Some artists start their creative process by looking at a blank canvas. They envision the scene they wish to portray and think on what colors or tools they will need. They may begin with a sketch and some painters even begin with a photograph.
It’s a personal inner vision that tells them what the next step to creating their art is and what they need to do. Then they use their experience as an artist to tell them how to accomplish it. It really is no different for the photographic artist. As you would expect, it begins with a photograph.
No, wait, it begins even before that. For me, it begins with my camera. I will walk down seemingly endless amounts of garden path and corridors looking for anything that strikes my eye. I look for things that are different, full of color, or makes a statement in some way. Then I have to ask myself about the angle of the subject, the lighting conditions, and even what settings I might need on my camera. Soon after all that, I take the shot.
Once I have these various tasks done and I’ve finished my picture-taking for the day, I take my undeveloped artistic blueprints to my office. There I start the mental and physical process of choosing what will work and what will not.
Cameras have limitations, and no camera will always manage the impossible feat of matching the human eye. So, if I deem 3-10% of the number of pictures I take on a shoot as having some potential, then I’m happy.
I call those pictures a blueprint for that is the best description of what raw unformatted pictures are to a photographic artist. Those pictures are my canvas, or my sketch, and from them I ply my inner artist to create, simplify, expound, and develop my inner vision.
On a recent trip to Florida earlier this year, I found this palm tree flowering in a courtyard. The sun was shining and the sight of this strange flower sufficiently struck my curiosity. I immediately saw potential with this flower. This is the raw unfiltered image.
At this moment it’s just a picture. Nothing has been done with it. As a photographer I could sit here and ponder the exposure, the depth of field , and all of the photographic niceties that make a good picture and traditionalists usually do. But as an artist, I’m looking beyond the technical at an image that can be transformed into a living work of art.
What kind of potential do you see for this photograph?
This week I’ll use it as my canvas and next week I’ll show you what I see.
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