WORKOUT SESSION: WHEN TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH

August 23, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

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Rarely a week goes by without another coined word being added to the English Mirriam-Webster lexicon. Only this year we've learned zika, pokemoning, cancerversary, and facedesk. Then there's man-bun, culturati, and lamestream. And last week another hit the interwaves - one so good that we cannot not use it for our own nefarious photographic ends.
 
It's "over-exaggeration."
 
Not just exaggeration, mind you, but the next level, a step higher than high, the lofty peak upon which the Fool on the Hill holds court. 
 
You may already recognize it as the term Ryan Lochte, of Olympic infamy, used in place of what was formerly known as a baldfaced lie - or if we are being generous, a wild fish story. But no, he specifically tagged his robbed-with-gun-to-the-head tale as an "over-exaggeration" - and that has serious potential for us!
 
Translated to photospeak, this means we get to crank dials and wheels and levers and sliders all the way to eleven - and beyond - in our quest for garish, outlandish, fantastic, impossible-to-believe, way-out-of-the-box, socially unacceptable, technically inept, just-plain-wrong, overbearing, pretentious, cartoonish, and here's-mud-in-your-eye photographs - and get away with it! In other words, we won't care about our carefully designed artistic education - if we want to over-oversaturate, under-underexpose, un-unstraighten, cross-crossprocess, tran-transform, de-denoise, dis-distort, or encourage a feral cat with a fresh-caught de-feathered cherub in its mouth to prance across the keyboard while we're processing, no one, not even Matt Lauer, can stop us. No apologies!
 
There's a positive point to this exercise, believe it or not. It's simply this - if, or more likely, when you find yourself stuck in a rut or in a "should and shouldn't" frame of mind, some over-the-top play time is just what the doctor ordered. Push those sliders too far, lower a shutter speed beyond anything reasonable, shoot with no concern of what anyone might think. In a couple weeks we'll break out the brooms and dustpans and clean up after ourselves, but for now, kick out the jams, get your freak on, tell fish stories, and over-exaggerate!
 
When exactly is too much not enough? That's up to you to show us.
 
Some fuses for TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH:
  • Don't think so much. Or think more - whichever is the opposite of what you normally do.
  • Shoot a whole session out of focus, on purpose. Look for hidden, dreamlike shapes and patterns. Follow that muse to the end. 
  • Over-saturate an image. A lot. Pour on the paint. Pour it over your own head and laugh like a kid. Splash it on someone else until they're laughing too. 
  • Take a cliche, like spot color, and take it further than you've ever gone before. The more ridiculous, the better.
  • Shoot crooked, tilted, upside down. Don't correct it.
  • Shoot a portrait with a 4-second exposure. Handheld. Process. Mat, frame, and hang on wall. Pretend you purchased it for $10k from a prestigious art gallery. Tell everyone else the same. Watch their reaction.
  • Don't understand Photoshop? Over-exaggerate and tell yourself that you do. Then randomly do stuff as if you're the world's greatest expert. Don't be at all concerned about results.
  • Use Lightroom's lens correction panel to distort rather than correct. Hint - it's stupidly fun.
  • Use PS CC's new facial tool in the Liquify filter. For ill effect.
  • Shoot with the "wrong" lens.
  • Still stuck? Take a break and go do something else for awhile. Bowling. Chukar hunting. Ballroom dancing. Tightrope walking. Shoe gazing. Movie marathon. Dentist. 
 
TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH will run for two weeks, from August 24 through September 6.  Happy shooting!

 


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