Generally I’ve moved ever closer towards finding cameras I can set up to create photographs I love without needing any extra post processing.
But last year I experimented with Snapseed to process the same image multiple times, and trace its disintegration.
After again finding myself listening to William Basinski more than anyone else lately (who inspired the first experiment), I thought it would be fun to try again with a new image as the starting point.
Snapseed has a huge range of features, and mostly I stick to simple settings like making a colour image b/w, and tweaking the contrast and perhaps brightness/exposure.
But here, as before, I tried something a little more caustic, that would erode the image further with each subsequent fly by.
Also in Snapseed, many of the settings have a random option, which I like bringing into to play for some unexpected outcomes.
This is the first layer.
You might notice the light leak effect on the left, and some (digital) fingerprints.
I do like some kind of consistency in these experiments though, so once I applied this “random” processing once, I saved it as a favourite (called a “Style” in Snapseed) and reapplied it over and over to the same image.
Layer three shows further disintegration.
Another few repetitions and the effect is starting to overwhelm the fidelity of the original image.
Some 20 layers of disintegration from the original photograph, we arrive with this.
Which is so abstracted from the original, you can’t tell what the object was.
But this final image isn’t really the point.
Examining the repeated layers of processing as a journey in the life of an image is what’s most important here, and how it evolves along the way.
These experiments are a fun detour when I get too serious about photography, and tie in strongly with the ideas of layering and decay I’ve explored in other artforms in the past, most strongly painting and music.
And that whole idea of the journey being more interesting and valuable than the ultimate destination, is a theme that runs strongly in my beliefs and outlook in life too.
What are your thoughts on experiments like this, where digital processing can radically alter the original image? Do you like seeing the stages along the way, or just the final image?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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