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Digital Art

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by MickLL, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I had been thinking of posting this for a while and Roger's 'straight from the camera thread' has made me do it.

    For better or worse many photographers live for competition. Either straight competition or 'competing' to get acceptance and the like in major exhibitions.

    It seems to me that more and more of those 'acceptances' are in fact not photographs at all. They are what I might describe as 'digital art'. More Salvador Dali or Heironymus Bosch.

    I'm not condemning them at all - I very much like some of them - but is it right that these creations are to be found in the same category as the 'straight' photo?

    Please let's not have the 'it's always been possible' argument. Although it might have been possible it was rare. The ease of P'Shop opens that possibility to all - artist and clown alike!

    Two points in self defence.:D

    Sorry that this is an old chestnut - the current trend, though, seems to have made the discussion even more relevant.
    I don't do that sort of photo - EVER and I don't typically enter competitions so no sour grapes !!

    Any thoughts?

  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Sorry, but it always HAS been possible. And what's the difference between a Photoshop filter and an early Cokin filter?

    I think there are certain areas where things should be as natural as possible, but the moment art is involved, the moment it's about creative interpretation, that any rule apart from "anything goes" is intellectually indefensible.
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Nick,



  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I will start by saying that I did start on the Salon route about eight months ago, so I do have a vested interest. I'm at 19 acceptances so far. My reasons were various, but it has been a good way to get through some dark days.

    Yes, I agree with your comment about the Dali or Bosch similarities in some of the images. In fact, I have found it extremely hard to believe that most elements in an image were actually photographs to start with. Some have the graphic appearance of computer-generated images in some Games programs. It is way out of my league!

    I do like making something different out of some of my images, but then I'm struggling to know whether to put them into an Open colour section or a Creative, or Altered Reality section.
    Let's face it, even in open colour sections some images look like extracts from CSI or similar!

    I have, on occasions however, been pleasantly surprised by certain countries! Germany and Belgium both seemed (at least last year, they did) to rate 'real' photography and more gritty creativity than the Far East or USA. I wish it was catching, but I doubt it.

    Most Salons seem to have the Exhibition firmly in mind when judging takes place. In-your-face minimal analysis needed seems to be the outcome.
    It's not a Gallery (unfortunately) but an Eye-Candy event which is the ultimate goal.

    Please don't think this is sour grapes either. I had no great expectations when I started this exercise. It was to keep me busy, give me deadlines and get through the evenings. I did have fun doing it. Looking through some of my old stuff was productive. I can use some old stuff now in a way which I couldn't just a few years ago, when I took it.

    Now, I just need a new goal...
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    Highlight 1: Many? You don't. I don't. We may see those who do, but hey, they're self selecting.

    Highlight 2: Where do you draw the line between "straight" photography and "art" photography? Dodging? Burning? Sharpening? Colour balance? Saturation? Contrast?

    It's a bit too much like pornography: "I know it when I see it". We perceive things different ways. Also, a picture that looks perfectly natural may turn out to be heavily manipulated if we could compare it with an unmanipulated version.

    Turn it around. Why shouldn't manipulated images be in the same competitions as unmanipulated ones? At least when we're talking about art (not news photography or brochure illustrations). Even then, what are the limits for manipulation? Colour balance? Sharpening?

    If the judges decide that something is too contrived, too artificial, they can always vote for something else.

    There is no such thing as pure objectivity in photography. We decide where to stand; which focal length to use; how much depth of field we want; when to press the button...


  6. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Re 1:
    What do you mean - self-selecting? Competing is one way of putting yourself in the firing line. I try to keep away from subjects where I have No experience in, but in this instance, your reply shows me that you have not seen the current circuit or offerings.
    It also tells me you won't take the same route. I understand that. Some of us don't want rejection of our favourite offerings and can't take it. I can take it.

    Re 2:
    What you are describing is 'straight' photography, so far as competitions are concerned.

  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    Self selecting in that we see their works in competitions, and know (or assume) that there are many more who did not win the competition. We do not see the work of people who do not enter competitions (unless they have exhibitions).

    Unfamiliar with the current circuit? Dead right. I'm far more interested in exhibitions than competitions, which I regard as limiting. I've judged quite a lot of competitions, and in the remote past I've entered them. I've also done print critiques on the Leica stand at Arles. Until you have a "body of work", competition prizes with individual pictures are largely a matter of chance: the occasional good picture, the all but random preferences of the judge(s). For more on critiques see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps critique.html

    "Straight": well, yes, that's my point. A picture may look "straight" to one person, and not another.


  8. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Exhibitions in Galleries are self-selection to the nth degree. No 3rd party critique, no striving for selection, no competing with others.
    A body of work, as you put it, is in the same group. I seem to remember you eschewed RPS as well? Or perhaps I mis-remember that. If so, I apologise.

