Happy Memorial Day, friends.
My last blog post (Before & After #4) brings up a couple of good questions: How far should one go with photomanipulation? Does photomanipulation violate photographic integrity and sincerity?
Yes, and no. I believe that there needs to be a balance between sincerity and faithfulness to one's artistic vision. One's sense of this balance comes from diligent study, constructive self-criticism, and abundant experience. My original vision for the last Before & After was to convey the vastness of the land, and how little we truly are in this vastness. The presence of too many people interfered with my vision; so, I shopped them out. I was also in the early adolescent stages of discovering the power of Photoshop, and wanted to practice putting those newly-unearthed tools to work. However, looking back at the photo and pondering my experience of being there, perhaps I went too far. It's a little humorous, actually, now that I think about it. But, humor is not the essential experience I wanted to recall upon making this photograph.
Which brings us to today's Before & After. In this photo, I wanted to capture the loneliness and isolation of COVID-19 quarantine. My two children play well together (most of the time, anyway), but after many weeks of staying at home, indeed, they became restless and bored. I also wanted to capture this frame in a way that would facilitate the memory of this house we live in, with all the details that can help reconstruct that memory. I could have shopped out the grill on the deck, or that folding patio table which has remained closed ever since our cross-state move last year, but I didn't want to; I didn't find them distracting. What I did find distracting, however - as silly as it may seem - was the brass plate in the middle of the sliding door. The doggie bed in the lower right corner didn't bother me so much, and I would have left it there, but my adding vignetting in post-processing (to draw further attention to the children in the photo) made it disappear anyway.
Otherwise, all I did was crop the photo a bit tighter, straightened the horizon, and added some contrast to amplify the mood.
Camera settings: Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens @ 16mm & f/2.8, 1/250 second, ISO 1000.