Spain, for me one of the most fascinating and alive countries in the world a microcosm of global cognitive dissonance. The primeval instincts buried and suppressed within all of us along with an openness and expressiveness many of us are not capable of.
For most of us the reality of many of the world’s issues don’t exist, knowledge and denial. Heaven forbid that this is a discussion on bullfighting it’s not or fox hunting or Kangaroo shooting. We are destroying the planet while looking the other way. Not a form of justification however 80% of the films we watch are just as violent as bullfighting the only deviation is the perception no one is really getting hurt a safe way to pander to the primeval. The care directed at the noble Andalucian horse.
The very real connection to music of the Golden Gypsy, el gitano de oro. Then there is the security safety of religion being part of the community participation in making things right an important part of keeping the balance and forgiving the misdemeanours. The exciting expressiveness of escape from worldly issues through Fiesta, Romeria or Feria. The faces of the woman and little girl in the carriage, happy to be participating, the pride of the gypsy boy participating on the horse. The everydayness of the bandsman playing with his mobile. Hope these images add a meaning to my statements. Look closely at the detachment of the spectators at the corrida. Are the spectators and matadors really connecting with the drama or just playing lip service to a traditional peer group concept that embodies toò much reality to really connect with or is there some form of emotional primeval stimulus, note the child. For the matadors detachment a defence mechanism, possibly? looking but not seeing certainly for many of the spectators. We live by denial a protection against the enormity of change and our individual inability to effect change.
Designing for strength states there is a story to be told. High impact image also use of highlights and strong shadows. The use of multiple images is legitimate if it enhances the message. The message it what’s important the camera is only a tool a paint brush. To be creative lateral thought carries great importance. Many great artists only became successful after their deaths only when people realised how far lateral and radical thought had taken them and what it had given society. Nothing advances when restricted by convention.
The question is how far an image should be pushed to achieve impact?
There are many ways to enhance an image for impact and not all in the camera post shoot production is legitimate in achieving the goal of the image creator. The camera is part of the mathematical workings part of a process towards an outcome that achieves the required result. The result is what takes the creator to the next step in the process toward reaction and development. Its rather like saying any publicity is good publicity. Few people understand why they are drawn to an image. It can be because they don’t like it unhappy with it or the cuteness is drawing the viewer in.
The image panel below uses black and white to take the eye from the colour of blood and costume to focus the eye on the detachment of the spectators using highlights throughout the gallery keeping the action dark, the action is secondary. This detachment could be a synonym for our society’s attitude to violent issues throughout the world note the child.
The colour image draws the spectators and Matadors together in their detachment to death. Even though in colour the image reeks of death yet the detachment is stronger.
Why does an image have impact the colours because it’s black and white the tonal values, highlights shadows, sharpness. Professional photographers often talk about the black point strong blacks that still carry definition can make an image bounce. Landscapes can come alive when colours are pushed to an unnatural level or the design becomes extreme. Many viewers will say I really don’t like that image. This thought process means the image has already done its job. Shock tactics have been used by the advertising industry for decades. The big photo libraries talk in terms of strong and soft images they understand that it is impact that sells, there is nothing like profit to concentrate professionalism. Laypeople will often say I need to think about that photo this secondary thought process means the moment has passed the impact is a momentary spontaneous reaction not a thought process an impulse sale. It is the initial impact that stops the viewer and commences the creation of the thought process. This dictates that the image deserves further scrutiny and understanding however without the first impact the image will be bypassed. The great master painters were masters of shock in use of colour light extreme design. Many of the great artists moved from realistic depiction to extreme or abstract design seeking that step further in impact and thought process, great photographers often use distortion to emphasise a visual point. Picasso is a great example of an artist taking the step into the dimension of lateral thought experimentation in understanding. This is what made them professionals masters, art is about causing a reaction to a statement and photography is art the word comes from the Greek a combination of two words Phos or Photos (meaning light) and Graphein (meaning to write or representation by means of lines or drawing, together meaning drawing with light). Size can have a bearing an image with little impact at A5 can come alive at poster size.
Tightly cropped shot using strong blacks to contrast the lace of the senoritas a gentle separation of the carriage groups. An image that reeks of tradition.
The Opal miner in Lightning Ridge becomes part of the wall and mine that he spends most of his day working in.
The strength of the Ocean is the dominant force below enhanced by the black and white and the highlights. Use of black and highlight.
Three women in happy fiesta dresses yet totally bored with the festivities the focus in on each woman emphasising her state.
The light entering the shed from your left makes this image and it emphasises the clarity of the wool. Use of strong light creating a strong highlight but still containing some detail.
The death of an icon a symbol for the disappearance of the motor industry in Australia and the jobs that went with it. The image is one of a mausoleum surrounded by headstones. The black and white is in keeping with the somber subject.
The women who follow the Nazarenos at Semana Santa a sombre occasion but still a fashion statement. Strong black with a hint of the lace subtle use a light touch with the highlights brings out the lace. A careful balance between black and highlight.
