Thursday, June 25, 2009

Country music, photographic genres and hoverflies

click photo to enlarge
Q. What happens when you play country music backwards?
A. You sober up, your wife comes home and your dog comes back to life.

As far as music goes I like to think I've got an open mind. I enjoy rock, blues, folk, jazz and classical. Even a well-constructed pop song will attract my attention. But I do struggle with British brass band music, even though I have a Percy Grainger CD with his music played in this way, which I enjoy very much. I'm also not a big fan of country and western, partly for the reasons alluded to in the joke above, but also because it seems like the pulp fiction end of the musical spectrum. That said, there are a few individual songs by the likes of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash that I quite like. And, when it comes to song titles, country and western has the appealing ability of being able to mock itself. Many people will have heard If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me, but how about She Used My Tears To Wash Her Socks, or I Gave Her A Ring, She Gave Me The Finger. And what about the slightly surreal If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me?

As far as photography goes I am, broadly speaking, a generalist: I like to try my hand at most genres, though I favour landscape, architecture, semi-abstract, still-life, flora, black and white and candid. However, as with music, there are a few specialisms that don't interest me. My indifference to motorsports photography is probably linked to my disdain for fast cars. "Street photography" is something that leaves me cold: many practitioners seem to engage in indiscriminate machine-gunning with the camera in the hope of producing something of the quality of Henri Cartier-Bresson. That's not to say that candid photography of deliberately chosen people, situations and compositions doesn't appeal to me - it does - but street photography as it seems to be practised appears to be so much less than that. It's a genre that I associate with the rise of digital, though it must have existed in the days of film. The same seems to be true of insect photography. If you visit the forums you can hear people almost salivating at the onset of spring when the "bugs" start to appear and they can mount their macro lenses and hunt out the little blighters. This is another type of photography that holds no particular fascination for me.

However, that's not to say that if an obliging hoverfly comes my way when I'm photographing Heliopsis flowers that I won't take his (or her) picture. I will. And I did! As you can see above.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On