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09-27-2016, 11:07 AM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
And it doesn't give in to the shallow depth of focus fad which is not always required.
Well, the depth of field is a bit shallow. Check out the bokeh in background. I think this is what you mean, but there isn't the razor-thin bokeh like somebody shot this at f/1.2 because her clothes are able to be defined reasonably well.

Do you also get the feeling that sometimes we shoot wide open just because it's technically impressive and/or it shows off how expensive our gear is?

09-27-2016, 12:10 PM - 1 Like   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by jadedrakerider Quote
Oh goody! Elitism! And I mean that as flatly as I possibly can.

Well, the lay public just doesn't know anything about what goes on when a photo is snapped. Bokeh is our way of isolating a subject in a way that is technically impressive ( is a 50 1.4 really that much better than a 50 1.7? ) because it is so hard to snap a photo with what one wants in focus at anything less than 5.6. Just about any lens is optimal in the f/ 8-16 range. And it shows how serious we are about our past time because extremely fast lenses are not cheap.

Oh and composition really isn't all that important unless it gets through to a lay person. It is so hard to impress another photographer but a lay person will stare dumbfounded at your best work completely unable to put into words why the least impressive photo in your portfolio completely steals the show.

I think we as photographers critiquing other photographers lose the perception that allows photography to make such a dramatic impression. Like those green eyes on the cover of the National Geographic that pop out of the brown/orange of the rest of the composition.



This is a perfect photograph in a lot of ways because it blows away a lay person and it still gets me to analyze it as a composition of color and position (when you add the National Geographic's cover text the rule of thirds works much better).
Please don't take this personally because it's just my opinion of McCurry's work, and not of your post , but to me his work (heavily staged, purporting to be photojournalism until his disingenuousness was recently exposed) is to me a form of highly skilled kitsch, with its appeal to stereotypes of 'foreign peoples' and exotic places, that just IS part of the reason the public has bad taste. He does great things with color and composition (I am not doubting his great skill, plus plenty of Photoshop), and in this picture gets the Afghan girl whose appeal isn't just her intense gaze, but the fact that unexpectedly for this Other , her eyes are green, Caucasian (Many Afghans are indeed Caucasian , not Semitic). McCurry's work is to me the worst form of bad taste , because it is so accomplished. End of rant. Just my view.

09-27-2016, 12:24 PM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by m0n0 Quote
He does great things with color and composition (I am not doubting his great skill, plus plenty of Photoshop), and in this picture gets the Afghan girl whose appeal isn't just her intense gaze, but the fact that unexpectedly for this Other , her eyes are green, Caucasian (Many Afghans are indeed Caucasian , not Semitic). McCurry's work is to me the worst form of bad taste , because it is so accomplished. End of rant. Just my view.


That image was made in 1985.


Photoshop wasn't even around when the photo of McCurry was on the cover of National Geographic. Nor was digital imaging.


For sure the image was no doubt manipulated before being added to the magazine cover, but techniques were much different then.
09-27-2016, 01:14 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by m0n0 Quote
Please don't take this personally because it's just my opinion of McCurry's work, and not of your post, but to me his work (heavily staged, purporting to be photojournalism until his disingenuousness was recently exposed) is to me a form of highly skilled kitsch, with its appeal to stereotypes of 'foreign peoples' and exotic places, that just IS part of the reason the public has bad taste. He does great things with color and composition (I am not doubting his great skill, plus plenty of Photoshop), and in this picture gets the Afghan girl whose appeal isn't just her intense gaze, but the fact that unexpectedly for this Other , her eyes are green, Caucasian (Many Afghans are indeed Caucasian , not Semitic). McCurry's work is to me the worst form of bad taste , because it is so accomplished. End of rant. Just my view.
No offense taken. I don't have an opinion of his professionalism or integrity merely because I do not follow his or the work of international journalists. I'm not sure what your objection to this photo is. Is it that this person is not authentically Afghan? I don't think that is terribly important. Human bodies are the expression of their DNA and although her green eyes might be unusual for the population -- but so what? She lives in Afghanistan. She's Afghan. Her genetic makeup isn't important in terms of artistic composition except for the fact that her eyes are green and her skin tones and clothes she was wearing is brown/orange.

