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- ESSAYS

EXPRESSING MYSELF...

A lot of people ask me whether my images are 'manipulated' and that always causes me some confusion, firstly because I'm not really sure what they mean by 'manipulated' and secondly because I consider my work to belong in the realm of art, so therefore, I don't know why anyone cares?

So I have decided to write a piece here to outline my approach to creating my images.

When most people are about to make a photograph they probably forget a very important aspect to the process and because of that they end up simply recording the subject as the camera sees it. That aspect that I'm talking about is of course the input from the photographer, or in this case me. I feel an image only starts to become successful when I have shown not only the subject but my response to that subject. I want to try and express my veneration for the environments that I travel to. Standing in solitude I want to capture the calmness and the grandeur and I want to say it in the most simplistic way. I also want to take my time, spend some time and by doing so, become another element in the scene.

It's not always easy but it sure helps if you know what moves you! What subject gets you emotional, fired up and excited? You can then apply that emotion, that passion into the multitude of options available to you, the photographer, both before making the photograph and after.

Some of the initial choices I make at the time of making a photograph are around how to compose the scene. Where do I stand?, what do I choose to have within the frame?, the lighting (what time of day should I be there?), choice of lens, do I get down low for a particular angle?, what are my camera settings?, what do I require in terms of depth of field? These are all subjective decisions, but the more decisions that are made by you, then the more the image will say about you.





Spending time and making choices... and getting cold!
Spending time and making choices... and getting cold!

The captured image.
The captured image.

The final print.
The final print.












































































So what now? Like I said above, for me the end goal is a photographic print that embraces not just the subject, but what I want to say about the subject. By having access to a traditional darkroom or digital tools does provide further opportunities to have input from the photographer. The great American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is quoted as saying about his printing process "dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships" (dodging and burning being photographic terms for darkening or to lighten specific areas on an image during the printing process). In other words the printing process allowed Adams further ability to interpret the negative and create a print of his vision.

These are the questions that I ask when I'm preparing the image to print; what is important in the scene and what is not? What are the elements that I want to emphasis and those that distract? By using the same tools as Adams but in a digital workflow (yes I print digitally) dodging and burning allows me to balance and create some order between elements that will focus the attention of the viewer on areas I consider to be significant. Thereby producing a print that says this is how I see this subject, this is my interpretation/response, and this is my piece of art.