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The end and another beginning

Earl Moore Photography

First Presbyterian Church - Salisbury, NC

Final photos have been selected so I’m officially finished with my part of doing the photography of local churches for next years Rowan Helping Ministries Calendar.

The photo above was among the non-seclected. When I first began this project I’d planned doing many of the photos with a wide-angle lens for a more unusual and dramatic effect. However, while I personally liked the results I came to realize many of the target audience might not and since the goal of the calendar was to sell, with proceeds going to those in need, I decided to shift my photographic style to a more conventional angle.

This didn’t remove all the challenge. As I mentioned in a previous post, many of the city churches had intruding power lines, signs or traffic signals directly in front of them so a clear shot was impossible. This led to hours of painstakingly removing these distractions pixel by pixel. The up side is this makes for unique photos of many of the churches that can’t be replicated by just anyone with a point-and-shoot.

Now this ends the formal project but I’m beginning a personal follow-on project of putting the series of final shots together in what will hopefully be a folio or book.

Have a great weekend!

22 Comments on The end and another beginning

  1. I rather like this shot Earl. Shame it didn’t make it into the selects.

    • Mark, when I submitted this shot I didn’t expect it to be among the selected. I personally like it but they chose another that was perhaps a bit more traditional which was okay because for different reasons I liked it too. :-)

  2. I like this very much and it certainly whets my appetite to see more of the pictures. The detail is gorgeous and waiting for those clouds paid off. Certainly this much work and attention to painstaking detail deserves to be collected in more ways than the calendar. I look forward to hearing your final choices for presentation. Either a folio or book—maybe both—sounds ideal.

    • Anita, thanks, unless something happens my intentions are to share most of the photos in one form or the other via this blog. I’m happy about the calendar but I want to also use them in a way where I have a little bit more artistic license. Hopefully it won’t take me too long. :-)

  3. Sounds like a very worthwhile project. I know a little of the time it takes to clean up a picture with distracting lines and such. I know they will appreciate the high quality you always bring to your pictures.

    • Don, in the vary beginning when I first discussed and agreed to do the photography I was naive about how much work “removing the obstructions” from the photos of some of these churches would be. The amount of post-processing needed hit me on the first couple of “city” churches I photographed — I learned to love the country churches and their wide open spaces. :-)

  4. Earl, this diverging tastes of the target audience (and purpose) and the photographer are not easy to accept. But it seems you made a stepstone of what could have become a barrier – and a personal project following your way of seeing is certainly worthy to pursuit.
    While I do enjoy your wideangle view of the church – for me also connecting it with “heaven” through the light – I fully understand that typical customers will not be fond of too much dynamic. I am looking to your folio/book!

    • Markus, thank-you Coming into this project I never felt it was never about me, so giving up a little of my own vision for the success of the over-all project was painless. And to be honest those final photos I submitted for selection were still of me, still represented me. It wasn’t long into the selection process I knew I’d made the right choice in how I’d chosen to photographed the churches. People seeing and liking your work is a reward in itself, even if it wasn’t as first visioned. I’m excited about the folio/book so hopefully it will not be too long.

  5. Paul Maxim // 5 Nov ’11 at 8:15 am // Reply

    I have a question similar to Markus’ comment, Earl. Will your followup project use the pictures that you favored, or the pictures that you thought the audience would like, or will you use both? If it’s both, will you comment on the differences (as you see them, I mean)?

    I’m not trying to make more work for you – I just think it would be very interesting. Markus is right. Trying to select images based on what the imagined audience will “like” is difficult. And how do you separate what you think they’d prefer from your own tastes?

    • Paul, it’s not that I didn’t favor those photos that were selected — many of them I would have picked myself. It’s that during the beginning of the process my vision was of a more “edgy” photo interpretation of the churches. Then with some soul searching and after showing a few initial samples to a couple members of the “target audience” I realized the photos might be more successful for this particular use shot more conservatively. You can’t completely eliminate your own tastes and I wouldn’t want to — in the end they are still mine.

      I had to compromise and for many of the last group of churches I photographed I didn’t do wide-angle “edgy” shots because i was pressed for time with the amount of post-processing some were requiring.

      My thinking for the folio/book is I will use a mixture of photos — selected, not selected and perhaps even a few pre-processing and post-processing to show a little of the transformation. How to bring all this together into a collective “story” is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I’ve got a couple concepts in mind. I’m thinking they’ll be label as to which is which. Thanks!

  6. I have also done some work for organizations and sometimes they can be very vague (or very specific) about what their needs are. I prefer to have specific instructions but there are times that the client doesn’t know what to expect. If that’s the case, I usually shoot a wide variety of subjects in as many situations as I can, process them all and hope for the best. If time allows, I will try to put a personal spin on some of the shots and present them as well. I’m not disappointed if these are not acceptable but I’m delighted when they are. If you’ve ever watched DVDs with out-takes and deleted scenes, you may wonder why they were left out of the theatrical version because they seem so well done. It’s not that the scenes aren’t good, it’s that they aren’t necessary. I’m anxious to see your follow-up project.

    • Hi Ken, very vague would describe the initial direction in my case. I actually supplied the initial idea about the churches and then they ran with it. I shot many photos of each church and then I made the selection of the two final photos for each of the 19 churches they wanted to feature. They then selected one photo of each church.

      I intentionally limited what I gave them to 38 photos (2 x 19) to be considered by the selection committee. There was a tight schedule and with too many choices I didn’t feel we’d meet the deadline so I took it upon myself to make the initial cuts. The committee had no problem with this.

      In my selection process of the two photos for each church I tried to insure the two photos were different but consistent in style and presentation. As a matter of fact I worked hard to maintain consistency among all photos so there wouldn’t be contention among churches/members that one photo was different/better/worst then the others.

      It’s often a tightrope, isn’t it. Thanks!

  7. That certainly is a beautiful shot and you’re right, no one else without some post processing prowess will be able to match what you’ve done. In fact, probably people looking at the calendar, might not be able to find a particular church. They wouldn’t recognize it with it all cleaned up! :)

    I don’t know if you own one or not, but if you do, did you use a tilt/shift lens on any of the churches?

    • Paul L, no, I don’t have a tilt/shift lens but it’s something I’ve always thought I’d like to try. Might be a good one to rent for a test drive. Have you shot with one before?

      • No. I used to shoot with a 4×5 view camera, so I know what the tilts and swings can do for you, but never with the Nikon PC lenses. They do have them for rental at for a very reasonable price. It might be interesting to try. I’d like to see your opinion of them, especially since you like to shoot historic homes and such. It might come in handy.

  8. I hope you’re happy with the calendar picks, as they turned out after the selection. The calendar is of course made for a cause, as you wrote. It has to sell. :)
    The image in this post is really wonderful, very light and airy.

    • Ove, I’m happy with the picks. Like I said, it was never about me or ego. I was happy to be given the chance to do the photos and I certainly wanted to produce photos that were pleasing to the majority of the intended audience. Thanks about this image!

  9. Well, congratulations, Earl! There is always a good feeling when we reach a goal and can say we’re done. I look forward to your folio “and” book.

    • Hey thanks, Monte. The book is almost complete…letting it rest a few days and then doing some final error checking. I’m so bad at proof reading. :-)

  10. Earl, that is a magnificent photograph! I love the perspective you have choosen for this shot, it makes the church look even more majestic. And the sun just coming out from behind the steeple adds a lovely symbolical effect. Furthermore, the huge trees frame and conceal the subject beautifully. I look forward to seeing the other photographs in your portfolio from that project. Congratulations!

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