> Imaging – experience. What do we see ?

A camera is a device that by its best effort is trying to depict a scene.
What we (I) feel when we look at a scene might be very different

They are in different moods and different experiences that constantly affect the interpretation of what we see.

I have sometimes ended up in the discussion of what you can, and can not do to an image.
A documentary picture is supposed to show what happened in a scene. It may seem obvious that you should not retouch and change in a documentary image – that could be like distorting the truth.
On the other hand, by just turning the camera a bit, or cropping the image afterwards, the perception of the image may be radically different.
Other images intend to create or reproduce a specific atmosphere.
That is where I often find myself in my pictures. Then the picture from the camera becomes a raw material that may need different amounts of work to be in harmony with my memory of the moment or what I want the moment to be.

The camera has quite some limitations that affect the resulting picture.
As an illustration to this, look at the pictures below. The first picture shows what the camera recorded, in this case yet developed to lighten the shade and save some of the high-lights. The second picture reflects my impression of the scene, what my eyes could see, my memory of the experience.


How the camera recorded the scene …


As I remember the scene.

It was at least an hour before sunset, and at theat time it is generally light outside. Not at all so dark as the camera sees it.

The image examples show the difficulty with dynamic range. Our eyes have much broader range than a professional camera.
In addition, our eyes move around quickly back and forth in a scene, something we don’t think of, or even perceive. Our vision “film” the scene and compensates, so to speak, exposure all the time and creates the picture in our mind.

Dynamic range can serve as an illustrative example – there are many other, less obvious effects that influence our interpretation. Mood and the focus you have for the moment can give radically different interpretations of the same situation.

More before – after pictures; what the camera saw and as I remember it (or prefer to remember …).
Picture order; first what the camera saw – then my interpretation.

So the question is how much can you attribute a camera’s objectivity – and which is the impression I have from the moment, what do I want to convey and emphasise.

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