Concentration on the faces, pride of participation.
Thefamily participates in a great and culturally diverse city London
The World over
Waiting for the action to start
Getting rid of the evidence a suggestion by action.
Reading the Music focused use of light. The white keyboards with the white sheets draws the eye in. The shot derives its impact from the lighting. Concentrating on the action with an indication of the participants.
The work continues getting it right position and action.
Portrait of a Miner. The black and white emphasises the darkness of the world he works in the tight crop his personality.
Portrait of a Cocky and Drover. The stiffness almost gives a painted portrait feel making the image clear and focused on the subjects. They are what they are men of the land of the outback. The Drover is on your left, the Cocky or station owner your right.
The Bullock driver tight crop and action give this shot its impact.
The metomorphosis colour to black and white or vice versa changing the atmosphere.
The power of the highlights and the blacks.
Creating an atmosphere the organist’s concentration is only drawn to the music he exists only in his own bubble
The tight crop creating character
Shoot in high resolution reduce for the internet the image will always have more impact than a small censor phone. The phone image can be well constructed however the reduction from high to low increases definition strengthens shadows and highlights moving from a good well-constructed snap to professional quality. The advertising industry is the master benchmark for understanding impact and industry based on reaction. Cameras in the full frame to medium format giving TIFF files of 50MP plus are the choice for high impact imaging by professionals. Most people react to an image without knowing why and rightly so it is the job of the layman to react and the job of the professional to understand and to draw out the reaction.
I’m not a religious man in the context of following a Church doctrine or deity, the interpretation of this does not mean that I don’t have religious thoughts. The concept of atheism is a difficult one for me to comprehend as this is a statement of absolute and is a bedfellow of fundamentalism. The following of an agnostic path is to me a much more logical direction, ‘the only thing I know is I know nothing’ Socrates. Man’s interpretation of the teachings of some of the towering figures of religious history. Mohammed, Christ, Abraham, the Hindu teacher Shankara and even the Buddhas I believe would horrify the creators of those great religions. Much criminality and suffering has been perpetuated in the name of religion. The quest for some form of understanding is far more important than some vague and misguided belief that one has omnipotent knowledge, however sometimes from man’s muddled and myopic thinking comes something beautiful, the music of a Latin Mass,
The Sacred Geometry of Islam, The great paintings of the world, The Last Supper – Leonardo da Vinci, The creation of Adam – Michelangelo, Madonna del Prato or Madonna of the Meadow – Raphael, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist – Caravaggio not to mention the great temple sculptures of the East, the great fiestas of the Catholic world Semana Santa Spain. I have to admit these creations give a fabric and synergy to society that today much of the world lacks with out these creations the world would be a boring and barren place indeed. The disillusionment especially in the ranks of the youth of the world is giving rise to a self driven and violent society with an inability to see any beauty we are building the blind society.
It was attending Holy week or Semana Santa Malaga that confirmed to me the importance of maintaining these great festivals and protecting the great artistic legacy that religious belief of most persuasions has bestowed upon us. The realisation of the contribution that has been bequeathed to us by the great religions of the world is part of growing up and becoming an understanding member of society.
Semana Santa (Easter Week) Spain’s greatest festival and most important week of the year. A celebration of piety expressed almost exclusively in the processions of the brotherhoods or fraternities. Associations that have their origins in the Middle Ages, however a number were created during the Baroque Period, inspired by the Counter-Reformation ( Catholic Revival) commencing from the time of the ‘Council of Trent’ 1545 – 1563 finishing at the end of the ‘Thirty Years War’ 1648 and also during the 20th and 21st centuries. Membership of the brotherhoods is usually open to any Catholic person; family tradition is an important element to becoming a member or “brother” (hermano). The family the importance of being a part of something greater than you. The family can be seen in the important participation of Children and how they are welcomed into the festivities. The family group is an institution that we seem to be losing in most western countries to the detriment of our society.
One of the most striking spectacles of the festival are the hundreds of slow-moving Nazarenos (based on the people of Nazareth) in their tall, pointy hats and matching robes with their faces completely covered, apart from their eyes. Reasons for the use of such costumes have long been lost in antiquity however the purpose is simple , the Nazarenos their faces are covered in mourning and also as a sign of shame for the sins they have committed throughout the year. It is not uncommon for prisoners to participate as pallbearers participating in the carrying of the huge Thrones of the crucified Christ and the mourning Virgin Mary in order to repent of their sins.
There are 168 to 280 men and sometimes women who carry the thrones on their shoulders. Each man must be able to carry 40 Kilos on his shoulders for hours they tend to march for a longer period than women. The processions culminates on Easter Sunday in a long procession from the cathedral or church with the meeting of the effigies of the mourning Virgin and the resurrected Christ. Truly an artistic and spectacular fiesta that gives Spain its character and synergy. .