Sunday, January 18, 2009
Issues And More Issues
I photographed this sculpture downtown Calgary this afternoon. It raises the whole issue of whether one can take any artistic credit for photographing something someone else made as a piece of art - whether sculpture as in this case, or architecture, graffiti or even an ornamental garden.
I can tell myself that the creator of this sculpture did not in fact envision their work being viewed from this particular angle, with today's lighting and the surrounding buildings looking this way - but I don't really know that - for all I know, this is exactly the spot they stood, looking up and envisioning their future work. Granted I framed it as well as positioning myself.
I find photographing sculpture quite challenging and so it appeals to me.
This image is simply a closeup of the work done by the sculptor - I contributed almost nothing to the image. Every curve, bump, surface and reflection was the work of the sculptor.
If someone photographs graffiti and frames it the same way the painter did thus reproducing it almost exactly as it was created, is the photograph a valid piece of art?
Difficult questions . What if there had been no art in the first image, just the buildings - does that make a difference?
While shooting a series of images working towards the image I showed you at the top, along came three other photographers who also photographed the sculpture. I watched as they photographed the same scene. They all took pictures but did not "work the scene". It might be that they were really "hot" photographers, instantly understanding the scene and able to quickly find the best spot to photograph from. I know I certainly was unable to do that. I tried a number of positions, refining each, yet there are so many parts to the scene, so many corners and lines and diagonals that I never did feel that I had the "best" result. I like what I got here but Still wonder if I did the best possible job.
For example, the large grid overlaps the tall building on the left - perhaps I could have found a position from which it didn't and that might have resulted in a better picture. I was using my 40D and 18-55IS at 18 mm. What would have been my choice had that not been the widest angle I could shoot at?
Still, at some point you have to say, I did my best, come and behold it - lumps and all.
In this repeat of the first image - I used the cream colour of the sculpture to white balance the image. Certainly this looks a lot more like what I saw - although if one were to colour balance for the sunlit buildings, the top image is in fact the more accurate, this city canyon being lit only by bright blue sky. So which is the more "natural", or the more correct (which isn't necessarily the same thing)?
I prefer the top image - I like the unifying blue theme - I like the image - I accept that it is not all mine - that the sculptor bears much of the responsibility for the image - but I'd like to think they would be pleased with what I have captured of their work - yes, I will display the image in the future, for whatever it's worth.