Photography Is Art - After All-Doc Miles Photography Tours

April 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Photography Is Art

The Stacks 3-9-2015The Stacks 3-9-2015The Stacks at Fort Cronkhite

I was recently with a client on Doc Miles Photography Tours who just stood and looked at the scene for several minutes before taking a shot. My first reaction was that he was working on some composition or examining the light to decide what setting to use before shooting.

Finally, I asked him why he was reluctant to get shooting as the light was changing and he replied, “I am capturing this scene in my memory. My photographs will never get the total beauty of this moment. Now we can shoot.”

It was a flashback moment for me when he said that because, I too, had many wonderful places and moments that I reflected upon and never had a camera with me. I can still recall the images as if they were moments ago.  One such image was a couple of years ago when a mid winter sunset lighted up the sky in scarlet over the Pacific, just above Baker Beach. I was coming home and did not have a camera with me. Everyone was stopped along the road, even the police. I stopped and just took it in my memory. I can still see it.

The human eye is an extraordinary organic machine. No camera today or in the future will equal its complexity and versatility. Cameras can give us lasting images that provide us with tangible photos to enjoy, analyze and record many things in the human experience, but capturing what your brain records is art.

I was once asked; “What do you look for in a scene before you take a photograph?”  That was a simple question that has a very complex answer. I will try to break it down in three simple thoughts:

  1. Light – after all photography is writing with light. Light is critical to good photography.
  2. Composition – Allowing the eye to move around a photograph and digest all the elements that it encompasses without distraction.
  3. Emotion – The most important of all elements. A photograph has to provoke emotion or it is just a snapshot.

The combination of the three creates your artistic vision. Your version of what you saw.

Feel free to manipulate all the settings and in postproduction. You are creating art not documenting events. (unless you are a journalist). Think outside the box and experiment. Always look behind and around you. The great shot might be where you are not focused.

As an artist, remember one thing; there is no color in the physical world. Humans see only what is useful to them as a species. It is a sobering thought, yet unlocks the creative spirit. Feel free to create and color your world.


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