I’ve been away for a really long time. I know. Things have been crazy as work went from okay to downright bad thanks to an automotive accident. I ended up quitting my job because I couldn’t physically handle the work. Since then, I’ve been going on quite a few interviews and doing everything I could to get my hand fully functional again. Photography has helped there. So has typing. It’s time to combine those activities right here.
You’re probably wondering what’s prompted me to update this blog six months after the fact. I wish I could say it’s to show off my photos from two fairly major trips I’ve taken. I also can’t claim that setting up a satirical Instagram feed had anything to do with it. There’s also the technical aspects about maintaining this blog that don’t qualify as motivation to update this thing; in fact, they’re quite the opposite. Never mind the fact that I’ve made some progress in photo competitions. Nope. My inspiration came from a goddamn Cracked.com article. My life is indeed a very sad thing. So let’s talk about it, then.
I think there are legitimate points in this article. However, it’s very narrow in scope when it comes to those who are anti-Photoshop. Most of the article discusses how women are portrayed in terms of visual media, but there are a few broader points. They tend to be clustered in point #4, which covers lighting, perspective and other tricks used to manipulate how a subject looks. For people who actually take pictures, this information isn’t really anything new. In fact, anyone who has any knowledge of photography would be practically screaming “DUH!” at the top of their lungs and facepalming hard enough to give themselves concave noses.
And that’s my point. Why do we need Photoshop when we photographers have lots of other tools at our disposal? We have lenses, polarizing filters, sunlight, hacks for beauty dishes, and so many more things that can make the same adjustments in Photoshop without having to juggle with workflows and similar horse hockey. One time, I actually used my sunglasses as a filter for a shot. If you know enough tricks and have taken the time to learn how to judge the light you’re given, you can pull off lots of things people create in Photoshop without having to do a thing in post. Why rely on a computer to distort reality when you can learn more analog moves that are more subtle and can sometimes do a lot more for you? Plus you can reduce the likelihood of becoming chained to your computer for editing every single photo you decide to show off.
My attitude may be influenced by not photographing people all that much. I’ll cop to that. I still don’t see the need to Photoshop landscapes or animal shots into oblivion. It strikes me as lazy and not willing to put out effort into the field. When I watch Photoshop tutorials online, I wonder half the time what prevented the photographer from moving to a different spot to frame the photo or wait for a different time of day when the lighting was less challenging. Perhaps this is me being at my most romantic, holding onto the belief that the best photographers avoid the editing room because they possess the cleverness to capture the magic in the field. Maybe I don’t want to believe that the human eye is so conditioned to Photoshop that anything left untouched looks weird to them. Well, guys. Reality is a weird little thing to perceive. Perhaps it’s face to face reality on its terms instead of through excessive string pulling meant to match your desires.
As I think I’ve said before, I’m not aiming to be a professional photographer. However, I do like to share my work. One of the ways I do that is by adding my photos to the Facebook pages of various places/events I attend. So far, I’ve only done this with the Minnesota State Fair and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. (I wish there was a page dedicated to the whole of Como Park, as I have some pictures by the lake that I really want to share with people.) When I upload photos to my Facebook page, they come directly off the memory card. There is no in-camera editing (to which I object on the principle of developing solid photography skills being paramount). I still don’t have any photo software (although have decided to get Paint Shop Pro X2 to tide me over). I have no idea how many people actually see the photos I add to albums on other pages. I did get a like for a couple of the, though, which has encouraged me to stick my neck out a little more. I really don’t ask for more than a Like here and there.
And since we’re talking about Como Park, I’ll just drop off a picture from Winter 2008. This was actually taken on my old Fuji A340. I’ll have to do a post on my equipment soon. I promise it will be the next entry or two. 🙂