Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Exporting Cheese (From GIMP)

Things are always changing. Lately, I've been less active as a "photographer", I think because of the horribly cold, dreary spring we're entering into - it's just not very inspiring out there right now. Nonetheless, as I've been spending more time in study of my Christian faith, and considering a move to Orthodoxy, I've also been silently active in making pictures with the very cheap Canon BF-10 35mm camera, as well as my Smartphone. These are all experimental diversions (including the Orthodox Christian part), and through all of it, I'm discovering more and more that it is pictures that I'm fond of, not "photography". Confused? Don't worry, so am I. But instead of running from confusion, I prefer to embrace it, because confusion can often lead to a great leap in self discovery.

So what does all this have to do with cheese and GIMP? Well, aside from sounding like a great recipe, it's everything to do with how every shot I took with that Canon BF-10 turned out to be a tosser, but I was able to turn them all into total picture magic with GIMP. Once again, I leaned heavily on the Lomo Filter ("Filters > Light and Shadow > Lomo..."), but this time did a lot more experimenting with the sliders and settings within the filter. This way, I was able to rescue 16 of the 24 pictures on the roll that came out of this crappy little camera. Some of them are here, and here are some more:

Yet, it all sort of leaves me with a strange sense of floating and drifting. Although these are photographs, this is not photography. And although I used digital fakery to create a "Lomo look", this is not Lomography. And although I used film as my medium, it was all no good until I applied the fakery.

I'm guessing that Lomography is close to what I'm about, yet not quite. Here's a definition that I can really relate to:

Pictures are what Lomography is all about. Nothing compares to the feeling of visually diving into a pool of shining, new, sweet-smelling lomographs. My pictures, your pictures, pictures of the world, pictures of fleeting moments, secret passions, boring, brou-ha, left toes, blurred nothings. Simply everything. Lomography collects, treasures and presents all of this.

That's what I'm trying to say. I love to sit and stare at pictures just as much as I love making them. I also love the "cheese" aesthetic that I used to see as a child looking at my Mom's family photos she took with her Bakelite Kodak Brownie. I also love the huge chronicle of pictures taken by the not so good photographer Charles Cushman. My eye is drawn to the "not so good" just as much as it is turned off by the "professional". Yet, unlike with Lomography, I do not use toy cameras, and I do take pictures using my viewfinder; I do insist on some semblance of composition. Light and texture mean everything to me, and if a picture is lacking in both of these, I consider it a lost effort. I once was a very active painter, as I've mentioned here before, and my use of a camera goes way back to when I used my Spotmatic for the sole purpose of collecting material to include in a painting - my way of "sketching" as it were. Now I simply use cameras,  instead of brushes and canvas to make my pictures.

So there you have it - my philosophy has grown into this: "cheese is good", and the GIMP Application has a huge variety of great ways to import a bad photograph and export it as a great picture.

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