10 Jan The Canon Lab – Eyebrows Up – Part Two
Back on the YouTube channel again today and two more of the Canon videos that explore the idea of laboratory experiments with photographers. By all means go to the youtube.com site and dial up:
THE LAB: EVOLUTION
THE LAB: DECOY
Watch the first one first.
When I did I was highly amused to see the rules – three simple objects to be photographed with Canon cameras and lenses by a series of photographers, but no-one was allowed to take the same photo twice. Essentially, as the props were used, they were used up. The items provided were:
Bananas get peeled, flowers get trashed, and an egg – eventually – gets broken. And each person confronted with the history of what ever was in front of them had to make something visually interesting out of it. Most succeeded.
Those of us who have worked with materials in a studio know pretty much how this works – certainly the still life and food shooters know all about time limitations on their subjects. Portraitists do too, even if they do not recognise the fact that people can rise to an occasion, but eventually peak and then decline. The cruelest of us treasure the images taken just before the sitter bursts into tears and falls off the posing stool. They don’t get ordered a lot by the client but if the sitter ever becomes famous they are the sort of files that sell very well to gossip magazines…
And now to THE LAB: DECOY…
The premise of this exercise was to have 6 photographers do a small portrait session with a man who was presented to each one of them separately – with a different persona and history. To one he was a millionaire and to another an ex-convict. One met him as a fisherman and one as a psychic…
They all took different portraits during their sessions and they were all surprised at the end to discover that the personae they were asked to ” flesh-out “…a term used in the video…were false. The chap who acted as the subject was none of the things they were told, though he was a pretty good actor.
The purpose of the video was to show that the end result of an image is often coloured by the pre-conceived perceptions of the photographer. Yes, indeed, and that also applies to whether they are looking at a skyscraper or a seascape. Or at someone who has lied to them. I should be interested to see what photograph they would take of the subject – or of the director of the video – now that they know they have been deceived.
In the case of the producer of this impromptu social experiment perhaps the kindest thing would be to oversharpen a JPEG in the hope of producing a halo…