Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vision, Color, or the lack thereof

Between the copyright/fair use hullabaloo, photographer's block (like writers block), the endless stream of blog posts and articles, I have been pondering what my vision is, or if I even have one.

Vision, for me, is what's in my head. I am aware that there usually something in mind when looking through the viewfinder, to the point that the vision in the head colors what I am seeing through that viewfinder. Which can be bad; there is prejudice there, which can prevent the whimsical, the moment, from happening for me. Too controlling, maybe. Serendipity is my sometimes savior; expensive way to get artsy, though. Absolutely, just capturing the scene in the viewfinder, however, is not what I do, or desire. Photo-journalist, I am not. Even in grade school, I had a decided slant towards the abstract; it's one of my more vivid memories from the art academy.

How I developed my vision? I'm pretty sure it was from looking at the work of my betters, predecessors, friends, along with my own personal views and feelings. Possibly matches my food preferences; big, bold flavors, not much on pretty. Although, I can be influenced/coerced by pretty :)

I know that I visualize as I read. Which is usually science fiction or fantasy. Plausibility gets in the way of me enjoying other genres. The farther from possible reality as we know it, the better. Then the images that form in my head are rather fanciful, both bright and brooding.

Another thing possibly coloring my vision or perception is my desire for privacy. I know, I'm writing a blog, and I post on the World Wide Whatevers; what's privacy? I guess I, as a person, desire some control over what I reveal about myself, and what I keep behind closed doors. As such, I tend to respect the rights of others to do the same. Makes things like street photography a bit difficult. Again, faceless portraiture, I can do. Don't seem to have a problem with that.

So, execution of my vision. That's where the reading, researching, discussions come into play. But in the end, I really need to get out and shoot. Apply all this stuff, find out what works for me, and what doesn't, but may work in the future. Don't really know anything until I try. In the trying, I have come to the following interim conclusions; things change, after all.
  • Product shots. It's about control and repeatability. It's about seeing light, when there is none yet. This, I can do, but gets boring very quickly. Don't have the mindset to do this for a long time. Maybe to incorporate it as a part of a package
  • Landscapes. Seems to be what I do, it's the "comfort zone." Being able to just enjoy the view is the big benefit. But that needs to be stretched; different places, different perspectives, different focus.

  • I have pretty much determined that I am not a portrait person. Which is interesting, as you have a willing subject in front of you, asking to be made beautiful. Maybe that's the problem, can I make them beautiful, objectively, without judgement? Don't know. Character flaw on my part. Recently tagged along on a shoot, piggy-backing some setups, hopefully without getting in the way. While doing some post-processing, I caught myself "seeing" forms that weren't there. Revealing.

    I can do stuff with people in the scene, but seem to have issues with a person as the subject. And even then, the people need to be faceless, unidentifiable. Not having kids may have something to do with it, lacking that carrot to desire to capture people as the subject. Maybe I have to twist that thought, and look at it as an emotion, with people as the vehicle, so the focus is on the "doing," not the person. That might work. Something to work on.
Work in progress. Definitely.

(It's my personal web log. I should be allowed to blather, right?)


  1. Well-written post, Todd.

    My advice, for what it's worth, keep doing what you're doing. Your sense of composition makes you an excellent photographer. Don't over-think what you're doing and never compare your work against that of others. Admire, but don't mire yourself in trying to be like somebody else.

    I speak from experience in this regard.

  2. Introspection is good. It helps clear the cobwebs and clutter so you can focus on goals, visions, etc.

    I think you're private, but not introverted which is why you can and do use people as secondary subjects. While you don't need them to be a main subject they do on occasion help you define your vision by helping to create a mood, or sense of scale.

    I like that your vision is a "work in progress". It means there is room to grow, change, and play.

    Yes, it is your web log. Blather, ramble, blog on!

  3. I'm still searching for my vision. It's a constant work in progress. every changing, ever developing.

  4. haven't started down this path (yet) ... just mainly have issues with the blathering i do ...

    maybe you can just be lazy & combine all three? ...

    control & repeat seeing light for portraits ... finding different people gotta be easier than different places, right? ... ;p
    ... plus, different perspectives, focus, etc should work with people, no? ...

    maybe if you shift the non-objective, judgment of what is beautiful onto the subject? ... you know, show them their photos & if they like it, you're done, go have a guinness ... ;p

    the only certain thing is that landscapes is definitely what you do (now) ... and, fwiw, you do it well, imho ...

  5. ...good to sit, think, and evaluate, or re-evaluate why we do things the way we do. I just don't think too deeply about the whys...may be a good thing or a bad thing. Guess I'm a happy at what I'm doing thus far, shooting for me; and if I burn out on that rare occasion, I put the camera down and dig holes in the need to kick the dog.

    I too, would like to do more. You know that I shoot way too many fr*ckn' flowers, black dogs, landscapes, and of course, food. But I really want to shoot people too. I would love to cruise the streets of Chinatown doing candids. Wish I had the time, guts, and persona to do so. It's a challenge that I need to work at, but at the same time, I know I will not be "good" at all facets of photography...que sera sera...

    What you do, you do good, Todd. You have me and many others oohing and aahing at your work. It will be exciting as to what you come up with from here.

    "Work in progress" is always good. Life itself is always work in progress..

  6. Wow, thanks for the support, guys! Definitely still a work in progress, yes. Thanks again!

  7. It's been way too long since I've been over here, Todd. I'm sorry about that, mostly for me because I've missed some good stuffs.:) I hear you on so many of these points. I guess I feel like my vision is a little blurry right now and I'm quite tired. Looking for fresh eyes, and a new direction myself. I have the same love you do for abstract art, but I'm struggling to come up with something new and different. I got up from the computer in disgust this morning. Same old water drops. Same old edges of petals. Then I went back and sat down and looked at old memories for awhile instead. It's all about capturing the moment in some way after all. And the moments you capture are such a joy for me. They speak to me of a place I long for.

    LOVED this post. Really.

  8. Absolutely not a problem, Roni. Nice thing about posting to the web; the content waits for you :)

    Go with your gut/feelings. Take a time-out if you have to. Kind of like dealing with writers block. Or, follow an ant around.

    About to post a close-up experiment. Fairly inexpensive, pushing your lens reversal thing. So it's your fault. :D

    Take care, please!