Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snapshot Aesthetics

There's a school of photography called 'snapshot aesthetics.' It's been around a long time, but didn't have a name until recently. You've seen it on famous blogs like The Blue Hour, Simply Photo and 3191 Miles Apart (which comes with a really neat story behind it, so look for the "about"). The premise of this style is to know the rules of photography, but break them from time to time. To capture things just as they are. Sometimes the composition and white balance are perfect; sometimes not. But the images have a real life quality that makes them more intimate than more traditional photographs. There is a stillness to them, an elegance of seeing the ingredients to a meal, laundry in a basket, a bicycle parked outside a café. It is life as we know it, not poised for the camera. Go and look - and tell me what you think.


Darrin Maxwell said...

I agree... I like the "There is a stillness to them, an elegance of seeing..." part. the problem is with the advent of digital technology it's SO hard to leave well enough images alone. I have gone through traditional 35mm photography classes (hand developing and what not), where alterations were tedious, time consuming and costly... and often found my images stale! For me the beauty of digital photography is taking a bazillion photos of a subject from different angles and with different aperture settings, etc. and then narrowing it down to a handfull of images... and still i want to tweek and alter those few that i feel really connect with the essence of the subject. I'll keep this 'snapshot aesthetic in mind next time i go out and shoot!. ...might do me some good to work against my instinct a bit!

great post!

Rita Finn said...

Darrin, thanks for your thoughts. I agree that the beauty of digital is I can take a lot more pictures and can edit later ... and yes, I too spend crazy amounts of time with them later in PhotoShop. This "snapshot" approach comes painfully to me, but I my last class instructor was militant about not styling anything, capturing what you find, and forbade photoshop heroics. It's hard for me, but I confess I love it.

Thanks! And I've added your blog to my stream because, well, it's pretty cool.

tonyboloni said...

Snapshot aesthetics finds the beauty in the mundane, the mundane in the beautiful. Is the leggy, forlorn Supermodel chair in the alley behind your house? Interesting line on the chair; an interesting marriage of lower clean line of the International school crossbred with a button back and what appears to be nubbly fabric. It would be interesting covered, without the buttons, in heavy white canvas.

Rita Finn said...

Tony, the chair is actually from an alley on another block, but yes, it has fine bones and the upholstery is a wool velvet. You wonder about what kind of life it has had, what kinds of stories it would tell. I've seen more than my share of abandoned pieces, and I know an upholstery guy who welcomes such challenges. I rather like the mustard color, but it would stand up well to canvas too.

Darrin Maxwell said...

Rita - This post inspired me to do a little 'snapshot aesthetic' project myself. I took some snapshots last night & made a video with them (and a short writing) I'd love to hear your thoughts! http://darrinmaxwell.blogspot.com/2010/06/father-in-exile-snapshot-aesthetic.html

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