John Louis Field, photographer
February 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
FIRST PERSON | JOHN FIELD
As an architect who specialized in the design of public places and a documentary filmmaker who explored why we like some spaces and not others, it became clear as I began focusing on photography that what I wanted to capture was not merely found on film. It was more than something visual. It involved all of the senses.
In the hundreds of photographs I took over the years, the nature of the single lens camera always held the viewer back, outside the place. Even photographs of architectural projects I designed were usually manipulated by the professional photographer to show as much as possible, exaggerating the dimensions and missing the essential nature of being there.
In filmmaking, the sense of sound is a great help in capturing the sense of place. Still, I found we could come closer to replicating the experience of being there by building up a sequence about a place with a series of closeups. That is part of what our eyes do naturally as our focus shifts rapidly, even when we don’t notice we are doing it.
Digital photography and Photoshop make it possible to create images that express the sense of being inside these special places by removing some details and reinforcing the textures, colors or direction of the light — things that are more powerful in remembering the experience of being there than the original photograph. Often understanding the sense of the place only becomes clear to me as I work with the photograph in the computer. Like reading poetry, I need to bring myself into it to discover its nature and meaning.
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