Photo Notes

May 22, 2009


Filed under: Film Technique,Photography Communication — John Siskin @ 10:18 pm

Hand in HandThis week I want to talk about making pictures and taking pictures. An incredibly large percentage of the population will take pictures in the next year. They will point the camera at something and press the button. People do this because we have a real need to capture the stuff of memory and keep it with us. This is a very personal communication, from me to me. Like a personal time capsule. If I were to take out my memory photos and show them to you, they wouldn’t mean as much to you. We all take these pictures, written in the language of our own experience.

A photographer is called to do something more, to make a picture. To use the tools of craft and the skills of design to make an image that speaks to many, if not all. So a photographer need to have a command of the language, which is a product of craft, and a sense of how to shape an image, which is design. What separates a photograph that is made from one that is taken? In addition to skill and design, clearly intent is an important aspect. You need to think the image through, how are you going to make that image communicate?

The shot I attached this week works on both personal and on a more universal level. I was working with the hands and the watches and watch faces to make an image that would create a feeling of impermanence and transition. I think I accomplished much of that. The image is also personal, because I remember the experience of making the image. While this is often a part of an image for me, here it is a larger part. I did some things with the camera, and the processing, that I really only did successfully this one time. This shot is made on one piece of film. I actually did a double exposure and did a controlled solarization of the film! So, at least for this photographer, it is possible to make a photograph and still have it be personal.

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