Photographic art is about freedom; the freedom to express honestly that which is in the heart, mind, and soul of a photographer. It isn't about the ridiculous and unreal idea that photography must follow the expectations and guidelines of some faceless and nameless cabal that pontificates edicts that are nonsensical. It is about being real and true to the self.
Expressing oneself honestly and truthfully is a liberating experience. Yes, one does run the risk of alienating those whose vision is narrow. On the other hand, one can find immense satisfaction and fulfillment following his or her own pathway. Often times that path will have others who are also being true to the self, and wonderful attachments and relationships can be formed.
There is no one true way for all. Each of us must find our way that is honest and true for each of us individually.
I am sharing five different links to show how different processes have been used and are used when working to create a photograph. None of the five links speak to the subject of digital photography. I do this to show that those who have used film in the past, and those who photograph using film today, have and do manipulate their film negatives to create something special. I am a digital photographer this day and age, however, I learned the art using a film camera in some other century. To this day I continue to learn how to improve my skills.
Three of the five links are youtube videos. I must warn you that some time will be needed to watch the video about Ansel Adams and the video about Alfred Stieglitz. For those who are dedicated to photography, it will be time well spent.
In fact, the first video is about Ansel Adams and how he approached his profession. His attention to details in the field and in his darkroom are lessons to be remembered. A special thanks to Joe Wabe who made me aware of this video several months ago. The link: Ansel Adams.
The second video is about the man who worked so hard to create and to promote the arts and the art of photography. He association with the great artists and photographers from Europe and America and his fearlessness in promoting the arts and the art of photography is nothing short of amazing, in my opinion. The link: Alfred Stieglitz.
Video number three is a short example of how a finished film print can be manipulated to enhance the final product. Some of my favorite prints in the past were those I hand painted. The link: Manipulation.
The fourth link is an example of how film negatives can be manipulated to create one artistic effect or another. A viewer will be able to search the internet to find articles about how the great photographers from the past processed their film negatives in order to create some stunning images. The link: Distressing Negatives.
The fifth and final link leads to a forum discussion. A photographer discusses his manipulation process: Kill Your Darlings. To see the results of his darkroom manipulation, visit his portfolio over at photo.net: Emil Schildt Photography.
In this age of the internet, so many examples and stories of photographic art by way of a film camera exist and can be accessed for anyone to learn from. That is the easy part. The hard part is the honest retrospection and inspection of the heart and the mind that is necessary to be the creative being that is full and fulfilled.