Monday, May 9, 2011

The April that was...

In some ways this photographing lark is a bit strange. I say that on very limited recent experience, but it is a feeling that matches with the two years I was previously involved (and competing) at club.

This last fortnight included the slides/projected images competition on Easter Monday. I had in two entries; the “privacy” one with the bowlers, and the other the Wairere Boulders picture of the interior of a “partial cave” above. Because it was Easter Monday, I was not there to hear the judge’s comments. Suffice to say that both earned H/C’s, a little to my surprise for the bowlers privacy. But, I can imagine the difficulty the judge may have had with the other.

Regulars (if they do exist) will know my rabbiting on about “minimalist” images. I set this one up as an instance of other approaches to the “minimum colour, minimum contrast” images that seem to rank in this strange offshoot of the craft.

There is another aspect to this; it comes (in my mind at least) under the heading of “realism”. It is a strange thing. One could not imagine that there could be anything more “real” than a photograph image. OK, there is also a boundary here. It lies between the “real, in the camera, in the eye” image and what can be achieved with varying degrees of processing.

The first, annoying, brush was the criticism of the waxeye image because of the “boring, dull grey” background. Yes, because that is what it was like; trying hard to rain and not quite succeeding.

The second - again I think I have mentioned this - is the “dramatic sky, shadow, dramatic landscape” legacy of the likes of Ansell Adams and his followers. Now do not get me wrong. Adams is the pinnacle of landscape photography in most quarters; he is in mine. He deserves the adulation and sincere imitation of any who take their imagery seriously.

Can you hear the “BUT” yet?

Adams’s great skill was in his ability to capture – in black and white – the colour and drama of what he was seeing. There is an additional talent of “right place, right time”. He had a great talent in the production of his images.

Right now, off on a different tack…

The probligo’s better half is a member of the local tennis club, and they have an annual Charity Day in support of the local hospice. It is very successful, and generously supported. She suggested that I contribute a print of my two “oyster catchers”. While this is by no means anywhere near competing with Adams or even some of the beginners at the camera club, it is a “good” image – I like it. SWMBO over-heard comment while it was on the table for sale, “… the sky is never that colour… too artificial…”. Sorry luvvies, it is that colour if you look; particularly through a polariser; or if you look rather than just “see”. The lovely deep cobalt blue that comes on a clear winter day when the sky has his face well scrubbed and all.

The advent of digital imaging, and the facility of processing those images, has widened the whole idea of photographic image into an art that rivals the fine arts of the past in both scope and variety. So one can project into modern photography the parallels of all the offshoots ranging from the (intentionally) surreal distortion of reality, to the quick sketch, to the monographic record, to personal impression and interpretation. A quiet couple of hours on the net will find photographic surrealism that would rival that of Ernst, Miro and Dali; impressionist use of form and colour to rival Manet, Monet and Pissaro; perhaps even the simple lines of primitivism and "child art".

I have at long last received my copy of the "approved text" for the club's course on landscape photography. One of the most stunning images in this book would likely qualify under the heading of "field colour abstract. There are essentially five blocks of colour with very little in the way of detail; blue sky, two foreground wedges of colour, and between them is a small black silhouette of forest.

And I think that is where the "BUT" arrives...

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