Since becoming more seriously interested in photography, I've spent a lot of time reading books, looking at the work of other photographers, learning about the options post-processing offers, and considering how I want my photographs to look. Gone are the days when I point, snap, and get what I get. Now I evaluate the light, consider the aperture, compose carefully (hit and miss on that one!), and then sharpen, blur, filter, and do all sorts of other craziness in GIMP. Instead of simple snapshots, photos become created pieces where my imagination, the world, and the lens intersect. It's fun, challenging, and deeply satisfying when the image on the screen approaches the one in my mind's eye.
During this process, I've noticed that I consistently prefer "imperfect" photographs. By this I mean old photos that are grainy or have strange color casts, photos with lens flare or areas "blown out" from overexposure, and photos that are too vivid, too contrasty, too anything. The Japanese have a term, wabi-sabi, to describe the beauty of imperfection. The lomography movement embraces this aesthetic, taking advantage of the quirks and defects of low cost, plastic cameras. While I have a lomo (a Russian Smena generously donated by my friend John), I most often play around in GIMP to add in the imperfection that my high tech digital SLR lacks. Cheating? Probably, but I've been too spoiled by digital to fully return to film. Besides, the tenth rule of lomography is that "there are no rules", so who's to say?
Photo by Dr. K