A Story of an Image, A Ramble, A Metaphor — a Three for One

In this time of pandemic and heat. Lives and habits change. Some mandated for the health of yourself and others, some as a personal reaction to the situation as a whole. 

Many times we find our social interaction through phone conversations and keep busy by organizing and dealing with our stuff. As a part of this, I know I have been reflecting on many things, my life, my career (which I have retired from) and also on my photography. 

Improvement is a basic tenant of life, and what better vehicle than images, as they are not only tangible and malleable, but also subjective. 

To move on in this subject, this came together, people, past images, and the need to improve. The people are Rod and Lonna Klukas, two exceptionally fine individuals who happen to have a wealth of information, talent, charity, and most importantly a practical experience of life. I am proud to call them my friends. 

Now as I promised, to move on. Here is an image I shot in 2014, it was shot walking the lanes in Shanghai with my partner in crime Pat Belson, whom I went exploring and shooting the streets of Shanghai at least once a week for 5 years. I used a Canon 5D Mark III and a recently purchased Zeiss 58mm Biogen. Below is the RAW file with without adjustments

I ended up converting it to black and white, as at the time as I certainly thought the capture was saying something. I just felt B&W expressed the feeling more and, that color did not really bring anything to the image. If you have walked the lanes of Shanghai, B&W is a natural. 

I had just gotten a new preset from Mastin Labs as, Lonna recommended it and Lonna is not a frivolous person, when she says something- you listen. So, by chance I went back to this image and I worked on it and felt it certainly worked in color. I sent it to Lonna and received a series of comments and refinements, i.e. move this slider 3 more points and another four points and reduce another one 3 points – well in my opinion that made a world of difference!! 

So in the end, is it better than the B&W? That is the first question that comes up. Bad and unfair question BUT for sure, it is this is great example of “The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” – Ansel Adams

I am incredibly happy with the results and would add, in this time of millions of opinions, and thousands of experts, it is better to step back – away sometimes, and appreciate the important things, family, friends, art, and basic humanity. Do something nice.

Published by Philip Goldberg Photography

Every photographer has a mantra, and my mantra is: It's all in the printed photograph. With today's snap and up-load mentality, we have gotten further away from what photography is about and it's about the print. A good photograph should be a physical image that causes you to look a second or third time. It should also be an image that arrests your subconscious, touches your emotional center, fascinates your imagination and it should pull you up sharply. That is what is known as the decisive moment. My journey in photography began when images appeared in a tray and had to be fixed. The hours spent in the dark put you in a creative zone in which life did not impinge and the only life was the one that you breathed into the photograph under the concentrated light of an enlarger. In those days, my trusty Nikon F was not only my camera of choice; it was the only one I could afford. As a native of Detroit, my camera, car and curiosity were my holy trinity in my wanderlust for good photographs. Older and hopefully wiser, my photography is now digital. The Nikon now sits on the shelf, but next to it are my modern digital cameras: Canon, Leica, Mamiya, as well as tech and field cameras. However, I still compose the shot. There are many other photographers who believe in the craft of the printed image, which is the reason why, I have been commissioned several occasions to print for their exhibitions in China and Berlin. I trust that the photographs that you have viewed in my galleries embody my belief in photography. If you have seen a photograph that you would like to own or if you are a fellow photographer looking for a good printer then please contact me. I still believe that the printed image is the end game in photography. A good photograph, is about making decisions, planning and being prepared, because as the saying goes; 'fortune falls to them, who are prepared for chance'. Thanks for viewing. I can be contacted by email at alajuela@msn.com if you have any questions or would like usage rights to any of the photographs on this site.

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