Book Review: #NoFilter
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then what’s in the eye of the artist? Natalia Price-Cabrera aims to answer that question in her new book #NoFilter: Getting Creative with Photography by putting you, the reader, behind the camera lens. Her genesis is simple: in an age of photographic manipulation dominated by Photoshop, filters, and apps, it’s time to return to our roots. Filled with experiments in the wide world of analog photography from a simpler time, Price-Cabrera invites you to stretch your creative muscles like photographers of yore and get back to basics.
Now, don’t get it twisted. Price-Cabrera is no Luddite. Quite the opposite. Several of the projects in this book require digital methods to be fully realized. Rather than argue for the abolition of electronic editing, she promotes a marriage of old and new techniques to make possible art that the world has never seen. Her emphasis is simply placed primarily on preserving and promoting techniques that the greats have used for decades.
While the title of the book implies merely stepping away from preset photo filters on social media, it should be noted that many of the techniques contained in #NoFilter are far from rudimentary. While photographers of all levels will find rewarding ideas for their art inside, ultimately the seasoned photographers are the ones who will be able to maximize all that Price-Cabrera has to offer, such as overlapping an exposure across an entire roll of film or using a fish tank and dye to create a smoke effect. All that being said, novices have no cause to fear; plenty of projects can be undertaken with gumption as your principal tool.
One of the most fun things for a beginner to try is the bug-eyed effect, which can be creating by pairing a camera lens with a variety of drinking glasses, the more textured the glass, the better. Those feeling a little more advanced might be inclined to take a crack at making their own multiple pinhole camera with some foil, photo paper, and a whole lot of patience. Other projects involve using film and negatives from photographs that have already been taken, such as the double vision and scratching techniques. If you’ve ever seen a photograph that looked like a painting and wanted to learn how to make that yourself, this is a great book to take for a spin.
If at first some of the techniques appear too advanced, don’t worry. There’s a wide range of projects, some of which can be accomplished with a cell phone camera and some household props, while others that require special lenses and software. The most important thing to remember is to try new things and don’t worry too much about achieving a particular result. Just have fun with it and, who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a few new techniques of your own!
Order your copy of #NoFilter here!