Digital Photographic Practice
Having completed the Art of Photography course I realised that I was often too eager to get my photographs processed and exported to Flickr and my learning blog. I acknowledge that my digital workflow is disorganised, with the key purpose to get the 100+ photos I’ve taken onto the Internet, so that I can receive feedback. Like many photographers starting out, I only know what I know, and I have learned how to get by in this digital age.
Luckily, the OCA have encouraged me to reflect critically on my own practice and to work towards my own style, my own voice. If I wanted my photographs to ‘speak’ ill-thought out and rushed messages, then I could continue with what I have always done, and end up with run of the mill images that I never return to. However, I wanted my photographs to say something intelligent, to provoke thought and to be worth looking at. Images that have a particular style, my style. Whilst The Art of Photography has taught me about the technicalities of composition, I realise that how an image is processed in the digital darkroom will enhance it further. I have both Aperture and Photoshop CS5, but don’t use them to their full potential, other than adjusting exposure, saturation and contrast. This was due to me not fully understanding the adjustments available to me in the software, and their effect on my images.
Furthermore, I enjoy taking photographs that remind me of the places I’ve been to and the things I’ve experienced. I am unsure with how far it is acceptable to alter my images. I am very interested in finding out how I especially deal with the issues of image manipulation and how my views are subsequently manipulated.
Throughout DPP I have thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience and I am very proud of what I have achieved. One way I have judged my learning is to compare my first and final assignments. My first assignment was based on a morning photo shoot with the sole aim of photographing swans and hoping that some would be good enough to use in a photo book. I ended up with lots of pleasant images of swans from a variety of angles, but there was no narrative to go with them. Conversely, my fifth assignment took months to complete and consisted of my own interpretation and protest about the current problems we are experiencing in the economy. My tutor was very impressed with this collection of images, suggesting that some could be used in editorials.
Before starting DPP I was unsure about what ‘type’ of photographer I would be. Would I specialise in portrait, landscape or event photography, for example. My tutor’s feedback has got me thinking about producing images for magazines. This is also due to me having a photograph published in the National Geographic Traveler magazine (April 2013). Having my photograph in print encouraged me to think beyond the computer screen and ‘trapping’ my photographs in the Internet. Suddenly there were other avenues opening up for me. I felt confident enough to enter six of my photographs in a local competition, which included having them exhibited. I won 3 categories, came second in two and third in one. Somebody even bought one of my photographs! The entire experience was so rewarding, and it was exciting to think of the people visiting the exhibition and looking at my photographs. I know that there are lots of people who are able to visit my blog and website to see my images, but there seemed to be something much more personal and just about somebody coming to look at a photograph which a photographer had taken, printed and hung in a frame.
Little did I realise when I started DPP that it would encourage me to pursue more traditional avenues of photography. I no longer take photographs to upload to the Internet, I have become a much more thoughtful photographer. Therefore if I take photographs that mean something to me, then they will have meaning to those who view them, whether it’s online, in a magazine, or on a wall.