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gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9219
Country: United States

JimFox wrote:
gdanmitchell wrote:
I'm often sort of surprised when the discussion goes to a question of what the artist has the "right" to do. The odd thing about this is that I do not recall a case - even once - where the photographer's "right" to make his or her decision was questioned. Whether a choice is an effective one or a good one is an entirely different question.

Dan


Hey Dan,

Are you referring to Maji's comment about "An artist has the right to his artistic interpretation"? He is simply stating that as a fact, from what I see, not questioning whether an artist has a "right to edit as he/she see's fit". Though I am sure Maji can comment for himself.

But why are you surprised, if anyone brought up what an artist's right is or isn't? I am not at all. As a group and as individuals as we give opinions and thoughts on what works or doesn't, it could easily be seen questioning someones right to make a decision. We think so often, especially here in America in regards to freedom, yet as a society and as a group even in here, I have seen instances where we have put down someones photograph to extent that person probably felt they didn't have a right to edit their photos as they wanted because of the pressure of acceptance by the norm. I know I have been rather blunt and tactless a time or two in commented for example on someone's HDR photo's. Could that person then not leave feeling like they didn't have the right to process his/her photo's as they desired? Yes, they easily could have felt that because of peer pressure. Even if we didn't specifically say that they didn't have the "right" to edit their shots as they did, that person could easily have left feeling that in all reality they no longer had that right do to our responses...

Just a few thoughts at 2:30am....

Jim


Jim:

Thanks for continuing the discussion.

I was thinking about how the discussion about whether an artist's interpretation or style "works" for individual viewers - which is a great, interesting, and valid subject for discussion - sometimes wanders off into the supposed question of whether artists have the "right" to do certain things.

This is often used as a distraction from the real discussion about the response to the artist's work - whether it works and how, for each of us from our own subjective perspectives. From what you write, it seems that you might fundamentally agree with me.

The sensitivity about what people may say about our work is a normal and natural thing. The challenge to the photographer is to think about how to respond to criticism - sometimes it is best to hear and understand it, whether or not we ultimately agree. If a group of people respond to our work in an unexpected way, there is something to be gained by hearing and understanding that response. Some excellent photographers actually look for this. A friend of mine had a solo show at the Center for Photographic Arts in Carmel. During the final hours of the show a number of us were there with him and he asked us, individually, a very uncomfortable but courageous question: "If you could remove one of my photographs from the show, which one would it be and why?" This photographer is an artist with a long history of critical acclaim and success and a person who has a strong sense of style. Yet, rather than engaging in the defensive "you can't tell me what to do" distraction, he was asking us to share honest critique with him. It was an astonishingly courageous thing for him to do - and quite a challenge to each of us to think deeply and seriously about our response to his work and then to share and explain the response to him.

(To be fair, there are times when the "response" to creative work can be mean-spirited and unhelpful. One of the challenges is learning the difference between useful criticism and venting by angry people, and a second one is figuring out how to - or not to - respond to that sort of stuff. :-)

So, my main point in calling out the "right to do this" comment was to avoid letting that distract us from looking honestly and with sensitivity at what we respond to in photographs and why.

Take care,

Dan



chez
Registered: Nov 26, 2003
Total Posts: 7880
Country: Canada

AMaji wrote:
Dan and Jim,
Thank you for the discussion. I think Jim stated my thoughts more eloquently than I could have.

As for processing or over processing, it is really up to the artist. If the prints sells well, then more power to him/her. A great example is Peter Lik. His Antelope Canyon photos are clearly over processed. However, they fetch premium prices as they tickle the fancy of a class of viewers. So, nothing wrong with the artist catering to that. My wife was with me in the Canyons and then she comes back and sees Peter Lik's works. She comments that it is Photoshopped, but she likes the vibrant colors. It kind of made me realize this point better.

Thanks to Mark for pushing the envelope. Some of us will not feel comfortable, while some will enjoy it while some will not give a dang... as long as the artist has his freedom to express his/her thoughts, that is what matters.


In fact it is the true artist that pushes the boundaries that gets noticed and recognized while the majority stay safely within the pact and critize the pioneers. Look at all the great works in photography...they all broke out of the pack for their era of photography.

