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How do (We) Get From Snap-Shot -- Art

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Doug Barber, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. Greetings all:
    I thought I would ask an "age-old" question...

    How do you go from taking "Snap-shots" to creating "Art"?

    Well before I go any further, I’m sure this is something we have all asked as we scourer the net, read books or looked in galleries in the hopes of finding the answer to allow us to make the BIG JUMP.
    I often see a gallery either on line or in real life and think to myself... How the hell did that person get so good? How did they breakout of simply taking a snap shot to creating this wonderful piece of art I see before me.
    Normally at this point I want to throw my camera in the river and never take another image. But then I think to myself... If others can do it why can't I...

    So the search for the Artistic element continues and I'm back beating myself up for screwing up my last shot or not thinking about this or that.

    Then I get thinking these "Real Artist's" have some really good gear so maybe I better buy some new stuff, as I’m sure that will help me make the move to the big time... (NOT)
    All of us (including me) have fabricated in our minds that the better camera or the better tripod or the better lens will allow us to make the jump. When really we don't need any of those things. We just need to "Slow Down" and allow what "Artistic Skill" we might or might not have to come to the surface.

    In my case, I don't have a great deal of artistic skill so I make up for it with a little Photoshop here and a little luck there. But over-all I really think that we can all make the jump if we allow ourselves to see what we are doing. I mean REALLY SEE... not just compose an image and make sure our light is right. But think about the image you want to create and then set-about to try your best to make it happen.

    So what do we need for a good image... well we need to get our butt's to a GREAT LOCATION so we have something to shoot at... (NOT)
    The finest images I've done in my life have been almost in my backyard. So again we just need to "Slow Down" and look for what we already have at our disposal.

    So now that we have figured out that we DON'T NEED the fancy gear and the prime locations. What do we REALLY need...?

    Well in my (humble) opinion we need LIGHT, IMAGINATION AND PLANNING. If you can simply concentrate on those (3) things you can make the jump from a "Snap Shot" >>> to the beginning of "Art"

    Finally I'm slowly learning that art can be a lot of things to many different people. But if we keep it simple in the beginning it will make life much easier as we master the (3) ingredient's I spoke of earlier.

    So as a (poor example) of what this (almost) novel type posting has been about...
    Here is an image I created today...

    *** I PLANNED the shot ***
    *** I controlled my LIGHT and how it entered the scene ***
    *** I (Tried) my best to use my IMAGINATION ***
    *** Finally I kept it SIMPLE ***

    Thanks for listening to the Rambling of a Nut...

    As a side note for some of you who will look at this and say… Yes but he has the ability to do (tricky things) in PhotoShop…. (NOT)
    This image has seen the inside of PS but it was there for about 30 seconds as I just tweaked it a little.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2005
  2. DanWhite


    Jul 10, 2005
    Lansdale PA
    for me it's not about the best geer, not about the best studio lights, not about the best location. It is about conveying a feeling or vision. It is about making the viewer think about my image, What is it's intention, what Am I trying to say. When I took captured the following image, I asked the couple to look into eachothers eyes and think about what they love about each other and why they love each other. I think it comes through that they absoutly ador each other.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  3. Doug, your picture totally reinforces your thoughts. Very nice image.

    Dan, I agree its not about the equipment its about conveying a feeling or emotion or to provoke a thought. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the equipment we forget about the "shot".
  4. Doug

    Very nice image - The ligting is spot on. I think you've nit the nail on the head.

    I once read - many months ago - on David Blacks website I think - buried in one of his workshops - about how he sat all day with a camera on a tripod looking at a scene. People came and people went - each taking a picture or two. Some even stayed for a little while - contemplating about the image, before taking it and moving on. He sat there all day and when the light was right, he took the picture.

    Now, he's good, much much better than me, but I reckon his approach is about right. Know what you want to take, set up, sit back and wait for the image to show itself. All it takes is patience.

