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Author Topic: Creating Meaningful Photographs  (Read 27370 times)
dreed
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« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2012, 11:02:44 PM »
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That is an entirely un-realistic expectation...it's bullshyte...you could NEVER see it as a photographer has seen it in any sort of reality. You see a shot, do you know the focal length used for the shot? Do you know the exact GPS location to within a meter or so? Do you know the elevation? The F-stop? Ignoring totally the post, why would you possibly expect to see what another photographer saw? Don't know what you are smoking but unless you wanna pass it around, what you want isn't in the least bit realistic...

I think you're looking for exactness where it isn't required.

When all of those people went to Sentinel Rock to photograph the Joshua Pine plus Half Dome shot, do you think they cared about F-stop and location to the nearest centimeter? Not likely. Would that photograph have been as well received as it was if it was known that Ansel Adams moved the tree to that position? Similarly there was a bunch of people that tried to emulate another photograph he took of the full moon when it was in the right position. Would that have been as well received as it was if he decided to put the moon somewhere else because he liked that location in his shot better?

To give another different example, some German guy created a very bland picture of the Rhone by removing lots of man made bits. Some were willing to spend a lot of money on that creation. To me, it is worth nothing as a photograph because it is of nothing that I can ever expect to see or experience. Others think differently and I'm ok with that.

With landscape photographs, the traveller in me is looking at images and thinking "wouldn't it be nice to go there and see that?" If I can't go there and see it (or couldn't have) then for me, it may as well be a painting and not a photograph.

When I look at simple photographs of white sand beaches with blue skies and calm waters, the value in seeing that is being able to dream of being there and knowing that it is possible to actually be there. If someone had just rendered it in some graphics application, then to me it has substantially less value. Similarly, if a photograph doesn't make me want to be somewhere to see or experience what is in the photograph then to me it has no value.
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dreed
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« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2012, 11:04:44 PM »
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However, the notion that the image represents a real place at a real point in time absolutely accounts for the power that these images possess.

Exactly!

I couldn't have said it better myself.

If the relationship to a real place and point in time is lost then to me the power of the image is also lost.
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Schewe
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« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2012, 11:08:18 PM »
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With landscape photographs, the traveller in me is looking at images and thinking "wouldn't it be nice to go there and see that?" If I can't go there and see it (or couldn't have) then for me, it may as well be a painting and not a photograph.

Again, that's your expectations and the baggage you are carrying...and the painting vs photo is the whole point–you are expecting something not explicitly promised...unless the landscape photographer promised that the location WOULD look exactly as photographed (which again is an unreasonable expectation-more fool you for believing something like that).
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2012, 11:13:31 PM »
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With landscape photographs, the traveller in me is looking at images and thinking "wouldn't it be nice to go there and see that?" If I can't go there and see it (or couldn't have) then for me, it may as well be a painting and not a photograph.
This is in stark contrast to the recent Mark Dubovoy's essay where he said he likes to create "unseen" scenes.
My theory is that one of the main characteristics of successful photographs is that they contain something that was unseen by the observer before the photograph was exhibited.

To me, such an approach is much more creative and valuable than trying to find someone else's tripod marks and make yet another copy of a sight photographed million times before.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 11:17:42 PM by LesPalenik » Logged

dreed
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« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2012, 11:22:13 PM »
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Again, that's your expectations and the baggage you are carrying...and the painting vs photo is the whole point–you are expecting something not explicitly promised...unless the landscape photographer promised that the location WOULD look exactly as photographed (which again is an unreasonable expectation-more fool you for believing something like that).

Maybe I'm wrong but I think most people have that expectation of landscape photographs and that if people knew they were heavily photoshop'd then they would not be seen to be as valuable.

This is in stark contrast to the recent Mark Dubovoy's essay where he said he likes to create "unseen" scenes.
My theory is that one of the main characteristics of successful photographs is that they contain something that was unseen by the observer before the photograph was exhibited.

To me, such an approach is much more creative and valuable than trying to find someone else's tripod marks and make yet another copy of a sight photographed million times before.


It's not the desire to take a photograph but to simply see it with my own eyes.
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2012, 11:29:38 PM »
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It's not the desire to take a photograph but to simply see it with my own eyes.
You know, we all see differently. Especially women can perceive the colours more intensely than men.
That wouldn't disturb me. The problem is that they sometimes hear differently.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2012, 11:37:22 PM »
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Maybe I'm wrong but I think most people have that expectation of landscape photographs and that if people knew they were heavily photoshop'd then they would not be seen to be as valuable.

