PHOTOGRAPHS... WHY AND WHAT FOR?
I've always been like this with a camera - I like to take pictures of little things that normally go unnoticed: things that need to be photographed in order to be remembered, to assert their existence.
This might be why I don't often have people in my pictures - when I go on holiday I come back with pictures of bits of sticks and cracked pavements, but few people - people are already important and noticable, so there's small need to shore up their reality with pictures. And I don't often do landscapes either, unless there's something especially interesting happening, and then it's more the event rather than the scenery that I'm aiming for. For instance, there's a couple of photos of fog scenes - it's the fog and what it is doing that I like best, not (necessarily) the scene itself.
And it's too easy to be somewhere beautiful and instead of sitting and taking in the experience of being a part of the world you can see, you pace around trying to find the best angle for the shot. Later, you only have a photograph instead of a life. And, for me, it's rare the picture captures the fullness of the actuality - there's often something slightly disappointing about a photograph of somewhere you have been.
So maybe that's why I concentrate on the small things: I feel I can actually catch their fullness, or even enhance it in the sense that they could otherwise have been so easily overlooked, remained unseen. I guess it's that I don't feel I have cheated them - or myself - of their glory.
And with landscape photography and portraiture, there's so many people who are great at it, I don't feel up to the challenge.
So I'll stick to silt and mud and cracks and rocks and little things.
I once said that I write statements about the sculptures in order to put the viewer in a position where we share a viewpoint on the work. I think I talked of sharing an aesthetic 'true north'. Well, photographs are kind of similar, except they are statements about the world as it already is. The aesthetic true north is assumed - the world is as it is - so what they do is put you in my shoes in the world as it is. We crouch and peer at the ground, we stand in the middle of the road taking pictures of cracks, we scratch around in the mud looking for great silt patterns. We are witness to the greatness of small things in life. The joy of finding tiny bits of scattered wonder, the careless ubiquity of beauty.
These photos represent some of the reasons why I am in love with the World, smitten with Being.
I've probably been over-generous in my editing of these pictures; I ought to have pulled more out. Like when there's 2 images of essentially the same thing - I should really choose just one, but I might like them both for different reasons. So I left them in; it's not like I'm stuck for space. And I have a big attachment to them all, and maybe, even though they're not 'Great Art', there might be an image that lights up for you. A picture I might have pulled might be your favourite.
Like with some of the pictures of cracks in the road - I really like cracked stuff like that - you'll either get it or you won't. Some of you will snort with derision, but some of you will see what I see too.
They're actually quite tricky pictures to take - for best results you need a day when it has rained and then dried off quite quickly, leaving the surface dry and the cracks wet and dark. And you have to put up with people looking at you strangely when you're taking pictures of the floor. And look out for cars.
Some of the pictures were taken using my old Olympus OM10, some with and even older Ricoh 500G from some time in the 1970's, which has the habit of leaking light onto the film (sometimes in a good way, but mostly not so good), but I have finally moved into the digital age with a Fujifilm E900. It's a great budget semi-compact camera; my only complaints would be that it tries a little too hard to be all things - theres a little fish-eyeing on macro, and the lens is generally a bit too superwide angle - you have to be very close to things before they fill the frame. Yes I know that's what zoom is for. But these issues fall away when the alternative is to carry a full SLR with a bag full of lenses. Everything is a compromise and I'm happy with the ones I have to make.
Processing the photos, I bought the camera for its RAW format capability, but I've ended up not using it. I just stick to jpegs (though it's nice to know RAW is there if I should change my mind). I get lots more pictures on a memory chip and they seem just fine to me, bursting with detail and lots lower noise than I might have expected. Perhaps, in the original files, the camera lacks contrast and colours are too warmed-up for my taste, but I always end up processing pictures in the computer anyway so it's a small concern. Most often I find I'm adding contrast, colour balancing and burning shadows. Frequently I'll up the saturation levels a bit too - my pictures are mostly fairly abstract so I feel no need to give a 'true' representation of what was actually there. I just like pretty pictures!
anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures, get in touch if you've any comments, I always like to hear from people...
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