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Thread: Personal Photo philosophy

  1. #1

    Default Personal Photo philosophy

    I"ve been having this thought for a while now, esp seeing lots of photos on the net and books and all. I think there's a fair bit of obsession with perfection. lots of the pics I see are very contrived in their lack of originality. sometimes I wonder if sometimes pics are altered in photoshop to achieve a more "normal" look of polished perfection maybe simply in the hope of having more pple accepting them. even in books, most pics are carefully developed to change the original pic's tone, contrast etc. yes I admit some of the pics look stunning after the process (esp black and white) but I feel something gets lost in the process. its interesting I guess, having beautiful manufactured pics (thru processing or photoshop) vs raw flawed pics which are kind of beautiful in its real flawed way.

    esp portraits. after plowing thru numerous models studio shots and all on photosig.com, I started yearning for more realistic pics of real pple, like some shown on clubsnap. like what's the point of shooting obviously perfect pretty pple when lots of ordinary pple are living around you? so I"ve this new direction to produce pics which do not romanticize or flatter people but show them in their true flawed way which I think is more meaningful?

    Just sharing my tots!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Personal Photo philosophy

    Originally posted by hoppinghippo
    esp portraits. after plowing thru numerous models studio shots and all on photosig.com, I started yearning for more realistic pics of real pple, like some shown on clubsnap. like what's the point of shooting obviously perfect pretty pple when lots of ordinary pple are living around you? so I"ve this new direction to produce pics which do not romanticize or flatter people but show them in their true flawed way which I think is more meaningful?


    Don't forget that human nature always prefers the rosy side - generally they would prefer a more beautiful (albeit artificial or superficial) picture than one that shows warts, pimples, scars and all.

    Thats a prime reason why you won't find many photogs using MACRO lenses to take portraits due to its super sharpness and ability to resolve down to whitehead level . And there are special lenses that defocus or soften the image especially for portraits.

    So reality in photography has its place (eg documentary, photojournalism) but photography in general seeks to hilite the beauty (whether innate or enhanced) of the subject.

    Just my 4 rupees worth.

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    Default ....clap clap clap for Hoppinghippo....

    Hiee....(recovered from your flu?)

    Good....one man!!!.....I kind of agree that most shots are nowadays go through too much editing and does not show the true "wysiwyg".

    Well...its the virtual generation.............

  4. #4

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    echoing hoppinghippo thoughts, beautiful is only at the eye of the beautiful, if you could shoot a flaw face with grace, a sweet poetic feel, i think it will be more interesting than a flawless one.

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    Default ....can't believe what i saw....

    ...Just to share with you guys,

    Was in China a few month back and saw in the streets, a stall equipped with a PC and Adobe photoshop and a digital camera + printer.

    Girls are going to the stall to have their photograph taken and then edited to remove pimples, "i dont see anything" scars, make more slimmer cheeks...and printed as Job application photos (IC size)...and lots more for 5 bucks(USD equivalent)..........Whats wrong with being natural and real......

    Funny......!!!

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    Default Re: ....clap clap clap for Hoppinghippo....

    Originally posted by sulhan
    Hiee....(recovered from your flu?)

    Good....one man!!!.....I kind of agree that most shots are nowadays go through too much editing and does not show the true "wysiwyg".

    Well...its the virtual generation.............
    i dun think he's just referring to pple in this so called virtual generation you mentioned - he's including traditional black and white processing in the mix as well......
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Personal Photo philosophy

    Hi,

    Originally posted by hoppinghippo
    I"ve been having this thought for a while now, esp seeing lots of photos on the net and books and all. I think there's a fair bit of obsession with perfection. lots of the pics I see are very contrived in their lack of originality. sometimes I wonder if sometimes pics are altered in photoshop to achieve a more "normal" look of polished perfection maybe simply in the hope of having more pple accepting them. even in books, most pics are carefully developed to change the original pic's tone, contrast etc. yes I admit some of the pics look stunning after the process (esp black and white) but I feel something gets lost in the process. its interesting I guess, having beautiful manufactured pics (thru processing or photoshop) vs raw flawed pics which are kind of beautiful in its real flawed way.

    esp portraits. after plowing thru numerous models studio shots and all on photosig.com, I started yearning for more realistic pics of real pple, like some shown on clubsnap. like what's the point of shooting obviously perfect pretty pple when lots of ordinary pple are living around you? so I"ve this new direction to produce pics which do not romanticize or flatter people but show them in their true flawed way which I think is more meaningful?

