Sunday, 14 June 2009

Impressionist Abstracts

Yes, I know that these are not the same thing. But follow along and you’ll see the connection. We did a lot of shooting impressionistic images by multiple exposures & camera movement, as well as abstract images in the workshop I attended recently. For example, the two images shown here. The first is from a wonderfully over mature and overgrown apple orchard. It was made by setting the camera to a small aperture/long shutter speed, and turning the camera. A fairly hit or miss proposition (I killed a lot of pixels to get this one) but can be quite impressive when it comes out right. The second was taken on the waterfront, and is of reflections in the gently moving water.

For a long time, I was a fairly straightforward nature and snapshot photographer. Nothing fancy, nothing the uninitiated couldn’t recognize. But I found it very hard to get a unique image. We all know what, for example, a mountain looks like. And have a good idea of what a ‘good’ photograph of a mountain should look like. And when photographing mountains, the tendency is to try to make the mountain look like it ‘should’. Which makes it hard to get an image that gives the impression of how ‘you’ see the mountain. To paraphrase a piece I once read, all pictures of Yosemite looks like those of Ansell Adams, because Ansell taught us how Yosemite looks like in photographs. Kind of circular reasoning, but illustrates the point.

So what’s the connection? With abstracts and impressions, it’s much easier to let oneself go photographically. There is less of a ‘template’ to follow, so I find it easier to relax and see whatever jumps out and grabs me. Which makes many of these images imminently satisfying to the photographic soul.

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