I am not sure that is a predicative relationship between the two points made here.

Perhaps some people do believe the beautiful landscape image they have viewed in a gallery represents the location as it will always be. I believe that most believe it looked like it did at the time the photograph(s) were taken and don't expect it to look the same subsequently. That location may be recognizable subsequently, should one visit it, but it may not.

I happen to agree with the second part of the statement if it encompasses wholesale edits of elements of the composition of the image as proposed by Alain. However I see no problem with doing those edits as long as one 'fesses up.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Schewe
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« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2012, 12:04:40 AM »
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I believe that most believe it looked like it did at the time the photograph(s) were taken and don't expect it to look the same subsequently. That location may be recognizable subsequently, should one visit it, but it may not.

My daughter, at the age of 10, often asked if something was "Photoshopped" (and presumed it was). She's now 30 (will be in Aug) and she knows better than ask...she presumes it is...

Anybody who thinks ANYTHING seen is "real" is naive...or stupid.

Lots of stupid people out there...not our fault is it?
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2012, 12:25:29 AM »
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If I may be allowed my smartass moment: in India, they usually call them the Himaaal -yas, not the Himma-lay-as...  but not a lot of people nowadays knows that.

Feel so much better now!

Rob C


It is a compound of two Sanskrit words.

Him (snow) + aalaya (abode) = Himaalaya [i.e. abode of the snow(y) mountains]


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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2012, 02:53:52 AM »
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It is a compound of two Sanskrit words.

Him (snow) + aalaya (abode) = Himaalaya [i.e. abode of the snow(y) mountains]






Thanks for the definitive explanation! The original is so much more beautiful an expression that the known name, which to most of us is just a meaningless word like, well, Henry or, in the case of its application to a horse, Trigger. At least Tonto (in Spanish) means silly, which goes a long way to explain the resentment harboured for the Lone Ranger...

(No doubt someone will feel offended or, better yet, come up with a lengthy discourse explaining exactly why Henry does, in fact, mean so many things I hadn't thought of as I wrote. The risks, the risks of quill to parchment...)

;-)

Rob C
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John R Smith
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« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2012, 03:06:51 AM »
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I spent my working life using photography as a means of record, so I think that has really coloured the way I approach my personal picture-making. As a landscape archaeologist and historic buildings person, and later Records Officer, I used and took aerial photographs for crop-marks and historic record, ground photographs for excavation section recording, and of course zillions of building record shots, some of them rectified from attached targets. For all these purposes, the resulting photograph only has a value if if it has not been altered or “photoshopped” in any way, if you like. The user relies on the fact that what is seen in the print was really there (or not there) at the time.

Perhaps because of this, in my own landscape work I am very reluctant to change anything much, apart from the usual luminance editing. In fact I have been criticised here on LL for refusing to clone out overhead wires. If a photograph really doesn’t work for me because of some unwanted element, I will just dump it and move on to something else.

But far be it for me to impose my own “rules” on anybody else. Photographers have been altering reality since the dawn of the art, as has already been pointed out, so it has a long pedigree.

John
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Ray
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« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2012, 04:42:09 AM »
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I can confirm, if anyone wishes to climb up to Poon Hill in Nepal, which is a mere 3210 metres, that he/she will see a view of the Himalayan mountains that is very accurately represented by my photo on page 1 of this thread.

I have not enlarged, cloned out, or replaced any of the mountain peaks.

What you may not see is that brief glow of orange on the mountains as the sun rises, if you are not there early, which means hiking in the dark for an hour or two depending on your level of fitness.

You will also most likely not see 3 nude ladies posing in the foreground. The height and shape of the foreground trees and bushes will also likely have changed. That stitched panorama was taken in 2006.

Since we're getting rather pedantic about the meaning of 'Himalayas', perhaps some of you would like to know the names of the mountains in my photo.

Starting with the highest peak on the left of the photo, we have Dhaulagiri at 8,167 metres. This was once considered to be the highest mountain in the world, before Mt Everest was surveyed.

Right next to Dhaulagiri, on the right, is Tukuche Peak, a mere 6,920 metres. We then have a few distant peaks which I don't know.

