simply put, previsualization is what differences taking a picture from making a picture. It is associated with the art process behind the image and it usually comes in 2 flavors:
- you were blessed with it: usually associated with people related with the arts world, it is there on your every day, you don’t even notice it and you certainly don’t know how to turn it off. The possibilities of the alternative looks they just pop in your mind
- you are a left brainer: in this case you usually have to train your brain to turn this feature on. Engineers, mathematicians and all the science community fall into this group.
Of course this is a coarse segregation and exceptions exist as in everything else.
If you fall in the second group, you are by now starting to rumble and saying “what the heck is previsualization anyway?”.
Looking at something and see what could be instead of what it is. From there you’ll go into the technical aspects that will allow you to capture the image as you imagined it (visualized):
- What speed do I need: slow speed to blur water or clouds? fast speed to freeze a drop of water?
- What aperture will I use? big aperture to isolate the subject in a nicely blurred background bouquet? Small aperture for a all-in-focus landscape image?
- What filters? degrade to cut back the difference between two zones? Polarizer to remove reflections or add contrast?
- What post processing process will I use afterwards?
In the case of film photography, this process is even more extreme as you can’t see the result before the film processing phase. You have then to cope with all of the above plus:
- What film processing will I use: different chemicals, temperatures and duration
- Image printing: enlarger, lens, apertures and filters, papers, masks, chemicals, temperatures, duration and processes!!
It is insane. A most adorable kind of insanity, I must say…
Your brain is a very curious entity. It loves having fun, trying new things, discovering new subjects and this process is like a lab for it to have fun. This is a very dynamic process, specially if you invest the time to understand the resulting images and the consequences of each technique and combination. This will be incorporated into your previsualization lab and the next time you will use it, there will new elements to play along 🙂
Let me just warn you that this is a fantastic path, but one that after you start, won’t be able to turn back. You’ll never see the world the same way ever again… and I love it! The downside of it is to cope with some frustration when you can’t make the image you have imagined. For this you must be resilient and use one very important aproach of our day-by-day: NEVER QUIT!