    All I lack is patience - oh - and the knowledge - and the eye for a good picture.
  5. Thanks Doug, and Dan. I learn a lot.
  6. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  7. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Taking the picture is just the a point in a long chain of events. It probably isn't the final step either.

    Making images has nothing to do with gear or location or light, it relates only to your commitment and what you can describe in words and then envision in a new, fresh, and visual setting.
  8. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio
    But, are not location (on a micro scale) and light part of the vision? For me, vision and patience are my weakest attributes. Perhaps that's why my best shots turn out to have been accidents. The gear might be more of a curse than we are willing to admit -- fast cameras, high capacity CF cards, super pixel-pushing software, etc. It becomes too easy to fire away with the intention of either culling or fixing it later. Perhaps we'd be better off (I would be) imagining that we have only one roll of film for our Brownie Hawkeyes.
  9. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    "See it, and make it so."

    Imagine the image you want to capture, then have the technique to do it.

    As you can tell from my images, I have neither. I keep trying though.
  10. Doug and Dan you have wonderful pictures, the greatest asset a photographer need is patience and for nature photography go often to the same place and with each visit you will discover things that you did'nt saw on other trips depending on the time of day and with it the different angles the sun shine on objects.
  11. pcjr


    Sep 19, 2005
    What is Art?

    Before I can figure our how to get to art, I need to learn what it is. Too often I am about to trash an image and my wife says "No, that one is a definite keeper". Or, "That's not the best way to crop that image".

    So, I spend a lot of time looking at photos from others to help me learn what is art.
  12. Mike Z

    Mike Z

    May 30, 2005
    Northbrook, IL
    Great thread. I agree with Dan that one element of artistic photography is conveying an emotion. Very often it is the emotion that is the subject of the photo and the contents are just there to support it.

    I personally enjoy the interplay of light and color. I do landscapes and usually that's what attracts me to a scene. Others may not think much of this shot, but to me, it's really what I strive for.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I was walking through our local botanic garden and saw this literally out of the corner of my eye.

    I'm still working on the ability to best display this type of scene.

  13. Nice shot

    I looked at your pbase and really enjoyed your flair for senery. I have trouble seeing that genre of photography so appreciate even more when I see a shot that I find well thought out. I hope you'll share more.
  14. Thanks everone for posting to this tread....
    Your thoughts and your input are always insightful and well worth the read.
    Thanks again.
  15. The HEart of the Matter

    Snaps become art....hmmm. I've never liked the word Snaps, because to me all images are images.

    Well, yes, emotion is part of what makes art.

    But more than that is a message in the image that is timeless and is therefore understood and recognised by people over time and across cultures. In the same way that Beethoven and Mozart have appeal hundreds of years later.

    Art needs meaning whether it is conceptual, contextual or both.

    Context is important. An image of a man begging may be a good image. In an exhibition on poverty, for example, it's an artwork.
  16. Interesting thought process Peter....

    I'm not sure I was trying to lay out how to (change) a snap to an Art Image...

    But I was trying to tell folks that if they slowed down and planned their shooting a little they would be amazed at what they can do.

    As for an image telling a story or evoking an emotion.... you are right.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  17. That is without question both a fabulous image AND indisputably a work of art, Doug
  18. #16 Image

    That is a incredible inspireing Image evoking different moods as I looked at it for several minutes. I did have one question if you don't mind? what photo program did you use? I want to get a good software program and I like what I see and am guessing you did manipulate it with a program. The 3 images on this thread are incredible works of art, Thanks for sharring them
  19. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  20. Where have I seen that pic before? It is so good it must have been engraved in my mind.

    As for the original topic of the post - I do not have the linguistic ability to find such fitting words as the others did. All I can say is that I made some of my best pics (not technically) at a time when terms like aperture, DOF, etc. did not convey anything to me - it was simply intuition that was at work then.

    When I switched to digital, I was so occupied with attempting to master the technicalities that I forgot how to photograph. I slowly try to get back now where I once was - a stony path indeed.

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