LGA: Security Theater

So I was flying out of LaGuardia, NY (LGA) this morning on my way home to San Jose, Ca (SJC). After checking in, I was directed by the nice woman at American Airlines to take my checkin bags to the x-ray machine.

There were a lot of bags piling up at the machine and 2-4 TSA agents processing the bags thru the x-ray machine and loading them onto the conveyer belt to the plane. What struck me odd though was that none of the TSA agents actually sat at the x-ray machine console to examine the x-ray images of the bags!

I watched for about 10 minutes as the rest of my party went through the long lines to get their boarding passes. Every few minutes one of the TSA agents would press a button on the computer to restart the x-ray machine and/or check off a form on a piece of paper. He or she would sometimes look at the computer screens for a few seconds, but anywhere from 5-15 bags would be processed in between… hardly enough time for the TSA agent to be able to examine the bags for any dangerous items or contraband.


Radiant Vista == Photo Happiness

So I’m probably way behind everyone else, but I just found The Radiant Vista a few weeks ago. This is a very cool photography website for both experts and beginners. Every day there’s a new video critique of a photograph and they go over all sorts of photography concepts like framing, lighting, subject matter and color. There is also a weekly Photoshop workshop video which explains how to get the most of your digital photographs. While the site is definitely targeted towards digital SLR photographers, most of the content is applicable to people who shoot film or point & shoots.


Truth vs. Reality

I just got done reading Alain Briot’s article titled Just Say Yes. If you shoot digital photography, I highly recommend you read it… go ahead, I’ll wait.

Done? Good!

Well I’m going to guess that most digital photographers started out like me. Originally I wanted to accurately capture the moment or whatever, but then I realized that it just wasn’t possible. Film, digital sensors and lenses are all flawed compared to the human eye which is itself not perfect. So I started making small adjustments in contrast and saturation to try to recreate what I saw. Then overtime, I not only improved my composition and exposure, but I found myself wanting to express my creativity a little more.

Slowly, I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with using Photoshop, both as a tool and as part of my art. Honestly, I usually still do very little manipulation of my photos, but there are occasions when I do major enhancements like merging two exposures to improve dynamic range or improving the color to my taste. So far I haven’t tried doing things like removing ugly buildings from landscapes, but I’m not really sure that is any different. I’m not really sure if I can or should still call these images “photographs”, but that’s not really important to me- I’m no longer trying to create photographs, but images to be enjoyed.

What is important to me though is realizing that no camera/lens can capture the “truth”- whatever that truth may be. But when a photographer creates an image he express that truth as his “reality” for others to enjoy. As always some realities are closer to the truth, but unlike trying to record history, there is no right or wrong reality- at least as long as you’re honest about making changes.