I have always been a stickler for trying to achieve new ideas in photography as much as possible 'in camera'. By this I mean constructing an image by way of concepts and ideas that lead to the finished product through as much technical knowledge as it does creative ability at the time of the shutter release. The digital age of photography is here to stay, and with it is an ever changing toolbox of possibilities unfolding on a daily basis. As photographers we should relish the time spent behind the lens more than we do in front of a screen but yet so many of us see this new revolution as merely being a medium to be relied upon as a quick and cheap alternative to film and an excuse to cut short our time in the viewfinder. In the past I have been fortunate enough to work with students and people new to the discipline, they are always full of ideas, concepts and the enthusiasm for experimentation in photography but nearly always leave their bolder innovations to the safety of post production and photo editing software.
There are so many advantages to shooting in the digital format where an instant result of the subject can be viewed and reviewed nearly limitless times and at minimal cost. Photographic concepts that involve many variables like shooting through objects with varying depths of field, mixing lighting temperatures and light sources with long exposures all in a single shot are very difficult to predict even for the most seasoned photographer. But with the advent of the instant result it is possible to adapt and tweak these shots on the fly, where these photographic trial and error happy accidents may have been left to private experiments at best, these ambiguous variables can be utilised in a commercial capacity where in the past they may of been deemed to risky to implement on shoot day with tight deadlines.
It is not my objective to dismiss the merits of photo editing programs, all of my images have undergone at least some level of post production work and I would happily argue that there isn't a single digital 'raw' image out there that wouldn't benefit from at least some digital manipulation. The issue I find when processing images is that you nearly always have to have a clear idea in mind of what you want to achieve before you can begin to reach a result. Any program is built on a set of rules and parameters and it is with this in mind that the meaning of the Japanese science fiction writer Kazunori Itō's title quote "I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries" begins to reveal itself.
In the forthcoming pages I will aim to not only provide a useful resource for the people who have attended my workshops and lectures but to give inspiration to anybody who wishes to experiment with their photography. The resulting creative process of shooting in some of these documented ways will nearly always create unexpected results that can be pursued or not. The outcome though is that you will constantly discover photographs outside your understanding and you will achieve results that will excite and drive your photography forward beyond your boundaries.