HDTV Has No Soul

There are many reasons why I don’t like HDTV.  They are probably the same reasons why I don’t like a lot of today’s digital photography.  The main reason is that HD is nothing like real life and it is way too similar to what our actual eyes see.  I was watching a movie over at a friend’s house and it was in HD.  It looked like a movie set.  I could see the difference in the lighting from the background to the foreground to the actors.  It was all too technically perfect.  There was nothing but technical perfection throughout the entire movie, but there was one huge thing missing.  Soul.

Photography and movie making used to be about the director’s vision.  I see so many photographers today trying so hard to be technically perfect that they forget what the image is actually about.  Just because an image is lit properly and super sharp does not mean it is a good image.  What was the intention of the image?  Sure, if you’re shooting stock photography they want it sharp and lit well and all of that technical crap.  But that is because they are selling images to the masses.

Lets look at the Ford Mustang.  They make thousands of these cars, most people can only afford the basic model, a few more can afford the GT, and then there is the Shelby version for those who want a faster version of the same car.   The basic mustang looks great, it has great features and runs and is dependable.  It is real life.  The GT, its a supped up version of real life.  This is what HD is to me, it’s crisp, it’s bright, but it’s real life. The Shelby is just a bigger screen.  But now let’s go back in time and take a look at the 68 Shelby Cobra.  It’s a little rough around the edges.  It’s uncomfortable, loud, it may break down on you, but it has soul.

I guess what I am saying is that I want to make images that mean something to me.  Being technically perfect is boring and honestly anyone who reads a photo magazine can do this.  I was asked at the photo workshop in Indy how I got rid of digital noise in my images.  I said I don’t.  This is true, I don’t get rid of the noise unless I absolute have to.  It is like asking me how I get rid of the grain in the film I shoot.

When creating a photograph every photographer needs to remember this one thing.  The mood is not only created by the expression or positioning of your subject, it is also created by the lighting you choose to use.  Perfect lighting is when you are able to convey your story to the viewer, not just make it look pretty.  A good photographer can create a good image with any camera in any situation.  Understanding light is more than just knowing your settings, it is knowing what story to tell and when to tell it.

Maybe I’m old school, or as I have been called, maybe I am a purist.  I like mood, I like grain, I like mystery and ambiguity.  I want people to have their own story they tell about my images, I don’t want to have to explain it all to them.  As an artist it is our job to convey our vision to the world in our work.  I don’t live in a technically perfect world, I like to believe I live in a world with soul.  That is the story I want to tell.

Alisa by The Average Jim