Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Occupation Known As...Photography

"There is an occupation known as painting, which calls for imagination, and skill of hand, in order to discover things not seen, hiding themselves under the shadow of natural objects, and to fix them with the hand, presenting to plain sight what does not actually exist." (Cennino Cennini 1370-1440)

Painting has changed since the time of Cennino, and not just with technology. How people think about art has changed, too. Few things show how much the idea of art has changed than the art of photography.

Changes in Photography
The art of composing, lighting, etc. is easily faked in software, "digital art" is being shown in galleries, and most people under the age of 30 are attached to an electronic gizmo. Wallpaper is not just for walls, and even wallpaper can bought and used as removable stickers that the buyer can re-arrange on a whim and that is considered "art." Times have changed....

Film Cameras
Remember the days of film cameras? When you HAD to compose, measure the light, and pray the photo prints well? I used a film camera in 2002 when I lugged 40 rolls of 36 exposures film to England, Ireland, and Scotland and back home to the USA. The film was precious: you had to compose the picture in the frame, make sure the light was good enough for a decent print. Photoshop was what you did when trying to find coupons for less expensive film and/or developing. Then, I took all 40 rolls of film to the store to wait a week for them to develop the film.    

Digital Cameras
Now, most people take a photo, upload it to a computer, and edit it to their liking. Some how, art seems lost. The excitement of seeing what worked is quelled. Instant gratification, from the light in the photo to what was in the frame. 

Jason Eldridge
There is one photographer that I know that uses a digital camera like a film camera: Jason Eldridge. He composes "in the frame," knows about apperature (not the software), shutter speed, etc. He looks for the moment by actually getting outside before the crack of dawn or delaying dinner for the sunset. He uses the camera as his paint brush - and the results are stunning.

Jason's work can be found at Eldridge Studios by clicking on this sentence.

Grapes, Leaves, and Metal Jar - 2008 - acrylics on canvas - 8 x 10 inches - $50 

Angeline Marie
Angeline Marie Fine Art


Jason L. Eldridge said...

I am flattered. Thank you.

Jason L. Eldridge said...

The term Photography means "painting with light". There are so many photographers that have lost sight of that very fact. I am not talking about family or event snap shots etc. I am talking about those that fancy themselves as great/professional photographers. Most of them you can pick out easy because of the level of processing that they do. If you talk to a photographer and they tell you about the hours they spent processing on a given image then chances are you are talking to one of “those” photographers. You have to post process with digital… That is a given. Photography though is an art form and if you think about that at the time of capture then your finishing process will be minimal and your images works of art. Thanks again for posting on a subject very near to my heart.

Jason L. Eldridge said...

Lastly... Power bars and coffee can help with dawn and dinner.

Angeline-Marie said...

You are welcome. I notice from the time stamps that you thought of this post! LOL

Judy Wood said...

Well, I have to question some of this. After most of a lifetime doing art in one form or another, I have spent a lot of the last ten years working with my digital SLR and teaching myself how to use Photoshop. I find it all just as challenging as "traditional" media and just as frustrating and rewarding, as well. These are all just tools, folks. I'm sure the painters of the day said exactly the same things about those upstarts who were doing something called "photography" with machines that did the work for them, instead of doing the tried and true with canvas and paint. Times and tools change, but a good eye and dedication to the process and the end product don't, and in my world that's what counts.

Angeline-Marie said...

Interesting that Jason and I had an in-person discussion about that photography is art. =)

YOU are an artist, who happens to use a camera. You make this obvious with the quote "...a good eye and dedication to the process and the end product don't...."

I allude to those who click and always seem to say "oh, it is ok if the image is yucky in the camera because I will alter it later!" What? We artists know that if the image is yucky in the camera, the end product might be junk even if it is software altered.

I admire artists who can use the camera and process, etc. There are other things I want to learn, LOL, or I would be right there with you and Jason.

THANK YOU for your comment! Super cool!!!

Jason L. Eldridge said...

Judy, you should check out my blog for several topics on this. Angeline was kind enough to put a link to it at the end of her post (Thanks Angeline!)

I do agree with you more than I don’t. I resisted digital in the beginning and thought of it as a "fad"... boy did I miss that one! Since switching I have never looked back! With digital we MUST post process. The types of photographers I am speaking of use processing to overcome very poor photography. It is vital that we learn to use the tools we have to produce better images. There is one thing I brought over with me from my film days though… "Garbage in, garbage out"; If you start with a good in camera image then there is no limit to what you can do. If you start with a very bad image then, well, you end up with a heavily processed bad image that might be passable. All of us start there and that is a great way to perfect the use of post processing tools. I can guarantee you that Ansel Adams for instance would have jumped at HDR photography! We as photographers will produce better images if we can think artistically when we press the shutter button. If we can do this and know the technical aspects of the camera then we can produce wonderful images… Finally, if we can master both and master the post processing we will produce images that truly inspire!

Either way you look at it Photography is art and therefore it is open to interpretation. There is something there for everyone to enjoy and debate over! How cool is that?!? (great comment Judy!)

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