Is That Photo Real?
That’s a question someone left in the comments of one of my images. I haven’t answered yet. I couldn’t think of the “short version”.
Let’s leave off with the pithy comeback that first danced across my mind, “Do you mean, as opposed to a figment of your imagination?”
Nah … let’s not go there.
How about, “Do you mean, did I process it myself on my own computer, as opposed to letting the computer in the camera process it?” Since that’s what we are talking about here. Because, you know, what comes straight out of a camera isn’t any more “real” than what an artist envisions for a capture, after the fact.
Truth is tendency. Reality is relative.
While the mechanics of the filters we humans use to perceive the “reality” around us vary from those which a camera uses, we still have filters in place that modify the “factual” information we receive from our environment. Those filters, eyesight, hearing, smell, etc., create an infinite variety of realities, person to person. A man with acute hearing might find living among the din of the inner city extremely irritating and unhealthful. That’s his reality relative to one of his filters and the post-processing of that information in his brain.
The filters that exist within cameras to capture and record information also vary greatly from camera to camera, so that the “realities” that each produces come with myriad variabilities. As well, in-camera filtering and processing is evolving, so that the “reality” captured and reproduced tomorrow won’t necessarily be the same as yesterday’s.
So, here is my reality: based on physical and economic reasons, I shoot with a very small camera. The noise it gives me, because of its tiny sensor, is not the “reality” I received while shooting, and I shouldn’t be bound within its limitations to fully express the mood I found when I was at the location.
Case in point, here is the image which was questioned:https://plus.google.com/u/0/103698889037599783920/posts/YV6keAuRq4p. That was the sunset I experienced while standing on a rooftop during a party downtown. Is it straight out of the camera? No. The final result is a stitch of three images in panorama, denoised, and the colors brought up to the reality that I experienced while gaping at an amazing phenomenon of our world, the awe I felt at its splendor and the good fortune I acknowledged to be there at that moment.
Is this photo real?
If you’ve slogged through this tome to get this far, that’s probably the question you came to have answered.
I’ve often said, if you want reality, you can walk out the door. Your reality is all around you, and you don’t need my perception of it to make it real to you. As well, as an artist, I enjoy envisioning what could be, and sharing that vision with everyone.
Does the Potomac meander past the foot of the Lincoln Memorial? Well, maybe … if it overflowed during a month long deluge onto the car-clogged parkway that actually exists there. However, “car-clogged parkway” wasn’t consistent with the mood that I had while viewing this amazing light descending upon the memorial. My camera didn’t “see” my mood either. Stupid camera.
So, I created a new reality. One that shows you what I felt instead. Because I wasn’t focused on the cars zipping past … I was only aware of being near the river, seeing this structure … and this light … this dazzling, elegant, exquisite light.
And that’s the reality I wanted to show you.