Photography fascinates me. As a tool for portraiture I need sharp detailed images that provide as much information as would be available to the naked eye so that I can produce ultra- realistic reproductions. With lens technology, lighting, and HDR Photography I can find exactly what I’m looking for to exercise my skills. But I’m a frustrated abstract artist. I look at some abstracts and I can’t fathom how they have produced their work. Obviously I’m not familiar with every painting technique and so despite my strengths, I am aware of my failings. In addition to this my eyes are knackered, I can’t see as well as I could when I was younger, so for portraiture I rely on Karina to take the photo’s. In my mind I can visualise what it is I want to see, so I am capable of setting something up, but getting the focus right is a bitch, you can’t rely on auto focus, irrespective of technology you still need a good eye.
When I think of photography, I think of it as a slice through light. For a single frame shot you get one reading, and so the resulting image is flat. Let me explain, for those who don’t understand what I’m saying. Photographic technique, and technology are at a very advanced stage, and a lot of money can be spent to obtain the right shot. Brilliant photo’s don’t usually happen accidentally, even the best photographers will think nothing of shooting multiple exposures to get it right once, and despite all the elements present for the One shot being there for all the others, they will be chalked off as waste, because they lack the X factor which defines that one shot as the shot. That one shot will Capture what we all can see, but translating what the eye see’s is the true art of photography, and that is because regardless of the cost of equipment, or the experience of the photographer, nothing compares to the human eye.
The human eye is the most advanced optical devise ever developed, added to that it is linked to the most complex object we are aware of in the entire history of the universe, the human brain. It is so easy to take for granted something we never think of using simply because it is our gift to own two of them, and one brain. Ok, I can hear you laughing, but that only goes to prove what I am saying, we have the most advanced optical equipment in the entire known universe. Our eyes can see the difference in microbial tonalities, we can track colours as they change, and keep focused on the object that is changing colour, and we do all of this without even bothering to realise what is actually happening, we just take it for granted, and worse still we place absolutely no value on it. Our irises are lenses that focus incoming light onto light receptors at the back of our eyes. Then in a similar way to that which solar panels transform light into electricity, a signal travels along our optic nerve to the optic receivers at the back of our brains that in turn translate the electric input into visual information which our brain then makes sense of. And it all happens instantly in real time without us having to think about it. WoW!!!
And this brings me back to the point I was making about photo’s being a slice through light. What happens when we take a photo is that the lens of the camera focuses light entering a the camera onto a light sensitive reflector which stores the image onto a chip, the image is further affected by the size of the aperture which meters the amount of light allowed through to the light sensor, and what results is a reproduction of the available light at that precise moment. But the human eye works in a totally different way. I’ve spoken about the way the eye and brain synchronise to produce images which our brains translate, but the way this mechanism differs from a camera is that it continuously makes micro adjustments to whichever part of the image in front of us that we either consciously or unconsciously focus on, what results from that is depth in the visual field. That means despite sunlight reflecting back off the surface of water when I’m stood at the water’s edge, I can still see the colours of pebbles in the water, as well as the pebbles in the shadows cast by rocks protruding from the water. I don’t have to make any sort of adjustment mentally to see those details; it’s all done automatically without having to think about it. A camera can’t do that yet, which is why someone will say, “ well this is where we were, but you can’t see what it is really like on a photo can you? You have to be there yourself really, don’t you?” We have all had that conversation, and we all know what it means, that is what I’m trying to explain.
I’m not too keen on outdoor colour photography, the thing about light just doesn’t work, either that or there is too much disparity between what the eye see’s, and what the camera records. The closest photographic version of reality I have seen is via HDR photography, and because it is the result of several shots of the same subject taken at intervals with different aperture values fed through computer software, it is still engineered and subjective to the way the photographer wishes you to see it. Photographs always tell lies, one way or another. Cameras are simple recording devices, but they only record subjectively, there is no way to capture direct experience, and even if you are present at an event you will see it differently to the person stood next to you. But that opens the door to creativity, which is why I find Photography so compelling.
Karina takes great photos, she was trained before digital photography took over the world and we all became photographers which is great. She understands all the technicalities of the art and so despite how advanced cameras have become she will still employs manual settings, and what she produces is miles better than anything I can do. But ultimately, because standard photography is too difficult for me I have never been interested in taking photos.
I See things differently. I take shots of surfaces, different textures, details, not subjects, and therefore my art looks like photography, and my photos look like abstract art. It’s funny how we solve our problems. I would love to paint abstract pictures, but I don’t know how to, but what I can do is make drawings and paintings that make people look real. I mean, how cool is that?