Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Stream Trail: A photograph is enough

I shot these two images at a park about a mile from my house in Oakland. There is a path called the stream trail where I go hiking and I shot there last week.

I used to think I had to travel to far away places and then use a lot of post production to make a successful photograph. I think most commercial photographers (and art directors) fall in love with what a retoucher can do and as a result I think a lot of imagery used today in advertising does not connect with its intended audience. Since its inseption photography has had an ability to capture and transmit emotion in a very direct way. By adding the unreal element of retouching the connection between the photograph and viewer is broken and by extention the bond between photographer and audience is broken as well.

Of course I am nor swearing off retouching forever and I know that it has its place and am sure I will use it again soon. It's just that it occurred to me as I was standing in the rain with the same basic tools (a lens, a box and a piece of film ) used by the first photographers, what a gift photography can be. Unadorned and simple. A photograph is enough.


bird. said...

Boo ya, Thomas Broening. That's what I'm talkin' about. Plus points for the location being of Bay Area origin.

Good call on not swearing off the retoucher, too. That one will come in handy...


tychay said...

Etherial look to the photographs. Was it rainy that day?

Ken said...

Lovely images. What park was this? Agree with the bird, cool that's it's in the area.

tychay said...

Etherial look to the photographs. Was it rainy that day?

Quote: "I was standing in the rain"

Tom said...

Beautiful photos.

I agree that retouching is not at all suitable here, but it isn't like photography is a giant blob. It works for some genres, and it doesn't for others.

Besides can you imagine if advertisers believed in communicating the real rather than an ideal?

Timothy Archibald said...

You guys are lame- trying to be all warm and fuzzy, comforting each other, treating the retoucher like a crack dealer.

Retouching is great. Dissing retouching is like saying that being a good printer , back in the pre-digital days, is a waste of energy and a useless skill to have.
I'm assuming Atget put some skill and effort into his prints to make the work sing, you know?