Wednesday, August 14, 2013


   As photographers, we have a huge range of filters at our disposal to alter the acquired image.   Diffusion filters, neutral density filters, polarizing filters, special effects filters...the list goes on and on.  But what about our personal filters?  What do we carry around with us everyday that alters our perception of the world around us?

Through a Window, Dimly
   Those of us who have had formal training in photography carry the filter of photographic knowledge.  This was the filter I had the most difficulty disposing of when I took up the camera again in 2005 and discovered contemplative photography.  I "knew" what made a good photograph and I thought I knew what didn't.  The rules were an inhibiting filter to my experience.  It was like looking through a rainy window all the time. 

   One way to ascertain what your personal filters are is to look through a diverse collection of photography, either in a book or in a museum or gallery.  It is helpful to record your initial reaction to each photograph, maybe with the thumbs up and thumbs down judgement.  Then ask yourself...why do I like this particular photograph and why do I dislike this other one?  Somewhere along the line you will find yourself bumping into some sort of filter.  Something that is getting in your way of appreciating a particular style or technique or subject matter.

   It's perfectly alright to have preferences, it's only natural, but when they are getting in the way of your ability to explore new ideas or push your personal image making envelop just a bit then they are acting as inhibiting filters.  Best to be aware of it and put them aside from time to time.  Try seeing the world without your personal filter.

No comments: