civilized ku # 4044 / pinhole # 18 / what the camera sees # 8 ~ ground glass

bathroom objects ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK

fruit, root veggies and might bulb in wooden bowl ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK

apple and laptop 

re: photography is not a 3-Dimensional world.

The prints or images produced by camera are 2-Dimensional art. That means that the art has the dimensions of length and width (in the same plane) but that it does not possess depth. The idea that "leading lines" in a picture draw a viewer into a picture is ludicrous simply because there is no "in" in a print. Consequently, even though a print might suggest the idea of objects with depth, in fact, the flat 2-D surface of a print is comprised of shapes (to include lines).

In the creation of 2-Dimensional art, painters, since they start from a blank canvas, understand the importance of shapes and their relationship to one another with the confines of the edges of their canvas. A masterful painter places shapes on his/her canvas in relationships which help incite feelings of serenity, chaos, tension, placidity or any other emotion/feeling he/she desires to accentuate by means of his/her work. (since shapes can have color and tonal values, these properties of shapes are also employed as devices to incite the perceptions of the work in the eyes of a viewer of the work).

A picture maker with a camera does not have the luxury/ability to physically arrange the referents he/she wished to picture. However, he/she does have the ability to arrange/place those referents (aka, shapes, to include colors and tonal values), by means of his/her POV, within the flat field imposed by its frame. By doing so, the picture maker has the same ability as a painter in creating the visual feel/pereived emotion of his/her work.

I have always disliked the word "composition" when use to describe the picture maker's choice of where to place what in the making of a picture. The reason for that is simple inasmuch as the word "composition" is most often used together with the idea of the rules thereof. And "rules" indicate a predisposition to a manner of thinking which proscribes the adherence to proscribed dictates.

iMo, the organization of shapes (colors and tonal values) within the frame imposed by the picture maker's POV is not an activity dictated by thinking but rather should be directed by emotions and feelings. To wit, an somewhat intuitive sense of how and when a specific arrangement of shapes makes one feel.

If all of this approach to "composition" seems rather touchy feely, try this exercise: the next time you aim your camera a toward a referent in an attempt to "compose" a picture, put the field of view within your frame out of focus. This will reduce all of elements within the frame to "pure" shapes, colors and tonal values which, without the visual specificity of your referents, the relationship of those visual components to each other. If the relationships work well as out-of-focus components, iMo and experience, they will work equally well in focus and help you develop an intuitive "feel" for what works compositionally.

FYI, my best aid in seeing and feeling how my arrangment of visual elements within the frame is working is the use of the LCD screen on my cameras - even those with an EVF. That screen is a 2-D device and, consequently, is a step in the right direction, re: the translation of 3-D into 2-D. The LCD screen works much like the ground glass screen on the view cameras I used for decades. There is nothing like sticking your head under a focusing cloth and looking at a ground glass screen (on which the image is upside down and horizontally reversed) insulate you from and to reduce the real world in front of the camera to a 2-D representation thereof.

what the camera sees (overexposure) # 7 ~ + plus a couple additions


apples and hose

lawn and sidewalk

As I continue to make what the camera sees (overexposure) pictures, I continue to wonder if I am on to something or trying something different just for the hell of it. And as I continue to experiment I am coming to the conclusion that I am creating 2 related but, in fact, different bodies of work.

The first body of work is, as the title of this (and previous) entries suggests, what the camera sees (overexposure). However, in addition to that nomenclature, what is also emerging is a separate body of work which could be titled, what the camera sees (out of focus) - see yesterday's birch tree picture and the apples and hose picture in today's entry.

And then, just to put another pot on the stove, there is my continuing fascination with what could be titled what the camera sees (blown highlights).

In any event, I'll continue putter around and picture away just to see where it all leads.

what the camera sees (overexposure) # 4 ~ formulaic

cat dishes

One of the difficulties / challanges I face moving forward with what the camera sees is the fact that all of my other work is a direct depiction of what my eyes see: something pricks my eye and sensibilities and I make a picture of what I see.

In the case of what the camera sees, it is not a straight forward proposition. I need to actively look for the elements which I think will work together in order to make a good picture. Quite obviously, my eye does not see what the camera sees using shallow focus and overexposure techniques. Consequently, at this point in the side trip (MO wise) I have a number of misses inasmuch as I have not identified precisely what all of the elements necessary for a good picture of this type are.

Quite obviously, the one absolutely necessary element is an area within the frame of "hot" direct sunlight and in my messing about I have decided that that hot spot seems to work best on the bottom surface of the picture. I have also decided that a corresponding area(s) of darker tonal values is also a necessary element which stands in contast (figuratively and literally) to the hot spot.

Another key element, independent of the light, is that of perspective. So far all of the "successful" pictures have been made with a 12mm (24mm- 35mm equiv.) lens which produces a diminishing perspective POV. All of these pictures are made looking down but I believe that the diminishing perspecive thing will work with any POV - up, down, right angle, etc.

Yet another key element is that there needs to be a narrow zone of sharp focus - or least apparent sharpness relative to the rest of the picture - in order to give the eye somewhere to land.

All of that written, what I am trying to do is to create a formula for making what the camera sees pictures. This idea is very foreign to me inasmuch as my picture making has almost always been of the spontaneous variety. No formula, no rules, no dictates or other considerations while making pictures: just see it and picture it.

Over time, it might be possible to train my eye to see what the camera sees but until that time - if it ever arrives - I will most certainly require the guiding hand of a formulaic approach to making what the camera sees pictures.

Did I mention that I am having fun with this?

what the camera sees (overexposure) # 1-3 ~ having fun, fun, fun (till my daddy takes my cameras away)

open door  

bush shadow

storm window reflection

My basic picture making MO has always been that of straight photography - straight photography refers to photography that attempts to depict a scene or subject in sharp focus and detail, commensurate with the qualities that distinguish photography from other visual media, particularly painting. Or, as I like to say / write, use the one characteristic of photography and its apparatus which defines its difference fro the other visual arts, its inherent characteristic as a cohort of and its relationship to the real.

That written, I have, on ocassion, made side trips (MO wise) into the realm / genre of Polaroid and pinhole picture making. Exploring what, given the limitations and proclivities of such hardware, might be descibed as making pictures which depict what the camera sees as opposed to what the eye sees.

iMo, one could argue that straight pictures depict what the camera sees but I would argue that straight pictures are an attempt to make pictures (within the constraints of a picture's framing) which depict what the eye sees.

All of that written, I have embarked upon another side trip to explore the premise of what the camera sees. Although, this trip employs no special hardware in pursuit of such ends. These pictures are being made with my normal digital gear albeit with a complete disregard for the rules of proper exposure techniques.

One of the challenges of making what I would consider successful picture making results with this MO is that of absolute attention to framing and the organization of color, shapes and lines, and tonal relationships across the 2D plane of the pciture's surface. That demanding consideration is due to the picture's tenuous relationship with the real - if one of these picturse is to have visual merit, it depends almost entirely upon the diligent attention to the forementioned visual characteristics. Because, for the most part, that is what these picture are about.

In any event, I'm having fun.