Tim briefed us for the session of the Forum on Friday: Your final challenge of the term is to improve a series of images, using whatever post-processing tools & creative tricks you like. Molly [Warrington] provided the six images in the linked folder. Please have a good at up to three of them and send me your results by Tuesday 12th June for our final session of the year on Friday 15th June.
Molly’s six pictures were: Owl, Elephant, Fens – winter, Vietnamese market, Mother & baby and Ta Prohm Temple. She chose them as what she considered relative failures that might be improved by some imaginative post-processing. Nine people responded to the brief and submitted pictures based on the originals using a range of post-processing packages, e.g. Lightroom, Photoshop and Silver Efex. The phrase ‘creative tricks’ was interpreted liberally.
Many of the tools used were quite straight forward: cropping, exposure adjustment, softening, vignetting, converting to black and white and enhancing saturation and vibrancy. More dramatic effects were achieved by: montaging, solarisation, posterisation, combining pictures, removing or adding elements or both, selective colour changes and saturation/desaturation and changing the overall appearance by using processing pre-sets.
In many cases the results achieved improved the originals to produce decent picture that would not look out of place in a family album, thereby showing the power and benefits of post processing. In other cases the dramatic transformations were presented tongue in cheek as flights of fancy and demonstrated admirable skill with the available software. These gimmicks certainly raised questions: Is it photography? Is it art? All the efforts showed how much better it is to get the right picture into the camera to start with. No amount of post-processing will rescue a bad picture. All the results are available at https://www.zimbushboy.org/photo-forum
We took the opportunity at this last session to review how well the Forum had worked over the three terms. Members agreed that most of the objectives set out at the beginning had been achieved and the majority of the subjects that people were interested in had been covered (again, see https://www.zimbushboy.org/photo-forum). The sessions had been enjoyable and the opportunity to share work in a friendly atmosphere was welcome. Members considered they now had a better upstanding of photography as an art and of its history – they felt more able to look back at their pictures and appreciate what they have. The fact that the Forum ran for an extra term is testimony to its success.
And next year? Enthusiasm for the Forum to continue, certainly. And possible areas for development: more critique (challenge) and less anecdote; looking in depth at favourite photographers; additional contributions from outside practitioners; understanding processing packages; and finding our photographic voices.
Photos: Molly’s originals and my interpretations: 1 & 2 Ta Prohm Temple; 3 & 4 Vietnamese market; 5 & 6 Mother & baby