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.

A Few Freewheeling Thoughts

I recently returned from a vacation in Spain.  It wasn't a photography trip per se, but I did bring a camera and do some street and touristy type pictures.  Perhaps I will post some of them in coming weeks.

One thing I did do is go to many museums.  Great museums like the Prado, the Thysson-Bornemisza, and the Picasso Museum.  I also had the opportunity to see two photo exhibits, one being a collection of Gabriel Casas prints and the other a themed show on architecture where I was able to see gelatin-silver prints from Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans and Andreas Gursky.  Walking through these museums and exhibitions I had several freewheeling thoughts pertaining to photography:

  • Have we now accepted hyper-sharp images as the norm.  In the photography exhibits I noticed that prints from these legendary photographers are not nearly as sharp as what we might expect today. Is that because the materials and equipment they were working with could not make images sharper?  At what point does sharp become too sharp?  Why do photographers such as myself put their noses right up to prints made to be viewed from several feet away?
  • I tend to be worried about images being too dark or lacking enough detail in the shadow.  Apparently the great painters and photographers were often not as concerned!
  • Can one use blur in a portrait? I was moved by this  painting from the early 1900's by Aleix Clapes entitled Portrait of Manuel Dalmau Oliveres.  There is something here that I really like quite a bit. 
Portrait of Manuel Dalmau Oliveres

Portrait of Manuel Dalmau Oliveres

  • Have we become a totally self-indulgent society?  Everywhere I went......selfie sticks!  People were less interested in the meaning or importance of any location (and there were plenty of important ones) than they were in obtaining a selfie proving that they were there.  Same in many museums. Folks seemed more interested in taking a photo of masterpiece paintings with a phone or tablet than actually taking the time to look at and appreciate the painting itself! Many times they didn't even look at the painting other than on the screen of the device.

And here is a hilarious selfie stick video for your enjoyment. I couldn't resist!

At any rate, like I said, this post was just a few freewheeling photography and art related thoughts from my vacation.

by Howard G

© Howard Grill