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Preface

Preface

Photography attracts creative problem solvers. Masters such as W. Eugene Smith, Jerry Uelsmann, and Ansel Adams worked with more technical aces up their sleeves than a riverboat gambler. Their ingenuity and photographic prowess inspired this book.

If you were able to see an original contact print for Adams's "Moonrise, Hernandez," you'd realize that the raw photograph he took in 1941 looked much different from subsequent enlargements hanging on museum walls years later. By Adams's own admission, it was a difficult negative to print. He masked certain areas and intensified others. What is arguably Ansel Adams's most acclaimed picture required every ounce of his talent and creative problem solving. In other words, he hacked the heck out of it.

Our tools are different now. Instead of an 8" 10" view camera, many photographers are toting pocket-sized digicams. What was once the red glow of a darkroom safelight has been replaced by the cool, white radiance of an LCD computer monitor.

I'm one of those heretics who believe that digitizing the photographic process has strengthened, not weakened, the medium. The practice of making creative imagery is more accessible to more people than ever. Access to innovation is what this book is all about.

Digital photography brings out the most wonderful things in people. An otherwise conservative businessman will shoot with carefree abandon when a digital camera is placed in his hands. Self-conscious teenagers transform into rock stars in front of a zoom lens, and senior citizens become instant and adept historians.

Digital photography encourages you to take risks. If it doesn't work out, erase it before anyone knows. The path to photographic success is littered with discarded pictures that no one ever saw.

I hope this book helps you take lots of pictures and that you find things here that you would never have dreamed of trying. Nothing could make me happier than to hear that you took a creative risk and ultimately succeeded. If that happens, please write me at dstory@storyphoto.com and tell me all about it.

Most of us will never enjoy the acclaim of W. Eugene Smith, Jerry Uelsmann, and Ansel Adams. That isn't the point. If we can satisfy our own creative yearning, and possibly touch the hearts of others along the way, then this endeavor is a success.

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