Photography has always been the red-headed step child of the art world, rarely getting the respect I believe it deserves from the early days of blurry, grainy images on metal plates to the modern slimmed, elongated, PhotoShopped models in advertising.
Photography, these days, is, of course, mostly practiced on smart phones these days, the camera taking a distant back seat because, basically, it is a one-function instrument in a world that demands its devices be all encompassing. Fact is, though, that smart phone pictures can be quite impressive, depending on who’s shooting them.
That’s always been the case with cameras and photographers. The best photographers get the best shots, regardless of their equipment. Micheal Jordan didn’t perform like a champion because of his shoes, but because he was the best basketball player of his day. My old friend Suzan Bright learned in college at Pratt Institute in New York to build her own camera and to shoot with it. She was a photographer, not an iPhone pretender.
I have always had a decent eye, but until PhotoShop was rarely technically proficient. With photo editing programs, I can get images of what I see, not just what the camera sees. Ansel Adams did that in the dark room. He would climb a mountain with that bulky camera, huge wooden tripod and one plate to shoot. That’s one shot. But he knew what he was doing and what he could do in the darkroom.
This past weekend my friend Susan, who shoots a small Canon point-and-shoot and I, with my Lumix (a Leica product; I have the Leica, too) wandered around a misty, chilly, damp Mountain Lake surrounding forest to take our Sunday images. The forest around the resort looks like the deep green, moss encrusted, rhododendron filled fantasy of a children’s book and it was our job to play the tricky light and come home with something to work with.
Susan does all her work in her camera and I shoot what’s there and play with it later on my computer. Here is some of what we came up with and you can judge it as you like. We enjoy the exercise, the use of our senses, being out in this incredible beauty, and the opportunity to put on paper or canvas what we see with eyes that have been conditioned to look at what’s not always obvious.