The Power of Pure Photographs

Eadweard Muybridge's chronophotographic study of a running horse, 1878
Eadweard Muybridge's chronophotographic study of a running horse, 1878 | Source

I have always been drawn to photographs. Last year I invested in a good camera, a Pentax Kx Digital SLR and I also bought a long lens. I have been snapping pictures with it almost every day since. Except for the basic operating instructions and troubleshooting, I have never read the owner’s manual. Sometimes I think that’s improvident, and sometimes I think that’s inspired.

In this day of digital photography, you can no longer trust photographs. There was a time when a photograph could be positive evidence that something was real. With a whole lot of equipment, you could doctor a print, but the negative was untouchable.

In 1878 Eadweard Muybridge experimented with chronophotography, which used a series of cameras set to go off successively as the moving subject passed by. Leland Stanford commissioned Muybridge to do a chronophotographic study to prove that Stanford was correct when he said that a galloping horse has all four feet off the ground at the same time. The proof was in the picture. Indeed all four hooves do leave the ground at the same time. (Mr. Stanford collected on a bet with one of his cronies because of this photographic evidence.)

Of course now, photographic retouching is part of the art form. However, veracity is not.

I’ve taken thousands of pictures in the last year with my trusty Pentax. I have about twenty that are truly good photographs. (Maybe I should read the manual?!?) And if I wanted to know which f-stop or setting I used to get that result, I couldn’t tell you what they are. I am a (very) bush-league photographic Jackson Pollack. There is something kind of magically elusive about capturing a moment and being stuck with it. You have recorded a moment that is forever caught in time just as it was, and never will be again. With no recreations, deletions or improvements possible, or in my opinion, necessary, it is the last ephemerality in our molded and manipulated world. I’d like to hang on to that for a while.

That is not to say that I don’t enjoy the benefits of Photoshop from time-to-time. I certainly do. However, fixing and perfecting every shot and not recognizing that there is beauty in actuality seems to me, a sorry loss.

Here are some of my unretouched best.

Bright Treat
Bright Treat
Shifting Sands
Shifting Sands
Extremities
Extremities
Cat with Blue Bowl
Cat with Blue Bowl
Eye of the Storm
Eye of the Storm
On the Wing
On the Wing
Stre-e-e-e-e-e-etch
Stre-e-e-e-e-e-etch
A Mountain of Clouds
A Mountain of Clouds
Best of Friends
Best of Friends
Chipmunk Visit
Chipmunk Visit
No Strings Attached
No Strings Attached
Sun on the Sand
Sun on the Sand
Shining Through
Shining Through
Clinging to Hope
Clinging to Hope | Source
Night Sky
Night Sky
The End
The End

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Comments 7 comments

sandy1973mypetdog profile image

sandy1973mypetdog 5 years ago from the south

Great photos, you have done really well with your camera. I agree that you don't have to touch your photos once you take them. I don't think you have to necessarily read the manual either, you can get the photos you want, you just have to look for it. Not every photo will be your best, but you will find one out of the bunch that just speaks to you. Keep taking those photos, I really enjoyed this hub and agree with you. I don't retouch my photos, I just go out there and shoot away. Great hub KaisMom :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Striking photographs! I prefer untouched photos. Yours are absolutely stunning. I love this hub and voting UP!

vocalcoach~


KaisMom profile image

KaisMom 5 years ago from Keizer, Oregon Author

Thank you sandy and vocalcoach. I am so pleased that you enjoyed this hub. I guess I'll keep snapping away. Thanks again.


Purple Turtle profile image

Purple Turtle 5 years ago from Home

Beautiful Hub. I really like the picture of the cat drinking from the blue bowl.


KaisMom profile image

KaisMom 5 years ago from Keizer, Oregon Author

Thank you, Purple Turtle. The sun was hitting my cat, Vince and the glass bowl just perfectly that morning. I appreciate your comments.


carriethomson profile image

carriethomson 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi these are some of the best photographs I have come across and more so because they have been aptly named. I am averse to photo shopping, I like the photographs just as they are captured! So vote up for these!!

-carrie


KaisMom profile image

KaisMom 4 years ago from Keizer, Oregon Author

Thank you Carriethomson. I appreciate that!

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