I tend to be focused on making images that are both interesting and technically correct in that order. It took me a while to not make photos in the other order. One of the pitfalls of coming from the landscape photography background is that there is often an inordinate amount of effort in that genre to produce as technically correct images as possible. As a result a lot of what you see is what I would call superbly crafted but voiceless work. On the other hand you have the “art” photographers who tend to shy far away from things technical and as a result delve into visual realms that are horrifying to the craft minded photographer. The art guys want to be personally expressive at any cost and as a result they often make what I would call images where they are trying too hard to be unique and their sloppy work detracts from what they are trying to convey.
It’s all about balance, right? So I try to bring “feel” to the photos that I create without making either the techniques that I use, or the lack there of, apparent. I think that whatever you use to get the job done is less important than the work itself. With some clients and assignments I can be loose and with some more crafted. It all depends on the circumstance. And I’m not one for nostalgia – I don’t go out of my way to intentionally make my images look low tech, warm/fuzzy or in any way retro. It’s just no my deal.
However, you know this was coming didn’t ‘cha?, when I came across this shot the other day I initially flinched because I tend to abhor lens flair. But darn it, it looked right! Like a good photog I took the shot and didn’t worry about if it fit with my typical shooting approach. It’s fairly low in contrast, has a bit of a warmish tone to it and I left it that way because it felt right. The kid is listening intently to a the championship finals of a Texas style fiddle competition. I guess that makes it doubly old time-y.
My way of measuring an image, or a song or any piece of art, is "do you understand what the artist is trying to tell you?". If what you see is something interesting, evocative or arresting, then the work succeeds. If what you see is the artists hands all over the work and not the artists soul or storytelling ability then the work fails. A lot of my work fails when I try too hard because typically my brain is trying to make things fall in place because I am exercising my will upon the image. When I turn my brain off and let what I see become clarified by what I know how to do then the image tends to work and in a free flowing and natural manner.