Friday, January 29, 2010

Geek or Artist?

Disappearance of the Trains

I have been reading,”Within the Frame“, by David duChemin. In the 3rd chapter “The Artist and the Geek” he touches on the duality that exists within the photographer. The photographer must both be an artist and a geek. He points out that it is easy, if we are not careful, for us to slip out of balance and drift to one extreme or the other. The geek can become more concerned with the gear and how to make technically perfect images than the why and what we photograph. On the other hand the artist can become enamored with the idea of the creative process and loose site of the final image and throw aside technique. Where an individual drifts is dependent on their innate nature: artist or geek.

Once identified the photographer can consciously take steps to keep their balance. For example, a geek might do an exercise where they only take a manual camera, one lens and learn to express themselves with the simplest of equipment (no Photoshop either). An artist might take a nuts and bolts class on using layers in Photoshop which might be quite painful for them. Hopefully you get the picture.

I know for me my natural leaning is to be a geek. However, when I stepped into digital photography years ago I knew that about myself and have purposely focused most of my reading and training on the creative/artist side. In addition, because of my background in computer design, I wanted my move into photography to allow my creative/artistic side (which has always been there) to be more fully expressed. Due to this book and other blog discussions, I will also be trying out some exercises that I will share with you in future blogs.

So where is your leaning? Artist or Geek? Are you maintaining balance? How can you correct it if you are not.

Blog images: Given the topic of this blog I decided to include an image that expresses my artistic side using technical skill. In this train passenger car image I wanted to express the sense of loss and nostalgia I feel for the old passenger train lines of the past. On the technical side, to realize this image I took advantage of several post processing tools including Photomatix (for the HDR base image), NikSoft’s ColorEfx Pro, SliverEfx Pro bushed in with a bit of Photoshop’s Liquify. I have also included a second image from my train work using most of these same tools.