The Geek and the Artist

August 8th, 2011 by Steve Gettle

MONARCH BUTTERFLY WING SCALES

One of the things I love about photography is it appeals to both the geek and the artist in all of us. On the geek side you have the technical considerations of making an image; the f-stops, shutter speeds, depth of field, histograms, dynamic range, and that hyperfocal distance stuff that we must all master in order to communicate our vision. Of course we can’t forget about all the ‘geeky’ gear, super telephotos, focusing rails, tele-converters, extension tubes, fill flash, and such.  On the artistry side things are a little tougher to define, shape, color, composition, mood, balance, and that fickle mistress light, to mention just a few.

To make a great photograph you have to find the balance between the geek and the artist. If you lean too much toward the geek your pictures, while technically perfect, can lack emotion. They may not reach out and touch the viewer; they can be missing a mood or feeling. Conversely, too much focus on the artistry at the expense of the technical may leave your work riddled with technical flaws distracting the viewer from your message. Most photographers tend to lean in one direction or the other, some are master technicians crossing every t and dotting every i in their images. While others have a flair for the artistic not having the time or desire to bother with all of that technical stuff. A truly great photographer finds a balance and mastery of these two opposing disciplines.

The best photography communicates with the viewer. It reaches out and touches them in some way.  Your message does not have to be some deep life changing affirmation. It can be something as simple as, “Wow look how pretty this is!” The most effective way to communicate your message is without technical flaws that distract the viewer from your message. The most powerful way to reach someone is by touching their soul with your artistry.

Browse Steve’s wonderful images, read his blog, and learn about his incredible variety of workshops at his site www.stevegettle.com

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