Artistic Choices in Siouxland, or Close by, Omaha, NE

25 Mar
Light and shadow play in black and white seen at the Gene Leahy mall in downtown Omaha, NE Monday March 20, 2023. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out photographing in and around Siouxland I sometimes make “artistic” esthetic decisions on the fly. Shooting with a digital camera one can “work” in black and white and then again in color. A lot of folk I know always, always shoot raw images and later decide what to do and state they then have plenty of image “space” to do as they believe an image should be represented, that is, their presentation of their artistic vision.

And that is good. Everyone sees differently. When teaching a photographic location class through a Lifelong Learning program at a local community college, the group would travel to 4 different locations that I would select. And these were vary and change with the seasons, indoors, out of doors, morning and evening. I wanted students to work in various conditions so if they happen to be traveling for vacation for other reason and wanted to photograph something, they could acquire a skill set and thought process that might help them navigate what it was they wanted to photograph and how to photograph it as well. Plus these sessions reinforced the basic photographic skills taught in another course about shooting manually, selecting appropriate white balance, or not, and picking an aperture and shutter speed while shooting in manual. It was all to get people comfortable in using their individual cameras and making informed choices when photographing rather than relying on the camera to make decisions for them. Aperture priority never takes into account low ISO settings and even slower shutter speeds while trying to achieve the desired depth of field for an image, and then the photographer realizes upon returning home that there is little usable from their most recent excursion.

A table and chair highlighted by the sun seen at the Gene Leahy mall in downtown Omaha, NE Monday March 20, 2023. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A recent discussion by some local camera club folk revolved around in camera and software editing skills and not truly representing the scene photographed as it was. Press the shutter and no cropping and minimal toning and voila, a Henri Cartier-Bresson moment. But that may not be what the photographer intended. Ansel Adams photographed a lot of landscapes and always brought a vision of how he wanted the scene interpreted. From his selection of lenses, film, filters, processing (over or under) then the printing and the use of his zone system.

The world revolves diversity of thought and vision. Although recently some might question that. So open and thoughtful debate should always be a good thing. Respectfully done of course, but then again, there will always be a few zealots not in agreement or nice about how they respond to others. Sad really, to be stuck in time with no before or after.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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