Art Photography, like all forms of art, is a means of communication; a kind of “language.” As such, it is subject to interpretation, based on individual life experiences (the ‘filters’ through which we perceive the world).

Cultural wisdom, e,g.  the old Indian tale of “the blind men and the elephant” reminds us that each of us may only perceive a small part of reality from which we attempt to develop an interpretation of the whole.  And, when we put our individual interpretations together, we can all gain a better understanding of the world.  Our most important task as artist-photographers, then, is to ensure that the interpretations we share are as much our own as we can possibly make them.

To create art photography that is uniquely ours we must first see with the eyes of our own imagination, colored by the ‘filter’ of our own unique life experiences. Then we must capture and process the image in a way that most effectively communicates what we see; our unique interpretation of reality.

As a case study, I am posting five images, below,  all of which came from the same “digital negative,” then developed by different processing choices.  I.e  five different interpretations  of the same scene.

I have arranged them in order of increasing photographer input.  The first one was produced with ‘default’ settings,  “straight out of the camera”  –i.e. only with actions that were pre-programmed in the camera and/or software; the last, mostly with post-processing input by the photographer. (It is important  to understand that whether we consider an image to be “post-processed” or not, in reality every digital image involves processing choices, whether these were default camera settings, or our own input . )

Is one of these interpretations more “right” than the rest, or are they simply different ways to look at the same subject?

1 “Straight out of the camera”


2 “Minor Adjustments”

3 “Turn Down the lights”

4 “Intimate Portrait”

5 “Essence of a Wolf”