Color Correction Influence


For a long time it has been a struggle for me to find my own way to a personal style of color photography. It should be pretty straightforward, right? But it’s not. It is the straightforward part that I find troubling. It seems easy to create a B&W picture with the kind of character that appeals to me, but not so easy for color. Too far off the path of “correct” color and you run the risk of looking just plain silly. But straightforward color, silly as it may seem, is not always interesting color.

One of my recent photo book purchases is one of my favorites this year, and it has become a guiding light for my own color photography. The fact is, most of the photo books I buy are B&W focused, but I do seek out color photography books that interest me. They are just harder to find. But Color Correction by Ernst Hass is simply stunning. Recently published, it focuses on his personal, more abstract color work. He is best known for commercial work (as a Magnum photographer), and the book notes that on every role of film that he shot for a client he shot 2-3 pictures just for himself. It seems that he shot primarily with a Leica R SLR and Kodachrome, and Kodachrome transparency film has a unique of rendering color and light. I doubt it can be duplicated by digital.

Some time ago, I finally decided to sell of my Sigma DP cameras. Fantastic but frustrating and little used cameras, they just teased me with their potential and I just could not deal with their idiosyncrasies. But they are not well known nor popular and not selling quickly so I came up with an alternative plan. I offered them up in trade for shipping cost, photo books and photography advice. They “sold” immediately, and to some very nice folks I might add. I’m still awaiting for the “stuff”, but over the weekend I took the Sigma DP2s (and other cameras) out when the opportunities arose, since some say the Foveon sensor has Kodachrome-like qualities. And kept Color Correction in mind. Well, as life turns out, the Sigmas are indeed “Kodachrome-like”, at least in the way I was trying to use it this weekend. Simply amazing, and I had finally found a way to use the Sigma DP cameras, but now they have to go. So be it. But, believing that ultimately it’s not the camera… I plan to shoot the cameras I do use to learn from what I see in Color Correction. This, for me, is interesting color.

Note 1: is also similar to this style of color photography: Early Color by Saul Leiter, which is one of my earlier color photo book purchases.

Note 2: Deep, rich color has always appealed to me most. The deep, rich red found in many older Tibetan Buddhist thanks is what drew me into the realm of Tibetan Buddhism many years ago. If there is one spiritual belief that I connect with most, it is Tibetan Buddhism. And one of my favorite genres of book is adventure travel through Tibet. I’m currently reading In the Shadow of the Buddha. Way of the White Clouds is another favorite. The Heart of the World is more recent and very good. 

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