify that digital photo entries cannot be too radically edited.
> > Or
> > > there is a completely separate category for digitized art.
> > >
> > > Are there certain photos where you keep the colours just as they
> > came
> > > out when it was taken? Like my sunset, sunrise photos? Curious
> > minds
> > > like mine are interested to know.
> > >
> > > Sharani
> > >