Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Question of Expression

Since I started using the iPhone to take daily color snaps while I'm out & about I've been looking closely at how I compose in color and process the final image.

The in-camera image is always the raw material, placing colors in appropriate physical relation to each other. Knowing I will process the image in one or more of the apps on the phone I often leave space around the edges of the image to allow vignetting and exposure tools to shape the image. I also consider color saturation and usually prefer higher contrast and a muted palette.

I've found that I want to express a mood through the color image which is more pronounced and obvious than I have tried to achieve in my black & white film work, at least up until now.

It's possible the use of the iPhone in making these color images is effecting how I process my black & white film imagery. I'm liking more contrast and texture in my monochrome work these days. Certainly I'm influenced by recent studies of Japanese and Czech photographers.

But I still have issues with color and limit my use of it. I still believe, that for me. color often gets in the way of the image. Like Antonin Kratochvil has said, "The pain is in the eyes," not in the color of blood.

I disagree that color is more "raw" than black & white, as suggested by Gabriel Bauret in his book Color Photography. I strip away color to get at the essence of a thing, the essential expression. I'm looking for the tear drop on the cheek of the clown. That tear drop is often lost in the cacophony of the clown's colorful costume.

Photo: ©2013 David W. Sumner

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