2014-07-14 A Change is Gonna Come
“The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.”
~ Ansel Adams
Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about personal style. Personal style can be reflected through one’s compositional choices, the way they use color and light, and in the digital age it can also include the way a person chooses to post-process their images. Truthfully, it’s really no different than when we were using film. Photographers like Ansel Adams spent hours in the dark room, dodging and burning and using every trick at their disposal to get the print to match the image in their mind’s eye. The final result often looked considerably different than the raw negative. As I’ve mentioned many times before, image manipulation did not begin with computers and photoshop. It’s long been a part of the artistic process. For me, “artistic” is the key word, as I generally find myself moving further and further away from a documentary style of photography.
The great Art Wolfe has spoken about processing his images in a way that makes them look as if they were shot using Fuji Velvia film. I’ve done something similar, but recently I’ve begun experimenting, altering my post-processing to style to fit the subject and mood of the image. I’ve come to realize that “style” is not something that needs to remain static, but rather something that should continually evolve, as the person pressing the shutter evolves over time. A one size fits all approach no longer appeals to me.
The past few days I’ve been re-processing some recent, and some older images, allowing my gut, and the image itself to tell me how the final version should appear. These are early experiments, but I’m intrigued by the results. The feedback I’ve received in private has so far been positive. I’d be interested to hear what you think. Feel free to leave a comment…