Highly skilled kitsch is actually a high compliment, methinks.

09-27-2016, 01:40 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Racer X 69 Quote
For sure the image was no doubt manipulated before being added to the magazine cover, but techniques were much different then.
Nat Geo has strict policies about image manipulation. Your Shot Photo Guidelines -- National Geographic
09-27-2016, 05:12 PM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by Doundounba Quote
Though if what you really mean is that you won't let the desire for popularity dictate your style, then I agree completely. :-)
That's what people mean when they say that ("only for myself") -- they mean "I make the kind of pictures I'd like to see -- my taste".
09-27-2016, 05:57 PM - 1 Like   #67
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Art and/or pornography - At the end of the day they both have the same definition:

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio.

Last edited by wildman; 09-29-2016 at 05:11 AM.
09-29-2016, 03:21 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by jadedrakerider Quote

Highly skilled kitsch is actually a high compliment, methinks.
But that's the problem, isn't it, populism or art?

Steve's been put in the doghouse by his fellow photojournalists ... his compositions are pretty good alright, as an example Photoshop was used to remove a street sign. They discovered one version on his website and another 'out in the wild'.

Personally, I have no problem with creating and manipulating images ... just as long as someone doesn't deny that's happened. Here is another of my McCurry favourites:



09-29-2016, 03:59 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by jadedrakerider Quote
Highly skilled kitsch is actually a high compliment, methinks.
Pushing the boundaries of kitch is difficult, one of my colleagues has the firm belief that if one fearlessly embraces kitch - and does it to the limit of his abilities, eventually they will find a unique way to express themselves through it.
09-29-2016, 05:42 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Pushing the boundaries of kitch is difficult
That's an oxymoron?
Kitsch, by definition, has no "boundaries" (limits) to being tawdry, vulgar, garish and sentimental. That's its raison d'Ítre.
09-29-2016, 07:00 AM   #71
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There is an interesting discussion of this on the "Art of photography" youTube channel, including a story of an AP Pulitzer prize winning photographer who got fired (and ruined his career) for using a clone tool to improve the look of a rock in his photo. I was surprised by that - the photo in question was not really about a rock at all, but about a Syrian rebel jumping into the trench... I guess AP has "no manipulations" standard. The episode is called "Truth or beauty", I think.
09-29-2016, 07:02 AM   #72
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09-29-2016, 08:03 AM - 1 Like   #73
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It's a mystery to me, in a society where drug companies regularly submit biased information using studies that are by design misleading, where politicians misrepresent the truth every time they open their mouths, where advertising constantly emphasizes products strengths and pretends their weakness don't exist. Why in heavens name, would everyone doing photography which is art, to, be expected to be truthful.

My take on this was not an attempt to be truthful, but a realization, that creating appealing untruthful art is essentially painting, and it's really hard to paint using a computer. And, I like painters, they look at a scene, they paint their impression. Some seem to feel photographers should not have the same creative freedom.

News orgs can claim they are truthful, ya, truthful in repeating the PC lies popular with their followers.
09-29-2016, 01:37 PM - 1 Like   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It's a mystery to me, in a society where drug companies regularly submit biased information using studies that are by design misleading, where politicians misrepresent the truth every time they open their mouths, where advertising constantly emphasizes products strengths and pretends their weakness don't exist. Why in heavens name, would everyone doing photography which is art, to, be expected to be truthful.
Why indeed.
In a society that has become, in the last 50 years, a cesspool of self interested greed ruled by a corporate kleptocracy how could it be otherwise?

Last edited by wildman; 09-29-2016 at 01:42 PM.
09-29-2016, 04:08 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Why indeed.
In a society that has become, in the last 50 years, a cesspool of self interested greed ruled by a corporate kleptocracy how could it be otherwise?
Open fire, Wildman! 😀

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