I don’t remember if I’ve posted this before, but if not, I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret of mine.
I detest the oft-quoted Ansel Adams statement about making photographs, not taking them. I mean it really makes my blood boil to hear that. It goes against almost everything I believe as a photographer.
As a photographer, I have a goal to record a moment, an image, a feeling or emotion. If I wanted to make that stuff, I would learn how to do lots of special effects in Photoshop and become a graphic designer. But my goal is not to make it, my goal is to find it in the real world, and capture it in an image. I want to take that image, not make it.
End of rant. Above is a photograph I’ve made, more than taken. It’s nothing but the fence along my yard. It’s not an especially good photograph. Nothing creative about it and it doesn’t have a statement to make. As originally shot it’s a tad over exposed and there’s a sameness of color that waters the whole thing down.
But you know what, it’s been over two weeks since I’ve taken a picture. I’m desperate. Between two jobs, church functions, and just getting my wife out of the hospital (she’s fine), I knew I would have exactly two hours of daylight this weekend where I would be free to take pictures, and I wasn’t going to be able to go beyond my back yard.
So I went out and made something happen. Just a study in lines, really, and as I said really kind of uninteresting on its own. But I stripped the color, enhanced the contrasts to bring out texture, added a smidge of vignette and sepia, and I have…well, it’s certainly not an award-winner, but it’s more interesting than it started out.
So I’m on the fence about this whole Ansel Adams quote. In general, I prefer to take photographs. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and when necessary I’m not above making them either. But I do tend to regard it as a last resort. Perhaps one of the reasons I have so much difficulty seeing the attraction of HDR photography.