If this image wasn't pushed, Mark staying safely within the pack...would we be even talking about it. I give cudos to Mark for continually pushing his vision, at times going against the grain and raising such discussions.



philtax
Registered: Dec 23, 2004
Total Posts: 3051
Country: United States

I wonder about the extent to which our thoughts about what looks "photoshopped" are based on the historic limitations of photo equipment rather than what the scene itself looked like. On the other hand I seem to remamber that Ansel Adams preferred to work in black and white because he could manipulate the final image more than with color materials. Many of us have seen the straight vs. final versions of "Moonrise, Hernandez". The difference is atonishing.

Phil



dswiger
Registered: Feb 24, 2006
Total Posts: 6324
Country: United States

Hmm, my feelings are like most with the old-school photographer-modern-artist tension.
Compared to the push-button-go HDR we see so much of, this is definitely more interesting & appealing.
I would definitely like to see the workflow details and try it on a few images.

I have decided to add that I appreciate the civility of this thread to explore this tension.
Much preferred to a acerbic comments, defensiveness & pomposity


Thanks for posting Mark

Dan



gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9219
Country: United States

philtax wrote:
I wonder about the extent to which our thoughts about what looks "photoshopped" are based on the historic limitations of photo equipment rather than what the scene itself looked like. On the other hand I seem to remamber that Ansel Adams preferred to work in black and white because he could manipulate the final image more than with color materials. Many of us have seen the straight vs. final versions of "Moonrise, Hernandez". The difference is atonishing.

Phil


I have no issues at all with what some call "photoshopping" - in fact I'm a very strong believer in the importance of post-production work as a integral part of creating a great photograph. Basically I regard that is a virtual necessity in almost all great photographs. (To continue the Ansel references, I'm thinking of the "negative is the score and the print is the performance" comment of his.) So what I'm noting concerning my response to the photograph is not a reflection of any issues with working a photograph in post - since I don't have any such issues! ;-)

I'm also very much not anti-modernist or anti-experimentalist when it comes to photography, so that isn't an issue with me either.

I also emphatically do not believe that the goal of a great photograph is to attempt to reproduce the real in some supposedly objective and accurate manner. In fact, I think that is utterly impossible and, additionally, that it wouldn't be a very interesting goal even if it were possible.

The contact print (or "straight version") of "Moonrise" is available for viewing online, and it is a very unimpressive thing! Yet the print is a beautiful to behold.

Dan



c5gowin
Registered: May 28, 2004
Total Posts: 265
Country: United States

Exceptional photo and processing. Well done Mark.

The processing may have enhanced the actual scene as perceive by the eye at the time of capture - I don't know (or care) for sure since I have never been there and even those that have may not have experienced that specific light. Regardless, in my opinion, the original capture and processing is excellent with a resulting image that is clean, vibrant, and interesting.

I would be proud to have the talent to produce that image myself.



Chaz
Registered: Mar 20, 2004
Total Posts: 1149
Country: United States

I very much enjoy and often learn from all of the work and discussion posted here. Kudos to the group at large.

My opinion on personal and/or "fine art" photography (as differentiated from strict photojournalism or documentary reportage) is this:

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

So, photographers, have at your personal vision during the shoot by using filters and any other "tricks" you can employ and further by manipulating and post-processing to your heart's desire in pursuit of your objective, regardless of whether or not the final work resembles the "real" scene. And, if the scene required a moon where one wouldn't naturally be found, please identify the work for me as a composite so I don't go on a wild hare's hunt for the location myself.

I will then stand back and enjoy your work or not as the spirit moves me.

Regardless of my opinion of your work I heartily applaud your efforts both in the field and in the digital darkroom.

Carry on, oh ye pioneers! We're all the better for your collective visions...

To everyone here I extend every good wish for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Oh, and may a few extraordinary "keepers" be yours as well!



nugeny
Registered: Jan 22, 2004
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

Chaz wrote:
I very much enjoy and often learn from all of the work and discussion posted here. Kudos to the group at large.

My opinion on personal and/or "fine art" photography (as differentiated from strict photojournalism or documentary reportage) is this:

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

So, photographers, have at your personal vision during the shoot by using filters and any other "tricks" you can employ and further by manipulating and post-processing to your heart's desire in pursuit of your objective, regardless of whether or not the final work resembles the "real" scene. And, if the scene required a moon where one wouldn't naturally be found, please identify the work for me as a composite so I don't go on a wild hare's hunt for the location myself.

I will then stand back and enjoy your work or not as the spirit moves me.