    Just sharing my tots!
    Personally, I feel to a certain extent, such manipulations are ok. Especially in fine art B&W prints, where tonality, contrast, etc are painstakingly controlled via the choice of Film, Developer, Paper to get the type of results he photographer wants. Straight prints never look good as a well hand-printed print. In fact, any traditional B&W photographer worth his salt hand prints his negatives this way to bring out the best of it. Otherwise, might as well send the negs to any old lab.

    Correcting facial flaws, etc is another matter altogether and should not be discussed together. This is another form of manipulation. I am neutral to it, but it has also been practiced since your parents (and possibly grandparent's) time as well, just that such retouching is not as easily done as doing it in Photoshop.

    Back in the old days, removal of such facial flaws are painstakingly done ON THE PRINT, using fine brushes and special paint/inks. In fact, this is still being practiced at some photography/bridal studios.

    Anyway, if you go for a studio shot, bridal shot, graduation shot etc, you wouldn't want any of these facial flaws to be present in the finished product, or when published in a publication anyway.

    There is nothing wrong with presenting the subject "as is", and the more "Raw" form of photography still exists today, in the form of street photography and reportage/photojournalism-type photos. In this genre, I don't think there is any of such manipulation done to the pic (though the usual adjusting of tonality, contrasts etc is probably still required to get a really good print).

    Regards
    CK

    P.S. Wait till you see Salon-type shots.....

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    Default Re: ....can't believe what i saw....

    Originally posted by sulhan
    ...Just to share with you guys,

    Was in China a few month back and saw in the streets, a stall equipped with a PC and Adobe photoshop and a digital camera + printer.

    Girls are going to the stall to have their photograph taken and then edited to remove pimples, "i dont see anything" scars, make more slimmer cheeks...and printed as Job application photos (IC size)...and lots more for 5 bucks(USD equivalent)..........Whats wrong with being natural and real......

    Funny......!!!
    Nothing wrong, but if you are a girl, would you rather have a photo of yourself with facial flaws and all, or would you rather have a perfect photo? Especially if you went to a studio to have such shots taken? It's all natural and usual for girls to be vain and particular about how they look.

    Regards
    CK

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    Default Re: Personal Photo philosophy

    Originally posted by hoppinghippo
    I"ve been having this thought for a while now, esp seeing lots of photos on the net and books and all. I think there's a fair bit of obsession with perfection. lots of the pics I see are very contrived in their lack of originality. sometimes I wonder if sometimes pics are altered in photoshop to achieve a more "normal" look of polished perfection maybe simply in the hope of having more pple accepting them. even in books, most pics are carefully developed to change the original pic's tone, contrast etc. yes I admit some of the pics look stunning after the process (esp black and white) but I feel something gets lost in the process.
    well, i haven't seen a raw print from an Ansel Adams negative before, but i'll hazard a guess it would not be in the same league as his carefully manipulated prints


    esp portraits. after plowing thru numerous models studio shots and all on photosig.com, I started yearning for more realistic pics of real pple, like some shown on clubsnap. like what's the point of shooting obviously perfect pretty pple when lots of ordinary pple are living around you? so I"ve this new direction to produce pics which do not romanticize or flatter people but show them in their true flawed way which I think is more meaningful?

    Just sharing my tots!
    wait wait.......are u referring to photos in general or studio portrait shots?

    For studio portraits, it's almost a given the shot should be as perfect as possible. I mean, if not why setup all tat backdrop and lights and pay all that money?

    Fine art photography also calls for its own conventions and "rules" and such, and u can expect prints to be manipulated to death (exaggeration, but u get the idea) to extract all that detail in highlights and shadows and to get that perfect tonality etc etc etc.............

    As u said, this is a personal thing. For the fine art photographer, he / she will have a certain criteria for the final print. For the street and documentary photographers, their own preferences for printing will be different.
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

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    Default Re: Re: Personal Photo philosophy

    Originally posted by ckiang
    P.S. Wait till you see Salon-type shots.....
    oh u mean those photos from the Photo Art Association of SG?
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  11. #11

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    I guess it's every man's poison kind of thing. I am quite torn btwn perfect pictures and "raw" pics too. esp B&W pics. was reading this book from the library featuring landscape BW pics and goodness, they were really really beautiful, yet its stated for every pic just how the development was manipulated to produce the effects. so its interesting I guess, on one hand you admire the beauty and the difficulty that went into producing such a pic, but on the other hand you know such a pic would never exist in reality in front of your eyes and its a been cheating if you consider that the average man wouldn't realise the amount of manipulation that went into it but rather would just be thinking "oh gosh waht a beautiful scene he took!"

