The most basic divide in photography, is between those pictures where you actually copy a scene from life, and those photographs that are built for the sake of the picture. In advertising, most of the pictures are ‘directed’ pics or built pics, but this is also true of a lot of art work. I see it a lot like painting a picture. You have complete control over what is going to be on every square centimeter of the picture. In the case of a directed pic, there’s usually more work in creating the scene than there will be in setting up the camer and pressing the button.
Interesting enough, when you’ve put together something that is really good, whether it is a captured image or something you’ve built on the set, you will often hear as a compliment, that the photo is as good as a painting. That’s because a lot of people actually think that a painting is a true subjective expression of the artists vision, and that a photograph is inherently inferior. Many people see a camera as some sort of glorified copying machine, and that the only credit that might go to the photographer might be for taking a scene out of the context of the stream of life and turning it into an image that may be looked at for more than a second, may be contemplated, and may even serve as an analogy or a metaphor regarding any number of subjects that matter to us in life.
In the picture of the red sea, I was sitting with some friends at a long dinner, and the wine had been flowing for some time, and the conversation was losing my interest. I tore up a bunch of red napkins, and used a little black and white and yellow paper, and built the scene. Then I shot it through a water glass that was filled with pink wine. Red makes its mark in any case, in photography. I think it is the most powerful color both on film and on the computer. And when you take something red and light it with a red light and put on a red filter, or even less than that– say, if you use two sources of red, that is the object itself is red and the light that is lighting it is filtered through red, you are going to get some very deep colors. the picture was in my mind before I started preparing it, and I just did the work that I knew I had to do, for the picture to come out like it did.