The Garbage Manifesto

Tonight I am writing about the garbage in landscape and my stance about it in photographs.

To me photography is something relatively new, I have taken photographs with cell phones, web cams and point and shots since four years ago, a superzoom two years ago and the last year I had the luck to find in internet a Sony R1 as an affordable way to play with quality raw files thus I can work on them to produce a photography closer to my perception.

I say closer to my perception and not closer to the reality because we are human beings, not machines. Our emotions and psyche modify what we are perceiving and at the same time we see the world we are changing it to our desires. For example the sun early in the morning to a happy man could mean just a signal or a medal of his good luck; but to another man in disgrace it can be the tenacious reminder of his penuries and torments. Could be that the reality is one (or could be not depending on our beliefs) but illusion or solid that reality is different for everyone.

However it is the garbage issue. I mean, today the technology allow us to manipulate this fiction so called photography. Etymologically we aren’t just writing with photons or light, but with pixels. It is a simple gesture modify the image of a girl to make her look like a Barbie (even with the plastic skin :S), rejuvenate actors and actresses of yore; even erase some dictator’s fallen in grace friends, and yes, cloning and healing to erase that uncomfortable garbage from our photos.

Months ago I discovered, using the trials of raw processors, to erase that bags, diapers, and tappers in the pretty landscapes. But I wondered if that wasn’t go to far in edit…

Let’s see this photograph, is a can in middle of the field. It was there recently cause its lack of oxide, it draw my attention because I didn’t remember an object reflecting the whole sky in its surface without interferences as buildings, poles, trees, people, cars, dogs, etcetera. So when I took the picture I tried to emphasize that idea (please, remember that I do this as a hobby, I am not a professional), I used a bit of fill flash to reduce the shadow intensity so it couldn’t compete with the can; I extended the zoom further so I couldn’t appear (contaminate) the blue surface in the can, with a camera with interchangeable lenses I couldn’t achieved that idea because the low flash synchronization, the shutter was set in 1/500 and with a fixed camera that’s a peace of cake, and after when I edited the raw file I tried to emphasize that idea: fine tuning contrast, highlights, saturation, etcetera, I am using photo ninja to edit my files, actually I chosen it in part because the files doesn’t look so artificial or manipulated but with a beautiful rendering that seems so natural, not film-like that also has an artificial, but different from digital, finish; and I choose it also because it has not tools to fake the reality upon is constructed the photograph.

So in my landscape photographs I decided to not erase the garbage, in part as a protest to the people who pollute just because they don’t live in the place they are making dirty. But also because I believe that the photography, although a subjective vision of our way of see the world, it has to tell anyway in base of the shared reality. And if something is erased I think it should be ethical to remark it.

This is a personal posture from the point of view of somebody who just likes to take photographs, I have no desire to be a professional photographer because if it were a work I don’t think it would be funny anymore. I don’t see nothing wrong if other people has another posture, in fact several photographs I like a lot are heavily modified (to me modified is different to just processed) But in my case I consider that erase anything, even something so disliking as garbage, in the borders of a photographs would be as lie to myself. Because I know that that wasn’t what I saw in first place.

By the way I used the healing and cloning tool of some programs. Firstly I took it with enthusiasm but after a couple of weeks I begun to feel that I had destroyed my photographs. After that I am happy with my editions, they are not far from I saw, in fact they are closer.

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