Article, essay:
The Digital Way to Experiment

by Rick Doble

with digital photography -- art and artistic experimentation in the computer age

Rick Doble's
Experimental Digital Photography Book
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June, 1999



I love to experiment.

I like to dive into uncharted waters and see what develops.

Even after shooting photographs for 30 years, my blood still runs faster when I try something new, when I am not sure how the photograph will turn out. Experimentation keeps me from getting stale as a photographer, from creating the same old competent photographs that are well crafted but that lack excitement. Experimentation keeps my photographic vision fresh; it keeps me from getting into a rut and allows me to add new tools to my bag of tricks once I have mastered a new area of exploration.

Just what do I mean by experimentation? I mean attempting to create an effect that has never been put on film before. Digital photography, in particular, is a very fertile area. Few of my assumptions about light sensitive material seem to apply. Electronic "film" behaves very differently.

Generally speaking the most interesting effects will occur at extremes, because it is at these "edges" that the normal relationship between light and film breaks down and something unusual happens. Here are some areas that I have explored with film and am exploring again with a digital camera:

So there you have my mini-course in photographic experimentation. And we have just begun to scratch the surface, because what happens if you start to combine effects? Let's say, for example, that you take low light pictures under an unusual artificial light of moving objects. And lets say that you animate them. Now where would you find such a subject? In my case ,I found it at a go-cart track.

BRIEF BIO: Rick Doble has a Master's Degree in Communications (1975) from the Department of Radio, TV, Motion Pictures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a professional photographer for 30 years and has worked with most camera formats, and films, including color and black and white, slide and negative, and instant film. He has spent more hours in the darkroom than he would like to remember.

Copyright Rick Doble, and where applicable, DigiGallery 1999

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