The truth of a photograph

Photographs are taken for all sorts of reasons. But it is the ‘obvious’ verses ‘some truth’ which makes a photograph interesting to me.

All photographers are presented with the basic facts of a thing. Yet some photographers need to discover more. They want ‘a truth’ of the thing; to draw something out so that they and others might see something which is not so obvious.

The skill of the photographer is the clarity with which they can do that; take a photograph which can be made to exist as a meaningful thing beyond the obvious, something in its own right.

Leica M6 Camera

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100 Landscape Photographers Worth Knowing

We see these lists, all the time. Most are long, endless lists of boring sameness. Lifeless lists of lemmings; photographers, with a few exceptions, who all look the same. All copying each others work in a repetitive, diminishing circle of indistinguishable and interchangeable styles and ideas. Most lists are worthless.

Surely the purpose of such lists is to showcase artists where each has been carefully chosen to bring something of particular value into the sphere of other Landscape Photographers. An outward looking list. A rich tapestry of creative and functional ideas, styles and techniques; contrasting, challenging, thought provoking and truly useful. A mix of the established and the new, traditional and avant-garde. A diverse list which helps other photographers to grow.

So, I thought I would put together my own list below.

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A Technique for Editing Your Photography

I’d like to share some thoughts on editing, from my own perspective.

You may have your own methods, for your own purpose. For each of us, these might be very different. I hope these thoughts below might add something to your own thinking and workflow.

There is no one way, or right way, to edit your photography.

Editing for me, is not just an after task. Editing is a constant activity, on a continuum. It starts before I pick up a camera, it is present while I work my camera and it continues at any time I need to review, sort, select or arrange my finished photographs.

I am not talking here about retouching or the functional aspects of editing, which you might do in Photoshop. That is a different type of editing from which I speak of.

When I talk about editing, I am talking about the making of considered choices which drive my whole process of planning, capturing, finishing and presenting a photograph or body of work. It is about the how and the why I make those choices, and it is about the effect such choices have in helping to build and shape the photos I take. That is what I mean by editing.

Fundamental to me having a good editing process is my having a set of values and beliefs about photography. These are the foundations which guide the choices I make throughout my workflow and which influence the photographs I make.

Editing to me is as much about intent, and what drives that intent.

Let me explain…

© Copyright Steve Coleman. www.lightinframe.com

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Becoming a photographer ~ part 1: the struggle to see

Part 1: The struggle to see

I remember being disappointed at my early attempts at photography.  I would look at my work, and my heart would sink.

Now, looking back, I can understand.

In those early days, what I was producing was a functional record of my day out with a camera. It was as if a photocopier had just copied what was in front of my eyes. I saw something nice, so I would take a picture of it. Simple.

The result was nice pretty pictures, well exposed, but there was not a lot more. I felt uncomfortable because I sensed that something was missing.

What I know now is that a ‘photocopier’ had taken those shots. I had been, not much more than a courier,  transporting a camera to a location and then letting my camera do all the work. I had thought I was a Photographer!   In reality, I had no idea what that meant.

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