My chicks are a month old now and a far cry from the cute, fuzzy little creatures they were in the first week. The day after I arrived daughter Amanda spent some time in the room with the chicks and I took this photograph of her hands holding one of them. It was around nine at night, maybe later and the chicks were sleepy and welcomed the warmth of her hands.
When I loaded the photo onto the computer and opened it in Photoshop it looked nothing like this. In fact I had no idea it would turn into one of my recent favorites until I began to play with it. All of the photographs I took of people holding chicks had to be converted to b&w because of the red heat lamp in use over the chicks enclosure. A big part of it was having a cooperative subject and I attribute that to Amanda having spent the last 28 years being photographed – a lot. She waited, holding that chick until I went into the house and got the camera. And it was a one on one situation. After some cropping and playing with levels this it turned into something I love. It speaks to me of the kindness and tenderness that is Amanda, and I would recognize those hands anywhere.
The next day I took this photo.
Nothing like the one the day before. The quality of the material to begin was not as good but wow, I have to say I love this almost as much. This was manipulated almost as much, didn’t end up with the same result – but look at that face. This is my grandson in his first chicken experience. After a little coaxing he reluctantly held that chick. Not the same hands, not the same feel but something that really captured the experience for me.
Photography for me, when it’s good, is most often times a happy accident. The first image more so than the second. They were totally different experiences. The hands were something I saw, captured and manipulated into something I see as beautiful. I worked towards that image in every aspect – it just so happens it turned out better than I had envisioned. The second was a capture of a moment and his face really gives away his uncertainty with the situation. It feels like he was just holding that chick just for the camera, otherwise he might have been just as happy to leave it quite alone (or watch but not touch).
These are the times that I truly appreciate digital photography. I never would have achieved these images if I had been using film – I probably could have but it would have entailed hours of frustration in a darkroom and then I seriously doubt they would have turned out this way. These took a few minutes and some mouse clicks to make it happen. Minutes later I’m sharing them with family and friends.
It’s all still pretty amazing to me. I do think photography has been diminished in some ways because of it. Photographers used to be artists and technicians, you had to know your craft. Technology has made us old film photographers obsolete, we can now reminisce about standing in a darkroom for hours trying to achieve our vision. In the same breath I can say it has set us free – we can envision what we want, capture it and make it our own with the click of a few buttons. The one thing that has not changed for us is how we see.