Screen Shots

Is it possible to make a “real” portrait using screen capture, or digital camera shots of one’s screen while video chatting?

One friend said to me, “Sure Dave, real BAD portraits!”

All the elements of conventional photography deserve consideration here, including exposure, composition, etc; but capturing a moment, a glimmer in one’s eye that evokes a solid connection with our heart and mind is my test of a legitimate photograph.

 This album explores making these etherial web-fed exposures and polishing them with whatever toning software I can find to arrive–at-last–with at least some of the things we ask from a good photo.

Since I regularly use Skype to video chat with my fiancé, I finally thought to ask her to pose with her family for me while I used my high-dollar Nikon DSLR camera to compose and capture the genuine moments found here off the screen of my iMac.

As a former educator of sorts in the field of photography, the snobbery I typically witnessed on a regular basis amongst many of the colleagues and students I worked with invariably surrounded doctrines of always seeking the highest optical clarity, file size, color profile, and so on.

But often those mega-bitten files eventually would be uploaded and downsized and filtered by a free Instagram set of actions which ultimately set out to make your $5,000 camera outfit resemble that of some 1960’s  film-filled scratchy-lens plastic camera. Madness if you buy into it all. 

Photographers spend tens of thousands of dollars on pristine optics only to shroud them with nylon pantyhose diffusers  and vaseline rimmed filters. So why not use a web-casted video feed like Skype as a filter? That’s all this is.

For me, a photograph is simply a frozen moment, snagged in time by the net of your choice.  Since digital capture replaced film, all the old rules for me went out the window. What has remained though, is that images still need to embody a bit of a soul. If there’s light behind the subject’s eyes–despite using an old noon-day window lit curtain as your soft box–then it’s successful. Anything less than a glint of humanity in an image to me is merely an apparition.