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Photography or not?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Benchista, May 24, 2011.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Talking about a picture posted in another thread, Tim made this comment:

    Whyever not? I really can't begin to understand that attitude at all, it makes absolutely no sense to me.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  2. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Re: Railway station HDR

    Why not do that thing you're trying to turn a photograph into instead then? Who would try and make a watercolour look like an oil painting or vice versa. These forms are what they are and have their own individual style and attractions.

    In his introduction to William Eggleston's Guide, John Szarkowski addressed the issue of failures in early attempts to make colour photography as art rather than just as advertising etc.

    The 19th para reads
    The last two sentences sum up my feelings about this and many similar pictures.
     
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Re: Railway station HDR

    I guess this is a debate better held in a separate thread, rather than hijacking this one. If you've no objection, I'll separate it into a new thread in "Talking Pictures".
     
  4. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Re: Railway station HDR

    By all means, let us have a debate about this in a new thread.

    I came into photography 30 years ago to take photographs. If I had wanted to turn out things like this railway station picture, I am sure I would have taken up painting, or something like that. As far as I am concerned, efforts like this are no longer photographs, but graphic images, and have no place in photography.

    You will disagree with me, and probably state the old argument that there was manipulation in the days of film, which is true up to a point. But to pass off efforts like this as a photography is disingenuous. The title of the Magazine and the Website is "Amateur Photographer" which implies that the pictures published therein are "photographs". Efforts like Railway Station HDR, good though it is, are not photographs, and IMHO never will be.

    Let the debate proceed.........
     
  5. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Re: Railway station HDR

    Most definitely on all counts.
     
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    My thoughts on the matter are perfectly encapsulated in what RovingMike has written in another thread.
     
  7. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    I think the underlying fallacy here is quite easy to spot. If you put the local art society pic of an old wall or reflected sails up against the best professional photograph you can find, will you say in all cases the painting is still better? If not, then as an absolute statement it has no validity. If it is supposed to be justified by the best of each up against eachother, may we know who selected them and which they were, so we can test the assertion?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2011
  8. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    I think those words rather rule out the daubings of enthusiast amateurs don't you? ;) and in both instances, painter and photographer. This is an introduction to a photobook/catalogue of an exhibition of Eggleston's work at MOMA in the early 1970s after all.

    Szarkowski continues a little further on
    I'm sure that most of us will at some point have experienced that feeling of seeing a nice picture in a tourist brochure or postcard or somewhere and thought we could copy it, only to find that for some reason it's not as simple as appeared at first sight to do so.
     
  9. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    "I think those words rather rule out the daubings of enthusiast amateurs don't you? ;) "

    Not for one moment. It was used in this context to condemn all pictures of such things.
     
  10. Jacqui Jay

    Jacqui Jay Grasshopper's Sage

    Szarkowski , Berger etc were considered gurus of photography 40 years ago, but that doesn't mean their words are written in tablets of stone.

    Much has happened in the meantime and one of the most exciting things about photography is the way new technology is breaking down boundaries and encouraging new ideas.

    I include film photography in this, BTW, where there is a magnificent tradition of 'messing about' with photographs ... look at Stieglitz and the Pictorialists, for instance, who scratched their negatives to alter the picture. Did this make it something else?
     
  11. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Mmm is photography art? Does it matter what we think about an image if the "taker" enjoys it? Does the technique enhance the image?
    Answer these questions honestly and I think you solve your riddle.
    In my PSE there is the option of playing with lots of "artistic" filters. I've tried then and tbh I would never post any of the results here...why...well I think they've become non-photographs. If I'm honest some of them are quite good but some of them are naff.
    HDR- don't get me started....actually proper and effective HDR is good but my beef is about overdone HDR...don't like it...but then again I understand why people do it...horses for courses, one mans meat etc....
     
  12. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    There could be an interesting concept here that ends the controversy over claiming that results of HDR, filters etc are "not photographs". Clearly they are photographs in how they were recorded, but I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that they might be non-photographs in how they are processed and delivered.
    It might be just semantics, but I quite like the idea of having a description that avoids the nonsense of saying they are not photographs, (ergo they must be drawings). Can there be a status of non-photograph? After all they are not printed photographically and especially where PS filters like poster edges are used, rather than say HDR, only the basic light image is used and something completely analogous produced. Is that a non-photograph?
    After all mis-speaking is not telling lies, but it certainly ain't the truth. ;)
     
  13. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    I think we had a similar discussion a couple or so months ago (might be longer my memory etc) and I may have suggested calling non-photographs images...however I can't remember how that one ended (my memory etc. (again))...
     
  14. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    No, remember that, but image avoids the issue entirely. It defines nothing. Could still be a photo. We need a non-photo definition which cannot include drawings, paintings etc.
     
  15. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    how about a QUAPH....quasi photograph......
    (pronunciation...as you like it)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  16. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Is a bromoil a photograph?

    It clearly was but now isn't - or is it? I don't remember such a fuss about that technique.

    MickLL
     
  17. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Pictorialism, being a fashion where it was attempted to emulate the look of traditional painting is actually quite appropriate. Steiglitz, funnily enough was one of the first to reject such ideas, saying in 1910 that it needed to be dealt a blow in the solar plexus. He was an advocate of "pure photography" from that point.

    For those who wish to describe such pictures as the Railway Station and Cottage images (which seem to be the cause of this debate) as photographs, maybe neo-pictorialism would be a good handle. ;)

    For myself I still can not bring myself to call them photos as the extent of manipulation in software (particularly in the Railway picture) is so extensive as to obliterate all but the shapes of the original subject as captured in camera. Photography is after all "writing with light" and with such images as these only the root source was written with light. The Railway Station image as presented here is effectively written with computer code.

    Even traditionally printed pictorial images of that school are photographs as the prints are made by shining light through the plate/negative. The same is true of traditional toned images which is merely selective dyeing at the end of the day, the digital equivalent being merely an imitation of the chemical process.
     
  18. Jacqui Jay

    Jacqui Jay Grasshopper's Sage

    Good to be reminded where all this started ... and, again, I am re-thinking ...
     
  19. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Please answer my question about bromoils.

    MickLL
     
  20. Clodhopper

    Clodhopper Well-Known Member

    What is/are bromoils?
     

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