Monday, March 15, 2010

Are Flowers Soft Photography?

In my studio lighting class last week we had several assignments critiqued by Professor Greg Blue. I put effort into each and everyone of these assignments and assumed the rest of the students would do the same.
Whilst tearing into one slacker's photo of flowers on black velvet, Greg got into a brief discussion on the integrity of flowers as subject matter. Has this subject become exhausted? Can a subject become exhausted? Can ones artistic integrity remain intact when exploring subjects such as flowers, trees, portraiture, nudes... etc?
I think the key is exploring. When you pass by a blooming Rhododendron bush it's easy to pull out a point and shoot, dial it to macro mode and catch the right light. You might even get something worth printing, but once someone starts to look beyond, within, and around those blossoms, leaves, twigs, and branches then they are starting to explore.
It is when I find something new and exciting that I encounter another of photography's decisive moments: can I translate my emotional reaction of excitement, newness and realization into a longer lasting medium? Can I show how I felt about these shapes and colours and textures? Or have I failed to convey or even find that excitement.
Is it art or is it soft...?

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