The art of underexposure
When I first began making photographs, I began using color and slide film. Working with film was always a challenge, but one could expose the film or chrome differently to achieve a desired affect. I have always been fascinated by the way a camera can record color.
The art of black and white photography is being able to play with tonality and contrast. Some photographers are able to process a scene in black and white. It’s such an art, and there is such beauty in black and white imagery. I love color though, by underexposing just a fraction I feel like a photographer is able to saturate the colors a bit. Shadows can create a mood. Underexposing also creates contrast.
There is a tonal range in an image. Cameras record light differently than we see it, our eyes are able to process more of a range of light than a camera can, meaning we are able to see the detail in shadows. I love to look around and see how the light is falling on a particular scene. I’ll observe the scene, look for the most interesting light, or the most fascinating subjects, or something different.
As a news photographer, we have an obligation to tell the story as we see it in front of us. Sometimes we are bound to the news value rather than an aesthetic, but such is the business of photojournalism, we are there to record a scene and to show history as it’s being made. But there are other moments. In many situations, I feel that scenes are recorded and the significance is narrowed down to a frame or two that are supposed to represent exactly what happened.
What is the significance of a scene? What was the moment that defined an event?
But there are myriad moments that define an event.
The media at times dictates news rather than recording it, but all around there are moments happening that define it as much as anything else. Finding those moments is easy, it’s recording them in a way that somehow reflects their emotional significance that provides more of a challenge. Through the art of photography, we are able to capture those moments in a way that reflects the way we see them. We are thinking and feeling, and our cameras are there to record that, our presence in a scene, how we process everything that is going on around us. I care about how that looks, as a photographer we are interested in the aesthetic, but the ultimate goal is to make the viewer feel what it was like to be there, or feel something about the scene. If my images are able to capture that, then I have done my job.
I was lucky enough to be able to cover the Democratic National Convention, and being able to see history in the making and at the same time record it was an amazing experience.