Filter Flack

March 25, 2016

I get so much flack for using filters in my photography. Honestly, it annoys me. There’s this whole thing out there in internetsville about real photographers who use real equipment and capture real scenes without the aid of filter enhancements. There’s even a hashtag, “nofilters” that gets added to photos out in social media land, as though the photo is more genuine and pure. It seems like an honorary distinction, one that confers upon the photographer some sort of elevated status.

I call bullshit.

Number one, I have never claimed to be a photographer. I don’t have any photography education, know nothing about fancy lenses, and have experience with only the simplest of real cameras.

Number two, I have zero qualms about this. I may, one day, summon the motivation to learn more…experiment with some nice equipment and see how I like it…but I’m also happy doing exactly what I’m doing.. which is: looking at the world around me, with genuine awe and appreciation I might add, and attempting to document it in creative, fun ways. I like it, and often I really like what I come up with. I don’t have equipment (nothing wrong with equipment, I might like to explore equipment one of these days), but I like the immediacy and accessibility of the iPhone and think I’m pretty okay at composition and finding views that are pleasing.

I’ve spent my life being too uncertain and too self-conscious to risk doing “art.” From the time I was a kid, I’ve thought of myself as unartistic. Way back when, I labeled myself an athlete and just decided art was for other people. For artists.

Pretty much I still think of myself as not arty, but… I will at least say that I enjoy some forms of expression and even think I have a pretty good eye for some things . I think I (“I,” the person I am) come out in my writing a little. I don’t venture too bravely into creative writing (whatever that is), but public blogging can be a vulnerable place and at least some of who I am comes out here, for better or for worse. I think our house looks nice and I take some credit for that. I have a particular aesthetic bent, one that certainly appeals to me .. a work in progress, but I get compliments from time to time so it’s not just me who likes it.

And then there’s my photography, most of it on an iPhone, a lot of it filter-enhanced. I claim total credit for the ones that look great. I chose the subject, I framed and cropped my shots, I chose the colors and enhancements, and created finished images that convey whatever it was I was trying to convey. They speak to me, and they speak for me. That, to me, is art.

And it’s really, really fun for me. I’m not kidding: I just love it.

So please stop with the filter shaming.


So hey, I bought some new filters for my Camera+ app yesterday. Spent $1.98 for eighteen of them!

The first two below are photostaken yesterday on the I-80 on ramp out by the bypass..





Played with them on today’s commute from Davis to PV…

Out the window of a vehicle moving at about 70 mph down I-5:


Off ramp at airport exit:


From the plane:



LA being LA… at the rental car place:


A few down on the Esplanade:






8 Responses to “Filter Flack”

  1. Michael Ann Says:

    I think your photos are amazing, filter or no! This same thing happens in the music world too. I call it artistic snobbery. Whatever….

  2. Elliot Margolies Says:

    I gotta get those filters. More details please in an email.

  3. blk4609 Says:

    I think you get amazing shots … especially out car windows going 70 mph down the freeway! Filter what you’d like, keep what you will.

  4. Wes Young Says:

    I listen to a lot of photo podcasts aimed at “real” photographers. There are plenty of very good, very respectable, photographers who use filters…The term that is used is “plug-in”. It works with your normal photo editing software. A plug-in is just a fancier name for a filter…Nothing wrong with filters or plug-ins…

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