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Author Topic: INclude or EXclude? It has me puzzled.  (Read 4722 times)
WalterEG
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« on: October 04, 2012, 06:15:58 PM »
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I have noticed on several occasions that in commenting on posted images many critics suggest the removal of items visible in the picture.  On at least one such instance the comment was added that the element "added nothing to the composition".

Why?

In one recent example there were power poles at some distance from the viewpoint - certainly not intrusive, but certainly present.  They are just as much a part of the scene as it exists at that particular time as fence posts, buildings roads and other elements.

Again, in a landscape posted this morning there is the suggestion that some very small, very distant blue card signs on small stakes be zapped.

In my reading of such things I see that these inclusions have something to say about the sort of people that inhabit the region and the way they order their lives - or have access to power and communication.

I shoot a great deal of urban and rural material for archival records and I see the power of photography firmly enhanced by its ability to record whatever is there.  It is not impossible, but highly unlikely, that a painter would include all such elements because, unlike the camera lens, the human lens passes through a filter before brush is applied to surface.

I am not saying it is right or wrong.  Heaven knows, I have eradicated the occasion overhanging frond of palm or spot of detritus.  I am just encouraged to wonder what the motivation is.  Is it a celebration of the comparatively new-found ability to make such modifications through digital means?  Is it a desire to return the world to a more primal state?  Would it extend to getting rid of more significant features such as buildings or roads or bridges?

Cheers,

Walter
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louoates
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 07:14:58 PM »
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It doesn't bother me a bit to remove anything I don't want in a landscape. Or add things. Painters do it all the time to create whatever picture they envision. Same thing. Customers of one of my galleries liked my photograph of their local mountain but didn't like the houses. So I took out the entire city. The mountain looks now as it did in the 1600's. People love it, although both versions sell well.
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AFairley
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 08:12:39 PM »
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Interesting point.  I shoot what you might call "urban landscape," and I consider the documentary aspect of my photographs to be an important part of my photographs, though I hope they will transcend mere documentation.  So I rarely remove stuff like wires or other extranious stuff that pops up in an urban environment, because that's just what's there.  On the other hand, I don't hesitate to remove them it if they actually detract from the overall composition and weaken the effect of the picture.  In he case of the landscape (if you are talking about the one I think you are) I found the sign to be a jarring (although small) element that distracted.  It adds nothing to what the photograph seems to be about and detracts from the overall effect, so I would take it out.
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RSL
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 08:36:58 PM »
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It's a point well taken, Walter. I'd certainly agree that the mid-distance phone poles in the landscape I posted under "For Slobodan and Jeremy" should stay. And I hesitate then to turn around and support my suggestion that the small signs in David's "The Fall colors are here" should go. But I think there's a difference. In my own landscape the poles were part of the landscape. They're functional, and they blended into their surroundings. I just blew up David's picture so I could get a better look at the little signs, and I can't see that they're functional, though the more distant one may be a notice to keep out. David caught some wonderful light in that picture, light that illuminates grasses and stalks and makes them shine in their red and brown Autumn colors. But then there are these two small blue signs, completely out of character with the bright but gentle pastoral scene. The idea that they should stay certainly is arguable, but I'd have to argue on the other side. I think they run counter to what the picture's about.
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WalterEG
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 09:00:25 PM »
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I think they run counter to what the picture's about.

I suspect that the crux of the matter rests with the author - as it always should.

But clearly it is something of a grey area for some.  Like A.Fairley, a great deal of my endeavours focus on urban landscape and the structural detritus of the built environment and, while I have done all the usual things to unwanted intrusions myself, I am just curious as to some sort of consensus of motivation.

The little blue signs don't bother me at all, in fact, they pose some food for thought in an otherwise idyllic expanse of the planet.  But if they bother the author - now that attention has been drawn to them - it will be interesting to see what happens next. 

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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 03:46:55 AM »
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Walter, I agree that it is ultimately up to the author what he includes or excludes, whether by cropping, cloning, adding or whatever.   
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 04:06:38 AM »
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I'd think that the reality of taking elements away or not would depend totally on what the picture is intended to do. If, as for some, it's about recording for posterity, I'd be persuaded to leave as is; if the motivation is to create a pretty picture (not a crime at all) then crop or clone as gets you to where you want to be.

