‘The final image’ and the final project in DPP. Before I start this section I thought it would be a good opportunity to review what I have learned so far. It is nearly a year since I began the course and I am really pleased with the progress I have made to date. It took nearly 2 and a half years to complete TAOP, so in comparison I have whizzed through DPP! Maybe it is because of this that I feel that, before I begin the final project, I need to spend some time reflecting on how DPP has influenced my photography.
Thinking back to my tutor’s comments about my 2nd assignment I need to document my route through to my final image choices. This is something that’s high on my to-do list!
The first project had influenced the way I go about taking photos, but now that it’s nearly a year on I was thinking whether my workflow has changed further. I no-longer use my Canon like a machine gun. I’m more selective about framing and setting up the photos I take. This has meant that I have less photos to look through on my Mac. I also have a clearer picture in my mind of the type of images I want to take. Therefore I now tend to delete in-camera when I’m out shooting.
Using the histogram and highlight clipping features on my camera I am now in the habit of reviewing and selecting/rejecting my images whilst out shooting. This has become part of my workflow and in turn meant that I have less to do at the post-processing stage. I have a better understanding of what the histogram is telling me and I am becoming more experienced about what I can do technically to create well-exposed images. By doing a lot of the donkey work in-camera has meant that I have more time at the processing stage refining my images.
I have now started to see things in black and white, looking for strong shapes and textures. I used to just lower the saturation to produce monochrome images, but now I am aware how colour can affect the tones of an image.
The Ethics of Image Manipulation
I used to very much a purist when it came to photography, a what you see, is what you get kind of an approach. That it is only fair to the subject and the viewer that the photograph is a true representation of a particular moment of time. However now I have come to split photography into two fields, one of social documentary where the photographer has a responsibility to record events and situations as truthfully as possible, and the other of field as fine art/conceptual photography where the photographer is an artist and is granted the freedom of expression and personalisation that all artists are allowed.
Furthermore the longer I have had to think about this area the more I question whether every image has a certain amount of manipulation. Before pressing the shutter release the photographer is able to select a particular viewpoint, focal range and angle, whilst purposely leaving out other elements of a scene or situation. This is similar to Mark Ronanek’s (2002) observation in 1 Hour Photo that:
Someone looking through our photo albums would conclude that we had led a joyous, leisurely existence, free of tragedy. No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.
Unfortunately recent events have led me to believe that this is something that may be changing. News of the sinking of the Costa Concordia last week was supplemented with photos and videos from passengers on the stricken cruise liner, caught up in the aftermath after hitting a rocky outcrop on the Italian island of Giglio.
The Final Image
I hope to apply what I have learned in this final part of DPP. It’s funny how taking a photo can be taken in a split second and yet it’s taken me a year to get to the final image! I am aware that my fifth assignment will enable me to demonstrate this so I hope to spend some time thinking about what I could do.