Monday, 16 March 2015

Accepted wisdom

I almost had my faith restored in 'that forum' the other week after I posted a thread about one of my projects and the level of discussion (briefly) rose above the 'UV filters degrade IQ' level. Ho hum. All has returned to normal with the usual ultra wide for landscape, super-tele for wildlife, nothing shorter than 50mm for portraits cobblers. I suppose it depends how you define a portrait for that last one. If only I'd had my ultra wide on I might have got both of Groundskeeper Dave's feet in the frame...

What I did manage was a picture that I quite like as an effort at summing up the first preparations for the forthcoming cricket season. There's a lot of green though, which Hockney says photography doesn't do well.

I mention Hockney because I've just this minute finished watching a biography of him on iPlayer. Well worth a watch - although I am biased as a bit of a fan. I knew he'd used and played around with photography, but not how early on he'd started. Given that he can be quite disparaging about what photography can achieve compared to painting he must have a love/hate relationship with the medium. I entirely get where he's coming from, and there are frustrations with photography that sometimes make me want to pick up a pencil or brush. Yet those very limitations are what makes the medium interesting, and challenging.

A particular limitation is in portraiture. I'm still not convinced that photography can make good portraits. Not straight photography at any rate. Which is why, leaving aside Martin Parr's dictum that a smiling face ensures a snap, I'm never sure where the line is drawn between snapshot and portrait. Does a portrait have to be premeditated? Or can it be grabbed like the picture above? And does colour reduces the chances of success? Black and white certainly adds an aura of seriousness. Maybe I'll post some people pictures on a forum and ask for advice. If only I could get them sharp...

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