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Spider On Fern
CREDIT: Alan Hodgson ASIS HonFRPS

Animal magic

What is real and what is not

A number of recent events had me pondering the portrayal of reality in photography. The first was the current copy of The RPS Journal; the second one of our on-line talks. These led to some thoughts about my recent photography and my practice now and into the future.

First to the RPS Journal. The stand out article for me this time was "Digital Futures" by Stephen Mayes, illustrated with Wizard of Oz photography. These immediately caught my eye as I had seen some of the original prints at a John Kobal Foundation exhibition "Hollywood Icons" in Porto, Portugal  earlier this year. I thought the print reproduction in the RPS Journal to be splendid.

The topic of the article was of real interest to me too, questioning the reality of the images we take, especially in the era of smartphone imaging. RPS Journal articles that make us sit back and think about issues in photography have a real value here. As a Functional Photographer my work has always been about reality but that does not stop me admiring the deceptive skills of these early Hollywood photographers.

The second was an on-line talk by Tensi Ward, a joint event between the North West Region and the Digital Imaging Group. Beautiful wildlife photography showing wildlife as it actually is.

So now the thoughts that came from these. Photography can be more than just a nice image; it can be remote sensing too. A neat application I spotted in the press was wildlife Heart rate monitoring using a standard camera. That could become a real and useful application for veterinary science, conservation and animal welfare. Maybe Tensi would be interested!

Now to the image, perhaps one that would interest Stephen. It is a smartphone image of a spider, taken in New Zealand a few years ago. Real enough, but the smartphone made some decisions on the image for me. The fern was brown and not grey. And in taking out the noise it removed the glints in the spiders eyes too. There is reality for you!