Truth Be Told, pt. 2
Later as an architectural photographer, “photographic-truth” became much more of an issue and one that has stayed with me daily. I was looking at some early work and comparing it with a more recent project. Both were considered a success to the client, but there were certain, almost polar, differences in how they were approached. One had over 20 supplemental lights added to it (the earlier shot) and the more recent shot had none. Which was the “truer” image? I don’t know. One was used to sell a property, and one was to document design and become a part of the designer’s portfolio. I can easily say that without all the added lighting in the earlier shot, it would look almost nothing like it does in the final image, but they were both equally composed, edited within the camera and decisions like angles, camera height, focal length, time of day, and what to leave in and out of the frame, were made. Versions of “truths” specific to every photographer that are created whenever a shot is composed. The earlier project, had minimal post-production/digital work done to it, and the more recent, an extensive amount. Going back to the architecture photography of even the 1940′s, I think it’s ironic that the more natural-looking images took an equal amount of time/work, as the heavy-handed, opulent and glorifying shots of a building or interior (in terms of lighting, or these days, in digital post-production).
The approach is ultimately a matter of intent, not to mention personal preference and artistic license. What is the purpose of the image? Is it being lit for the sake of lighting and to show one’s own lighting abilities and photoshop skills, or is it to communicate design? And lastly is it “true” to the designer’s vision?