Sunday, December 28, 2014

           Photography; Seeing and Interpreting 
                                    Part 2
In part 1 of this blog topic I touched on the necessity for
the photographer to invoke his/her interpretation of a
scene that was captured with his/her digital camera. The
photographer's interpretation becomes an intrinsic element
of the work of art that is eventually produced from the
original file taken from the camera. Knowing that cameras
produce a limited representation of reality, the
photographer draws on his personal inner vision of how
he/she "sees" the end result of producing a Fine Art
photographic work. This art of "seeing" accrues from many
year's experience and practice.
Internationally acclaimed photographer, Ansel Adams,
referred to this process as "previsualization" - i.e. , seeing
in his mind's eye what the scene before him was to look
like when printed- and always used this as a starting point
for the realization of his Fine Art prints. In his day, the
interpretation that followed was achieved in his darkroom
using techniques that he had highly developed over time
based on his knowledge and understanding of the technical
principles involved (exposure limits, chemistry, film
characteristics, printing paper characteristics, etc) . His
most famous Fine Art photograph -"Moonrise Over
Hernandez" - was interpreted from a single original camera
negative that proved to be very difficult for him to print
because of the scene limitations. Only through his desire to
realize his previsualization and his persistence in the
darkroom was he able to produce this Fine Art photograph.
Follow this link to find more information about this work.
Original prints (20 X 24) of Adam's "Moonrise" have sold
for more than $115,000.

The image shown left
is the original camera
file from which I
interpreted my vision
of the "Sandhill Crane
In Flight" shown in
part 1 of this blog
topic (repeated below).


The example below shows The Artist’s Palette in Death Valley National Park. My vision was focused on the color portion of the original camera file. I was unable to crop that portion in the camera so depended on post interpretation to achieve my vision. 


Original camera image, left, Interpretation of original camera image, below. 
Thanks for your interest and undivided
attention. You may feel free to email me if you have questions. Also be sure to visit our web page to see the very fine art of all our members.



               Photography: Seeing and Interpreting

In the beginning there was light and before long there was a camera and film to go with it. At first this technological invention was used experimentally to record images of interest to the photographer (and maybe a few other folks). Light was (and is) the primary enabling ingredient for these photo captures but much time and technological development were needed before these captured images could be reproduced & seen by large audiences as enlarged, quality  photographic prints. While these early prints were considered to be marvels of science, there was largely no association of them with Fine Art. That came much later.

Fast forward to much later and the advent of Fine Art photography, which was given life largely by the unceasing effort of Ansel Adams and his colleagues to develop the zone system of exposure and other elements of the photographic craft. Today photography has its place as Fine Art among other recognized art forms (painting, sculpture, drawing, woodblock prints,etc) and is regularly viewed in many Fine Art galleries and publications around the world.
Fine Art photography today comprises two principal elements: 
    (1) The understanding and practice of using the highly technical modern tools of the trade (camera with its film or digital sensor; chemicals and computers for processing the film or digital files, enlargers and printers for making viewable prints, etc);
    (2) Esthetic interpretation by the photographer after the image capture of the scene before him/her at the time of shutter release.

Both of these elements are necessary to produce Fine Art photographs. The digital camera today is an example of high technology but it is actually sort of dumb in a way...It needs to be told what to do. To tell it what you want it to do, you really need to understand the underlying basic technical issues of capturing a proper image. Once mastered, this craft aspect of Fine Art photography becomes second nature and frees the photographer to concentrate on the esthetic aspect of Fine Art Photography, also known as interpretation. It is a fact that cameras produce a limited representation of reality, which is why interpretation is required to produce a Fine Art Photograph.

There are those (purists) today who claim that digital photography is "fake, or counterfeit" and that a photograph should remain untouched as it came out of the camera. That may be the criteria for news photographs but it has nothing to do with Fine Art. There are numerous examples of internationally recognized Fine Art photographers who interpreted (some say "manipulated" it what you want) their camera negatives or digital files to produce Fine Art prints that were universally acclaimed as Fine Art. These interpretations were done in the darkroom in the film days before the advent of digital technology and Photoshop by Adobe.

  "Sandhill Crane In Flight”       © R. Frederick

 Shown left is one of my photographs that I interpreted (yes, using Photoshop) from the original camera file to produce what I consider to be a Fine Art Photograph. Others must agree with me, as the print has sold well to art purchasers.
 I will post another article on this blog spot before the end of the year to further inform you about the Fine Art photographers I mentioned above and give some insight regarding their interpretation of scenes to produce highly successful Fine Art Photographs.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cindy Briggs - Art Inspired by the Journey

For over 15 years, Cindy Briggs has been teaching workshops in Europe and throughout the West. Returning to the Emerald Art Center in March, Cindy will teach a Creative Watercolor Journaling Workshop with Theresa Goesling.  For information on this workshop that combines watercolor, sketching and mixed media visit:

Cindy will also be traveling to the Coast of Spain and "The City of Painters" - Collioure, France in May with her Seattle based business. 
Join the enthusiastic team in these Artist's Retreats & Workshops for an enriching
and diverse artistic experience.  "I'm truly excited about this trip, we previewed our scenic locations last July and  can't wait to return." 

My art is inspired by my journeys near and far.  In my sketchbook and studio paintings, I  strive to capture moments in life that inspire my soul. - Cindy Briggs