Sunday, July 08, 2007


I was reading a book those last days on artists' pigments - not a bad book, although I made the mistake of buying it in French (it was originally published in England), with a translation so bad it made my teeth hurt.

Anyway, it made me reflect on my own practice of photography, even though I'm not too sure it would qualify as art. I am mostly taking color pictures, both with a digital compact (Canon Ixus 400) and with a 135mm film SLR (Pentax MZ-10); most of the pictures you see on my blogs are taken with thoses cameras.

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, August 2004.
Camera: Pentax MZ-10 SLR with its standard 35-85 zoom; film: Fuji Superia 400.

The eternal question of color photography is that of color fidelity : is it our goal goal to produce "true colors" - and for a start, is there such a thing? I don't think so. Your perception of colors at any given time is influenced by many parameters that can't be captured by a camera, and that's as true for the moment when you take the picture and for when you're watching the result. The influence of framing on the perception of a picture is a perfect exemple of that.

What this means is that your goal is not to render the true colors of your object, but the right color impression. And the thing is, you haven't got much control on that - basically, you've got to find an harmony between your subject, the lighting and the type of film you're using. And then hope the lab won't screw things up for you. And of course, if you're an amateur, you won't devote a whole film to a single subject.

So what I'm saying, basically, is that luck has a lot to do with it. Probably the reason why art photographers tend to stick to black & white, where a talented individual can master most parameters..

I might try B&W sometimes - but for now, I'll stick with luck!