    There are wonderful artists who never entered a competition. I accept this wholeheatedly.

    However, this thread is not about critiques, but is about the current submissions, which are successful, in Salons and competitions.
    The analysis of which does not come under the guise of critiques or bodies of work.
  9. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Even back then but more so now, every photographer has to ask themselves 'How much integrity (of place, content, subject matter, etc.) do I want my works to carry?'

    Heartfield, known IIRC as an artist above all else, also used a camera but even when he did, and to make his famous political 'compilations', was still regarded as an artist. I cannot recall how Jerry Uelsmann likes to describe himself but I would add the tag '-artist' to the word photographer for him and his works. Am not really an enthusiast for his stuff but recognise that as an artist-photographer he has made a significant contribution in the 20th century.

    As to the question of a separate Salon category, I am tempted to say 'Yes' but think that in time when Judges & Selectors have got over this first flush of discovery, a good straight photograph will eventually be at no disadvantage compared to the 'photo-constructs'.

    I hope.
  10. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Cooo! Well done you. That's highly impressive. How many have you sent out?
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Nine Salons so far. My hit rate has been 1/3rd to 1/2 of submissions. I score best on the creative side, surprisingly enough!

    I don't know if I will continue, but am at a loss what to do instead.

    PS I did sell eleven in the last month! A hit for me. :)
  12. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I used the word many in connection with competition in general and for the following reason. I'm active on the club circuit and my own club devotes more than half of its meetings to competition. The attendance on competition evenings is always higher than other evenings. I know maybe half a dozen other clubs that follow the same pattern. I therefore used the word many.If you disagree with that interpretation then we have to agree to differ.

    I object to none of those things and maybe should have been more clear with what I meant. I had hope that my references to Dali and Bosch would push the reader in the right direction. None of their pictures would be achievable with 'filters' either P'Shop or Cokin. Kate seems to understand.

    Unfortunately I can't find an example to which I can easily link. The sort of thingh that I'm thinking of is a sailing ship (apparently not a real one) flying through the air being pulled by the wind on detached sails. An entirely fanciful image - a product of tremendous and enviable P'Shop skill.

    I'm needed - don't have time to type more. Bye

  13. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Wot's the difference between digital art and analog fairies?
  14. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    What about this? (ignore the logo in the bottom right corner)


    Photograph or Digital Art?
  15. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The point was - and I had thought it so bleeding obvious that I wouldn't need to spell it out - that the method of production is surely not of any concern; if it's art, it stands or falls purely on the image, not on the means of production or indeed the closeness to or distance from reality. Filters was simply an example. Roger seems to understand.
  16. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Competition was a key word in my first post.

  17. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    The point isn't so bleeding obvious at all. In fact the point was the topic of what I hoped would be a sensible discussion. Obviously not.

    If it's possible I'd prefer this thread closed right away.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    Um... Who are these "third parties"? You need to persuade someone to give you exhibition space.

    We almost certainly agree on more than is apparent BUT I'd suggest that trying to please someone else, or rather, a whole series of someone elses, hopping from one judge (or panel) to another, from one set of rules/criteria to another, is inimical to establishing a personal viewpoint as an artist; and, by extension, a body of work.

    Yes, I misread the original post in one sense, and I apologize. Even so, it strikes me that a wider point about the nature of "art" is at stake. Basically, WHO CARES? Either you prostitute yourself to suit the current fashion -- which I am perfectly happy to believe embraces the surreal -- or you go your own way as an artist. If you choose the non-prostitution route, well, don't complain when you don't get customers.

    OF COURSE there are plenty of photographers who do not prostitute themselves to fashion, but equally, anyone who's looked at the history of "Salon" photography will recognize that there's always a fashion, and that it's usually tacky and hackneyed. Remember all those Spanish fishermen in the 1950s? Or crying children in the early 1930s? Or muddy pictures in Camera Work before WW1? Every now and then, a happy combination of a good photographer and a good judge will break the mould - and within a decade or two, there'll be a new mould.

    You are quite right about my views on RPS distinctions. I'd rather jump through hoops of my own devising than through hoops devised by someone else. My work may or may not be any good -- but at least it'll be mine, not an attempt to please external examiners who think (on disputable grounds) that they know more than I do.


  19. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Why? Do I detect the sound of a teddy hitting the pavement? Why do you feel that just because a thread hasn't gone exactly the way you want that it should be closed, or somehow isn't "sensible"? I'm genuinely puzzled by that.
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    Rather wanting to take your ball and go home, why not address the questions of WHY competitions should separate different kinds of photography, and HOW?



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