Afterexposure Photography

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Some Thoughts on Photography

Last week I visited my parents for my Dad’s birthday, and as usual mom had redecorated a little. Even though I grew up in that house, there is always something fresh and new there. This time she was taking advantage of a new kitchen window that is big enough for some trinkets. I couldn’t help but take a few pictures, of course!

Something of a recent development for me, photographically, is a return to using my camera in a simpler way, almost as I did with film. The biggest difference with this method is that I spend more time looking through my camera, instead of at it.

Modern cameras can tell you a lot about an image. But the camera can’t do one very important thing; it can’t see. It can’t tell what the subject is, and what the context of the scene is. Those two things – subject and context – can create a powerful image that conveys a feeling, a time, a place, and a memory.

The image above is a great example. If you ask the camera, or any imaging software what it thinks of this image, it will tell you that it’s way too bright, has no contrast, and is possibly not in focus. But this image is exactly as it should be. It has the softness and light that it should, and captures that afternoon when my Dad turned 69.

No camera alone can do that. There is no ‘make it pretty’ setting, even on the most expensive camera. That’s the photographers responsibility, and one we love to have. Think about this when you wonder if a professional is worth their price, or if it matters if you connect with your photographer. I love caring about the people in the images I create, and I think it comes across in my work.

(and if that image is driving you nuts, here is a different version, just so you know… )

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