It’s Been A While

It’s been some time since I have updated my blog. In fact, it’s been nearly ten months. There is a reason for this, actually two reasons. The first one is that over all, I haven’t had much to say. I’m not an exciting person and don’t have enough in my life to write about and for the most part, I keep this blog as a small extension of my photography. The second reason is that if you have read the post before this one you know that at that time I had taken on the task of being my grandmothers caregiver as she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Since that post, things have happened and there have been issues. If you care to know about them, I will summarize them below as an update to this blog.

 

My grandmother moved in with myself and my family at the beginning of October 2015 and at the end of November that same year I made my last post on this blog until now. At the time I said I had a singular subject to photograph in her and would stick to mostly the good moments of what I capture until I feel to do otherwise. Well, soon came that otherwise moment as she began to slip away more and more. I documented this through photographs and even a few videos. They were raw and graphic. I won’t say they weren’t upsetting as I know they were. My family and I lived it every single day and I decided that presenting this information in its rawest form to others would help bring to light what Alzheimer’s truly is. I mean I thought I knew but then I got a real hard lesson. I found others and others found me and we shared these experiences together. Even with sharing them only those that live it can understand what really goes on. We found support in each other. Sadly, support from some of my family members wasn’t all there.

 

Like I said, these images and even a few videos were raw and really cut to what Alzheimer’s is and even then they weren’t the full picture. Try being alone with a family member and having to clean and dress them because they messed themselves. Now you have to clean them all while they cry and scream. You later find certain bio matter on yourself that you have to clean off as well. It’s a very hard experience. That’s just one example but there is so much more of the things that go on. While bringing to light some of these things like the uncontrolled crying that comes from nowhere I had some family members not care to see what I was sharing and detested that I was doing so in an open way. I did have others that were supportive but even more that weren’t. Things were being said and no one was talking to me directly. The one’s that did were two uncles of which one called me to verbally jump and bash me while another got pretty colorful with his words and actions though we were able to talked things out. Never the less, there were others who just as easily could have talked to me as we try to resolve the issue but that never came about. The end result is that I went back to having not much family communication as I have for years and that’s fine. At the same time I built better bonds with others who while saw the images as hard to take in, they understood my reasoning.

 

All of this has left me with a bigger drive though. A drive to live in this world and do more to help others and causes I believe in. If I can do it through my photography then that’s even better. I am not in a position to be one to go out and capture certain things to raise awareness at this time. The Alzheimer’s thing I did have the ability to because I lived with it every single day along with my wife, my father and my mother. I hope my images were able to do something in this world. Maybe help another dealing with Alzheimer’s in their family or others to understand that’s its more than just one losing their memories. Believe me, it’s so much more than that.

 

In June, my grandmother passed away. It was sad but a good thing. Truthfully, there was a part of me that was happy. No amount of description can paint the picture of life at the end of Alzheimer’s and the damage it does. I took no photographs at this time with the last one being of her sleeping. I then took one video to show a strange sound she would make all day. That video showed and recorded the last sounds she made during her mortal life before she went silent. Still alive but totally silent as she slipped away. So yeah, I was happy for her when she died. The woman lived a life of travel. She was also very opinionated and into her golden years could hold quite the conversation about life and the world around her. Alzheimer’s took that away. I’m not religious, I’m not spiritual, I’m not really anything. Though, if there is something, I like to think she is back to the woman I knew growing up with everything that Alzheimer’s took from her restored.

 

So yeah, it’s been a long while since I’ve made an update to this blog. I don’t know when the next one will be. Again, I’m pretty boring. But you can follow me on social media. We can follow each other. If you like, check out my Instagram and go back a little ways and see some of what I documented with my grandmother because while there is raw material that is quite sad, there is also some really great stuff in there too. Stuff I will keep as fond memories for as long as I can.

 

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Print Calibrations

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So at some time or another one will want to print their photographs and for many a simple print from most anywhere will do. Heck even my wife has had a few of my photographs made into a print from a family event and sent them out to others for their scrap books. Printed from Walmart they came out fine and if I had to be perfectly honest better than expected but if I want the best print I can get I go with another more professional printing service. I don’t care who you choose to make your prints there will be an issue of what you see on your screen and what you see from the physical item.

