Since my background is in painting and design, I still consider myself an artist. I just changed the medium from a brush to a camera and I use my camera to style my photographs; creating my art.
What I mean is I move things around in my composition, or I add things or props if I have them or they’re easy to get on really short notice. I rarely see what I want, I photograph as though my camera was a canvas on an easel, and I take pictures of what I’d like to see.
If by moving a chair to the left or right…or taking it out all together makes the composition stronger then I’m all for it. If the waiter has better light on his face if he’s looking in the other direction then I’ll ask him if he will.
This type of picture taking is beyond the scope of those that call themselves purists. It’s not the type of purist whose dogmatic approach to photography means absolutely no digital manipulation after the shutter is pressed. Btw, for those that think this way I got news for you…if you’re shooting JPEGS and not RAW, your image has already been manipulated inside the camera. I’ll leave this argument for another day.
The kind of purist I’m talking about is the kind that walks up to a scene and shoots it the way it is and criticizes those that don’t. It would be beneath him to add or subtract something…move a chair or a trash can, etc.
So let’s get down to the title of this post, “Do you believe it”….what do I mean?
If you’re like me and you consider yourself a painter whose medium is a camera, which you should, and you want to change something just make sure it looks like you didn’t do anything.
I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around our planet. I always tell my fellow photographers that when they add something or move something to take a step back and ask themselves if they believe that what they did looks believable; it’s exactly what I do.
For example, you’re in your kid’s bedroom and a shaft of light is falling on the floor next to the window. You want to say to the viewer that it is indeed a child’s bedroom so you put a pair of red high top sneakers in that shaft of light, and you put them in a perfect position side by side. This is when you take a step back and ask yourself if your kid would really put his shoes that way or would one of them be laying on its side and the other facing the other direction; this is what I mean by do you believe it.
In the above photo, do you believe it? Was it exactly like that when I walked into the kitchen, or did the artist in me paint it differently than the way I was actually seeing it? How about the waiter in Venice?
Do you believe he was standing there?
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. On July 30th I begin my 29th year at the Maine Media Workshops. I’ve had the same week since the beginning. It’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops than one would expect when coming to photograph the coastline, lighthouses, and fishing villages of Maine. Come join me and spend a week completely immersed in your love for photography.
Send me a photo and question to: AskjoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.