I’ve just returned from shooting Curtis Falls on Mt Tamborine, about an hour-and-a-half south of Brisbane. I wanted to spend some time practicing my video techniques (yep, the time has come to learn new skills) and to capture some stills for my photo library. The overcast conditions we’ve been getting lately are ideal for waterfalls and shooting rainforest in a low-contrast light.
As you can see, the second photograph I’ve posted is what you’d expect to find in a tourism brochure. It’s bright and colourful and it presents an appealing enough take on the waterfall to encourage people to visit (despite the fact you can’t swim in it, he adds).
This sort of photograph is what I’m expected to capture as a professional photographer; it’s what my clients want. Variations have since been added to my commercial photo library.
It was shot on a medium format camera to elevate the quality beyond the purview of smart-phones and most digital cameras, and it was produced in what I consider to be ideal conditions for this sort of photography.
But while the photo reflects some degree of technical capability and experience in shooting this sort of scenery, it remains largely just a record of Curtis Falls – appealing, to be sure, but one I figure many other professional photographers can capture.
However, the image at the top of this page is a unique interpretation of the same subject (though admittedly, one that’s likely to appeal to a much smaller audience).
But, while it shares the same content as the tourism photo, it has several significant characteristics that I believe favour a large wall print. Firstly, this photo is an interpretation of the waterfall that goes beyond what other photographers are likely to capture in the same conditions. While shot the same way, it’s a photograph that has then been creatively nurtured in post-production to what appeals to me on a personal level (rather than a commercial one). Appearing more like a painting, the light and the colours in the photo have been deliberately subdued, and subtle features have been highlighted to create a mood that elicits contemplation and draws the viewer in to study the photo. It’s softer, more sensual, there’s something to be imagined in the shadows.
In my view, this interpretation sees the image step further into the realm of fine-art photography to become more deserving of a place in someone’s home (below).
Of course, both types of photography have their place – though, I’d have to say, the older I get, the more enjoyment I derive from producing images I’m less-likely to see elsewhere.