Glen Goffin Photography

Monday, November 9, 2009

77 The Smell of Something Artificial

Little Girl Drinking
Though I am still a novice photographer, I am aware of a certain deepening of artistry. A well respected photographer whose name I can't recall at the moment remarked that young photographers tend to pull in for tight shots but that older photographers learn the value of context and place (a bit of a paraphrase on my part).

It also reminded me of a time when I enjoyed hunting for collectable old furniture and a wise collector warned me then not to be overcome by the glitter of polished brass. That that was a young man's game. But rather to appreciate the beauty of joinery and grain.

One of the tendencies that I had early on was to over-process and, as I look back over some of my work, I realize the ones I love most are the ones I worked least. This train of thought came as I was selecting images for today's post. I was reviewing the last few fall foliage shots. I had run some curves on many of them but there were a few I hadn't touched. These are two of the untouched ones. They remain more natural and have a greater believability. They don't smell like artificiality. Maybe it's all in my head. We'll see.

OSJ Red FenceOf course, it isn't possible to capture and reproduce a scene with perfect neutrality especially in this modern digital era.

And maybe it's a pendulum that swings back and forth until arriving at perfect equilibrium.

My post-processing technique will mature, too. And will become a more refined artistry. Then perhaps I will be able to pull out greater beauty without leaving the smell of artifice.

Till then, maybe I'll step back and take a bigger view. I'll process less and spend more time appreciating the beauty that comes naturally.

Peace friends,


Line said...

you are so wright about that i wish to go back to film, soon... lovely natural shots!!!!

Markus Spring said...

Isn't it with postprocessing like with cosmetics? Make-up is best when you don't notice it yet it supports a positive existing emanation.

In digital there is no "natural image" as you observed correctly, therefore the way the image is converted always depends on decisions. And lucky are those who gladly rely on what the camera company chose as default... But when you decide to carefully frame and decide about exposure, then you also can decide in postprocessing about contrast, white balance, color profile! And if the image needs it, why not help with region tools? I think the art is to find the correct amount, both in the amount of "manipulation" as well as in the time assigned to one image. In the end lenses and all hardware stuff is expensive, but the photographer's lifetime is far more precious.

Ángel Corrochano said...

I do not know if he is artificial, but the tone and that defocused bottom are gorgeous. Pure autumn

Warm greetings

Glen Goffin said...

I agree, Markus. It is almost shocking when you first learn how much darkroom manipulation of his images Ansel Adams employed considering how natural they look. If I recall correctly he attributed it at 50/50% (I may be confusing a different photographer). I need to work on more "local" or region-based post work. In other words, practice with my brushed :)

lizzi said...

Which is why I take a million pictures of the same thing- I don't want to edit anything, I want it to be perfect as is without any "touch-ups"

Woody said...

Just today, I was watching a video hosted on the Photoshop 'killer tips' site ( I watched the video with fascination. I marveled at how much time was spent by someone who was very fluent in Lightroom/Photoshop to get the picture 'perfect'. I then resolved to never buy Photoshop. I want to enjoy the photos, not spend my life enhancing them! I do routinely adjust white balance and a few other 'simple' components in Lightroom, but my post processing is measured in seconds, not ten's of minutes.

Beautiful photos. Thank you for reading my madman rants (again).

alterdom said...

Hi Glen,

Fall suits you very well,
I like the subtle beauty of your images.
Hello from France

Ove said...

These are sound and developing thoughts. I believe it is like a pendulum, but I don't believe it has a fixed rhythm nor a tendency to close down to a equilibrium. It swings dependent on what influences we get from our lives. Not to mention trends.

There were also heavy colour casts in film, and you selected film brand and type dependent on what feel you wanted to express. Many positive film types had heavy saturation, I guess that suited the holiday pictures very well.

What is natural? We have different eyes and vision. :)

Woody said...


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Pacey said...

Great photos, and I do believe too that the least processed are the ones that stand out. Almost all of my photos are untouched, leaving it as it is.

Soiamastone said...

Beautiful images Glen, love all of your recent work, enjoy that camera of yours! God Bless Jules