Well, now that I've put the finishing touches to my Nocturne eBook about low light photography, It's time to start focussing more on the visualisation book I have started to piece together. I'm away next week for a week though. I'm off to the Isle of Eigg to conduct a photo workshop and it's one of my favourite locations. We have lots of nice home cooking at the Glebe barn to keep us all well fed (honestly, we eat like kings here - it's great), and we're only a mile or so away from the beaches we're going to photograph, so it all works out really nicely in logistical terms too.
So back to this visualisation subject.
In order to visualise, we need to remove a couple of misconceptions that seem to be quite commonplace.
Misconception 1 - photographs are real
When we look at a scene, we have to be capable of imagining it as a final photograph. This usually means that we have to start to think of a scene as something more abstract. Photographs are 2d representations of what was before the lens. They are statically frozen moments of time.
Misconception 2 - photographs are truthful
How many times do you get people saying that the photographer lied because he manipulated the shot. Well, what about the camera lying. It doesn't see the way we see. It has a greatly reduced contrast range that it can handle. This is one of the reasons why photographs don't come out the way we imagined they should. We need to adjust and manipulate the image to match what we saw. But I wouldn't stop there. Each one of us interprets what we see in front of us differently. Seeing is believing - turns out to be very subjective. So when it comes to making adjustments to an image, we often do this to make the scene conform to what we saw in our minds eye.
Photographs can't be truthful because they are an edit of the real world. Like a tv documentary that edits the script to match the view point, so to, do we do the same thing with a scene. We choose what to leave out of our story and what to emphasise. We colour the story to suit our own perspective. They are only truthful in conveying what we feel.
And of course, humans do not see in different focal lengths, so how can a wide angle shot of a scene be truthful?