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January 16, 2018


Years ago, a dear now-departed friend counseled me never to edit my photos. "SOOC", straight out of the camera, was a brag tag, a label that would convey something extremely positive to my viewers about me and my skills as a photographer. After years of mulling this subject over I find that I strongly disagree with him. Sorry, Frank (wherever you are).


 For me, photography is an art of "seeing" and seeing is itself a process of filtering. We don't all see the same things. How many other people do you know who are out in their backyard in single digit temperatures taking pictures of hoarfrost around a heated birdbath? I'm sure they're out there, but I haven't come across them yet. And what my winter photography has taught me is that, without the filtering devices of a macro lens or image editing software, I would miss most of the tiny miracles that delight me. Perhaps someone more skilled than I, or someone with better equipment, could capture some of these images SOOC but I can't. And that's ok with me.


Photography is also a visual expression of the art of being in relationship. Every subject, each image, brings something unique to my attention. Each asks something different of me. I find myself in conversation with what would normally be perceived as inanimate objects. "What is it that you have to show me? What is it that you'd like to say?" The end product, the images that you see, are the products of an artistic collaboration in which the "objects" that act as "subjects" are very much animated players.


 Photography also gives me a tangible way to work with filters and to modulate all of the variables my environment throws at me. In "real life", I'm not good at this. My filters are very dysfunctional. I'm not connected to my own body and over-connected to externals. I overwhelm easily. Working with these images and thinking about how their lessons might relate to life in a larger perspective is, or will be eventually, helpful. Perhaps?



 Perhaps. In the meantime, enjoy these images and know that they are not straight out of the camera. I edited the hell out of them.













© 2018 Karen Opp James. All rights reserved.

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