Regardless of my opinion of your work I heartily applaud your efforts both in the field and in the digital darkroom.

Carry on, oh ye pioneers! We're all the better for your collective visions...

To everyone here I extend every good wish for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Oh, and may a few extraordinary "keepers" be yours as well!



Chaz,
i don't see any issue here. I presume we show our pictures in these forums as works of art, not as documentary pictures. So either you , I like it or not. This is obviously the photographer's PP/taste and it is not posted on critic forum. We still can comment, but at the end what matters here is: the photographer likes it as is.

BTW, Chaz, do you know where is this place, what is its name. One day I woyld like to check it out myself, with D800e? And I can guess my final picture may look some thing like this one,, of course depending on light...but one thing I seem to like in this picture is the intense colors. What ever you call HDR or whatever.



Mark Metternich
Registered: Aug 01, 2005
Total Posts: 7170
Country: United States

Wow, 24 comments already and a ton of good stuff to contemplate!

I have read them all and because it brings up so many issues, I will just keep listening (and learning) but make a few comments.

I often go into minutia of thought, but I also like to keep things simple. Simply, yes admittedly, I am an edge pusher (for better or worse, that has always been a tendency in my DNA). I have low interest in being a literalist or ultra literalist (to be clear, I don't mean this derogatorily, and I use the terms for lack of a better way to put it). I also don't see a way superior to another way (this vs that). When evaluating art or photography. I go on an image to image basis, vs genre or style... Sort of how I am with music. I either like it or I don't and often I don't care why.

I don't see this image as a huge variant from representing the moment well. I see it (maybe) in some ways pushing the limits of "optimization" but into a sort of grey zone (if you will) between "real" and "photographic art". I would call it neither, literally.

I like that someone mentioned that just because someone has been to a location a person has photographed, does not mean they know what the scene may have looked like, or could look like in very different conditions/lighting. This is especially true with some photographers who may emphasize the chase of radical or weird or unique lighting conditions (not that this image necessarily is).

I do see an argument for backing off a hair, in certain respects. As time goes by I am slowly learning to do that. Those who see my entire workflow (like those I teach) know this is something always in mind and practice. Yet, "perfection" is very illusive!

Honestly, I see an argument for both sides and feel comfortable neutral in the various philosophies.

Lastly, thank you everyone so far! Thank you Dan for bringing up the dialogue. I appreciate and encourage this discussion. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts.



bktools
Registered: Mar 23, 2002
Total Posts: 6772
Country: United States

The image pops, Mark, and is ART!

Bob



CarlG
Registered: Mar 12, 2002
Total Posts: 6335
Country: United States

Love it as is!! Art is subjective and in my eyes, this is art!!



allstarimaging
Registered: Mar 24, 2006
Total Posts: 1863
Country: United States

Hi Mark,
Thank you for posting. I enjoy your work and your insights and looking forward to the tutorial. If possible I'd like to see the straight out of the camera image for comparison sake. Hapyy New Year.

Jack



paneraica
Registered: Sep 23, 2010
Total Posts: 87
Country: Canada

Amazing image - almost looks computer generated due to the colors

DON



thw2
Registered: Dec 27, 2004
Total Posts: 2837
Country: N/A

Fantastic post processing work. A surreal, 3D look, especially with the red-grey-green foreground.



hugodrax
Registered: Dec 07, 2003
Total Posts: 894
Country: United States

I give it 10/10. I do not see why anyone would have any issues with the post processing work involved, its part of creating art.

The thing is this is his representation of what he felt/saw and used the tools to present his work to an audience as he sees fit.

I find it a fantastic image of nature. Great work.



lukeb
Registered: Nov 13, 2010
Total Posts: 1823
Country: United States

philtax wrote:
Stunning shot Mark - the landscape is freaky cool and the atmospherics add a natural drama. Just amazing.

Phil


+1



Fred Miranda
Registered: Dec 31, 2001
Total Posts: 17715
Country: United States

Amazing clarity Mark!
It lacks a little dynamic range though...just kidding!!
You got some great series from this location. I'm sure they will look amazing when printed.
All the best,
Fred



Richard Booth
Registered: Oct 02, 2003
Total Posts: 1258
Country: United States

OMG. This discussion could go on for years without a resolution. The manipulation of photos has been going on since day one. It's a matter of degree and taste. When I first began working with Photoshop, I marveled at how some images "popped" and others didn't. Then I discovered some of the secrets . . . sliders . . . masks . . . selective color . . . etc. Why do people become so obsessed with this question?

