Creative Interpretation: Making it Unique, Part 1

With Leonard Cohen’s last album playing through my ear buds, I stared at my computer screen. Seated on a Westjet flight last Thursday somewhere high about the clouds between Toronto and Calgary I was searching for a spark of motivation.

After 2 great weeks visiting our son and his family in Flatrock, Michigan south of Detroit it was time to put my mind back in ‘photography mode’. I thought of the Nik Radio podcast interviews I had listened to while on my daily walks. I really enjoyed listening as Scott Sheppard interviewed such notable photographers as Colby Brown, Tony Sweet, Moose Peterson and others.

Each of these photographers has developed very successful careers. What sets them apart from other photographers, in my opinion is their creative interpretation of the subjects they photograph.

Thinking critically of the thousand of images in my image library I wondered how many of them stood out as a result of a particular creative interpretation that I had developed. Certainly, many of those that I have presented at Artwalk in Lake Country had a particular creative interpretation. They stood out but the majority did not.

Over the last few years I’ve become aware of the creative possibilities available with plugins from Nik Software and Topaz Labs. While Nik plugins form the basis of my regular workflow, I think that the plugins from Topaz offer incredible possibilities to creatively interpret the images I capture.

I introduced the image below at Artwalk in Lake County several years go. I titled it ‘Vacant’. Captured in Superior, Arizona it looked nothing like my original RAW file.

All that was left of the old hotel were the outer walls. On the morning that I made this photograph the sun was well up, the sky was bright blue and by Arizona standards it was cold. I loved the textures but the colours were very dull. These needed to be enhanced and a mood developed.

In Lightroom and with Nik’s Colour Efex Pro 4 I began moving sliders about. I really liked the end result but unfortunately, I didn’t record the steps I took. There will be no repeat performance. The image evolved and I stopped ‘playing’ when I was satisfied with my creative interpretation the old hotel.

Interestingly, the mines in the Superior, AZ area seem to be experiencing a resurgence. When I visited there last winter there was much activity in town and around the processing plant. And the old hotel had been restored. Too bad for me as I had hoped to spend more time there with my camera.

Hotel with the character of age.

In my  next few posts I’ll continue with my thoughts on creative interpretation. 

This entry was posted in Education, My Work.

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