Now printing is important because you want others to see what you see and while technology helps us share more of our work more easily a print lets others see it the way it was meant to be seen. I say this because everything that displays a digital image will always show whats on its screen in a different light, literally. No two computer monitors, phones, tables, television sets and more are ever set the same. People will either use it however it came from the factory or make adjustments to how they feel it should be especially with TV sets having modes for movies, video games and more built into them. With a print on the other hand you can show off your image the way you feel it is at its best and as an artist that is part of what we strive to do. While things can be left to interpretations we want our viewers to see the colors, highlights and shadows the way we see them. It’s not always possible what with some people being colorblind of which I am not making a joke, I know a few colorblind people and others whose vision over all is not the best. Still, we want to show our work the way we see it as best as possible. We can’t control how others see it on their digital end, at least not within the realms of full control but we can regulate how they see it face to face and this is how I accomplish that task.

The first thing I do is set aside a small collection of photos. In my case I have ten of these and they range from colorful and vibrant to a bit bland. From simple black and whites with good toning to high contrast with pure whites and the blackest blacks. Of these ten images two are set aside for charts with one being a gradient chart in black and white and the other in color. All of these combine so that I can make adjustments to my display so that I know when I send out images to be printed they will look the same when physically in my hands as they do on my monitor. It’s really that simple for me. I use good lighting to make sure they are shown as they should be and spend the time to get everything looking the same. Every so often I check back with them making sure everything is still good and periodically I get them reprinted to make sure that my print company of choice hasn’t changed anything on their end that might skew the end results from a printing run.

So that’s it! Its low tech but for me it works and helps keep my monitor in check as well as my printing service. Sure, one doesn’t have to go this far as many places make fine prints without getting complicated but I think if you want to keep the integrity of what you are trying to express then it’s worth doing a little work to make sure that artistic vision is given the best opportunity to shine.

Also, if you want to know who I use for my prints, it’s Meridian Professional Imaging. No promo here as I’m not getting paid or any kickbacks, I just simply enjoy the service and product I get. Go with whoever you like, it doesn’t matter to me personally. Just make sure you get your monitor and prints to match so you can better show yourself off.

And as for printing at home, that’s nice and all but unless you have some serious money for some serious equipment it will never match what a professional printer can do for you.

Is It Still Photography?

I was recently asked by a person how they could take pictures like Holly Spring and I started off with saying how this sort of thing opens up a can of worms in my mind when it comes the art and world of photography, at least in the purest sense for me.

If you aren’t aware of Holly Spring and her work it’s really worth looking into. She has done some great stuff with a series involving daughter that is quite amazing. It’s imaginative and inspiring. Wondrous and full of dreams. The link to her Facebook page is below and I do recommend taking a look.

https://www.facebook.com/HSpringPhotography

Now while I do enjoy and admire her work I have to also say that in my mind I cannot see it as a pure photograph. I can see it as a graphic manipulation because of how much was done in post to create this world that without the manipulation never existed. It makes me sad when people think of it as just a photograph because it’s a photograph sure but with a world digitaly created and/or heavily manipulated to obtain a vision the artist has in mind.

So then I wonder where is the line between photograph and graphic design? Are there steps or levels to this process? I mean Ansel Adams created amazing photographs with nowhere near the technology of today and used chemicals and tricks to change a photo to bring out highlights or boost contrast. There are also well known images where they were changed to add or remove people, add clouds, change frowns to smiles and more. Sometimes for good, other times for evil, these were done and changed the image to reflect an idea. How much change needs to be made before it is no longer a photograph but a mixture of mediums to create a work of art?

I cannot personally answer this question as all I can say is that for me I feel more comfortable calling what I do photography if I make as few changes as I can to obtain my vision. The photograph below is a good example. With only my camera, a small LED light panel and an old piece of black cloth I took this photo of a peach purchased from a local farm. It was then brought into Photoshop where upon opening Brightness/Contrast I boosted the contrast by a factor of 50 and lowered the brightness down to 25. Does that take away from this being photography? Obviously there is manipulation but is it still photography without crossing the line to being more of a digital graphic art? In my mind no but as for Holly Springs work, while amazing I feel it to be more of a combination piece blending photography and graphic design for a look into an amazing world and not strictly photography.