If it makes you stop and look, it works. You either like it or you don't like it and move on. Very few of us would be interested in seeing a movie without some sort of special effects or a portrait of someone without some "adjustments." Why is landscape photography any different? I remember attending a workshop with Vincent Versace when he asked "Do you ever wonder why we all don't look like movie stars? . . . because they don't look that way in real life." He said you could walk right by most of them on the street and not recognize them. The before and after shots made his point.

I had a friend who worked at National Geographic back in the 50's and 60's. He told me they were "manipulating" images on a regular basis. If the holy grail of this business did it 60 years ago . . . and is still considered the "benchmark" why the big fuss? This image makes me stop, look and admire. Then I begin to wonder how he did it. Isn't that what it's all about?

Richard



gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9219
Country: United States

Richard Booth wrote:
OMG. This discussion could go on for years without a resolution. The manipulation of photos has been going on since day one. It's a matter of degree and taste. When I first began working with Photoshop, I marveled at how some images "popped" and others didn't. Then I discovered some of the secrets . . . sliders . . . masks . . . selective color . . . etc. Why do people become so obsessed with this question?

If it makes you stop and look, it works. You either like it or you don't like it and move on. Very few of us would be interested in seeing a movie without some sort of special effects or a portrait of someone without some "adjustments." Why is landscape photography any different? I remember attending a workshop with Vincent Versace when he asked "Do you ever wonder why we all don't look like movie stars? . . . because they don't look that way in real life." He said you could walk right by most of them on the street and not recognize them. The before and after shots made his point.

I had a friend who worked at National Geographic back in the 50's and 60's. He told me they were "manipulating" images on a regular basis. If the holy grail of this business did it 60 years ago . . . and is still considered the "benchmark" why the big fuss? This image makes me stop, look and admire. Then I begin to wonder how he did it. Isn't that what it's all about?

Richard


Actually, you are having an argument with yourself here. No one said that those techniques are wrong.

Dan



philtax
Registered: Dec 23, 2004
Total Posts: 3051
Country: United States

gdanmitchell wrote:
philtax wrote:
I wonder about the extent to which our thoughts about what looks "photoshopped" are based on the historic limitations of photo equipment rather than what the scene itself looked like. On the other hand I seem to remamber that Ansel Adams preferred to work in black and white because he could manipulate the final image more than with color materials. Many of us have seen the straight vs. final versions of "Moonrise, Hernandez". The difference is atonishing.

Phil


Hi Dan,

I have no issues at all with what some call "photoshopping" - in fact I'm a very strong believer in the importance of post-production work as a integral part of creating a great photograph. Basically I regard that is a virtual necessity in almost all great photographs. (To continue the Ansel references, I'm thinking of the "negative is the score and the print is the performance" comment of his.) So what I'm noting concerning my response to the photograph is not a reflection of any issues with working a photograph in post - since I don't have any such issues! ;-)

I'm also very much not anti-modernist or anti-experimentalist when it comes to photography, so that isn't an issue with me either.

I also emphatically do not believe that the goal of a great photograph is to attempt to reproduce the real in some supposedly objective and accurate manner. In fact, I think that is utterly impossible and, additionally, that it wouldn't be a very interesting goal even if it were possible.

The contact print (or "straight version") of "Moonrise" is available for viewing online, and it is a very unimpressive thing! Yet the print is a beautiful to behold.

Dan


Hi Dan,

I have no issue with what is or is not art. The issue for me is somewhere in the definition of "photography", as opposed to "photo illustration". For me, one of photography's greatest strength is its implied credibility. "Moonrise" is probably one of the photos that got me interested in landscape imagery and I would imagine that I have plenty of company in that. Would I feel differently if I learned that the crosses were not part of the original scene but were added later? Or if, say, a large interfering telephone pole had been "removed"? You bet I would! How about you? If it were represented to be a photomontage that would be another thing, but if called a photograph I would feel lied to, plain and simple. Particularly if I were a purchaser or a museum curator. I suspect that its market value would plummet.

As to other PP work, most images require some adjustments to retrieve the color, contrast, etc. that made me want to take the picture in the first place. For me, the question here is where the manipulation of contrast, saturation, color, etc. fits on the continuum between "reproduction" and what I would call "misrepresentation". Just my $.02.

Phil



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