Photography is a broad field filled with all sorts of artists. I like to think that there is a scale where we can plot each photographer upon. One end is order – the micro-managers of the shot who have and need control over every tiny aspect of the photo. The other end is chaos – where the photographer is more dynamic, more experimental and abstract. The order end is safe and comfortable and it is heavy with a large population of photographers. The chaos end is a bigger risk, it requires courage to approach and is therefore more sparsely populated. Those of us who reside closer to the order end respect, love and appreciate that other end. Secretly, we wish to dabble in chaos more often. But it’s untread grounds for us, and so we look to inspiration from photographers like Olga NZ and from photos like Olga’s A Boatman, shown here.
It would be easy to dismiss this shot as a happy accident. But I don’t get the idea that Olga operates under true chaos. I believe that her styling is intentional and calculated. I suspect the root of her style comes from a combination of slow-shutter techniques. Assuming that is the case with A Boatman, Olga would have to hold the shot at the beginning and end of her path just long enough to burn in the two ghosts of the kayak. That, to me, is a precise action. I will admit I never thought to use slow-shutter techniques in this way.
Like many of Olga’s photos, A Boatman could have drawn influence from the impressionist painters of the mid to late 1800’s. Renoir and Monet worked in paints and therefore had little or no rules to follow. But Olga is working in photographer where the laws of physics, optics and light certainly have their influences. Of course film and/or your digital sensor give you a tool to bend those laws, but it is still a compromise with physics. That really just makes Olga’s photo that much more impressive.
Olga’s photostream is packed full of her impressionist style photos (Honorable mention to Kayaker, andYellow Flowers – the latter of which gives more hints as to her slow-shutter technique). If you’re feeling that your style is perhaps a little too ordered, you should spend some time with Olga’s photostream to be inspired and to learn how to loosen up.