Photography Motivation and Walls
I do not think it is possible to be a good photographer without having a somewhat obsessive nature. The hours and hours of looking through a viewfinder or at a viewscreen and the additional time spent editing and organizing would seem to make this trait an essential one. Sure, the obbsession may be continuous or it may come and go with intense periods where little else matters followed by periods of complete indifference where everything else matters.
Something catches the imagination, draws us in and then, before we even really notice, becomes a major part of our lives. For some it is golf, for others stamp collecting and for many of us it is photography. The process doesn’t stop there though as certain parts of photography can enthral while others leave us cold. Personally, I derrive little beyond a sense of technical satisfaction from traditional landscape photography but a city environment, will completely absorb me for as long as I am in it.
Inner and Outer Landscapes
Ultimately, I think we are looking for something that reflects something of ourselves. Some photographers like order and predictability others prefer the random and seeing patterns where others may not. To me, photography is my way of jumping up and down and yelling ‘look at this, look at this’, like an unsupervised four year old, when I see something that catches my imagination.
I like walls. Maybe it is because there is something inside of me that relates to barriers and boundaries or maybe I just like them from an aesthetic point of view. Regardless of the reason I find it really hard not to study and photograph them. This applies to old walls with clues as to their past history and shiny new modern ones with the focus on clean lines and geometry.
Hardware and Software
These images were all shot using a Canon A3100 IS point and shoot and, with the exception of the bottom one, were edited using Shotwell software on a Ubuntu netbook. This setup was forced on me when my laptop with Adobe Lightroom 3 gave up the ghost. Shotwell is actually a pretty decent piece of software. It is an organizer with a limited amount of editing capability. In fact there are only about five sliders that control all paramters including contrast, saturation, tint, temperature and exposure and that is about it. It is surprising how much can be done with just these though.
The very basic stuff like crop and resize are also available but sharpening or noise reduction are absent. I don’t know if it is just my setup but the images do not appear that sharp within the software. They look fine after they have been saved though and I didn’t find this to much of a problem for color correction work. The workflow is good – much better than the heavywieght image editors like Photoshop but not a patch on the less linear photographer friendly applications such as Adobe Lightroom.
The weather was very overcast when these were shot and I turned up the saturation on both the camera and the software to emphasize the slight color differences on the walls. I aso tweaked the contrast a little. The bottom photograph was edited in Picnik, Google’s online editor, which is much more fully featured than Shotwell and is great for individual photographs but I wouldn’t want to do more than about three or four images in one sitting.