When does the dream begin?

Fog over lake at sunrise, smoky mountain sky

Image shown as documented in camera.  All the original pixels are there in the configuration they were captured.  The nature of some has been changed but their presence is accurate.

A reality we can’t see at a glance?  Does it matter whether photographs tell the truth or not?  Do we expect paintings or sketches to portray what’s actually before the artist?

Photography isn’t science – it merely relies on it to achieve the photographer’s goals.  And every photographer sees a different manifestation of the scene.

Sort of like eye-witnesses – you can only trust them as far as you want to believe in them.


6 thoughts on “When does the dream begin?

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have become increasingly convinced that there is no objective “reality” when it comes to photography. Every photographer makes a series of choices about a scene that he chooses to shoot, choices that shape the perceptions of those who later see the image. Where does the dream begin? It begins in your head, very often in the unconscious mind. It may take shape and dwell, or it may pass through, leaving just vague, shadowy impressions and recollections. We may choose to act on some dreams and work to make them a reality, as real in our outer world as in our inner world. “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” That’s what Shakespeare had to say about dreams in “The Tempest.”


    • Even documentary photographers make decisions on where to point their camera, and thus distort the reality around them. I’m not sure people realize that. An abstract like this one is certainly not what people expect to see in nature but it’s just as derived from my sense of the place as a photo of a battle scene from the Civil War, many of which were posed.

      I’m finding the greatest challenge is to think about this before picking the camera up rather than developing it in post processing. How do you approach it?


      • I hate to give an answer like this, but it really depends on the situation. I’m still pretty new at this and I tend to do a lot of reactive shooting, i.e I walk around looking for things to shoot and then react to the situation that is given to me. Still, as I am picking up my camera I’m trying to think about things like exposure, depth of field, background, and isolation. My photo mentor likes to emphasize the importance of composing in the viewfinder rather than relying on cropping and adjustments. For me, I know that I still rely way too much on post processing at the moment to create the look and feel of the photos I want to show others.


      • Same with me; I’ve also been pounded by enough photographers that I am starting to look around before picking up the camera and then paying attention to what’s in the viewfinder. I feel I’m getting better at creating the composition I want in the camera and then relying on post processing to deliver the look I’m interested in. I rely on NIK plug-ins for almost all of my post processing but even then haven’t tapped into more than 50% of their offerings. There’s a level of garish I just won’t accept!

        Reactive shooting is not a bad thing but I’m learning you need to get out when the opportunity for great images is best and for landscapes that’s usually early morning or late afternoons. I’ve got way too many high-noon reactive images that just aren’t interesting, usually because it was the only time of day I could be at a place. Now I schedule my shooting time better, even when on the road. It makes for odd travel times but the images are worth it.


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