With the rise in popularity of Photoshop and digital editing of images by photographers, I have become even more of a purist in wanting to preserve the integrity of the art of photography. Photography for me is to shoot an image as I see it rather than heavily manipulating the image afterwards to get what I intended. Make no mistake, digital photography is fantastic and has made working as a photographer so much easier in so many ways. However the creativity seems to have moved from the eye of the photographer to the enhancement of the image in post production.
With this in mind, I have been looking for ways to keep me focused and creative in my work without becoming involved in digital manipulation of my photographs. I have been seeing the terms ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ thrown around a lot in photography and design magazines and forums. Usually this is translated into sepia images, the use of soft focus and lately, High Dynamic Range effects, which can be seen in quite a few of the top wedding photographers’ portfolios.
When I was still at school and first interested in photography, I had a really basic camera that produced slightly under exposed and highly saturated photographs with vignetted edges and a very grainy look. I could not do much about adjusting exposure as the camera was so basic that you had to ensure that the light was right for the scene before you shot as there were no settings to change. I got some amazing surrealist style images from that camera, as well as hundreds of rejects! Those days I lusted after a polaroid camera which I finally got my hands on in university, buying one as soon as I could afford it. I loved using that camera and watching, while waiting impatiently, as the images slowly developed right in front of my eyes.
Last week, with a bit of time on my hands, I decided to experiment with my macro lens to try to recreate that saturated surrealist look with close up shots of flowers. I played with the exposure, slightly under exposing the images while greatly boosting the saturation and ISO in the camera menu. The resulting photographs were very different to my usual macro shots but after looking at them for a while, they were surprisingly good to my eye – really punchy with a raw, vintage feel - pretty similar feel to those images I took with that old basic camera.
Landscapes and candid portraits are next, and perhaps even a wedding - that is if I can find a client who wants something a little more creative and unique!