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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 18 Mar 2015 (Wednesday) 08:41
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The Creative Vision Hoax in Nature Photography

 
davebreal
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Mar 18, 2015 08:41 |  #1

"The Creative Vision Hoax in Nature Photography"

I just got done flipping through another recent article in a photography magazine (name omitted to protect the guilty). In my estimation 80%-90% of photography periodicals, videos, and websites are rehashing the same post-processing principles that have been discussed ad nauseum since the early 2000's. In the meantime, they are beating the dead horse on composition and exposure techniques that have been documented and discussed for at least 50 years.

My pet peeve is writings on the topic of "creative vision". When shooters and authors mention creative vision, what they generally mean is taking the liberty to pull as many sliders in Lightroom as possible. Making the image looking wholly unnatural, yet justifying that their "eyes saw it that way". I concur that there are no rules to art or photography, but to claim that the sky above the Earth is regularly the color of pure cyan or that the human eye views clouds with intense tonal gradations is nonsense. Modern age photographers should absolutely use all technology available to them, but they should do so with full disclosure.

Instead of stating my "creative vision" saw the scene this way, why not phrase it more accurately?

"I thought I could spice it up by adding intense contrast using software plug-ins."

"The straight out of camera shot would receive little attention so I tried to improve it."

"I use heavy post-processing on my photos to get more views on social media."

The integrity of the field of photography is better preserved when we are honest about our techniques. "Creative Vision" "Marketing Vision" and "Post Processing Tools" are different concepts. You can fool some of the people some of the time...

Words and photo by Dave Blinder.


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monkey44
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Mar 18, 2015 17:04 |  #2

I shoot my shots and enjoy what I can capture directly as I see it -- I use very fundamental and basic PP, only because it does enhance a little bit, and in fact creates the real vision you saw in the field.

What always amazes me -- when an image shows up somewhere with so much post it almost looks cartoon-ish and falsified. Nature simply does not appear that way ...

Some strive for the 'out of reality' look for a purpose (Client need, advertising, etc) -- I have no issue with that, but to represent a heavily PP image as if it is not, and expect us to believe it is beyond ludicrous. It's so obvious, it brings disrespect to the shooter who makes that claim. One can label it 'art', but it's pretty tough to call it 'nature' and get away with it ...




  
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MrWho
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Mar 18, 2015 17:39 |  #3

I have no problem when people strongly process their photos to bring out color or specific features, but I've taken a more photojournalistic approach in a way. Too much processing killing an image is a very valid point. There was an assignment recently where I had to produce ten images that were taken during a specific timeframe, and I found myself making adjustments to bring the details in the image closer to what my eyes can see, nothing more. The photos that had extensive post-processing done to them looked terrible, and didn't even make it to the "maybe" pile when I uploaded my images. Now, every time I see a post or article discussing a 30 step process in photoshop (or even "do this in photoshop" articles), I just ignore and move on. It works for some, but I personally like to document, not create an alternate reality.

I agree that overdoing the PP murders an image, and the overdone HDR is a trend I don't really understand. I too have seen articles published going over dynamic range, and in one example, the HDR was done to the point where it might as well have been colored in by pencil. Maybe it's just the way some things get translated to print, but there's always the side that overdone candy colors appeal to the masses while accurate colors do not (or turn them away).

Or I suppose we could just cut to the chase and label such images with an "created with artistic license" tag.


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monkey44
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Mar 18, 2015 20:32 |  #4

To add a thought -- it's very possible many of the photos with extensive PP are taken by shooters that don't know how to use a camera properly to get that real nature shot too. So, PP is the only way to get detail. True for some, not for others.




  
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ejenner
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Mar 18, 2015 23:34 |  #5

Yea, I agree with the rehashing and 'creative vision' for novices. To me 'creative vision' is #1 the composition of the shot to start with and #2 visualizing what I want the final image to look like.

I did the same with film though.

If you can look through your shots and immediately tell which ones have had more PP than others, that is not a good sign. Honestly I can spend days on some images, but I'll bet you can't look at my images and tell which ones I spent a lot of time on and which ones I just 'moved a few sliders'. Of course the latter may well appear too 'processed' anyway. Well, maybe the ones I spend more time on look more natural, but even then I don't think there is a correlation.

I must admit, I'm not sure how photography magazines even sell. I used to buy them occasionally when I traveled long distance, but stopped after a year or so becasue they were so similar.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 19, 2015 00:01 |  #6

I have seen the term "creative vision" used quite a bit, and have also used it myself quite a bit. Never have I associated it with having to do with the processing of an image. Rather, "creative vision" is a term I have always taken to have to do with POV, composition, and use of ambient light.

I am surprised that the OP thinks of "creative vision" in terms of what processing was done to an image after it was taken.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Mar 19, 2015 00:24 |  #7

davebreal wrote in post #17480310 (external link)
My pet peeve is writings on the topic of "creative vision". When shooters and authors mention creative vision, what they generally mean is ......

"I thought I could spice it up by adding intense contrast using software plug-ins."

"The straight out of camera shot would receive little attention so I tried to improve it."

"I use heavy post-processing on my photos to get more views on social media."

Oh dear, another poorly constructed "I don't like it so it can't be art" argument.

1. Firstly, in the quote above. you are supporting your argument with a false claim to knowledge. You have no way of knowing what the shooters/authors actually thought.

2. Your opinion as to what is or isn't art is no more (or less) important than anyone else's - including the shooters and authors whose inner thought you claim to have access to.