I guess my only point here is to say that while I love what technology has brought us I dislike how it appears to have changed what is a photograph in this world, just a pure photograph and nothing more.

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Social Media & My Photography + A Bonus!

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I thought I’d take the weekend to branch out more into social media. Some say it’s good, others say it’s bad. All I know is I’m not pushing the aspect of it down throats so here are the links if it seems interesting enough.

Tumblr: http://richardscottphoto.tumblr.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/R_S_Photo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/R_S_Photo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardscottphoto

I’ve also recently taken the above picture and liked it enough to use on the main website. If that’s something you’d like to look at too here that link.

http://www.decaystudio.com

I guess not a normal post but I’m not sure what is and besides, this is a blog of what I’m doing with photography and I guess visual art so with that said here’s something else I recently did. It’s the beginning of a series I call “Chasing Clouds” where I time-lapse the sky above me and bring out the dance the clouds do but we are unable to see.

 

It’s Been A While

I haven’t written in a long time nor have I taken many photos or posted any. It’s not for lack of caring it’s just I haven’t had as much time with other projects and hobbies I enjoy doing. I also haven’t had much in the way of anything I care to shoot. Maybe then it’s a lack of motivation. I don’t know but when something does come along I do love shooting it. For example, a few weeks ago I went to a child’s birthday party at a local park and got some photos I really love. Kids have this way of making you work for a good shot. Not just an average shot but something that kind of sticks out and when you get it, it’s magic. At least to me that is. Take this photo for instance, the child was as happy as she could be smiling and doing her thing while playing a in a puddle. I pulled out my camera planning to get a photograph of a child playing in a small puddle when suddenly I got this look from her. Almost on instinct I zoomed in and grabbed this shot. Right after the shutter clicked she went back to smiling and playing in the puddle. Sure, I got photos of the puddle play but this one photo just happened unexpectedly and even if it’s nothing to no one else it sure is something to me because of the story I have to go with it.

 

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At least I have Time to Say Goodbye

Even if one isn’t a film a photographer there is a film that will be missed even for those who have yet to discover it. While it’s been a while since it was announced I have been sitting back taking it all in, the news that Fuji will stop production of its FP-3000B film. A peel a part film resulting in a black and white photo of remarkable whites and intense blacks will be lost and probably forever. I cannot express how much I have loved this film since the day I saw it let alone since the very first picture I took with it. As a fan of high contrast black and white photography this film gave me so much happiness and it certainly helped that it was instant. Sure, I love film photography for its guessing and waiting nature. That no matter how well you know your camera and the film stock you are shooting on sometimes a surprise could happen. Especially if you shoot toy cameras or street photography or anything that is a style requiring a moment to just come together for a split second. Digital is great and truly has its advantages but in film it’s almost like opening a gift every time a picture is developed. And while I am not one to argue film vs. digital as I love both there is a certain place in my heart for film, especially this film we all are about to lose. Even those who aren’t enthusiasts will miss it. I have friends who at times have enjoyed being able to use one of my cameras to take a picture and peeling apart the film exposing to their eyes what they just did. Losing this film makes a sad day for us all.

I have some packs tucked away in my small refrigerator and while money is tight I plan to do all I can to get more in stock so that I can enjoy it for as long as I can. Sure, the color pack film for now seems to have an ongoing life and I shoot with it as well but FP-3000B was my choice film when it came to 3×4 peel apart. I was able to take a picture and in less than a minute have the photographic print in my hand with a tonality result I found pleasing. No Photoshop, no in depth camera settings and really no manipulation to the basic photograph. Just a moment in time captured in its purest form.

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There is a petition to hopefully save this film and I truly hope it is able to do as such.

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-discontinuation-of-fuji-3000b-instant-film-by-fujifilm