Saturday, November 12, 2011

Learn to Lie

Hungry Moth at 5x
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
If you're a pretty good photographer then you're also a pretty good liar. You might not know it, or want to admit it, but it's true. By taking a photo you're taking the subject out of context and presenting it in a way that you didn't see it with your naked eye. Take the moth included with this post: I saw a water bottle with a blue label on it in the background, but you see what might look like a blue sky.

The trick to pulling off that lie was in knowing that I didn't want the background to be black, if it were then the scene might seem out of place even though most moths are nocturnal. So I deliberately placed the water bottle behind the critter to give the flash something to reflect off of. It had natural spring water in it, if that makes you feel better ;)

Once you realize that photography is a lie then you can start pushing the envelope to create "realistic" scenes. Like using a second flash to illuminate a vinyl table cloth that has a floral print on it. Is it "natural"? No, but it looks natural and that's all the matters.

Solitary Bee on Mint VI

Now some of you might shoot only using natural light because it looks more realistic -closer to the way that you actually viewed the scene. But how many of you used a reflector to get more of that sunlight into the subject?

Liars... :)

Macro by definition is not a natural form of photography -no one sees the world with the level of detail that we macro photographers can capture. So there's no need to constrain yourself since no matter what you do the final image really isn't natural anyway. The better you get at lying the easier it is to trick the viewer into thinking that the scene is normal, that nothing is out of place. They'll spend more time appreciating the image as a whole instead of picking it apart because it doesn't look right.

So learn to lie...
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