Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Quick Quotes: Bruce Barnbaum

"For the photographer striving to be creative, the recognition of the vast difference between the scene in front of you and the photograph you can produce is the beginning of your transition from recording a scene photographically to expressing how you feel about a scene emotionally"

Bruce Barnbaum

It has always been my feeling, and I know this is not an opinion held by everyone, that fine art photography is about transmitting what something felt like, not what it looked like.  That is why I never understand why someone would attest with bravado that their photo is 'straight out of the camera'. Sure, that is interesting, but we aren't taking about photojournalism and I am far more interested in one's interpretation of the scene or object than what the camera recorded when it was simply pointed in that direction.  

Besides, if someone is showing me a jpg then it isn't truly 'straight out of the camera', it is just that the photographer chose to let the camera software make the processing decisions for them.  'Straight out of the camera' would be a RAW file, and they look nothing like reality either, being of low contrast, unsharpened, and usually less saturated than the scene that was in front of the lens.

Some time ago I wrote an article about this topic entitled "Photography and Truth".

Along the same lines, people unfamiliar with the likes of Jerry Uelsmann may not recognize the fact that photo-manipulation started long before the digital age (if you are not familiar with him you owe it to yourself to Google his name).  To use a second quote from Bruce Barnbaum as it regards prints made by the great Ansel Adams, which many believe are 'truth':

"Photography has often been equated with reality - what you see is what was there.  It becomes reality.  This is the reason people feel that Ansel's famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexixo" was a special moment in time, when in fact, it's an image so greatly manipulated that it can be truthfully stated that the moment never occurred.  It was largely created.  The actual moment was used as a starting point for the image, while the image is a dramatic alteration of the starting point.  It is a wonderful interpretation of that moment by Ansel"

Bruce Barnbaum (two "Quick Quotes' for the price of one today!)

"Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" by Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - 

"Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" by Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - 

By the way, both of the quotes in this post come directly from Bruce Barnbaum's latest book:

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