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Pay and Display

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by PhotoEcosse, May 15, 2017.

  1. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    An interesting comment by the Editor in this week's AP where he mentions Pay and Display photography.

    This term has been current in the camera club/photographic society world for quite a few years. Rather than referring to people who pay megabucks to travel to exotic places to take amazing photographs, as the Editor suggests, the term has been used (perhaps rather unfairly) to denigrate those who pay for the services of guides to take them to well-worn landscape locations or to hides where "wildlife" shots can be set up. Recent examples have been the plethora of kingfisher shots and, even more bizarrely, photos of ospreys "plucking a trout from a loch" where anyone who knows anything about the subject can see that they are fakes by the fact that the trout is upside-down in the bird's talons (obviously a dead trout fed as bait rather than a wild shot).

    But it is easy to be snide about such activities. I think that they do provide novice photographers with a chance to experience situations that they might take years to achieve if they had to develop their own skills.
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    It's a non-issue.
    Learning and Roger Hicks like this.
  3. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

    I suppose it's not any worse than staging a shot?
    e.g. Steve McCurry's 1983 train shot as featured in AP: http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/technique/interviews/steve-mccurry-mccurrys-india-79454

    Agra, 1983. A steam train passes in front of the Taj Mahal. This image would be impossible to take today.

    And a very similar shot used on the cover of National Geographic (June 1984).


    As Steve says in his AP interview, "I always try to hit the ground running. I try to have a translator lined up as an assistant; this is the main thing. It’s always good to have someone who can speak the local language, and who can navigate where to go and help if there’s a problem.".

    If it's good enough for Steve . . . . :)
    Learning and EightBitTony like this.
  4. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    It must be abour 12 years or so ago that I took part in a Steve Terry organsied photo-holiday on Skye. He drove us around to various places of interest but it was left up to the participants, none of whom could be considered 'novices', to to 'interpret' the scene - or not as the case may be. I don't recall being told where the tripod holes were! Such an organised trip introduces you to places you might not otherwise have heard about, let alone visited before and which, life being what it is, despite the best of intentions you may never return to. I came home with a lot of pictures which had nothing to do with what Steve was showing us!

    Apart from that, I thought this was another dig at the 'new APOY'!

    Last edited: May 16, 2017
    AlanW likes this.
  5. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    What motivates you to globe trot? The possibility of classic venue shots? Are you not attracted to places which have been seen in photographs beforehand? The same things which attracted those who went before you can still be attractive to you and beg the shot to be taken.
    Some people want the known beauty spots.
    Some want the familiar.
    Some want to find the unfamiliar in the familiar.

    However they approach it is fine by me.
  6. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    What is wrong with staging a shot?
    Especially If you can do it as well as Steve McCurry's 1983 train shot.
    It might be staged, but the elements and situation are "Reality"
    Great photographers have been staging shots since the earliest days of photography.
    Staging is a form of Posing as used to get the best out of a portrait. It is a creative use of the elements.
    The modern tendency to only allow the capture of an uninfluenced instant of reality, as legitimate, flies in the face of both creative Art and History.
    It is photography in a self imposed straitjacket.
  7. MickLL

    MickLL In the Stop Bath

    I beg to differ.

    I'll use my own field (Natural History) as an example but IMHO the argument applies to more or less every genre to some degree.

    In NH part of the skill (and joy) is developing the fieldcraft to be able to locate, approach and photograph your chosen species. It also lies in knowing enough about your subject to be able to portray it in the way you want - doing whatever it does - and capturing the moment that you have been waiting for. Then you need the camera skills to record your chosen subject appropriately.

    Now think about all these Kingfisher (and Osprey) shots that are so common these days. There's zero skill in finding the subject and understanding the subject - it's all laid on for you. There's no fieldcraft in approaching the subject (you pay your money for the allocated seat in the pre-prepared hide). There's little need for any camera skills (the owner of the set up will tell you what settings to use and where to focus). All that's left to you is to press the button at more or less the right time.There's not even much waiting. I'm told that one of these Kingfisher places even brings out a fresh, hungry, bird when the first one is sated.

