We are drowning in a sea of photos. Smartphones photograph everything from dinner to rummies being assaulted by cops. The pros are so addicted to Photoshop that you can barely trust that any image you see hasn’t been assembled from various pictures and then “jazzed” up with special effects. How many well-known photojournalists have been fired over the years for adding elements to their pictures that weren’t there – think explosions in Beirut during the Israeli invasion…..except for the fact that they weren’t actually there!
And then one day, along comes a young master, to remind us of the true essence of photography; it’s great strength in catching irreplaceable moments. I give you Carolina Navas G – winner of this year’s, The Macallan/Leica Masters of Photography Master Class Competition. The photo is so stunning in its simplicity that it is very likely a scene most of us have witnessed hundreds of times on beaches and resort vacations. But we didn’t notice. Carolina Navas G did. And her sense of timing in capturing this image is such an impeccable coordination of eye, mind, spirit, and hand as to make it a masterpiece.
One thing most veteran photographers learn is that you always have to have your “scene detector” turned on, like the little pilot lights on electronic devices; the unit appears off, but its ready to snap on in a split second. Another thing you learn is that an uninteresting scene at 2PM can be a masterpiece by 4. Many a great and famous photographer would wait for hours in the same spot, as the elements of a terrific image slowly came together.
The two photos below we’re both taken at very late dusk, near 10 PM. Earlier in the day, in the bright sunshine, they were meaningless. But near the end of the day, colours turned deep and rich, contrast blurred, and the remaining daylight took on a different warmth. On the boardwalk in Nice.
Interesting coincidence in the wake of yesterday’s post on “honest” manipulation of photographs, this article about how many photographers have been deceiving their viewers from the get-go.
I caught the article after just viewing the amazing work of German photographer, Franz Schumacher. He puts himself right in the middle of massive storms to get his shots. But my first thought was, “Hmmm…..I wonder just how much these have been Photoshopped?”.
Yesterday’s series of B&W photos were posted immediately and without any adjustment. From the very beginning of the craft, photographers have used darkroom post-processing to bring the image in line with how they “saw” it. This is entirely legitimate, since no technology can perfectly capture the organic perfection of the eye and mind working together.
Adjusting framing, contrast, brightness, etc. have been the normal tools of this process. Knowing where to draw the line is of course, part of the art and psychology of keeping the work both authentic and “photographic”.
I took a few moments this morning to adjust one of the new images that has become a personal favourite. Compare it to the earlier version in yesterday’s post.
Compare with the original below:
Stephane Gabart has posted some excellent photos from his Christmas dinner. I point them out in particular because of his masterful use of depth-of-field and excellent bokeh….not to mention some of the mouth-watering content. I love the cheese shot! As my friend and world-renown photographer, Philip Lim, says when he sees a photo he loves, “I would have been proud to have taken a shot like that”.
Thanks to Mr. Dario for finding this excellent article by a professional photographer on using the iPhone 5 as a substitute for his beloved DSLR while on his second honeymoon in Vietnam. My own experience (if not the quality of my photographs) has been similar, especially during my recent trip to les iles de la Madeleine where I only used my Fuji X-Pro1 one day out of the seven.
I do find these photos pretty overcorrected in his post-processing workflow, but that’s a matter of personal taste. Otherwise, all his photos in the article are outstanding.
I’m really going to give the iPhone 5 a serious whirl, photographically.
Thanks to Mr. Italo for the find of this video regarding the Leitz family’s use of their company (Leica) to help thousands of Jews escape the Nazis by sending them to America as “employees” assigned to their New York office.
For the last 3-4 years, Messrs Italo and Dario have been trying to get me to NYC for the massive, annual New York Camera Show. Each year, just before departure, I have either gotten sick with a massive cold/flu, or work demands have made it impossible to leave Montreal.
I have once again committed to go down this year in a couple of weeks. My friends have been scouting the food landscape in my absence and I know that they have amassed a gut-breaking list of awesome places for the finest from porchetta to VPN pizza. Frankly, this scares me. The three of us love to “live big”, both metaphorically and literally, although Mr. Dario, being retired, maintains a buff physique through incessant cycling and other activities.
On the other hand, New York does have a vast assortment of Big-and-Tall (read Fat) stores, so at least I’ll be able to build an appropriate post-apocalyptic wardrobe.