The Representation of Memory

7:55 sunrise
18:29 sunset
Last year for my birthday I was given a copy of Photoshop Elements. For the most part I enjoy using it to play around with some of my photographs and who doesn’t appreciate the ability to digitally delete a zit if necessary? But part of the reason I like taking photographs is that I like to document plain ol’ everyday activity. I’m not necessarily looking to see if I can make myself look better or skinnier or whatever. I just want to reflect what is.
So when I went out for a ride yesterday and took a few photos at Ice Lake I hoped to get a shot that represented how the early evening looked and felt. And there’s the rub – representing ‘feel’ in a photo doesn’t always mean the image looks like it did straight out of the camera. For that matter, how I saw the evening out of my eyes isn’t necessarily how it was transmitted to my heart and my brain. I suppose that a photograph is never really a representation of reality and it always presents a single point of view. But, especially as time passes, an image can come to represent something beyond what was actually in front of the camera. With that in mind, I can’t decide how I feel about the three below images. If you click on them you will get a larger photo and you can see some of the differences a bit more clearly.
The first was has not been modified in any way (aside from cropping).

The second one has been cropped in the same way, I adjusted the contrast and colours and, if I recall, I then used an effect in Photoshop that makes your image look like a saturated film slide.
The third photo has been cropped like the others and I adjusted the contrast and colours again. Then, I ran an action on it that emphasizes certain colours and plays with the lighting. Since it’s an action and I didn’t write it, I can’t actually explain exactly what happened here. I just played around with buttons.

I guess my point is: when I am out and about in the world and my goal is to capture a moment in my day, how important is it to alter the image as little as possible? Or is it not important at all? Is it more about aesthetic and ‘feel?’
I’ll probably post one of these to flickr eventually but I can’t decide which one. Thoughts?

One comment

  1. I kind of like the third one – I like how it's brighter around the rider, so it emphasizes the subject. However, if you want to emphasize the amazing sky, the second one is better for that I think. The rider fades into the background a bit, leaving the amazing sky colours.

    I often find that the colours in my photos don't match what I saw in my head, so I sometimes boost contrast, brightness, whatever. I'm like you though – I'm usually more interested in showing what I saw, rather than editing the crap out of things.


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