You don’t often see photographs inside restaurants unless they are staged . Customers don’t like to be seen in case they are paired with the wrong person, so I started playing with filters to disguise them. I like distortion anyway, or abstraction, a more painterly impact, different from the usual, expected realism. I am taking the photograph into art creating abstract out of precision, chaos out of design, although I don’t have the canvas and oil skills of the great painter but using this digital manipulation is not so different from how darkrooms played with black and white photography albeit often remarkably more dynamic.
Sometimes it works as an extension of social observation but other times it engenders movement and mood which realism rarely picks up. I find that exciting and challenging, vibrant and visually stimulating. The filters pretend to be brushes and grab the colours out of the shade. The result is you get those elements photography does not usually deal with but painters do. It works well with people, crowds, busy interiors, with landscapes too although single shots of say, flowers can get a bit kitschy like chocolate box covers.
I use a small Ricoh 6 and play with their software Irodio using in this case the automatic brush though in other cases you can get extra effects in Photoshop.
All images © Drew Smith