Uccie↑ is one of my favourite people in any world, even when she forces me to think (which was not on my to do list yesterday). In the lastest episode of “Let’s make Honour reflect seriously on what she’s doing!” she made an intelligent comment on my most recent post about adjusting environment settings for photographs (such as changing the angle of “east” so the sun hits the object/landscape the way you want it to).
My friend’s background/training and instincts are planted in the “photo-journalistic” school of taking pictures, the objective being to capture “the moment with as little manipulation as possible”. The photographer in her is not happy with making changes to the “truth” of what she sees (if I’m misrepresenting her thoughts I apologize). I made a quick and superficial response but, while I took these images of the new installation at MiC Imagin@rium↑, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I was doing as I blithely altered angles and time of day and the colours of the sky and water.
Sniper Siemens↑ has recreated many of Leonardo da Vinci’s Machines↑ and they are (to me at least) beautiful. My reaction to them is very similar to the feeling I get when surrounded by steampunk creations – the gears and the materials (textures) and the movement and the intricacy touch something in me that responds very positively.
Taking these photographs though, I felt no concern about moving sliders and altering the sky and the water and, yes, the direction that was east. I had to ask myself if what I do is fair to the artist or the landscaper when I mess around like this.
One of the first answers that floated into my brain involved one of my favourite photographs of all time. “White House Ruin”↑ by Ansel Adams inspired me to go visit Canyon de Chelly and I can testify that it captures the power and the impact of the location. I know, because I was there, that to get that shot he had to take it in the morning when the sun was in the east. This would have involved timing his visit and waiting for the right moment – part of the genius of these artists. The technology I have in Second Life allows me to force the world to do what I want rather than waiting and hoping. But, is it “kosher” to do that?
My conclusion is that I feel comfortable making these changes (right or wrong) because I don’t feel I’m working as a “photo-journalist”. I think what I try to do (although my efforts fall far short of my ambition) is take a portrait of an object or landscape. I’m not a “reporter” – I think that involves a burden of responsibility and ethics that I’ve been instinctively unwilling to assume. The image I try and take reflects my attempt to show not only what I see but how it has affected me. (and omg that sounds pretentious!)
Leonardo used the science of his day to create not only great art but also new technology and combining all that with his genius resulted in the wonders we still admire today. I’m also no Leonardo but I fully embrace the opportunity provided by those who use today’s science to create the technology available now to do what I want to do – try and capture images that reflect the joy I feel as a result of other people’s effort. If, at the same time, I can create something I’m proud of then I’ve succeeded.
I’ll be the first to admit there are times I get too involved in the technology and the “image” winds up secondary to the process. I can always tell when that happens because I’ll look at the composition and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I really hope that’s just part of the learning curve. :)
The exhibit in these photographs led me to think about something else that’s been on the periphery of my brain – those individuals who seem to accomplish so much more in a short space of time than mere plodders such as myself. There are men and women in Second Life who impress/inspire and exhaust me just by being themselves, all they do, and how they manage to do it at a consistently high level of quality.
I’ve had two examples in mind lately because of both interactions we’ve had and my recent understanding of just how many projects each has ongoing at the moment. It is lucky for us and them that Saffia Widdershins↑ and Pooky Amsterdam↑ don’t actually require sleep. What they manage to do in the hours many of us might use to indulge in idleness is seek out new opportunities to push boundaries and exploit the tools and technology most take for granted. It’s very humbling.
One of the technologies that has always fascinated me is machinima. I was planning to take an course on the subject starting in early June but that became impossible (I still hope to do it in the future). Both Saffia and Pooky work in media (among other things) and are always experimenting and achieving and it’s a good thing I love both of them because inferior doesn’t begin to describe how I’d feel otherwise.
I’ll finish today by sharing Pooky’s latest video and the news that the Machinima Expo↑ is now accepting entries↑. One of the great things about our world is that all of us have the ability to try and do things we perhaps can’t fathom in the physical world. I can try and take portraits of machines – maybe you can make films. Take advantage of what’s available and be inspired by those who do and who succeed. I’m going to try and get past my slider obsession. :)