a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

The (f)art of making photos.

with 4 comments

My photography, and the way I treat photography, has changed dramatically. I used to look at photography as a way of recording my life, the everyday happenings like what I ate, where I went, the people I was with. My photos were cute, but didn’t seem to have much in terms of artistic value. Since switching to film, I feel that I spend more time taking the photo and thinking about it than I used to. I also try to take more photos that say something (at least to me) rather than just “what I did” or “where I am.” Could I be fancying myself as being artistic or at least an attempt at being an artist?

I do find myself yearning to make something that is not commonly considered beautiful into an object of beauty. I want to have the ability to turn something that is mundane and normal and often overlooked into something that is to be looked at more closely. I guess I want to have the ability to create what might be called art. There are times when I think a photo is rather boring, but other people seem to identify with it. Then there are other times when I think my photo is super awesome, but it doesn’t seem to get much attention from anyone else.

So what the hell makes it art? Is it the goal to provide some kind of emotional appeal so that people can identify with the subject? How much does the subject really matter when it comes to photographs? Sometimes, it seems that people will bring whatever they feel to the image and it’s not always about the subject, but maybe a memory it evokes in the person. 

How can I tell if I’ve created art or not? Hmm… I honestly have no idea. I guess this is why I don’t study Art or even Photography. Most of the time, I don’t even understand why some famous artists are famous. Is it a matter of their pristine technique, the emotions they evoke, or perhaps the chance that they knew someone who knew how to make it happen for them? Do they know that what they are producing is art and do they consciously produce art, or do they do it because there is something inside them that tells them they have to do that while they are alive?

Artistic aspirations aside,  I find my own personal photographic evolution fascinating.

  • I’ve gone from photos of food and RitaPita to abandoned buildings and graffiti.
  • The digital cameras lie around unloved, while the film cameras get lots of action.
  • I’m a slower shooter than I used to be, usually only taking one or two shots of the same subject before moving on. If I look through my digital archive, I have about a ton of shots of the same subject from all different angles. I think about things a lot more these days, figuring out the best angle for shooting something before I even put the viewfinder to my eye.
  • I’ve managed to collect a fair amount of friends through photography. In the past, I simply shot what was in my life without seeking out people who were specifically into photography. These days, I enjoy the company of people who are fun to be around and can talk shop.
  • For a while, I was shooting mostly shallow DOF and yearned for the fastest lenses I could buy, but these days, I strive to shoot at f/5.6 to f/11, depending on the lighting conditions. I’m not exactly sure why I switched from one to the other, but maybe I felt like I needed to work on my composition more instead of trying to rely on shallow DOF to point the viewer’s eye to the subject. Maybe it makes me think more about lines and shapes instead of just using the focus. I’ll probably go back to shooting mostly shallow DOF at some point.
I guess that none of this artsy fartsy stuff really matters in the end. I shoot what appeals to me because I feel that I need to. I don’t do it to gain street cred with the art crowd. I don’t do it to impress people. I do it because I like it, and that’s all that should really matter to me, right?

Written by Reese

September 5, 2008 at 8:56 am

Posted in shooting

4 Responses

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  1. Please continue to take pictures. Please!!!


    September 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm

  2. Well, I like taking pieces of wardrobe that are normally seen as slut-wear and making beautiful pictures out of it.

    Of course, I do get frustrated because the stuff that I think is the coolest is often times not what people favorite on Flickr…. and the stuff that does get favorited is the stuff that features much less clothing, regardles of if it’s one of the better pictures from the shoot.

    It was interesting talking to Dorka while we were shooting because she’s very big on being able to place somebody in their photographic context. But I’m often times the same way. OTOH, this means that I have to show people my photography instead of being able to say “Oh, think of it like Mann Ray meets Ansel Adams” or other rot like that. And that was a reminder that, were I to want to spend more time with the photo gallery community, I’d probably have to read up on the various folks because that’s part of their lingo.

    Gah. Still have 8 shots of Velvia to use up. 😛


    September 6, 2008 at 5:34 pm

  3. i think YOU are art. i think quilted clothes are FART.


    September 7, 2008 at 11:35 pm

  4. @Taly: I would never stop!!!

    @Wirehead Ken: You haven’t killed those 8 shots of Velvia yet?? Jeez…. I bet it’s tearing you up inside.

    @Kat: Haha… I went back to the Quilt and Textiles Museum and they took down the silver jacket! I miss it already.


    September 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm

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