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Thread: Salon Style Photography - What's Your Take?

  1. #21

    Lightbulb "Don't throw the baby out together with the bath water"

    Give credit where it is due. Don't throw the baby out together with the bath water.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by teL
    In fact, I would say that a large number of them are taken on the street, just like many guys claim to do: "street photography" but in my case, with a salon "flavour" or touch to the final picture.
    ... that reminded me of a Magnum photog who recently visited Singapore, Steve McCurry. His infamous shot of the Afghanistan Girl didn't really impress me. But when I saw one of his latest books "South Southeast", I now put him on my list of "Great Photographers". Why I brought him up? Beautiful work of people in those regions which had that touch of 'salon' flavour? 'Salon' is a taboo to people doing street work, I'm included. But to do street with that little touch (don't be confuse with actual 'salon' work), I think Steve is superb.

    I suggest if you have the time, visit the central library's reference section. Great stuff other than Steve's works.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenghor
    Salon is a good place to start off with. It teaches u the very fundamentals. But my personal advise is to learn the basic and move on because:
    .
    Kenghor, well spoken.

    I started photography in the 70s (!) with a school photo club and it was pretty much salon style shooting including lessons etc etc...

    I've not abandoned any of these rules but rather use them as a basis from which I try to deviate....and if it dont seem to work, well, go back to base again and go on a different tangent and again and again and again.....To me, that's how I developed.

    I mean, how am I going to break the 'rules' if I dont even know what the 'rules' are in the first place?....and these do not just cover salon photography 'rules' but society's own 'rules' of what is acceptable/unacceptable, and each social environment's own set of values, moral/ethical codes.

    Even Micheal and Ralf Suchmacher had to put on 'L' plates years ago when getting their very first driving license at Kg Ubi Test Center right?

    not taking sides...just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by ed9119; 10th February 2004 at 02:00 PM.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119
    Kenghor, well spoken.
    I mean, how am I going to break the 'rules' if I dont even know what the 'rules' are in the first place?....and these do not just cover salon photography 'rules' but society's own 'rules' of what is acceptable/unacceptable, and each social environment's own set of values, moral/ethical codes.
    Unfortunately, in this day and age, "rules" does not seem to matter anymore to many.

    Wonder how many "drivers" are there out on the road who is driving a car without a license...

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119

    I've not abandoned any of these rules but rather use them as a basis from which I try to deviate....and if it dont seem to work, well, go back to base again and go on a different tangent and again and again and again.....To me, that's how I developed.
    And the influence shows on the technical merits on the shots posted on your gallery... and I am not referring to any of the posed/set-up ones!

  6. #26

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    as long as the shot looks good...the method:who cares!

  7. #27
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    there're also folks out there as well who have little or never been exposed to any school of thought and who turn out works that break new grounds ...........unrestrained stuff that pushes the envelope

  8. #28

    Default History of Salon Photography

    It's interesting to note the numerous perception of Salon photography that I obtained with this thread

    It inspired me to do a little research and reading on the origins of Salon photography. I think there is a misconception of what Salon photography is all about, probably made worse by what the local societies organise in their pursuit of salon excellence.

    Simply put, salon photography has its origins in wanting photography to be recognised as an art form rather than as a science in capturing, making and printing images: ie. to encourage that class of photographic work where there is distinct evidence of artistic feeling and execution. To this end, it does not mean that salon photography has to be all of set-ups and posed shots.

    For more reading on the origins of salon photography: try this link http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/...y/linked_r.htm by Robert Leggat.

    His site on the History of Photography makes good reading too: http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/

    Regards.

  9. #29

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    Photography should be progressive but styles and technics from different eras can be cross blended . . . eg: salon styled lighting with a graphic composition . . . posed pictures with bright or stark white background instead of black . . . selective focussing instead of everything sharp . . . sunset shots with super wide distortion and camera tilts instead of standard 180° horizon and 90° trees.

    Displaying only one genre of photography in an entire album would be so boring . . . pretty much the same in music . . . crossover artistes have been very successful in bringing their original brand of music into a different one to produce a fresher feel . . . so, new age photography anyone?

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by dom72
    Photography should be progressive but styles and technics from different eras can be cross blended . . . eg: salon styled lighting with a graphic composition . . . posed pictures with bright or stark white background instead of black . . . selective focussing instead of everything sharp . . . sunset shots with super wide distortion and camera tilts instead of standard 180° horizon and 90° trees.
    Let me just say that salon photography does not equate to:

    1) Black background
    2) Everything sharp
    3) Non-tilted standard 180° horizon and 90° trees
    4) Posed/contrived, set-up shots

    If it seems so to many, unfortunately I think it has been the undoing of the local (and perhaps regional) traditional camera clubs, who have been propagating this misconception by setting up too many posed/controlled situations for their members to shoot.

