On Photography, sort of ...

Way I figure it, there is a limited amount of "truth" available to the population. Every time someone uses a bit, the supply is diminished, and can only be replenished by the application of deception and artifice, thereby freeing-up some previously-tasked selection.

That's why I feel so useful in the community, and don't hesitate to pump up the saturation, lay on the USM, layer them suckers into submission: your "gots to be right, righteous, and correct if you expect me to value it" agitators get freer rein, and I add "smug" to my Personal Information.

No, really, I do feel like a cheater, even when using a reflector or a wind-shield to brighten or deepen a bud's image. My most satisfying images take no pre- or post-processing prior to printing or posting, BUT (and it's a really big one) there are muchas formas de satisfaction. My most satisfying images' satisfaction quotients are based on a satisfying process as well as a satisfying outcome. Multiple satisfactions.

As goes the Gaussian curve, so goes the blend of process and outcome: at one extreme we have the excruciatingly pure, unmanipulated photo of that sunset-lit bear/tree captured at great sacrifice and with great crystal-fused simplicity; at the other, the technique-ly perfect, plastic representaion of the idea of sun, set, light, bear, tree, matrix, Noise-Ninja'd to an unfamiliar dimension by application of Wows and Flourishes, puro graphic Echh; the majority pile up in the middle latitudes, combining virtues and constituting nourishment sufficient to ensure continuation of energy investment.

You may be wondering if, at bottom, I believe in messing with images obtained through photography. Yup. Before, during and after. But I'd rather not.

Someone said, "That view of a camera as a light tight box was more the mode when film was the recording medium, but now, the camera is so much more than that."

I ask, "How?"

As Mike suggests, the camera part of a system is just the zone where "a miracle occurs". If it were possible to accomplish the camera's work by merely imagining the manipulations now accomplished by finger and hand inputs, wouldn't everyone be as happy?

No, I say: Photographers would not be satisfied with no external embodiment of their process to enable explanation to themselves and others of exactly what occurs in lieu of a miracle.

In my ideal scenario, the camera disappears from my consciousness, and my choices are revealed in the image. If someone wants to pin down the molecular moves and relationships among "eye", "perception", "adjustment", "exposure-imprint", and "revelation-exhibition", they would have to infer something to fulfill their need. I think their interest, while concerned with interesting, useful detail, is of secondary importance.

Most of us have done a lot of automobile driving, haven't we? Most of that has been in aid of transporting our corporal selves from one place to another. The end product is a simple relocation. I was there, now I'm here. The cubic capacity of the engine or the passenger compartment is not germane to the function performed. The diameter of wheels, steering or road, doesn't matter in that equation. Color or shape of the car? No tiene la menór importancia.

The process of moving a body from there to here can be that uncomplicated; however, humans are complex and self-contemplative beings, who view and evaluate themselves in complex environments. No process is simple once a human ego is involved. Getting from there to here suddenly becomes a matter of not only physical transport, but of style.

My ideal camera, the one that disappears and simply does its job, is similar to my ideal car: it disappears, too, and I just get where I'm going without muss, fuss, or bother. Reality intrudes, and I must have a tangible transport, so it is as uncomplicated as I can arrange: a ten-foot long box with wheels at each corner, controllable steering, motive, and retarding facility, protection from the elements, maybe a little extra space for cargo. Does the job 99% of the time.

On the other hand, I like driving just to be driving. Something about the control, the sensations of accelerating, turning, slowing, just turns me on. I have had cars from those that were good for almost nothing else ('66 Lotus Élan) to others, used similarly, that were barely competent at that, but rendered similarly intense sensations when used at their limits ('72 Vega GT).

The greatest thrill in each was taking them to  their limits, performing at their highest possible level. And in each configuration of physical vehicle and personal application, at some point I became "one" with the instrument, it disappeared as a manipulable object and became an extension of my consciousness, kind of an exterior "skull" within which we-the car and I-existed and performed.

Well, I've had a few such "zone moments" with cameras, too. Not as many as "senior", but enough to keep me trying. It seems to me "luck" plays a significant role in achieving such mini-Nirvanas, but that one invites luck with thoughtful, careful preparation. Part of preparation is choosing the right equipment. My experience is that the camera most likely to disappear is the Canon 20D (Lotus); the RebXT (Vega) will do many of the same things, but is more likely to remain at least partially outside the "skull", more often.

Your style (process) may differ.

I guess the discussion laps against more than one continent: the roles of technical ability, experience, insight, "genius", and accident, in accomplishing an image.

Genius can be emulated ( or at least approached ) by experience and insight, is what I hear.

Technical ability can be acquired by study and practice (experience).

Experience is inevitable, but is only as valuable as the insight gained during its accumulation.

Inspiration is ...

My view, every image will contain elements of each, none can be ignored, nor can they be separated out or attributed in some instances; in many, it may be obvious which influence predominates in the final. Some combination of inspiration and execution could satisfy few or many viewers, and result in conflicting evaluations of "goodness".

For my part, I get an inspiration about once every six weeks. My ability to fix and share that inspiration depends on innumerable variables, and in maybe one out of six episodes I come close to sticking my "vision" to the wall. Where it wriggles pleasingly for some and hangs inert and limp for others.

I think almost none of this is "accidental", that nearly every visible and every invisible vector is determined and could, with patience and careful design, be codified to the benefit of the society. But none of it is easy, none of it grows without the nurture of contemplation and communication.

To summarize: I know what I like, I try to help others see and appreciate it, but I ain't got a lot of success or hope for more of it. If it weren't for the fact that I like the process(es) so much, I might quit. Well, probably not, but I'm tempted from time to time.

© Copyright 2005 TwinkleInMyEyeProductions, Frank S, Proprietor

Don't hesitate to email me with comments.
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