In the tradition of still Photography, we will find a documental approach : The representation of the objective reality. We, as photographers, observe a scene, a situation, a fragment of time and then, we respond to it by endeavoring to show it as it appears … But the question is : Do all of us perceive the event in the exact same manner ? Does our personal capture of this fragment of time look like your perception of this same event ? Or, do we accept the idea there could be another tradition, that of altering physical reality for the purpose of expressing our own response to specific subject matter ?
Most of us work within both approaches and may produce deeply expressive realistic images as well as non-literal ones. For a Nature Photographer, as I pretend to be, the rule is simple : Just express what you feel when in front of the scene. Be faithful, not to the facts themselves but to your emotional response. You have the right to « intensify » the physical realities of Nature using the traditional set of tools any Photographer has in his arsenal : Composition – Exposure – Depth of Field and Shutterspeed. I have no problem with burning, dodging and vignetting. Curiously, I never reframe during post-production since Composition is a one shot exercise : I compose my image at acquisition time. As often as possible, I try to remove any distracting element from the scene. When it’s impossible to remove an intrusive element, I use the stamp tool or any similar tool but I feel guilty doing so !
One again, the goal is to stimulate a strong emotional response. The « Impressionist Approach » deliberately abandons physical exactitude in the belief that, by doing so, we can convey more effectively the reality of feeling. Here is the deal : Do we show what we see or do we show what we feel ? Do it your own way but stay honest with yourself … Do not cheat !