    I agree portraits should be somewhat flattering but snaps like in photojournalism shouldn't be especially flattering but more real. and I think in a strange way, it is still possible to be flattering even if you show imperfections, its the way you should the person I guess. wat the hell that skills beyond me too! heh....
    I guess its ok to shoot typical studio shots which show a person's glam side and all but personally I"m more interested in treating the photo as a snapshot of who the person really is in real life sans makeup and diffusor, etc. every flaw on the face however unsightly makes the person unique. else everyone would just be undifferentiated models with perfect beauty which become meaningless cuz the next fella who comes along can be made to look the same.

    For comparison the below are pics which are "flawed/unflattering" yet are very beautiful to me.

    check these out:
    http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=18640

    This one is nude, careful!make sure your boss ain't behind you!
    http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=35460

    http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=104025

    http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=104003

    These are typical studio shots

    http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=81844

    http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=123021

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    Default

    Originally posted by hoppinghippo
    I guess it's every man's poison kind of thing. I am quite torn btwn perfect pictures and "raw" pics too. esp B&W pics. was reading this book from the library featuring landscape BW pics and goodness, they were really really beautiful, yet its stated for every pic just how the development was manipulated to produce the effects. so its interesting I guess, on one hand you admire the beauty and the difficulty that went into producing such a pic, but on the other hand you know such a pic would never exist in reality in front of your eyes and its a been cheating if you consider that the average man wouldn't realise the amount of manipulation that went into it but rather would just be thinking "oh gosh waht a beautiful scene he took!"
    Actually, some of the reasons for such manipulation are :

    1. Utilise the full dynamic and tonal range of the film/paper to
    2. Capture as faithfully as possible, the full range of tones present in the scene, so that
    3. The print is as close to the real scene which the photographer saw as possible.

    If you actually go to the scene in the exact same lighting conditions, it will probably be close. The thing is that the photographer took a lot of effort to shoot the scene, choosing the right day, waiting for th right moment, right light, etc. Most of us tend to just go there, snap, come back, print. Which partly explains the difference.

    Regards
    CK

  13. #13

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    I kind of agree with you Hoppinhippo-- people photos ought to have a sort of reality and heart that is often missing when the shot is too "artificially" artistic and perfect. Just as landscape shots shouldn't be all the picture perfect, polarising-filter, ND grad, saturated mountain-in-the-background-river-in-the-foreground-with-a-stunning-sky shots. I don't mean that they're carelessly taken or purposely try to be gritty. But I feel that photos appeal to me more when they reveal the beauty of what is there rather than artificially provide beauty. Lighting and stuff has its place but at the end of the day the photo should have a certain genuineness and life, not just an artistic look.

  14. #14

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    ck: I agree with what you said. if the motive was to replicate the entire scene as was seen then I agree its good to manipulate it cuz seldom does the camera give what we see without manipulation. in a sense trying to make the camera see as well as our eyes do. but sometimes it gets overdone? and it becomes too perfect to be true? our eyes don't often see super sharp scenes coupled with effects like diffused lighting, warm colours, extra blue sky, etc... if it's done for artistic purpose then fair enuff, maybe the guy wants to show, apart from the scene, the feelings he felt at the point of shooting. that's ok, don't see anything wrong with it, quite admire their ability to do that too. but what really impresses me is when I see a photo and the shooter says "I didn't do much in way of filters or development, just a uv filter/polarising/etc. the scene was as it shows." then I"ll sit back and think like wow I"m looking at a real pic of nature and its beautiful esp knowing that it isn't man-created yet it looks so perfect!

  15. #15

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    for some strange reason, after i started picking up photography several weeks ago, i start to realise the everyday world around me is actually very interesting, very beautiful ... and that im constantly viewing things in different light & perspective


  16. #16
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    Default

    Originally posted by hoppinghippo
    ck: I agree with what you said. if the motive was to replicate the entire scene as was seen then I agree its good to manipulate it cuz seldom does the camera give what we see without manipulation. in a sense trying to make the camera see as well as our eyes do. but sometimes it gets overdone? and it becomes too perfect to be true? our eyes don't often see super sharp scenes coupled with effects like diffused lighting, warm colours, extra blue sky, etc... if it's done for artistic purpose then fair enuff, maybe the guy wants to show, apart from the scene, the feelings he felt at the point of shooting. that's ok, don't see anything wrong with it, quite admire their ability to do that too. but what really impresses me is when I see a photo and the shooter says "I didn't do much in way of filters or development, just a uv filter/polarising/etc. the scene was as it shows." then I"ll sit back and think like wow I"m looking at a real pic of nature and its beautiful esp knowing that it isn't man-created yet it looks so perfect!
    I believe such scenes do exists, just not in Singapore. And to a certain extent, the manipulations were done to overcome film and paper deficiencies. Anyway, even unretouched film adds its own flavour, so where are we going to draw the line as to what's real, what's "added", etc ?

    Some food for thought.

    Regards
    CK

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