Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Relationship to Photography

Aperture? Shutter speed? F stop? Before this class, I had no idea what any of those did or how to work them. I was a point and shoot type of photographer. Every once in a while I would get a great picture but would have no idea how or why and would not be able to do it ever again. I liked looking at pictures, I could tell what was good and what wasn't, but I had no reasons to back up those opinions.

This class gave me the ability to be a knowledgeable photographer. I will never be able to be a point and shoot person again. Now, I have the skills to change the exposure of my picture so that it comes out bright enough but not too bright, I can delay my shutter speed to capture movement when and where I want it and now I find my self thinking 'this light is perfect!'! Each museum we visited, each time we looked at each other's photographs allowed me to understand the whys of pictures - why I like them, why they are good and how they can get better. I also have purpose for my pictures now. I know what I need to do to get the picture I want and (even better) I know how to manipulate the camera, light and surrounding so it comes out perfect.

I waited a while to write this final blog post for a reason. I wanted to see when I came home how my relationship with photography really changed. A few days after I returned I was at a doctor's office and was looking at a picture on the wall and commented to my mom "that is way over exposed". Just yesterday I was at my brother's orchestra concert and took the camera I used on the trip. Instead of taking the typical, boring pictures that I always took before, this time I played with the exposure, changed from spot to metered focus, and changed the shutter to make some cool effects of the bows and conductor's arms. After sitting through my sister playing in an orchestra for 15 years and this is my brother's 8th year, these are the most exciting and different pictures of a concert that we have!

When I signed up for this class, I had no idea what I was going to learn. I figured it would be fun to go to Paris and London for 2 weeks, take some amazing pictures and meet some great friends. Little did I know that it would change my view of photography probably for the rest of my life. No picture that I take or see will ever be the same again - and I am very grateful for that.

Thank you for such a great trip, a great class and lots of great pictures!

Here is the link to my final picture set: A Day in Your Life. These were all taken in a way that I see the world. They show what I think is beautiful, what captures my attention and how I like to spend my day.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Psychological Differences Between the same subject, Painted and Photographed

Walking through both the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery today, I realized I like both painted and photographed portraits but for different reasons. Photographs capture a single second. A single moment that will never be replicated again. A moment frozen in time. I think there is something magical about being able to bottle up time. It is amazing to think that this photograph actually happened. A room looked exactly like this picture, or these people posed like this at some point in their life. At the same time however, it doesn’t always capture the soul of the situation or sitters as a painting could. There was one set in the National Gallery that had a painting of a young couple at their home and a picture of a different, more modern young couple at their home and the painting was able to get across the more homely feeling. The painting captured and brought to life something that was missing from the photograph. I could see the essence of the people in the painting but the people in the photograph felt staged and flat. While this might have just been the pictures that they put together, it made me think about the differences. On the other hand however, you can never be completely sure that a painting is what something actually looked like or was like. There is so much interpretation of a painting – the people, the situation, the time – that cannot be faked in a photograph. A photograph is a snapshot of a moment in time where as paintings take time to create so an artist’s vision can change or become altered in some way. 
I think the take home message here is, both have their pros and cons. Photographs are believable because they are a slice of time but they can be staged and the essence can be lost. Paintings are capture the soul of a situation but at the same time are mysterious – you never fully know if what you are seeing actually happened. I like both and don’t think I could pick a favorite or one that I always prefer. It changes based on what I am looking at and what I think it is getting across.

Here is the link to the set for the day: A Sense of Time and Place These pictures have a contrast between now and some other time. Whether it be between Marilyn Monroe and Janna, or when they decided where the Prime Meridian is and today there is some distance between when something was created and my picture.