Photography means writing with light in Greek. And, while it is the worlds’ most popular hobby, very few people write with light. Most people take pictures, they point the camera at a subject. They see a subject that is interesting, or otherwise compelling, and press the button. They took a picture. A few people make pictures, that is they take control of an image, making it into something more that just the record of that moment. Most people take photographs to record significant moments in life; to make a visual diary; this is a great use for photographs. There are many ways to take control, to make a photograph. You can do something simple. Like change the point of view: the majority of shots are taken from eye level. You could use a camera or lens that sees in an unusual manner. So a fish-eye shot is always a picture you make rather than take. You can manipulate an image into something more, for instance using Photoshop to make the image different in the computer. One of the most important ways you can make an image is to take control of the light; to literally write with light.

     As far as I can tell there are two and a half important things about light. I usually start with color, if your shot is blue or yellow or what ever, it might work well. But, if you control the color you can make the image much more effective, as in image 1.2. Some of the time you can repair the color easily in Photoshop. The problem becomes more aggravating if you have mixed color. So if you have a room that is lit by regular tungsten light bulbs and there is daylight coming into the room, several things could happen, depending on the camera settings or the automatic choices of the camera. The room could have accurate color and the outdoor light would be bluish. Alternatively the reverse could happen, the room would be yellow and the daylight would be normal. Alternatively the digital camera could split the difference, yellowish room and bluish outdoor light. While any of these scenarios might work in some circumstances, you, the photographer, lose some of the control over the color.


John Siskin Photographer