Approximately in the middle of the panorama we have Nilgiri, a bit higher at 7040 metres, then Annapurna 1 at 8091 metres, Annapurna South at 7219M, and right next to it, a bit lower, is Hiunchuli at 6441M.

The peak furthest to the right is Machapuchare, known in English as the Fishtail mountain. This mountain is sacred, so please don't attempt to climb it. You'd be breaking the law if you do. Climbing this mountain is forbidden. The God Shiva lives there. He'll be very angry with you if you attempt to intrude upon his abode. You might lose your life.

Sorry! I've forgotten the names of the ladies. We're not in touch.  Sad
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2012, 04:54:13 AM »
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I have to confess that I would be a little shell-shocked if one of my landscape images came out like that with three buxom ladies tastefully arranged in the shot.
Wonderful conversation starter though!

Regards

Tony Jay
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2012, 05:30:32 AM »
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After viewing that photo, now I'm convinced, that one shoudn't clone out anything from a landscape picture.
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Rob C
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« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2012, 05:55:21 AM »
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"Approximately in the middle of the panorama we have Nilgiri, a bit higher at 7040 metres, then Annapurna 1 at 8091 metres, Annapurna South at 7219M, and right next to it, a bit lower, is Hiunchuli at 6441M."



Now that I didn't know.

The only Nilgiris I did know were those in southern India at the juntion of the Eastern and Western Ghats. I used to clamber up Dodabetta when I was a kid... Ooty was a delightful place and the mountains went up some 8,000 feet towards the sky, which was plenty high enough for any reasonable person; there was wild boar in the countryside and even, before my time there I think (hope!), tiger.

I hear it has all changed... tourism, as I've said so often, ruins everything even whilst making some money for some. At least I don't remember a plague of cyclists in lycra.

Rob C

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Ray
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« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2012, 06:56:10 AM »
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Ooty was a delightful place and the mountains went up some 8,000 feet towards the sky, which was plenty high enough for any reasonable person; there was wild boar in the countryside and even, before my time there I think (hope!), tiger.

8,000 feet! That's not even as high as the hill from which I took my panorama. Are you suggesting I'm not a reasonable person, Rob?  Grin
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HSway
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« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2012, 07:19:11 AM »
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My daughter, at the age of 10, often asked if something was "Photoshopped" (and presumed it was). She's now 30 (will be in Aug) and she knows better than ask...she presumes it is...

Anybody who thinks ANYTHING seen is "real" is naive...or stupid.

Lots of stupid people out there...not our fault is it?



Lack of knowledge is no one’s fault. And to answer its purpose one needs to answer and elucidate what is Real.
Every single world in the quoted sentence above is distinctly outside of reality and entirely subjective. - "Anybody, who, thinks, ANYTHING, seen, is, "real", is, naive,...or - stupid." A slightly ridiculous situation considering its content.
I suggest we stay away from describing the reality and consequently the stupidity using our ‘right-left side’ vocabulary and understanding.

As to what we see and perceive. The humans have this perception remarkably similar. More than one would expect. Across the cultures, education differences, class differences, sex, centuries and millennia. I believe that it is more adequate frame for this discussion or its initial intent.

There sure is that ‘realistic approach’ possible. Two key elements sit in the bases of such a photography today.

It’s not difficult to achieve it but as with other relatively easy things (the sources of the said ‘knowledge’ that while also abundant only very few seem to bother to draw on them) it’s based on a discipline, needs to be driven by high motivation and needs to be directly connected to philosophy or vision (that, too, is moving quite free across the cultures, education differences, class differences, sex, centuries and millennia). And that can be found more difficult than not. Or impossible.

You need a well chosen hardware and a crucial part of software you can rely on, you have tested out very well and you know well (its behaviour). A stable bases that outputs the photographed scene in a consistent manner. It’s you who will judge it and select. You need to manage the WB challenge in the same sense at least to an acceptable degree, a bit separate problem worth a note. The hardware side is not a big factor here and it’s relatively the easiest one (largely of a technical nature). The decisive weight will be the software part no matter on what level one processes. I will assume here a raw file and technically efficient workflow (a full bit tif).
Similar with the processing workflow stables. Although the weight is tipping more to the subjective side or power. The stable set of buttres (well tried one) has done its part and the responsibility shifts entirely towards the photographer or the Artist if we like. The stables, however important, never really moved further beyond the helping status. What is needed in order to expect the results here was mentioned but there is more.

