I read an article a while back debating how much a photographer has ownership of their art when cameras make the decisions for them. Given that I take most my photos either with my mobile phone (don’t judge it’s Huawei P9 with dual Leica lenses) or a somewhat geriatric hybrid (Canon Powershot S50—with a broken viewfinder and some serious issues in difficult light situations), the cameras do very much make the initial decisions for me. However, what they do not decide is:
- Why I am taking the photo.
- What I see underneath the sometimes washed out veneer.
- How the reality manifests itself for me.
- How I want this moment to feel, taste, look, smell, and sounds to me.
So the machines do not see, smell, taste, hear, feel that this November foliage is an ephemeral treasure of gold.
The machines are not aware of the parallel universe, in which two moons circle the globe, and light breaks differently through a hazy atmosphere. The machines are not aware that this universe shimmers through the mesmerizing colours teased out by the midday winter-sun.
The machines don’t notice the complex fairy tale playing out around the bizarrely shaped branches of a tree. They are not cognizant of the battles, the monsters, the love, the light, the fantastic creatures, the purple dragon, the elven warrior, or the fairy cat. They know not of the little girl in the polka-dot dress, walking barefoot amongst the trees. The awkward teenage boy who is to tall for his breeches but too small for his sword. The person who changes their hair every day at will, just because. The machine’s focus did not notice the tiny mouse’s shaking whiskers when it poked his head cautiously above an exposed root, to see what I was doing and report back to fairyland.
I am aware of all of these realities, but when I point my camera all the machine notices is a fairly nice, sometimes even almost professional, but flat representation of all these stories.
So I use a multitude of programmes, apps, and filters until the stories emerge from this: