Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Art, craft and serendipity

I've discussed this in the past: art. When I was attending art school, I came to believe that art was the creative aspect of a work and craft was the skill that it took to produce the work.

I've know painters who worked for a month or more on a piece only to paint it over. The creativity and skill just didn't gel. This might not have been obvious to the observer; An onlooker doesn't know what the artist intended but failed to createbut, the artist knows. The flawed piece might look awfully good and still be a big disappointment to the artist.

Photography is no different. The photographer sees a scene, like the one featured today, and sees light and dark, highlight and shadow, the push-pull of colour on the picture plane and the contrasting juxtapositon of texture, form and direction and even mood. Like painters, photographers do their best to get all the elements in the image working together to make the desired statement. And, like painters they sometimes fail.

The first thing that attracted my eye to this image was not the colour but the soft, falling branches of the weeping willow in the background. Those branches were the perfect foil for the bright fall foliage in the foreground. The bits of blue sky were an added bonus. The strong shadows and sweeping slopes of the small rises gave the image a strong base on which to build.

I wandered about hunting for the right angle and I had to wait for the sun return from behind some clouds to get the strong, directional lighting that attracted me originally. Pictures, even simple pictures, often just don't happen. They are created.

There's a lot to think about when shooting a picture. This image pulled together nicely. It took only a little cropping to arrive at the final result shown at the top of this post. Having a clear idea of what was wanted helped. Having a number of different interpretations of the vision (a number of pictures from different angles) also helped. And in the end, having a little serendipity on my side also helped.

Do you really think that painters, or sculptures, and other traditional artists don't also benefit from a little serendipity?

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