Very good observation skills. Vast amount of experience especially when talking about the subjects in/of nature. Long term experience with the light and nature extremely varied environment and the “details” within we have subconscious, deeply rooted (a priori biased) assumptions about. Then, one will inevitably get into scenarios, and will get there often, when he is deciding where to move the slider and how to balance a particular tool application within the virtual frame of his vision or the way he approaches the photography (philosophy). It can be, however, a vision of beauty and a message (photography) far beyond a pretty picture with cloned in clouds. It’s remarkably consistent in progress and results and its reflecting value gains its overall value accordingly. Which here is the ultimate goal. But not an easy execution. In fact it’s the one that is most difficult and quite rare.

Bringing out the image in this way is far from a boring copy work. It has always a unique personal imprint imbedded in it for various reasons which is impossible to copy exactly by others. Not to mention the composition, framing and the unique choice of subjects. But it has also uniquely (seems to be true) high value relative to the reality perceived with our senses physically, semi-physically and beyond. No matter whether that value is widely recognized or not. It is there. Did I say something about abundance of certain things yet they being so scarce? Somewhere in that area ‘things’ don’t wait to be recognized. They already are, on their own.
No wonder my wife sees a painter in me when I am processing. Indeed, the sliders are my brushes. I handle them that way and a strange chill runs over my spine –  I am not home at that point (NX2 and Lightroom 4 which I for the first time prefer to the PS). The unique (observing) experience and view  with the camera in hands (unique to many I presume) and the experience of processing to help the camera to get it on ‘the’ exact spot is for me roughly equal. Each has got something different and brings in a different, in its own way significant, element.  I can’t decide which is above the other and there is no real need for it either as they complement each other in perfection. So the true about that ‘home’ will be more with both parts together as a sort of extension that goes above both but needs them together at the same time to exist and happen. In other words, making an image at the spot and processing it is bringing me same value experience at either side. Once together, when the processing is added, the whole experience comes alive and is complete in the best sense of this word.

There is a reason why I don’t discuss these matters and approaches. I just don’t see it's needed. As I can acknowledge a wide variety of photography executions, expressions and styles I don’t think anyone else needs it (me discussing it). This is one of the things that come themselves. Photographer’s or any artist’s perception is more intuitive and too original for more definite outside interventions. It grows its own way for its exact purpose and concrete satisfaction which makes it a little fragile in a way.
That said, you can give this little significative post to your daughter to read. I find her initial questions hinting an interest just in that direction. Young people are initially often led by intuition more than by intellect. And what of these two is further from the Reality or Stupidity brings me back at the beginning of my exception post. Where we should hold back I suppose.

Hynek

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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2012, 10:37:30 AM »
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To put it simply, there needs to be another word for images that have been modified in this manner to distinguish them from photographs because quite clearly they are not photographs.

Images that have been modified in what manner?  Where will the line be drawn and who is going to draw it? 

ALL photographs are manipulated.  That manipulation begins when the photographer puts an eye to the viewfinder.
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Rob C
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« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2012, 11:15:41 AM »
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8,000 feet! That's not even as high as the hill from which I took my panorama. Are you suggesting I'm not a reasonable person, Rob?  Grin




Ray, based upon my research which is, in turn, based upon photographic evidence of the hugging of tigers and lensing of transexuals (not to mention further evidence of a liking for the experience of being high), I  have to say no, in no way can you be thought of as an unreasonable person.

The problem is, one man's foothill is another man's vertigo trigger. Or, at least, it could trigger off a breathing problem for the one if within the landscape of the other. 

Rob C 
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Isaac
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« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2012, 11:29:16 AM »
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Isaac, you are really substantiating my point.

Tony, that unsupported assertion doesn't answer any of the questions you were asked.


Don't misunderstand me - my images undergo a lot of post-processing. In my case the intent is to try, as best possible, to reproduce the scene as I remember it. Obviously there must be a subjective bent at play but the result would still be instantly recognizable to any third party observer who viewed the scene when I was shooting.

By all means, impose whatever arbitrary restriction you wish on your own photography.

However, I think you were making vague claims about "community expectation" without even saying which community you were talking about.



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