Photography provides a vehicle to communicate what we see and feel. And so the essential question is, “What are you trying to say?”
How do you find your photographic voice?
Be curious. Visit museums, and go to the library and look through photography and art books. Browse online galleries and collections. Study. Formulate opinions on style, form, technique, and message. Notice the artists and photographers’ prevalent themes. Decide what moves you. Make a list and then ask yourself, “How can I incorporate these components into my work?”
I spent years searching for inspiration and expression. Personally passionate about music and color, in time, I discovered the Russian artist Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) who transformed hues into lyrical forces of spectral and musical equivalents. One of his most important paintings, Painting with White Borders, is the inspiration for the border tutorial I will share with you shortly. Kandinsky struggled with this painting, reworking it fifteen times until he arrived at the solution — a white border. His response to “Why white?” — “White expresses a harmony of silence, pregnant with possibilities.” (http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/past/exhibit/4236)
I also pay homage to Vincent Van Gogh (in the following video tutorial) who walked excessively through all types of weather, searching for his voice (and peace of mind). “Wheat Field in Rain” — one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings — creates a profound and tactile immediacy.
About my photo
One rainy summer afternoon, while driving along Montauk Highway, I saw a field of sunflowers and a old truck with an American Flag. I had to stop and so I drove my car alongside the field, opened the car window and photographed. But I felt removed and couldn’t compose good enough from the car. Recalling Van Gogh’s painting “Wheat Field In Rain” and his habit of walking in inclement weather, I went out into the field, protecting my camera from the pouring rain with an umbrella hooked over my shoulder.
Later, I uploaded the images, selected my favorite, and adjusted the RAW file in ACR. After running through some basic adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop, the photograph just didn’t feel complete. It was missing something, or, said another way, the photo wasn’t saying enough. Using Kandinsky’s Painting with White Borders as inspiration, I too created a border. Mine was yellow. Why yellow? “In addition to selecting a coordinating color, yellow embraces both Kandinsky and Van Gogh. In color geometry, (Kandinsky) the triangle is yellow and Van Gogh is synonymous with yellow sunflowers). Curious about the color yellow? Click here to read a blog post I wrote celebrating yellow.
The following is a video tutorial detailing how to create an artistic border. I am using Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, but this lesson works on all Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements versions.
Would love to hear from you.
All my best,
Check out my new eBook: Photographing Children Naturally