Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

I find that military cemeteries and memorials are an attempt to bring order to the chaos of human conflict. The neat rows of uniform grave markers, the minimalist and tidy green space, they stand in contrast to what I perceive as the disruption and disorder of conflict.  On Memorial Day this year, the staff at Cambridge American Cemetery put out pictures in front of the grave markers and along the borders of the Tablets of the Missing:

ISO 25 4.15mm 1/750sec f/2.2

Seemingly a small detail when viewed from a distance, but amazingly personal when examined at close range.

ISO 25 4.15mm 1/540 f/ 2.2

The cemetery is a sobering reminder of the human cost of war, and the display puts a face on it and makes it more personal:

"Faces of Cambridge" Women served too #WWII #cambridgeamericancemetery #lestweforget @usabmc #memorialday

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

Most blog posts I write are about the editing process I go through.  This post is about the importance of sometimes letting an image stay in its “as taken” state.  The first two images are shown as shot and I would argue tell their story without the need for editing. The last image is in the standard Instagram format with the filter I chose for it accenting the light that illuminates the name on the grave marker.

When I am taking photographs, I often am thinking about what I would like the final image to look like.  In this case, I knew that I was going to want the final images to have very little editing done to them.  While my usual minimum edits are white balance, cropping, and sharpening, for the first two photos skip even those steps. What do you think of my unedited photos? are there times when you skip editing in favor of an “as-is” final photo? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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34 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

  1. I appreciate your comparison between the chaos of war and minimalism within military cemeteries…invites contemplation. The editing of “Faces of Cambridge” invites a contrast between the gentleness of her marker to those in the background. I love playing around in the digital darkroom so very few of my images are “as is.”

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  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Order | Lillie-Put

  3. Great post and take on the challenge, Amy. The content and your point of view mean much more than any post processing. If what has come out of the camera has done that without any other manipulation, then I agree, let it be. And, yes, sometimes I, too, just let whatever comes out of the camera stay as is,

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  4. What a great post, Amy. Your point of view or interpretation of your photos makes me look at them in a completely different way than I would have. Great post for the “Order” challenge. I definitely agree these photos don’t need editing.

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  5. Pingback: Order on the Bridge | What's (in) the picture?

    • It is interesting though, that I don’t always do that, I have a set number of edits that I “always” do. While I would argue that they are edits that are needed most of the time, it is to my detriment I think if I don’t at least stop and ask if they need to be done this time.

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  6. Amy, I especially liked the “looking upward” perspective of the first photo. I also was struck by the “repetitive” effect in your second photo, the “R” names, one after the other, along with the photos. It was like person-name-person-name … interesting! I appreciated your observation that your minimal edit process is “white balance, cropping, and sharpening,” and that those first two photos didn’t even have that. So interesting to see that those were non-edited. Did you take them w the iphone or with a larger camera, just curious?

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    • That the names and photos were lined up was what I was looking for in that particular photo. I thought it would make a powerful image to have them set like that. So, after taking several shots, I went looking for that image. For this post, the photos are using my iPhone. I had my Canon 50D with me and I used that as well, but in this case for these photos, I thought the iPhone was the better tool.

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  7. Just to say that we have had an ongoing Internet connect problem (frequent drops in connection), which, happily, is now fixed, so some of my intended ‘Likes’, as for this post, didn’t register. So just to add now that I appreciate your photos in this post, which so effectively honour the war dead and remind us of their individuality. It is also an interesting response to the theme: order. I agree that we need to think before we edit our images. It is too easy to “over edit”, but as you say, at least we can undo the tinkering that turns out to be unnecessary.

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  8. What a great incentive and those faces added to the names definitely give it a very personal touch and meaning. This was interesting to me since I have never thought to take photos in a cemetery. I don’t know why, but somehow it has felt awkward and like I would be disturbing those who rest there. I couldn’t even take photos at my grandmother’s funeral, even though I am very grateful my uncle did. Taking steps outside our usual habits and patterns is great though, it adds perspective and gives us room to see things in a different light. For this reason I think it’s great to leave photos unedited, so we can see them and appreciate different aspects of what we have captured. Even to have that in mind while taking the photos definitely changes its composition–or so I imagine. I especially love the photo with the faces of the fallen, but the other one gives a very real feeling. I don’t know if that is because you told us it’s unedited or if it’s the result of what you had in mind for it. Great post!

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    • Thank you very much. I would say the choice to shoot in a cemetery is a personal one. To me, there is so much history, stories to be told, that I almost always reach for my camera. I do understand that not everyone thinks that is appropriate. I do keep in mind that people tend to want to have a private moment while they are there, so I steer clear of photographing actual events in progress unless I have been asked to take the photo. Thank you for your comment.

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