Monday, November 22, 2010


An obsession that flared up on Friday and frittered away this evening. Or maybe I just got fed up with the cold. Either way, it's out of my system now; though I'm sure I'll catch myself standing in the road outside people's houses in the dark taking photographs trying to stand as still as possible so they don't come out blurry.

Lately I've begun to love using a digital camera on the highest ISO setting.  I would never previously have thought of deviating from the traditional use-the-lowest-iso-possible, noise-is-bad train of photography thought. Then, sometime recently (around here I think), I went against my usual thinking and it was a little revelation. Not only do you get the red, green and blue spots that make up what noise is but the camera's processing also changes the nature of the colours in the image, sometimes adding a subtle boost to the saturation. So you get these slightly-off colours. Coupled with long exposures of a few seconds the results can be brokenly beautiful. The higher sensitivity, if you don't mind the noise, opens up whole new possibilities, namely, being able to take photographs you normally wouldn't be able to take without the use of a tripod or at least something solid to lean against. It's a new little freedom.
Not all of the above photos were taken using this high ISO, I still found myself craving the smooth, noiseless image...

While looking through and paring down these photographs I found myself rotating them, to see what effect, if any, it had on my reading of them. This is another thing I normally wouldn't do. I don't really edit my photos that often, usually if I do do anything it'll involve adding a little contrast or a small colour saturation adjustment. This is partly idealistic - I don't want to meddle with the photo after it's been taken, as I feel it takes away somewhat from the moment you were trying to capture in the first place - but really  it's more for practical reasons; I just hate sitting at a computer making hundreds of minute adjustments, for the sake of making the image "cleaner" or whatever. It's a pain in the lower back. Rotating the photographs feels a little like cheating, but not so much that I'm uncomfortable with it. Which leads me to believe I have different expectations for these photographs. I suppose because they're abstract. But it's odd how this sort of honest-journalistic instinct clings on, even in this context, where the actual truth of the image is not important to the purpose of the image. I'm not sure where this instinct even originates, but I recognise it from other aspects of what I do, and how I behave.

Today I have been mostly discovering Steve Reich and being astonished.