“Reimagining a Photo”

“Often, revisiting images or memories with a fresh eye can yield pleasant surprises.” – Ed Lehming

I am not a photography ‘purist’ by any stretch of the imagination and I’m finding that the more photos I make, the more I want to stretch the bounds of what a photograph is and can be.

By definition, photography is: the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor). What we do with these images has often been debated. Does it cease to be a photograph if the original is altered in any way? I think, not.

One of the first things I realized as I got more serious with my photography was that composition is everything. It’s what differentiates, in my opinion, between a snapshot and and a good photo. I often hear people commenting that their photos are rarely very good. When you look at these images, the first thing that stands out is that they not well composed. That is why they are ‘snapshots’ or images made quickly, simply trying to capture a moment without much though to what they might communicate.

A well composed photo, and I’m not trying to say I am the authority on this, is well balanced, intentional, and draws the viewer in to itself. I find a well composed image lends itself to further exploration and interpretation. Try to think back on a photo you have seen lately, one that ‘grabbed’ your attention. Consider that photo and what made it stand apart from the thousands of images we are exposed to every week?

I have begun doing that with some of my recent photos, the ones that I composed very deliberately, because I saw ‘something’ in my viewfinder as I composed the image that drew me to photograph it in the first place. Often, I don’t know exactly what that might be, but I sense it. I know that the image has something to communicate and I try be utmost to make that meaning show through in my images.

There are times, like this, when I go back to my images and try to reimaging them using different techniques to show them in a slightly different way. In some cases, I may just adjust the lighting levels, boost the vibrancy or accent a particular colour to extract subtle elements that may not come through otherwise. In other cases, the image does not communicate what I originally saw in a typical photographic manner, so I apply further filters to render it as digital art. This transforms the image into something altogether new and refreshing, but the common element is always a good original composition.

If I was a good painter, which is something that I will keep working on, I would render my images into paintings, but I’m not there yet, but it gives me great satisfaction to be able to paint with light, in whatever style that may be.

8 Comments on ““Reimagining a Photo”

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