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In school, photographers have been taught to pre-visualize so that the result will conform to their, and the client's, expectations. And for most of the genres of photography (forensic, fashion, wedding, sports, etc.)... this is perfect advise. But for art photography, the principles are broader.
Of course I frequently set out with an idea or a feeling that I want to capture. But today, we get two bites at the apple. We can pre-visualize before we click the shutter. And/or we can pre-visualize as we bring our images up in Aperture, LightRoom, Bridge, or whatever application you use to sort pictures. In this second place we can pre-visualize before the post processing.
This is a new space for photography in most cases. Oh sure there were artists in the old days who did spectacular enhancements in the darkroom. These were the pioneers for the digital enhancements we can now achieve.
Which means that in art photography the whole needn’t be the sum of its parts. Putting parts together is adding thoughts and feelings to them through the new power we have to express our imaginations. We can arrange pieces of moments the same way that novelists can arrange facts. And the final result needn't mimic reality at all.