Tai Chi Master

I’ve spent quite a lot of money buying a camera and lens that can capture images quite this crisply:

Why is it, then, that I’m driven to experiment in Photoshop until I end up with images that look like this

and that I actually prefer to the original, though it’s not nearly as sharp and could probably have been captured with any cheap digital camera on the market?

Is it simply perverse human nature that drives us to want what others have and we don’t, and, once we have it, and only then, to realize it really wasn’t what we wanted after all?

Or do we have to prove to ourselves that we can do what others are doing before we can ever hope to find our own vision?

5 thoughts on “Tai Chi Master

  1. We’re in a poor position to judge whether the perceived need for needless things is human nature, Loren, since we’re subjected to continual pressure to buy them, to buy SOMETHING. We all do it. Chesterton saw this coming almost a hundred years ago and said we’d make a kind of god out of consumerism. (By the way, I like the first one too, but only because it looks somehow less menacing.)

  2. It’s funny how when we ‘blur’ things, a different aspect of reality sometimes becomes more available for our consideration.

    Tom, I agree the second picture has a menacing look to it. Perhaps it’s a better representation of the heron from the prey’s point of view. A frog or trout perhaps?

    I like your closing question Loren. That’ll give me something to think about for a while.

    jon

  3. There something more of the representational — of the made — in the second one. Everything in the picture appears to stand out, while in the first one, the heron stands out (or our eyes go to it). He also seems more in motion somehow, less posed, as if the camera had caught him accidentally.

  4. Yes, maria, it’s the representational aspect that I like in the second one, sort of a hand-drawn aspect, one that shows up even more in the original than it does when downsized for the net.

    Somehow the second one reminds me more of sumi-e drawings of herons, as opposed to strictly “realistic” pictures.

  5. I have battled with this only recently. I used to reserve photoshop exclusively for resizing or cropping images because I wanted to maintain the purity of “decent” images I mangaged to capture, but then curiosity grabbed me by the jugular. I’m driven to experiment and explore in photography as well as other art forms I pursue as an artist.

    (That also includes the vast area of literature and poetry where I read here, wishing I had discovered your blog long before the comments were closed. It’s as if I stepped back in A Wrinkle in Time because my eyes popped wide open in delight seeing in depth analyis and discussion of so many of my favorites. (Dickinson, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Scarlett Letter, Thoreau, Emerson and the list goes on to several more on your sidebar.) You’d already have an email from me, but I have so many artshows to prepare for now that I’ve not been able to read the vast amounts of delectable prose. I seriously pondered majoring in English; my love for it remains profound. Only recently have I dabbled in writing poetry again, as opposed to professionally related prose. I finally put in my real blog-related email(named by my kids as a joke but it’s valid), so please let me know if you ever are contemplating removing your blog.
    I have never found a wealth of discourse on so many writings that our class savored and discussed at lengh from AP English many moons ago in high school Thank you! (I was profoundly lucky to have learned from an amazing English teacher.)
    (I have two blog names so I’m also Green-Eyed Lady: same address) I’m saving your blog as a Thanksgiving surprise for my daughter when she returns home for her first freshman break from art school. (She also wanted to double major in English.) Sorry for the long comment. My computer froze when I tried to transfer this to email and I’m on deadline for artwork) Thanks again!

What do you think?