    In short I think that part of our hobby, almost the most important part, is finding and seeing the picture for yourself.

    SqueamishOssifrage likes this.
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Learning how to use guides, translators, etc., is an important part of developing one's own skills for some kinds of photography. So is posing/staging. I don't exclude photojournalism from the latter: posing and staging are not necessarily the same as faking, as the railway shot illustrates.


  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That's a valid view but so is the opposite. Let others enjoy themselves and enjoy yourself.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  10. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I have come to dislike the Puritanical view of photography. Where we must not make our mark by becoming involved in manipulating the image either before or after it is taken. It is not as if we are presenting scientific evidence. By and large, we are presenting our interpretation of what we see, to the maximum advantage and in an artistic way, so as to get our view point across. If this involves post production or prior intervention with the subject matter, then so what.
    When you go to the theatre, see a film or look at any other art form, you are seeing someone else's interpretation, and their "reality", not some absolute truth.... why should photography be any different.
  11. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I don't mind posed pics and I don't mind reportage-type pics. What I'm not sure of is the former being presented as the latter.

    There was a bit of a hoo-hah recently about some of Mr McCurry's images in National Geographic. But, iirc, that was a case of heavily Photoshopped images being presented as quick captures.
  12. MickLL

    MickLL In the Stop Bath

    Of course.

    I wouldn't dream of trying to stop anyone doing what they do provided they don't pretend that they are doing something else.

    I wouldn't criticize staged pictures either - but (in certain, but not all, fields) I'd put a higher value on spontaneous ones.

    Example: The RPS (taking my life in my hands mentioning that organisation :)) has two categories of 'natural history'. Essentially one requires the subject to be 'wild and free' (cutting a long spiel to three words) and the other can include captive and controlled subject (zoos for example). Personally I'd put the Ospreys and Kingfishers into the second category - but most folk don't see it that way. Of course this last paragraph implies competition and lets have it clear I really don't like the average club photographers obsession with competition.

  13. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Now why did you go and bring the RPS into it? You know they are nothing but a hate filled mob of devil worshippers ;)
  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Are you hoping that flattery will persuade them to give you an Hon FRPS?


    TheFatControlleR and Catriona like this.
  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    It is only very recently that news and reportage photograph have been expected to have been un-manipulated in any way. At one time all war shots were staged as was much of news photography. No one expected any different.
    However when it comes to the spouting of politicians we expect evasions and lies.
    We do not even expect voluminous manifestos to be either truthful or subsequently fulfilled.
    But we must not even remove a stray hair on their head on a photograph, or be condemned and sacked by the paper.
  16. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    I have only ever been on one photographic journey to foreign parts, but once we all reached our destination we all split up and done our own thing, it was great fun in the evenings discussing our days photography. People who organise photo trips to where other tripod holes are does not appeal to me whatsoever!
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  17. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    The thing is... what are appraisers here doing other than saying where the tripod holes should have been (so to speak).. Holidays abroad or even in the UK are doing no different where the action takes place.
    RogerMac and Roger Hicks like this.
  18. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    I'm in the anything goes camp, as long as you don't try to pass it off as something it's not.
  19. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    If we all had the time I'm sure we would all prefer to use fieldcraft for finding wildlife etc, but most of us do not. Where do you draw the line between wild and free and captive and controlled? African safaris may have wild subjects but without experienced guides who would will find them. Bird reserves? Red kite feeding stations?
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  20. MickLL

    MickLL In the Stop Bath

    There are always going to be grey areas. You have mentioned a couple and my examples are grey too. However given honesty from the photographer I reckon that it's pretty easy to distinguish.

    There are a couple of things about NH that need to be understood. The most important is that many , if not most, NH folk are more interested in the NH than the photography. They don't want to be shown creatures that may be behaving oddly because they are captive and not wild - or to be precise they want to know the situation of the subject.

    Then (not just NH) many club folk demand competition. Among those are pot hunters who ,to be blunt, would think nothing of cheating if it helped them win. Without that sort of person there would be much less need for such rules.


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