This is the third picture this week that has been shot directly into the light. As I think back on the process of making this shot, I'm a bit confused as to how it all came together. I've been wanting to try a pop-art look for a while. Also, the light was gone, but I had been thinking about silhouette recently. For a studio: tissue paper taped to the stair railing. For a stand: some balled-up gym shorts to make a flat surface. For a subject: the penguin sculptures that were wedding presents from Stacey and Nick. I brought the image into photoshop and tinted it across the colour spectrum. That yielded a result I really liked... a pleasing colour study with a brooding tone that I found appealing.

And then it happened. Idly experimenting, I lightened up the entire image – a lot. As the colour emphasis shifted to the penguin, the background desaturated becoming a series of pastels. The penguins took on this glossy saturated look, and their feet picked up the colour in a really pleasing way. I was torn about which image to go with. Which one was better? Despite the fact that the first image was more like what I set out to achieve, I decided that the experiment yielded the better photo. The image above is the final result.

This leaves me somewhat troubled because I have been thinking about photography and art. When does a photo stop being a snapshot and start being artistic? Is a picture like this – of someone else's sculpture – something I can count as my own art? Given the treatment here, I'd say probably. But what of a macro shot of ice crystals on a found leaf? Perhaps it is because I composed the picture (this seems like a weak argument). I think that there needs to be a deliberate aspect to a picture's creation to call it art. But then tonight I had a deliberate goal in mind, came up with the result to match, but ultimately deviated from the plan. Food for thought.

Posted: 2009-11-20.   Shot: .
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