Revision of Method


Over the past few weeks I have been studying the work of Lewis Baltz. It’s conceptual, and I’m still increasing my understanding of his intentions and goals, but I’m drawn to the way he frames and exposes his images. At first, I thought Baltz was overexposing his pictures, but as I continue to study them it’s seems to me that instead it is a standard exposure, but perhaps with increased contrast through development and printing. Of course I’ve noticed this with other pictures and other photographers before, but as I study the portfolio of a single photographer it becomes more obvious to me.

Then, as I was looking at pictures I took over the past few days, I realized that – ooooohhhhhh – I have been underexposing my images, or in some cases processing them too dark. This is mostly by choice because I’m naturally drawn to dark imagery, or to high contrast images with a dark bent. But I’m not learning how to properly expose and process a straight image, one that is not underexposed or too dark. The more I study the work of other photographers the more I think I understand what a proper exposure means. That an image can be both “correctly” exposed and have a pleasing contrast with dense blacks, but with a balanced tonal range.

With that spirit in mind I took a different tack with the image above. As I was processing it I realized how unattractive, or incorrect, an underexposed image can be. I like this better, at least for this type of image. It may not be just right just yet, but I’ll keep working it and trying to understanding what makes it work.

Another lately thing is that I have been studying, and shooting, a lot of 3:2 format images, and I’ve sort of adapted to it. The 4:3 image above looks a little strange when compared to the 3:2 imagery that has influenced me over the past couple of weeks.

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