Friday, August 4, 2023

Photography & digital art - how to be true to your voice

Simi Jois Photography
What does photography mean to me? For me, photography is a digital medium to express my work. I start out with a concept/idea in my head....chew on it for a few days. Then allow it to take form, it almost always starts with a seed of thought. It is not always that I find success, some concepts need to curate a bit longer than others. This image for example is a work in progress I am not done with it yet, it will take a few trials before I can call it done. 

I often get asked if a good photographer needs to use an editing tool. I look at myself as a digital creator, where some of my images barely need any retouching, others might have a lot of digital manipulation to create an image.

That brings me to the subject of authenticity, authenticity is a loaded word and it depends on the context. When I created a body of work for Adobe - Taste of Heritage it was very important for me to build the story around cultural authenticity. However, all my projects are not woven around culture or heritage. Some of my projects are just a play of light, texture, and a painterly feel. Still, others are concepts that I want to bring to life. Then authenticity would mean being true to that creative voice. It is a very fluid process and you really cannot quantify it. You know when an image is done that is it done. In such projects authenticity is personal. 

Coming back to retouching, it is not a magic wand.  It requires vision, knowledge, and skill, just like photography. It is also a tool like your camera. I often tell my students, to learn your tools. Be it your camera, lens, lights, or retouching tools. It does not make us better artists if we used only natural light or did not re-touch.. whatever your pet peeve.  It makes you a better artist when you know how to execute your idea ( or a client's idea). 

There are some days when the light from the window is just so beautiful that I walk towards it and just click - nothing else is required in that image. There are times when I want to create an image that is abstract like a visual representation of a black hole - so I go read up all about black holes. What intrigues me about black hole is its capacity to swallow light and create a singularity. For me, the singularity is represented by a void - the black. Light is the sun - the flames of fire (Agni). For weeks I have been thinking about it. In this image, I used t-lights, the one that changes colors ( battery ones). I used long exposure (30 seconds) in a pitch-dark room, rotating the t-lights.  Then I bought light overlays and brushes - combined all of it in Photoshop and this is the image. It is still a work in progress, I have not really nailed it yet. 

Simi Jois Photography

The original image before it was edited. 
Simi Jois Photography

There are a few more light painting images I want to share - it is still life, long exposure, and painting with a flashlight. Sharing both edited (below) & unedited. 
Simi Jois Photography

Simi Jois Photography

As you can tell the first set of images required quite a bit of post-processing and the second set did not. It is all very relative, it is what you want to create and how you want to use your tools. Authenticity is not really about - unedited images, it is more about representation of accuracy when required. If you are creating your abstract version of the black hole or beauty of a Lilly - the sky is the limit. Just be authentic to your voice. 

Some of the other concept images that I have created. 

Simi Jois Photography

Simi Jois Photography

Simi Jois Photography

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