Friday, August 5, 2011

Documentary Photography



In Vietnam the art world (that I've seen) is very much commercially influenced. There's just no (or not a lot of) money to be found anywhere else in the arts here. Glamour portraits is photography here. On a quick aside comment, the art of growing banzai trees is very popular here. Depending on how well the tree is grown and sculpted, a tree can easily sell for thousands of dollars! Its a rather romantic medium; it reminds me of classical paintings where painters spent decades on the layers of a single piece.

Kaamna, a friend from Parsons Paris, was recently reflecting on her interests in documentary photography and commercial photography. I use to love to document everything in photographs and I use to be rather afraid of portraits. But slowly I am finding that (1) creative portraiture and (2) photography as a medium itself is what interests me. Which leads me to another point. I enjoy odd (and hopefully interesting) lighting, which often equates to either long exposures or artificial lighting; this often entails a processed look to the image (regardless of how processed the image is actually). This image is hardly processed; or at least not in the ways most people think. The main things I changed was clean up the skin, brighten the zipper, and reformed the lipstick that was starting to drip -- the processed look is a product of odd lighting. That is not to say I have anything against post processing. I love the post production and want all my images to have a subtle feel of surrealism. I am not here to document reality in its purist sense.

And quickly, which version of the image above do you prefer? The clean Draft #1 or the honest Draft #2?

9 comments:

  1. Oh. And this image was suppose to speak to this farm-side suburb's port-life. You can literally see the entire suburb in that picture -- it's tiny. I'll have to post a natural picture of this scene later on -- its always filled with fishing boats moving in and out of the bay.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't like the first. The second initially bothered me, but then it grew on me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Originally, yeah. But the second grew on me. It's cool, but kind of jarring.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the first one better because the ship on the far right is in focus (somewhat), which I feel adds an element of time to the photo. That is, the ship either begins or ends at that position. The faded ships represent the blur of time and space.

    In the second photo everything is blurry. There's nothing really grounding it, except for part of the foreground.

    Sorry to disagree Keith.. :D

    Buck

    ReplyDelete
  5. What about compared to the original photo? http://hai-lights.blogspot.com/2011/08/080611.html

    And these images were just drafts. If I made a more clear-focused ship in the second one, would you like it more? I guess the question is more specifically, do you want a clean image (no traces of multiple images) or do you like the honesty of the second one blatantly revealing the layers of images?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would still like the first one more. It really depends on what your focus is for the photo. If your intent is to recognize the media in which you are using to manipulate the photo, then the second one would be better (honesty would be key). But on the other hand, if your message extends beyond the media platform into another focus entirely, then the first one is way better. I really like what you are getting at with these photos. The problem with honesty is it takes away the mystery and the inquisition.

    Basically what I'm saying is: You wouldn't nail a paintbrush to the canvas of your painting, unless part of the message of the painting involved...the paintbrush. By putting the paintbrush on the painting it takes away from the enigma of how the painting came to be. Viewers will think about how you used the paintbrush to create the painting, rather than their own interpretations of what the remainder of the work means to them.

    Buck

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really like that last comment! Before reading the comments I definitely like the first photo, then I read a few and felt bad about liking the first but after Buck's comment I feel better. (Also, sorry this is so horribly retroactive...I failed to stay up to date...)

    ReplyDelete
  8. lol, don't feel bad for liking what you do :p

    ReplyDelete