Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Introduction to Orton

I'm not ordinarily a big fan of digital manipulation of images, but I learned something while surfing today about the Orton Method of softening a photo to achieve a romanticized, painterly look. The method originally involved careful exposure and alignment of a set of transparencies that were then combined in the darkroom to achieve the same effect that can be done in a photo editing program like PhotoShop. The original photo is shown at right in a smaller size.

So if you'll indulge me for a couple of days while I explore the possibilities, I'd appreciate it. Feel free to let me know what you think about digital editing. Is it "cheating?" Or is it art?

Sunrise in Door County. Click on images to enlarge. Photographs © 2007 James Jordan.


Otto K. said...

I think it depends on what *your* intentions are with *your* art, in this case photography. You are always going to find purists who disagree with any digital manipulation of images, but yet wouldn't think anything about dodging and burning, or pushing or pulling stops of exposures, or maybe using special filters to achieve certain effects, say a vaseline coated filter to give a hazy, romanticized look to an image. For me, I think it has to come to down to what makes you happy with what you create both with your camera and with camera, what you consider purely photography or just simply art. Don't agonize over it? Have fun and keep creating the beautiful images that you always do, like this one. :-) Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Otto K. said...

Oops, above, I meant to say near the end: "For me, I think it has to come down to what makes you happy with what you create both with your camera and with your *computer*...". I should have proofread. Sorry. :-)

James said...

Otto, not a problem with your soapbox - I appreciate the conversation. When I started photography in earnest eight years ago, I considered myself a purist, wanting the image that landed on the slide to be the final statement. But the more that I read about what Ansel Adams did in the darkroom to manipulate his prints, the more I believe that he would have embraced what is now done digitally. He was all about pushing beyond the physical limits of photography to achieve his own unique vision of the world. I was also surprised to see that the Muenchs, another early inspiration for me, now scan their transparencies and do some digital dodging and burning of thier images.

Curly Mommy said...

I think anything goes, but I am a digital camera junkie. I can't afford "real" film, so digital really works for me. I am not a photographer, just someone who wanted a camera to take pictures of my kids. Maybe my view on the issue doesn't count. I will be reading to get tips to make my pictures better.

By the way, I found you on the Northwoods Ramblings Blog.

Michael Brown said...

Wish that we could get some snow like that sometime, ... or at least every 5 years or so! :)

A wonderful piece you have here, and the Orton method really works well with it too.
The comp, the colors and lighting, the details where you need it the most, ... it has a very nice appeal to it.
Keep it up! It's fun, and in some cases, it can be a lifesaver for a image that otherwise would have wound up in the trash, ..... sometimes!

And, ... I made up my mind not to get into any more debates on manipulation. I do what pleases me first, ... period.
Life is way to short as it is now!!

Keep at it, and will visit again soon.
Michael Brown

**Oh yeah, "Macro Art In Nature" has been moved over to another site. Much nicer!

doow said...

I'm not a fan of over the top post-processing ,but that effect is rather subtle, so I quite like it.
(here via Blog Explosion)