I recently had an online student in one of my three classes with the BPSOP that for the four week class keep telling me that as a purist it was wrong to move anything before you photographed it. He also said that it was going “against my grain” to add or subtract something in his composition. Btw, I’ve had several similar discussions in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.
He claimed that he was an idealist, and he only photographed something the way it was. Well, that’s a real bone of contention with me and I’ll tell you why. First of all let me define what the idiom “bone of contention” means. It’s basically an argument between two groups or persons that can rarely be settled.
Let me backtrack a bit and I’ll tell you that this person also uses Lightroom, Photoshop, HDR, and an assortment of plug-ins. He uses them to a point where the actual photograph doesn’t resemble a photograph any longer. Whether the end result looks good or not is in the eye of the beholder, but in my way of thinking it is more computer art than photography. If my fellow photographers want to use the computer to help them then that’s their business and it’s fine with me.
OK, herein lies the bone of contention. How can someone call themselves a purist when they manipulate their pictures in the computer? Whether they’re well done or not isn’t the issue here. The issue with me is that in my opinion a photographer who calls himself a purist should never do anything at all to his photos. That means before the shutter is clicked, and especially after.
In the above photo, I moved the two men from where they were and positioned them in the light. Although I did nothing in post, I would not be considered a purist…and that’s perfectly ok with me. I photograph what I’d like to see, not necessarily what I see. My background is in painting so to me the camera on a tripod is the same as a blank canvas on an easel.
The second photo depicting a similar construction situation was not manipulated in any way, either before or after the shutter was released. I like shooting what I see as much as anyone else, and if the situation comes where I can, I will. It doesn’t make me feel any different than if I had placed all the workers and wet down the concrete. The only thing that matters is if it’s a good photo.
I’d love to get a response from some of you out there that follow my blog. What do you think?
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.
Keep those photos and question coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll send you a video critique.