Saturday, June 25, 2005

The difference between digitally manipulated portraits and traditional portraiture

Traditional portraiture is about revealing the truth, uncovering something about the person you're photographing. It's all about communicating the character of your subject. However a lot of what we see nowadays is image manipulated portraiture where software plays a great role in producing the look of the end product.

The point of departure for these image makers is to use the subject as the start for their own 'artistic' interpretation. The traditional portrait photographer works the other way round. They use their photographic skill to uncover a 'truth' about the subject.

To put it another way. The traditional portrait photographer focused on revealing more about the person in the portrait. The digital artist is focused on revealing more about themselves through the way they portray their subject.

Both are legitimate approaches, so long as every step has a purpose and contributes to the meaning of the image, ie not just manipulation for it's own sake. The only true measure of success is whether the image really connects and communicates with the viewer.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Contemplation

Recently took the picture below. I previsualised this image several years before eventually taking it.

By the way. If you're interested in all things Nikon you may find this site of interest. Here's a link to the digital section which traces the full development of digital SLRs based on Nikon bodies (so it includes Fuji S pros and Kodak [now discontinued]).

Paul Indigo



Contemplation.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The making of a picture

There's nothing quite like being out on the road photographing and discovering new things. Just heading out I get excited. The world is full of possibilities. Beauty and interest are all around us.

And then when you get home, if you shoot digital, seeing what you've captured that day. Waiting for film results back from the lab adds a tremendous feeling of anticipation and excitement.

Both film and digital have their own unique appeal. For me though the absolute high point is actually making the image, when you're in that zone, almost zen and you realise as you press the shutter that it's going to be good. For the most part this only happens when I've previsualised an image, although as a photojournalist when you spot something and know it's going to make a fantastic picture you also get a tremendous kick.

For my more artistic photography though, I'll often have thought about making a picture for months, sometimes years before all the circumstances are right and I can actually take the image. The idea for the photograph below was conceived ages ago. It's a work in progress. Still not quite there but I'll be returning to this idea again.

Paul Indigo


Magda Indigo out photographing in Yorkshire.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Appreciating photographs

This is a theme that I've come back to time and again in my life, and I'll probably return to it regularly on this blog as well.

What makes a photograph appealing to an audience? It's a huge question. But there's one aspect I'd like to quickly cover here: photographic websites where people post pictures and other enthusiasts and photographers comment on them.

I've noticed something. They seem to be in danger of repeating the blinkered view that many amateur camera clubs suffer from. Too many pictures that are just about creating an overwhelming visual impact - highly saturated, oversharpened, simplified compositions, unrealistic colours and images that don't communicate with the soul of the viewer. You open them and go WOW, blink your eyes twice, click onto the next one and forget what you've seen 40 seconds later.

I like images that make you think. That raise questions. That go beyond the obvious and the visual cliche or a characture of a landscape, or any of the other over-manipulated photoshop experiments that one sees.

Everything in a picture should have a reason for being there, but to be really good it, for me, has to touch something deeper in the viewer, and it has to leave an impression as lasting as an archival print.

Given these criteria, I reckon I probably take 2 or 3 good images a year. Next time you look at a web gallery, a simple landscape perhaps, really look and let the image speak to you. It is worth everything and more than something which is overcooked and abuses visual manipulation to give itself unworthy impact. Try to understand what the photogapher is trying to say, rather than letting yourself be wooed by flashy technique, and judge a picture by how successfully it communicates with you when you open yourself up to it rather than pure 'slap in the face' visual pyro-techniques.

Paul Indigo

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sensor cleaning

The problem all digital slr owners face is how to keep that darn dust off your sensor. Unless you have an obsession with using Photoshop's healing brush you'll want to minimise the phenomenon of dust bunnies on your pictures.

Here are a few worthwhile websites which provide information on cleaning your camera's sensor. And in the great tradition of covering one's backside, I'll have to add the usual clause: I do not officially endorse any of these methods. The links in this blog are purely for your information. What you do with that information is up to you and I certainly can't take responsibility for your sensor cleaning practises. Backside covered - read on...

Rob Galbraith - Sensor Brush
CameraHobby.com - Visible Dust's Sensor Brush and Chamber Clean
Petteri's Pontification - The Pixel Sweeper
Pbase.com - CCD / CMOS Cleaning (Copperhill Method)
The Luminous Landscape - Visible Dust Review
The Luminous Landscape - Understanding Digital SLR Sensor Cleaning
Ultimate SLR - How to clean your Digital Image Sensor - this is really good
Does "Visible Dust" cleaning system really work ?

And here's some new news (May 2005). Many photographers think that the Sensor Brush is too expensive.
Nicholas R. of the Copper Hill cleaning method fame is now offering a much cheaper brush for cleaning your sensor. Follow this link to find out more.

Good luck. As always your feedback is welcome. How do you clean your digital camera's sensor?


Paul Indigo

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My picture for World Photo Day 2005

Yes the day finally arrived and it was extremely hectic for me. I had loads to do and was seriously concerned about getting time to come up with a shot. Anyway on a bus through Leeds I spotted this couple. Naturally her hair caught my eye.

I explained about World Photo Day and they were more than happy to have their photograph taken. Now I know it's nothing arty or spectacular, just daily life with ordinary people doing their thing. After all, that's what the whole thing was about.

Hope you enjoy it and if you want to see all of the pictures from 1 June 2005 from across the whole world click here.

Paul Indigo




Couple on bus in Leeds this evening.