Instruction 3 of “100 Ways To Take Better Photographs” by Michael Busselle, is “Make use of depth of field”. To not do so would run the risk of shooting a picture that is sharp throughout, losing background details, or missing sharpness in the close foreground.
Use of depth of field and knowing how to position yourself, what to focus on and what aperture to use is vital for a picture that is full of clear detail and crisp with sharpness. It isn’t easy, I practised with my phone with middling to average results.
As I took a few shots of passers by I noticed some had masks on and I was immedietly transported to the ongoing conversation about the current pandemic. This blog up to this point has been something of an oasis from the consistently gloomy updates but I was always aware I would touch upon it.
Studying journalism at university was a dream. I had made my decision off the back of an expose I wrote at secondary school uncovering an embezzlement plot involving a teacher wrangling cash out of both the school principal and the students she presided over. I understood that not every story was going to be as exciting as that, or at all important but the pursuit and publication of truth was an admirable one.
It was drilled into us that information points such as who, what, where, why, when and how were the pillars of any story and they had to be displayed in a way that was clear, engaging but above all, objective. It was the reader who reserved the right to form their own decision based off the information provided. Our only job was to provide that information punctually.
Having credible sources was simply a matter of professional journalistic integrity, you didn’t make things up, it just wasn’t done. You provided information that wasn’t subject to a conflict of interest or in some way warped the truth. It couldn’t be molded into a fact, it simply had to be one. For when facts and figures lies, the truth as we know it dies.
The real world isn’t the bubble of intellectual integrity that academic institutions often are. The real world often deflates the optimism and upstanding individual as they strive for the job they have studied for until they are not as sharp or colourful, a husk of their former promise.
A picture had been taken and presented to the public but it was not the whole picture. A falsehood had been engineered in the name of profit, as civil liberties and truth had been sacrificed upon the altar of mammon and we had been called to worship and give thanks.
Using depth of field dextrously was a lot like critical thinking; it required a little effort for clearer results. Unfortunately, many are more than happy to be given pre-shot snaps of information that tells of a story that is supposedly happening as opposed to the truth in the background deliberately blurred out of focus. The misleading mainstream media have a way of whipping up fear, even our finance minister has said we cannot live in fear.
There needs to be a demand for truth and clarity, so that we can get the full picture and decide for ourselves how we wish to rearrange the frame and position ourselves more advantageously for another shot. Any less is a dramatic erosion of hard won democratic right. Many will echo our prime ministers rhetoric about being at war. As we all know civil liberties wane in war time, almost anything is permissable. Yet it wasn’t too long ago we were told we were at war and the justification for that was hollow and we paid the price in blood and culture clashes. We can’t keep learning the same lesson after the fact, we’ve been here before, it’s familiar terrain.