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To Master Your Tools Is To Master Your Craft

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To Master Your Tools Is To Master Your Craft

Photography by Mark Myhaver

In the art of photography as with any work of art, it matters not how the artist rendered it or with what tools, but only that it is a true and skilled representation of what that artist visualized and felt at its conception. In the end it is the resulting piece of work that justifies the method in which it was created.

Recently, I came across a wonderful photograph by another photographer that was in my opinion a fine piece of art work. The accompanied article went into some detail as to how it was produced from a composite of images blended using software to render most accurately what the photographer visualized. The image when posted lead to some discussion in social media circles as to what is considered acceptable practice today in contrast to that which was acceptable in the past. It is a conversation that has taken place many times over more years than I am able to calculate properly. Indeed it does resurface any time new methods or technologies come along. It begs the question, is it not a sign of a true master of an art to keep abreast of the new tools that become available and to master those which one sees fit to improve upon ones work. If by embracing new tools & technology that when applied skillfully, enhance the artist's ability to render his or her vision and feelings when conceiving the creation, does it not ring true when the viewer is able to grasp those feelings or even perhaps invoke the viewer's own emotions by the finished work?

Is an artist who works strictly with pencils or oil paints or watercolor, or a sculptor with clay, metal or any other material, or an illustrator who uses ink or software any less of an artist than the other? Is a musician who plays a guitar or one who plays the saxophone, drums or piano any less of a musician than the other? Certainly one may argue that a musician who has truly mastered several instruments may quite well be a better musician than one who has mastered but one. The same argument may be made for the visual artists. Provided that each one has mastered their own tools in such a manner as to present to the viewer that which is coming from their heart and soul and perhaps provokes in the viewer something from his or her own heart and soul, is that not the true measure of ones art?

This is not to say that a skilled artist who is the master of his or her tools should or will be appreciated by all of his or her peers or by all who view their work. Art like beauty, as we all know is in the eyes of the beholder. Why one work of art is appreciated by some as opposed to others, while certainly is affected by the talents and skills of the artist, is most certainly also a matter of ones own tastes. That however, shall be left to the subject of another discussion.

To illustrate my point, this image is a composite image based on the image "Eden 38" When I 1st shot that image I felt it needed a person lost in the beauty of the scene just as I was. I turned around to find that person before me and shot the image of the girl with the sole purpose in mind of placing her in the image which you see here as "Alice In Wonderland".

As a side note, it is quite often when I am in the zone of photographing (I like to call it the Zen of Photography) that I feel the tug of nature pulling me to turn around or turn a corner only to be presented with another image to capture. Enjoy and have a great day.