    As I've mentioned, simply put, salon photography had its origins in wanting photography to be recognised as an art form rather than as a science in capturing, making and printing images. And this is very open to interpretation. Keep an open mind and take a look at pictures by others that are submitted in international salons/competitions and hopefully you'd see what I mean (good starting points: The Photographic Society of America, Gallery of Nations , The Royal Photographic Society's Digital Imaging Group).

    I had the chance to observe a local club's distinction (what Azure refers to as "rubbish") judging session recently. One of the sections where panel can be marked down on is that if the panel submitted contains too many pictures of posed/set-up situations. There were so many of such panels submitted unfortunately. The stricter judges failed them immediately (for lack of creativity/originality) of course

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azure
    With due respect, EngLoy, I've had less-than-happy experience of encountering Salon "photogs" at work. Yes, they have the theory. Practical, as in real life, that's altogether another animal. (yes, they had all those rubbish attached too - FRPS, PSS, S-n-more-S)
    If you look at the Distinctions criteria of the more prestigious Photographic Societies in detail such as the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), you will also note that Distinctions are awarded for a wide spectrum of photographic styles/genres/categories: from Applied and Professional, Film and Video, Nature, Science, Contemporary, Visual Art, Documentary and Visual Journalism, Research and Development in Photography, Travel, to even Printing and Slide-Sound Sequences. And each category has its strict selection/eligibility criteria at each level (Licenciateship, Associateship, and Fellowship).

    I don't think it's fair for you to conclude that photographers who are awarded distinctions (FRPS, PSS, S-n-more-S) are simply "rubbish". There are of course societies that award distinctions more leniently than others (analogy: I don't anyone would equate an MBA Havard with one from Timbuktu :P). But to dismiss every single distinction as "rubbish", I would be inclined to say that that's utter rubbish in itself.

    By the way, I'm still waiting for your PM regarding your bad experience, if you are still keen to discuss it at all.
    Last edited by teL; 12th February 2004 at 10:33 AM.

  12. #32
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    Fair or not, to each his own standpoint.

    And yes, have sent you a PM, teL.

    Addition (19/2/04) -
    Titles are meaningless to me. Multiple degrees - I've been there, done them, so? I choose to respect REAL ability, not titles. If a title-holder has little or none, then... nothing left to say. Period.
    Sour grapes? More likely the other way around.
    Last edited by Azure; 19th February 2004 at 08:25 PM.

  13. #33

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    In a nutshell, we have to appreciate that the term photography is a generic term and covers many specialisations in photography. We have nature, architecture, portraiture, nude, salon, landscape, commercial, fashion, journalism etc.

    The bottomline is no any specialisation is more equal or more superior than the other. Each has its own characteristic, its reason for existence, its own style and the need for different equipment. It is good to try every branch before I decide which branch to specialise in.

    For an amateur photographer, it is natural that those who join clubs which are Salon oriented will like to have a go for Salon photography, as it is a good way to pit one's skill against the rest of the world. For those who flamed Salons, have you tried entering for one? Do not be misled by those posed pictures you see at some of the clubs' noticeboard and blindly stick the Salon label on them.

    Salon is a French word meaning an exhibition or gathering of photographers to share their works. It is a good way to interact and see one another's standard. Some says the Salon works are cliched or old fashioned. Have they really seen more of Salon works before making this blind statement?

    Salon circuit have expanded and now include many categories like Journalism, Nature, Digital imaging etc alongside the usual Pictorial Color print, B/W and slides. Gotta be updated, man. Not to offend, don't be a frog in the well.

    The only reason which I can think of, why people criticise Salons is because they have no guts to pit their works, or they are afraid of failures. Usually those who criticise Salons are those who failed badly in Salons, the usual case of "sour grapes". Let us not get affected by them.

    Though it is mentioned that the club outings usually have blackground, or models with smoke, does anyone understand the real rationale? I can only say this is a good practice for one to fine tune one's exposure and composition skill. Try taking it and get a perfect shot, if you can. No point saying it is not creative and bla bla bla. One can say that only if one can get the exposure and composition right and can do it better. Or else it will be like saying Ferrari is a lousy car just because one does not know how to drive it. Ridiculous right, since we know the magnificent prowess of a Ferrari.

    Before we learn to fly, we ought to learn how to walk.

    i am also disgusted by those who blatantly show disrespect for the titles that the photographers have. The photographers worked hard for their achievements, with sheer determination and passion. These titles are not easy to achieve. Try it first before you say anything disrespectful. These titles though may not show that the photographers are the best, but they show at least that they have reached a certain standards. Whether they are good will be based on their track records, usually based on their exhibitions, medals and trophies, recognition etc. One thing for sure is , these photographers have reached that standard.

