Variety of framed composites for wostphoto

Composites – Creativity, fun and much more

I can’t stress enough how glad I am to live in the 21st century. No joke! Yes, at times it is a bit scary, how fast technology changes everything, including us, but it is also very exciting!
Especially talking about changes in photography. Remember the good old days?
After the photo shoot, we had to bring the film negatives to the photo lab and wait a few days before we could check them out on a fuzzy lightbox to decide which ones “deserved” to be developed onto paper. Not all shots were always developed also because it was not cheap.
Some labs didn’t even give that choice, they served us with all the photos on paper. And with that always came a hefty bill. Yeah, photography as a hobby was difficult then and costly. 

Some, like me, developed the films in the home photo lab, spending many hours in the darkroom, trying to get the best on paper out of what I had captured on film. But that’s snow from yesterday! Thank God and thanks to digital photography! The SD card replaced the film roles and the PC
or laptop the dark room. What a relief, no more working in the dark and no more waiting for
days to see results. Long live technology, even though it drives us crazy at times.
composite porsche racing at the ice trophy in Altenmarkt, Austria
composite porsche racing at the ice trophy in Altenmarkt, Austria
New technologies give photography a great boost
Don’t get me wrong, not every new technology on the market is considered a great improvement for photographers. I also believe strongly that the focus of the industry has shifted in the past years: It is no longer about to please the ones who know how to take a photo but to “help” those who don’t know how to do so. I love the fact that everybody “snaps” photos these days and shares them with others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other Social Media outlets. I believe it creates a sensibility for photography and with that a deeper appreciation for the art of photography in general. But also for the protagonists, because as much as technology helps these days, let's not forget, there still has to be a photo taken at one point. And it still is a long way from “snapping” a picture to professionally shoot a photo. All in all the new technologies gave photography a huge boost and continues to do so.

Thanks to the new digital technology it was never easier to fix deficiencies in photography after a shoot in post-processing. But also, there was never more and harsher criticism out there when it comes to “fake photos” than today. Every hobby photographer with some knowledge in post processing knows when a photo was “doctored”. There is almost no way to get away with major fixes without people detecting it. Quality photography is not created on a PC or laptop for sure and doesn’t really involve fixing errors in the first place. I know it’s intriguing to see what one can do with a photo and clever software on a computer, but this has nothing to do with photography, more with curiosity, creativity and graphics. Quality photography still starts with the camera and a lens in the hands of a photographer who knows what he’s doing and ends with a great photo which doesn’t require “fixing”.

New possibilities with composites – Creating something new from something old
Digital file processing really rocks though. What you can do with digital data in photography today by using the right computer software combined with graphics skills is beyond amazing. It starts with playing around and ends in creating great individual art. Besides “rescuing” or “fixing” a shot, digital data has opened great new ways to let creativity flow.

Creating “composites” have triggered my creativity for sure. But what are composites? The easiest way to explain it is: Imagine you have a few photos in front of you, in the first you like the way you have been captured, in the second photo you see your dream car and the third photo shows the hotel you've been during your last vacation. Well now take scissors and cut out yourself of the first picture, then the car from the second and put these pieces on the third photo. Only in digital compositing, you do it on a computer with software like "Photoshop". Professionally you would call it the process of digitally assembling multiple images to make a final image.

For me composites are a great way to create something new out of something old, using photos which normally would have ended up in the wastebasket or buried in storage. For compositions, the losers in my photo library are now promoted to valuable “team player”. While to know how to combine the right photos or parts of it, is highly creative already, it doesn't make a digital composite. You still need a computer, the right software and of course some skills or at least some talent in computer graphics. But don't worry, it all sounds scarier as it is. 

The new way I like to look at things
When photography leads to composites, creativity is on the way. That's for sure. Having always composites in my head makes reviewing my images after a shoot very much different from it was in the past. Before I would move “bad images” into the wastebasket. Now I check if I can use parts of the photo for a composite. Granted, my external hard drives are loaded now – literally loaded – with files which I might use later on, but with composites in mind, I have no other choice. Compositing made me more creative and gives me the possibility to also show how I like to look at things and be different from others. For example, I took a photo of a castle, but countless people took the same shot. There are only so many ways to photograph a castle differently and chances are high that I am not shooting any different from the next one who wants that great new shot. But by creating a composite out of it, I am pretty certain that my shot will be different from all the others because I add things from other photos I've taken. Let's stay with the example of the castle. I checked my library and found a cool full moon I had shot shortly before. I cut out the moon and placed her right behind the castle's tower. And this is when my shot of the castle became unique.

Creativity can take compositing through the roof. There are no limits what and how much one can add to one image or how crazy one wants to use digital manipulation on it. I, for example, love to "open" windows and doors in post-production which originally were closed when I had photographed them. And I place a new story into the open space, sometimes even a crazy one. Composites make people think and talk about photography and art, they argue, discuss, like and even smile at times when looking at it. And after all, that’s what I am going for.

Let me add on something important: As much fun, it is to create these composites, the outcome isn't considered a photo any longer but an image. Photographs are the basis and components of composites, the results of composites are images, digitally manipulated images.

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