The term "special effects" can cover a
multitude of techniques, but here I use it in reference to experimental
photographs or pictures with a gimmick. Just as I enjoy finding new
subjects, I also enjoy discovering new ways of looking at familiar
subjects, and, when I'm not rushed, I spend a lot of my spare time
experimenting with new ideas.
Apart from the nature of the camera, the
possibilities for experimentation are limited only by one's
imagination. To help in this direction, many "special effect" gadgets
have been invented, such as prisms and cross star filters, and new
devices keep appearing on the market all the time. You can also
experiment with equipment such filters designed for black-and-white
photography in order to produce intensified yellow, blue, or red
effects. Or, for strange misty pictures or abstract compositions you
can shoot through a piece of glass, or a filter that has been lightly
smeared with Vaseline. Multiple exposures or shooting reflections are
other possibilities. Any one of such things can be done in combination
with another to produce still different effects.
A gimmick by itself does not make a
picture; indeed it can often spoil an otherwise perfect shot. As in
straight photography, it's important first to find an interesting
subject, then to try to portray it in an interesting way. The subject
should also be suitable for the special effect you wish to employ. If
you have a definite theme or motif, so much the better. Many
photographers have taken a passage from some literary classic and
interpreted the theme and mood in a highly poetic way.
One word of caution: whatever your chosen
special effect, use it sparingly in any kind of presentation you make.
No matter how good it is, anything that is overdone or repeated too
often loses its impact and becomes increasingly monotonous.
On the next few pages are a few
experiments I have made in recent years that have pleased me. They are
included in the hope that the reader may be inspired to go out and make
experiments of his own and maximize the personal satisfaction gained