Friday, April 9, 2021

Real pictures


Maybe all I ever wanted is for painting to be easier.

Here is something, like a painting, that took me but a few minutes to make:

It's a photograph I took, with a filtering app I have, and a small bit of editing on top of it.

Easy peasy. Better in some ways than I could hope to paint!

I am a great respecter of painting. It is a difficult bit of sorcery, and no one will ever explain Caravaggio to my satisfaction. 

But photography?

A trick.

Oh, hell, Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus are all geniuses and everything, and maybe that french guy, Eugene Atget, but, I don't know. Sometimes it all seems like monkeys on typewriters.

No offense.

Maybe I could be a monkey on a typewriter! To be perfectly honest writing Hamlet by accident seems easier than writing it on purpose. That's some serious shit! And no one will ever be painting Starry Night by happenstance. Apparently not me for instance.

So I got a camera.

There is a terrible and deep craft to photography. A brutal understanding of lens openings and F-stops and chemicals and light and shutter speeds is required for any of your Ansel Adams type photos. 

But I never could seem to retain that stuff, or apply it properly. So I just fell back on learning any easy photo trick I could pick up. Modern technology has almost overwhelmed traditionalism in photography. This works brilliantly for me. I never could quite keep track of what f-stop makes the background blurry. Now I don't have to. 

There's usually some way to make the background blurry if you want, although it seems like a lot of trouble if it didn't just happen that way by accident.

Here's another picture!


The background seems okay to me.

I have a few cameras now. One zooms in from far away, and it also can get up real close, unnervingly close, though it's hard to keep in focus. It's not even that expensive a camera. I also have a camera that can take a picture of everything all around it all at once, 360 degrees! Fancy tricks. I even now carry a camera with me in my pocket at all times! But my favorite things in photography right now are all my software apps and programs that create wild, magical seeming effects right into my photographs. 

My favorite is an app called Prisma. 

I like it a lot. 

It may overwhelm clerkmanifesto here for a few days...

or weeks...

or even longer.

The first thing I've done with this app is to run many of my favorite old photographs through it to see what I could come up with. Like the time I ran into a coyote at my local creek and took a picture of it:

Or one of my pictures of a butterfly:

One of my many pictures of the Saint Minneapolis skyline:

A compelling insect of the high Summer:

A neighborhood cat:

Well, I could go on.

I could go on for a very long while.

I probably will at some point.

But the reason I could go on is because these filters are, well, they're neat.

They're magic. Easy magic.

And it's not like they need really good pictures. I don't have to work with the best pictures I've accumulated in a year of photography. I could just go out and take my more usual middling pictures, the kind that I more regularly fill my camera's memory card with.

Here's some trees by the river I just took:

A tree in a park:

A staircase I sometimes take down to the Mississippi river:

And if you like these at all like I do you might think: "Sure, but these are still pretty shots of pretty places."

Fair enough.

Here are some pictures of my library. Make of them what you will:

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