Filters and Artists

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Taking a Photo of an Object

I ordered a new photography book this week and read some of it online. I want it yesterday because it started me thinking, once again, about how I see and what goes into making my photographs. I’ve also been thinking about some new photos I want to post of the hammocks at the botanical garden and I’ve been thinking about how much I enjoy doing the post-processing of my images. My mind has been pretty busy and then Cheryl put up the The Daily Post prompt of “filter” and that was added to the blender whirring of my mind.

All those thoughts produced a seismic shift in my identity – okay, maybe a little dramatic but not by much. I think I feel more at home thinking of myself as an artist than as a photographer. There are many people who would like to debate that there isn’t much difference between the two – but when I think about what I enjoy most and devote the most time to in producing an image, the scale tips towards the artistic.

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Three years ago, using macro photography to capture detail.

My visit to the botanical garden a couple of weeks ago was really different, I was in a different state of mind. Once again I was drawn to the hammocks but this time I was seeing them from a different frame of reference. I seem to have reset my filter.

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I am thinking more of setting a mood, touching an emotion. And I find that I have great fun using LightRoom to play with color, light, dark, composition, and clarity.

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I was able to experience and express a memory with this.

This week, for the first time, I took my camera to the botanical garden for some pre-sunset fun as they are staying open until 8 on Wednesdays. When I came to the trail to the hammocks, it was roped off. I set up my tripod and started shooting. An employee of the garden walked past and said I could go around the rope if I chose – it was there to keep people on the lighted walks after dark. I said thanks, but no. I was being forced to see through a new filter.

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This one won’t make my favorite list but it does create a memory of what I was thinking and seeing and wanting to experiment with – given the limitations of a very real world. It touches me in some way, working its way through the filter of a lifetime of experiences and memories. Even though it isn’t great, I will spend some time thinking about what works and what doesn’t as I read my new book. And then I may well delete it from my files because it has served its purpose as a learning tool – but nothing I would hang on my wall.

Does that make me a photographer or an artist, or just an old woman having fun as I exercise my brain and my body? Does it matter?

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13 Comments »

  1. Good questions! This makes me think of the ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg’ puzzle. Are you (or me) artists, who use photography to express an artistic vision, or photographers who turn their photographs into art? Or both?
    The third dimension, for me, relates to the idea that I think of myself as a craftsman, not an artist – long on ability, short on imaginative vision!

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    • Great comment, Margy. I am getting a lot more satisfaction out the artistic aspects of photography than the technical. To paraphrase your last line – I think of myself as being long on imaginative vision and short on technical ability. lol

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