Every picture tells two or three stories. At least.
If you aren’t a photographer, you may not think about processing. But I have learned, over the past two and a half years, just how important those decisions can be. Everything from the basic choice of how to crop all the way to what kinds of heinous digital fuckery to employ – trust me when I say that it isn’t the picture that tells the story, it’s the decisions that get made once the picture has been taken.
Let me illustrate. I took a pleasant little shot of an orchid not long ago. Here’s the final photo:
Holy hell, right?
It started with this, the more or less unprocessed raw image, slightly edited for light balance.
I decided that I wanted to explore that interior – the lips and callus, which can be powerfully sexual and a tad sinister, depending on the light and your personal psychopathology. So I cropped it really tight, aligning to the top right intersection in the standard law of thirds grid. Then I did some heavy processing, aiming (as is often the case with me) for high contrast, stark shadow and heavily saturated bold colors.
This got me exactly what I wanted – an image that suggests something utterly alien and probably evil. Beautiful, but deadly. Also, PRETTY COLORS! All kinds of tension and inner conflict and ambivalence.
But then, I thought, what happens if I drain the color out and process to black and white? And now we’re back to the image at the top, which I find positively terrifying.
There’s more to it than pointing and clicking, and as I grow and learn as a shooter I can’t tell you how gratifying moments like this one really are.