It's the same with all photographs: intent is key, followed closely by competence to achieve that.

Rob C
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kencameron
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 04:11:22 AM »
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Writing as a viewer rather than as creator of images, I have to say that I am suspicious of images of "wilderness" with no signs of human presence, but at the same time, ready and willing to be seduced by them. "Wilderness" is a human construct and a human creation and to pretend otherwise is sentimental. Indigenous people have rightly complained that they are excluded from inhabiting and using their ancestral lands in the name of "wilderness". On the other hand, the need for something untouched goes deep and as a post processor I have certainly put in my time cloning out telephone lines, even if I have never had occasion to take out a whole town. The OP also referred to including but maybe only having in mind a decision not to clone anything out. I am thinking that it might be interesting to clone in a coke bottle or two, just to discover how it felt.
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 09:34:07 AM »
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Writing as a viewer rather than as creator of images, I have to say that I am suspicious of images of "wilderness" with no signs of human presence, but at the same time, ready and willing to be seduced by them. "Wilderness" is a human construct and a human creation and to pretend otherwise is sentimental. Indigenous people have rightly complained that they are excluded from inhabiting and using their ancestral lands in the name of "wilderness". On the other hand, the need for something untouched goes deep and as a post processor I have certainly put in my time cloning out telephone lines, even if I have never had occasion to take out a whole town. The OP also referred to including but maybe only having in mind a decision not to clone anything out. I am thinking that it might be interesting to clone in a coke bottle or two, just to discover how it felt.


That's what Fatty Arbuckle apparently thought.

Rob C
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WalterEG
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 06:00:42 PM »
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The OP also referred to including but maybe only having in mind a decision not to clone anything out. I am thinking that it might be interesting to clone in a coke bottle or two, just to discover how it felt.

Yes Ken,

My notion of INclusion did not initially extend to ADDition.  But I see your point and it is certainly fine food for thought.

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kencameron
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2012, 09:18:21 PM »
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That's what Fatty Arbuckle apparently thought.
I thought he was a champagne man. Like you, Rob?
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 10:16:59 AM »
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I thought he was a champagne man. Like you, Rob?


Nope, I thiink he had more plebian tastes - also, I think it was definitely a Coke thing...

Personally, though, we did drink champagne every day at lunch for years, but then we gave that up for a nice, cold, dry white Rioja instead. With time, champs gave me a very rapidly achieved cut-off point, where even another sip would have turned me right off it for life. But, don't despair: we used to alternate with champs or G&T at around 11am, usually with a little plate of crackers with some fried soft cheese (idea we picked up in Greece), or salami, or local versions of things like that on them.

Sounds flash, but in reality, it was just a simple way of life. Now, all that's gone and I am permitted a single glass of red a day... anyhow, being solo, there's absolutely no appetite to indulge in anything. In fact, had the cardiologists not insisted that the single red was actually beneficial because of its deoxidants, I would be teetotal. Booze on your own is terrible.

Rob C
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kencameron
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 03:43:11 PM »
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Nope, I thiink he had more plebian tastes - also, I think it was definitely a Coke thing..
A few minutes of research suggests it might actually have been a piece of ice, with coke or champagne a rapidly developing urban myth. But enough of that rather horrible story.

Personally, though, we did drink champagne every day at lunch for years, but then we gave that up for a nice, cold, dry white Rioja instead. With time, champs gave me a very rapidly achieved cut-off point, where even another sip would have turned me right off it for life. But, don't despair: we used to alternate with champs or G&T at around 11am, usually with a little plate of crackers with some fried soft cheese (idea we picked up in Greece), or salami, or local versions of things like that on them.

Sounds flash.....
Sounds delicious. We don't see much Rioja in Australia, or other Spanish wine, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 03:45:00 PM by kencameron » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2012, 03:05:12 AM »
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Sounds delicious. We don't see much Rioja in Australia, or other Spanish wine, unfortunately.


Maybe, but don't forget that you produce some good ones yourselves! I'm sure that you are not deprived... ;-)

Regarding Fatty: I fail to see how ice, other than causing a cold or frostbite, would have brought about fatal injuries. In the heat of the moment, I'd have imagined meltwaters. But as you say, nasty tale which I don't want to reseach!

Rob C
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