Yesterday it snowed.
Overnight the dismal, forlorn fields and forests I was using as the landscape that would represent November have turned into picturesque, crystal fairytales.
During this project I’ve been wondering what kind of weather to use. I wanted it to be, well . . . atmospheric, but not melodramatic. I love how the dreariness of the brown land on a grey day seems like a harbinger of tough times.
(Of course, there’s nothing you can do about the weather. In my day-to-day life I rarely complain about it. What’s the point?)
As a photographer I get to choose what light and what weather will best suit my purposes. Typically I’m not a golden-hour photographer, I mostly prefer high-noon. I usually like everything lit and the content of my photos to be mediated by the thing in front of my camera rather than by some atypical, melodramatic atmospheric condition.
So I guess I’m more of a New Topographics guy than a proponent of the Todd Hido school (which, for me, seems like photographic hyperbole and melodrama enabled by too much Photoshop . . . akin to a velvet painting. Mind you, he is pretty darn famous and successful. And you can make of that what you will).
Anyway . . . I’m not completely wedded to shooting at high-noon and having everything I shoot look, well, clinical(ish). Parts of USER were shot at twilight and my most recent project, After the Fact, was shot in low light.
With my new project, November, I’m pretty much splitting the difference between clearly showing the thing I’m photographing and using typical November weather (grey, sleety, miserable) to facilitate some feeling.
But for this project the snow changed everything, it knocked me for a loop. Out today, looking, walking, thinking, framing, I was overwhelmed by the pristine prettiness of it all. But pristine, pretty and picturesque are not what I want.
We all take this World and mold it into some thing that represents our outlook. And photographers use a camera to manifest their viewpoint. So I’ll take what I’ve been given and warp it to my sensibilities. Snow or no snow.
AFTER THE FACT:: ANOTHER REVIEW
A very interesting review by Delaney Turner, where in he draws parallels between Official Ottawa and After the Fact.
“While Official Ottawa specifically presented Canada’s capital city as the seat of federal power, After the Fact widens its viewpoint to powers we can neither see nor elect.”
You can read the review here. And buy the book here.
Makes a swell Xmas gift. Get one for someone you love (or just like).
a newsletter / tony fouhse
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