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Monday, January 22, 2007

Behind the Lens...

I usually write about my pictures in my posts, but this time i decided to write a bit about photography as an art. A friend of mine who is interested in photography asked me how i manage to find interesting subjects for my pictures. In the same breath, he also wanted me to tell him how to take "good pictures" and help him buy a good camera for taking "good pictures". I tried to explain this to him but i'm not sure if i made sense. Hope this post explains it more clearly.

The original content and images from this post are now available on the new website. Click here or on image to be re-directed to the new site

The original content and images from this post are now available on the new website. Click here or on image to be re-directed to the new site

Photography is an art and a photographer is like an artist. An artist starts with a blank canvas and adds what he thinks should be shown in his painting. This can be from a view in front of him, or something from the depths of his creative imagination. If the painting is of something real (e.g. a landscape), objects are added or removed based on the artist's choice. No one ever walks up to the artist and says: "Hey, how come you didn't include that tree in your painting"?

The photographer, on the other hand, starts with what is available in front of him. His job as an artist is to remove all that which is not a part of his imagination by trying different methods of composing the picture. Thus the photographer creates by removing whereas the artist creates by adding. The photographer has to wait for certain conditions to be met and needs to make a few decisions before the picture is taken. The conditions seeked are usually the available light quality, atmospheric conditions and the subject. The decisions to be made involve f-stops, ISO, shutter speed, depth of field, focal length and choice of lenses.

Producing excellent pictures has to do more with the photographer and less with the equipment. Beginners often wonder why they don't automatically get excellent photographs despite having just obtained excellent equipment. This is equivalent to assuming that if you own a Ferrari, you can drive like Michael Schumacher. A good equipment makes it easier to get good pictures by expanding your possibilities but it is the photographer who ultimately decides when and how to take the picture. Timing is really important, so is skill and experience of the photographer.

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