alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Thoughts’

The rush to share….. or is patience rewarded?

In this day and age when instant gratification is the order of the day there is a tendency to share our images on social media without a moments hesitation, particularly if you think you have a ‘keeper’ on the memory card. I can be as guilty of this trait as anyone but I am trying to be more patient before uploading to Instagram or indeed this blog.

I have a quiet admiration of photographers who return from a shoot, download their images but then wait several weeks or even months before processing the files. Their reasoning is that as each day passes they become more detached from the actual event of taking the photograph and their memory of what they saw changes with the passage of time. As a consequence when the moment comes to process the images their approach is different to how it might have been if they had processed the photograph almost immediately after the picture had been captured. The final result can be an image which is more likely to reflect what they think they saw and how they feel, not what they actually saw. This is an important difference in the art of picture making.

I believe there are benefits to be had by proceeding more slowly even if waiting weeks or months is outside the realms of possibility for me at the moment. I don’t possess that degree of will power.

Take the image which accompanies this post. A dramatic depiction of Racton Tower, a subject which I have photographed on previous occasions. As I start down this road of making colour images I am already becoming increasingly aware of how subtle and not so subtle changes in colour can influence the look and feel of an image, not to forget of course all the other tools we have at our disposal.

I therefore decided to spend more time than usual on this image. I processed a number of different versions over several days followed by a review a day or two later, I compared one with another believing I would benefit from this approach. What did I like and what did I think worth changing to improve the picture. It hasn’t take weeks but it has been a much slower and more considered process.

I am pleased with the final result. As it happens it’s not so very different to the first version I made but it does include some enhancements which only became evident by giving myself the time to stand back, observe and be more critical. I like to think my patience has been rewarded and not just because I have made an image which pleases me, but because the process itself has been a more enjoyable and enhanced learning experience.

Lone Marker Post – a metaphor perhaps?

This shot was taken 9 days ago at West Wittering. A day or two later the beach car park was closed and access became more difficult. We need to drive to this location so it’s now out of bounds and is likely to be for some time to come.

This marker post is I think a rather poignant reminder of how we might be feeling at the moment.

Alone and separated as the waves of change ebb and flow. A dark sky hangs overhead but there is light on the horizon. Our lives have been put on hold, our daily habits altered, we can no longer visit friends or loved ones. But we have been given a new found ‘space’. We now have time to reflect and consider what is truly important in our lives, which in the ‘rush’ is all too easily forgotten.

Starting to see again…..

Moody Prinsted for wordpress

If you read my last post (Photographic Purpose?) you will know that I have taken very few images in recent months. There are lots of reasons but there is one factor – I wasn’t seeing anything to photograph. Even if did see something I wouldn’t have a camera with me, with the possible exception of my old iPhone of course.

Photography is like any creative hobby, you have to keep practising and it’s very easy to get out of the habit of taking and making new images. You stop looking partly because you don’t expect to see anything and over time the brain no longer sees pictures. It becomes a vicious circle and the longer this situation continues the more difficult it is to break what has become a destructive habit.

I used to play a lot of golf but to keep my handicap down I needed to play regularly. If I didn’t play for a few weeks then my game would suffer. However one good strike during a round would help to restore my confidence and inspire me to play more.

Photography is no different. The above image was taken yesterday and during processing it immediately reminded me of the great moody black and white landscapes by Don McCullin. A photographer whose work I very much admire.

I find this one image quite inspirational, not because it’s a great image, it isn’t perfect by any means. But because of what it represents. The fact that I am ‘starting to see’ again and as importantly want to reach for the camera when a scene unfolds before me.

The fact the camera was my old iPhone 6 doesn’t matter, although I am constantly amazed how much processing in Photoshop can be done before the image starts to degrade. Yes, I would have preferred a more detailed file to work with, and there are elements of the composition which could have been improved had I stopped to think about what I was doing.

Nevertheless each new image I take is a step back to where I would like to be – taking, making and sharing new images on a regular basis.

Photographic Purpose?

I often find myself asking the following questions – Why do we take photographs? What is the purpose? I could even go as far to say – What is the point?

At one extreme a photographer who is a full time professional has to earn a living from his craft to pay the mortgage. He or she has no choice in the matter – they have to be making images to satisfy their paying clients or their audience. The only choice they have is to whether or not an alternative career might be more financially lucrative, even if that new role is not as rewarding. Fortunately I do not fall into this category.

At the other extreme everyone who has a smartphone will probably take an extraordinary number of images and post them on social media just because they can. Seemingly they want to share their every living moment with their family, friends, followers and the world at large. Fortunately I don’t fall into this category either.

Read more

More questions than answers……

‘Every picture tells a story’ or so the saying goes. Well that’s true to a certain extent but some images have more to say than others. Photographs have the power to ask questions whilst not always providing answers. They are less about whether or not an image is beautiful or technically correct and more about what is it trying to say.

Read more