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Friday, March 6, 2015

A Photo Of Grandma

It might be natural, upon reading some of my remarks, to wonder "who cares about all that Art crap?" This note might address that, a little.

Let us suppose that it is grandma's 82nd birthday, and we're taking a picture of Grandma.

The cell phone snapper yells "smile grandma!" and pressed the button when she does.

The 'See The Light' hero positions grandma next to a north facing window and photographs her in the gorgeous indirect light.

The wanna-bee pro waits for short lighting, or broad lighting, or whatever, and presses the button 50 times, and digs through the 50 RAW files to find the one where the lighting pattern looks as much as possible like it does in the book, or on strobist, or whatever.

The photoshop god is much like the wanna-bee pro, but spends hours in photoshop "fixing" stray hairs, and "cleaning up" grandma's skin.

And so on. You can probably make up some more.

None of these are necessarily any good. Please note: I have been all these people. There's a pretty good chance you have too.

If you want a good picture of grandma, consider not the light, but grandma. You needn't agonize and pull out your best Tortured Arteest routine, but consider who grandma is and what she means to you and try to make a picture of that. If you succeed, the light won't matter beyond there being enough of it. The stray hairs and wrinkled skin won't detract.

The cell phone snapper, alone among our heros, is thinking of grandma, and is thus surprisingly likely to come up with a decent picture. Surprising to the camera aficionados, at any rate,

The point is that even the most casual snapshot is better for being made with with good motivations, with a clear idea of what the snapshot could best be. You might not nail it every time, or even occasionally. But at least you've got a chance.

If you're a pro shooting some new blender, take a moment to think about the blender. What are we trying to say here? It doesn't have to be deep.

Art, it's not just for artists. You should do it too.

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