Thursday, October 6, 2011

A poet with the philosophy of a photographer

Francesco asked yesterday why I so often use EV -0.66. I wrote an answer, but after thinking about it for a while I realized that wasn't quite right.

I wrote about low-key photographs, but that is a bit different matter. The fact is, I prefer a bit darker look to the photographs. Maybe I have a darker world-view than the average.

Today I finally used EV -1 as the default, as it was so dark. I thought that as it is dark then the photographs should show it.

And I was also pushing the limits of the LX5, using ISO 500 and still needing occasionally exposures up to 1.6 seconds. Rather long for handheld shooting! The results are of course not sharp, but who cares?

Speaking of hands, I read somewhere that "humans are dogs with hands", that is we are pack animals who need a leader, or someone to look up to, as may have been the case with Steve Jobs. Andreas wrote a good posting about him.

But we also like to use our hands, it makes us happy.

Recently an English-speaking colleague asked me at lunch: "Are you a good cook?" I had to answer: "No, I'm not."

However, I engage regularly in kitchen activities, as we eat most days a family dinner at home. As I'm not a culinarist, I use an approach where I try to make preparing food easy for me.

And although I'm not a good cook, at least the ground beef sauce for macaroni disappears fast. Maybe the children have adapted to tolerating the taste, though.

Today we had chicken fajitas, which is an easy dish to make, and it also disappeared fast from the table. While preparing food I realized that although I'm not an enthusiast about cooking, the routines of preparing a family dinner do have a calming influence after a busy day at work.

Taking photographs is also an activity that engages the hands. Maybe this is another reason why it feels so good?

By the way, the Nobel Prize in Literature was today awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. I read an analysis (in Finnish) about his work, and what caught my interest was the comparison of his work to photographs, "a poet with the philosophy of a photographer".

Tranströmer's poems seem to be build on the idea of a photograph. Thus the poem gets the background from the experience of the reader, combining different aspects of time, activating the memory and asking questions about what was not shown.

I haven't read any of his poems, but I think he is worth looking into.


ken bello said...

I like this set very much. Are these the -1 EV you mentioned in the post?
Also, if it's no trouble, I'd like to know more about the meat sauce.

Francesco said...

I read about the EV underexposition in regard to obtain more saturation in the color. I set my EV to -1/3 and I am happy with the colors I obtain, even if I did not make any real comparison between -1/3EV and 0 EV. Obviously in low light (if I remember ;-) ) I set back the EV to 0.

Juha Haataja said...

@ken bello: I think the first was -0.66, the rest -1 EV. (You can check the EXIF info at Flickr.)

Thanks for providing a topic for a new posting.

Juha Haataja said...

@Francesco: This time of the year the darkness is still new enough that I can even enjoy dark photographs.

But usually after a month or so I sort of flip, and start chasing whatever bright subjects there are, even setting the exposure to EV +1 to get bright results.

Darkness covets light...