Another vintage silver palace

These images….they’re something

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich, Photography 3 Comments

An old image from 06 when I roamed around in the Airstream. The Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Today we’re awash in images. We’re all running around capturing snippets of what we saw when we were “there.” Personally, I’ve been grabbing those snippets here and there for decades. The big change? Now I do it “professionally.”

Why is it I still feel like the biggest amateur out there?

Probably because I still am.  And I’ll continue to be for as long as I choose to keep shooting.  There’s always somebody better, there’s always somebody cooler, and there always will be.


Because what would I do without something further to aspire to?  Well, I can tell you…..I’d get really bored.

But even sitting around feeling like the biggest amateur of them all, the images that I generate here and there are definitely something.  They’re the document of a moment.  They’re the living and breathing monument to the moment I was there.  The images you’re collecting up in your own way, whether through photography, painting, writing, or just simple memory…..they’re your documents.

One of my absolute favorite photos from 2009. HDR? Yes. Does it matter? It's the scene I saw.

They’re absolutely something.

Black and white, straight shooting, RAW with edits, HDR, psychotically manipulated, photoshoped to the extreme, and multi-layered insanity run a muck……  They’re all the document of something.  Be it the actual moment or your creative expression loaded up with more caffeine than I took in on a good day in the engineering world (I lived for coffee, and Dunkin Donuts stock went down the day I gave it up).  Whatever the image is you offer up, it is in fact something.

I recently read, to my disappointment, a diatribe against HDR.  And yes, I promised months ago I was done questioning things about HDR and felt settled about it as a legitimate photo processing method.  I am settled about that.  But reading what was before me, I became extremely disappointed.

I'll never sell this, never display it in the gallery. But I really like it. Learning more about portable flash, I like the record of my experiment

A photographer / blogger ranted against the use of HDR.  Hey, ranting is fun.  And it has it’s place.  But this rant really struck me.  It reminded me of my elementary school art teacher.  My way or the highway.  HDR isn’t legit, and is detrimental to photography.  The rant went on.  It trashed on the entire medium.  It wasn’t photography.


Well, because it just isn’t.

Take a look around at the “masters.”  There were edits in their day.  Just a different way of doing them.  Dodging and burning in the darkroom to actually fake clouds that weren’t there.  Black and white….yeah, that’s realistic…..if you’re a dog (oh wait, recent scientific data states they might be able to see more of the spectrum of color…..ah well, another theory blown).  Heavily saturated films….yeah, they exist too.

So, what’s legit?

Well, it’s all legit to be honest.  Your image.  Your vision.  And in the end, whether or not some dude on a website says you’re “in fair play” or not, your image in the end is something.  As I said above.  A document of a moment.  Right on the money, distorted by poor setup, or distorted by your efforts to do something beyond the scene……it’s still something.

Present what you want.  Shoot how you want.  Process how you want.  Don’t process at all.  Make layer upon layer if you need to.

Show your document of the moment.  If nothing else, I’d like to see it. And I won’t bother you about how you got there with the image………

I will bother you about how you got “there” if it’s a neat place.  I like to see neat places.  It’s one of those personal quest things.  Cool places?  Yeah, I want to see them.  And if you present something compelling, no matter how you achieved the result, I’ll be curious to know where it is you went.


Because you presented me something that I want to see too.  And I’ll thank you for that.  Show it however you see fit.  It’s your moment, and it is in fact something no matter what the “pros” say.

The Flamingo Gardner. Now that I'm playing with shots with people I'm enjoying experimenting around. This photos was taken from one of my most recent shoots.

Comments 3

  1. It is my experience that the people who rant against HDR are the same people who think cinema isn’t art if its appeal is too broad. They take the approach that if it is too widely appreciated it can’t be art. For them art is something that it beyond the ability of normal people to comprehend and since HDR has saturated colors and a dynamic range closer to the human eye than to what the tool is capable of in a single capture. The result MUST be bastardization, right? I suspect HDR’s detractors are the same people who screamed that the sky way falling when Fuji’s Velvia slide film gained popularity with its over-saturated colors. They derisively called it “candy-chrome” or “Disney-chrome” as if the appeal was only to children who hadn’t yet developed an appreciation for art.

    My first goal as a photographer is to please myself and if HDR helps tell the story I want to tell, if it produces results that allow me to share my experience then I am going to use it. That said, there can be too much of a good thing, I like HDR and I believe it has a permanent place in my photographic tool box but, like a hammer, it isn’t the right tool for every job 🙂

  2. There’s a song (I think the group is Lifehouse) called “Hanging by the Moment” that hits on this subject nicely…live in the moment, and enjoy everything around you because it will likely never happen the same way again.

    Great post Rich!

  3. I love this post! I agree wholeheartedly! Your creations continue to wow me and many others. DEFINITELY SOMETHING… you capture what no one else could. There are times I see you in the print itself…. a reflection, your amazing fingerprint on this world to be admired and appreciated even after you have gone. Appreciating the moment through your own expression IS ART. The very definition of ART is:
    Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.

    The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.
    The study of these activities.
    The product of these activities; human works of beauty considered as a group.
    High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value.
    A field or category of art, such as music, ballet, or literature.
    A nonscientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts.

    A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of a set of activities: the art of building.
    A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: the art of the lexicographer.

    Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of the baker; the blacksmith’s art.
    Skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties: “Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice” (Joyce Carol Oates)

    arts. Artful devices, stratagems, and tricks.
    Artful contrivance; cunning.
    Printing Illustrative material.(The American Heritage Dictionary)
    The work of Richard L. Charpentier….okay… I added that : )

    Thumbs up for Lifehouse too : )…

    Laura : )

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