3. The very fact that, as you point out, so many images are "over processed" in the same way disproves your claim that the shooters have no vision. It may be poor vision, in that they are just going out to copy others, but it is still vision. (For the record I don't like the over HDR landscapes either but, I am no more an arbiter of what is or isn't art than you are. If I was there would certainly be no country music or death metal in the world).

According to your argument there should be no cubism, no surrealism, no dadaism, no pointillism no black and white photography, IR photography or.... well not much of any visual art at all because almost none of it accurately reflects what was in front of the artist and they are all obviously (according to you) falsely claiming that "that is what they saw".

Photography is no more, or less, honest than any other visual art medium. It doesn't depict reality any more than a drawing or painting does. If it did there wouldn't be a starburst around the sun in the photo you posted.


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gremlin75
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Mar 19, 2015 01:51 |  #8

davebreal wrote in post #17480310 (external link)
Instead of stating my "creative vision" saw the scene this way, why not phrase it more accurately?

"I thought I could spice it up by adding intense contrast using software plug-ins."

"The straight out of camera shot would receive little attention so I tried to improve it."

"I use heavy post-processing on my photos to get more views on social media."

The integrity of the field of photography is better preserved when we are honest about our techniques. "Creative Vision" "Marketing Vision" and "Post Processing Tools" are different concepts. You can fool some of the people some of the time...

Words and photo by Dave Blinder.

Oh boy.

So what are you upset by with these peoples photography? The way your post is worded it comes off as you saying 'I don't like post processing. I don't like that people get noticed who use processing that I don't like. '

Post processing is far from a digital age thing. One of the greatest landscape photographers was known as "the master of the dark room". The click of the shutter button was just the beginning of the photograph to him. He would spend a large amount of time processing his photographes in the dark room and would actually reprocess the same photograph different way through out the years.

Photography is an art and vision doesn't have to litterally mean sight, and Im sure in the articles you're talking about it does not mean that. If all anyone did was take photographs how the human eyes sees a scene (which the camera doesn't even see a scene how the human eye does) the photography would not be an art. It would just be documentation. Now that doesn't mean you have to like everyone's vision for their art. But it also doesn't mean that just because you don't agree with their vision they are wrong for having it.

P.s. The photographer I was speaking of earlier was Ansel Adams




  
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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Mar 19, 2015 05:51 |  #9

monkey44 wrote in post #17481307 (external link)
it's very possible many of the photos with extensive PP are taken by shooters that don't know how to use a camera properly

One of the best (albeit one of the most ignorant) trolls I have seen on this tired, old, re-hashed subject so far.


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Mar 19, 2015 06:16 |  #10

Starting a thread with a title like this is bound to get people upset and aggressive. Here's my take:

Some people are very good at post processing, and use that to their advantage to create images others can't.

Some people are very good in preparation, composition, and lighting, and use that to their advantage to create images others can't.

The rest of us (myself included) fall somewhere in between. We create images, post process them to our liking (or our clients), and still come up with something others can't- because no matter what software, filters, bought or created photoshop actions, or sharing platform we use, it's always going to be a little bit different than the last person.

Here's how your post sounds after reading it twice:

"Other people edit images differently than I do, are getting paid to publish images, and then other people call it creative, and it makes me upset because I don't like those images, so I'm going to complain to the internet."




  
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monkey44
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Mar 19, 2015 10:33 as a reply to  @ Picture North Carolina's post |  #11

PNC :: You're entitled to your opinion - doesn't make you correct ... it's just your opinion. My comment was a general comment about those who PP a lot, and claim they didn't and claim the photo is as they saw it in nature -- as in the OP statement.

IF you quote me out of context, or partially, as you did, it makes less sense for you to comment at all.

Many use PP for an artistic expression, and in fact some do it extremely well -- my statement was about claiming credit for (well-done) digital manipulation, rather than claiming "this is truly what I saw in nature" when it's so obviously not.

Both have their place in the artistic world ... and should be equally respected and acknowledged in the appropriate venues ... and labeled as same.




  
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AZGeorge
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Mar 19, 2015 13:19 |  #12

Why the fuss about descriptive language?

It seems to me that our work stands and falls on its own. The use or avoidance of "creative vision" or similar phrases does not change the quality of the image. I don't happen to use the language and ignore it when read or heard. I also, except as a matter of continuing education, don't care about the nature and amount of post processing employed. If one glorious image was produced with minimal post shooting attention and the other with every so modified it has no resemblance to the SOC version, the are both still glorious.

With my particular set of skills and tastes getting a shot to look something like what I want requires something in the wide range between zero and maximum manipulation. That makes sense because what I see in my head has only some resemblance to the reflected light off the scene. My modern cameras do fine work in catching the reflected light. It's up to me, working behind the lens and in front of the monitor, to get the image I want.


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panicatnabisco
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Mar 20, 2015 01:07 |  #13

davebreal wrote in post #17480310 (external link)
Words and photo by Dave Blinder.

Too bad they're both aren't good example of this "creative vision" you're trying to define. What's so upsetting about other styles and techniques? Do you want us all to use a Dave Blinder lightroom preset so all our photos look the same?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 20, 2015 01:16 |  #14

I was really hoping that the OP, Dave, would check back in to this thread. There have been a lot of questions for him, as well as many opinionated comments. I would be interested to see him address what has been said and asked thus far.

I have a question for him, too. It regards the photo he posted. I've been wondering why it was posted, and would like to know the significance of this photo, and how it fits into this thread.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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moose10101
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Mar 20, 2015 09:01 |  #15

gremlin75 wrote in post #17481647 (external link)
P.s. The photographer I was speaking of earlier was Ansel Adams

You mean Ansel didn't live on a planet where the midday sky was always black???




  
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