Last week Wednesday, another session of the class I took last fall and spring started. Some of the folks in it are new, so that should be interesting. Also, many of the people I spent the most time with last year are in the Tuesday group, which will make the dynamics rather different.
We were to bring in something to “astonish” the instructor, so I took in a photo I made during the summer: a longish exposure of some tree branches sloshing in a wave in the lake. It’s a rather moody picture, in some respects, although the colors are bright. As usual, though, I thought people were a little at a loss about how to approach it. And that’s something I continue to try to understand.
Without a doubt, my approach avoids pretty studiously the “normal” genres of photography, the landscapes and pets and conventional people shots. I feel like that’s been done; and when I see something in my viewfinder that I’ve seen before, I often pass on pressing the shutter. It just isn’t worth it to me. The past couple of weeks I’ve been looking at several of Sally Mann’s books that I borrowed from the library. Although it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever use collodion, the visual effect of her images is something I admire.
So a couple of weeks ago, I tried to see if I could emulate some of that look in the camera, without using texture layers in Photoshop or some similar technique. I think I was able to catch some of that look in the series I took that day. And it’s given me some ideas on how to extend these ideas, as well. In this photo, there is just fairly basic contrast and other similar straightforward post-processing that can be done in Lightroom. And in processing, I’m continuing to apply the ideas I learned from George DeWolfe’s book, that I mentioned in an earlier post.
This session, one of the main concepts we’ll explore in the class is mindfulness. For me, it’s an idea I came to grips with in the mid-70s and it’s the basis of how I live in the world. But I guess for many people it’s rather a new thing, especially as to how it might relate to photography. Our homework was to work on the same object for about 20 minutes on three consecutive days. For me, the result was a series of variations, each day a little different.