    In the meantime, enjoy photography and stop flaming the Salons and clubs.

    The biggest tragedy a photographer can face is not to have enough works that people will respect you for.

    Steven PC Yee

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Yee
    Not to offend, don't be a frog in the well.
    Hi Steven,

    That's precisely the point I was trying to put across: keep an open mind

    Cheers.

  15. #35
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    Hi

    my apologies. From wat i gather, Salon Photography seems to be all about competitions and pitting each other's egos with one another, under the pretense and guise of creating art.

    Nobody has yet given me clear definitions of how Salon photography is applied to "the other areas of photography". Someone, i think Steven, mentioned photojournalism. So which aspect of photojournalism is inspired by the original ideals of Salon photography as we know it? Is for example, Steve McCurry's shot of the Afghan girl defined as a salon shot? Where do we draw that line (must use smoke?) and why does good photography even deserve a separate category with a french name?

    A good photograph is a good photograph.

    All the references / web links i was referred to points to COMPETITIONS as the main motivation for posed, arranged Salon photography. Is photography really all about competitions and stroking one's ego? Tel's repeated tirade on the various titles, distinctions in photography exactly exemplifies the idea of Salon photography as being of a competitive nature.

    Why else do you need titles to "distinguish" your photography? A good photographer is a good photographer.

    So far i've witnessed pple posting salon, posed shots under the "Street / Candid photography" sections, and some have passed off as being candids. Most of the Photo-Art type shots tend to end up in places like PhotoSig. That's because PhotoSIG best replicates the type of communal experience best found in Photo clubs organising Salon type photography - pats on the back, praises for shots which the photographer took no part in conceiving.

    Salon photography, therefore, is not motivated by the notions of creating art, but rather, an avenue for competitive sparring.

    That in my opinion, is not art.
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  16. #36
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    I smell smoke....

    PA! Get me the lights. 45°. Put on the scrims. Pull the black background paper down.... a bit more to the right....

    Regards
    CK
    Last edited by ckiang; 19th February 2004 at 05:52 PM.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Yee
    The only reason which I can think of, why people criticise Salons is because they have no guts to pit their works, or they are afraid of failures. Usually those who criticise Salons are those who failed badly in Salons, the usual case of "sour grapes". Let us not get affected by them.
    This EXACTLY reinforces what i said about Salon-ers being competitive.
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  18. #38

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    I find it rather amusing that we have such extremists among "moderators".

    Red Dawn: No offence. I think your misconception of salon photography runs deep (to the extent of might I add, unjustified prejudice). Competitions are just one aspect of it for those who want their egos stroked or pitted against one another. However, you cannot deny the fact that competition leads to a desire to improve, and if achieved in the right way, will lead to higher standards.

    Unfortunately, there is no clear cut definition of what constitutes salon photography except for the loose definition that I've given earlier: wanting photography to be recognised as an art form rather than as a science in capturing, making and printing images. Yes, Steve McCurry's Afghan girl shot can be defined as a salon shot if you look at it from that perspective. And it would probably have received accolades in salon competitions the way it already has in the rest of the photographic world... As you've rightly said: a good photograph is a good photograph. But how do you measure how good a photograph is? Unfortunately, that is open to a matter of opinion and subjectivity. To some, the only way they can find out how good they are is to take part in competitions, since only by pitting themselves against others would they know where they stand.

    My "repeated tirade" on titles and distinction is not intended to portray salon photography as being necessarily competitive. We live unfortunately in a society that measures a person's worth by his/her qualifications, be they paper qualifications, socioecnomical status or otherwise. As Steven has said, these distinctions "may not show that the photographers are the best, but they show at least that they have reached a certain standards". It is just a more objective way of telling what is good from what is bad. You mentioned that "a good photographer is a good photographer". But who is it to tell that you are good? What standards are you measuring up to?

    I have not taken part in any salons at all but yet I know at least my works are of a certain standard because I know at least in the eyes of the Royal Photographic Society, the consensus among the elect panel of photographic fellows/experts/professionals is that I have at least attained the skill/standard to be recognised as an Associate of the Society. It does not mean that I may necessarily be the best or that whatever pictures I take shall henceforth be declared "Taken by an associate -- it must be good then". It just means that on the average, my works can attest to the quality and standards which an Associate should have.

    I will lay the gauntlet here: rather than be "sour grapes" about it all, I challenge you (and whoever who think that they are better) to apply and qualify for a FRPS, an ARPS, or for that matter, an LRPS, or even a LPSS and APSS. Talking about being good is pointless. Show us how good you really are. Think you're good? PROVE IT.

  19. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by teL
    I will lay the gauntlet here: rather than be "sour grapes" about it all, I challenge you (and whoever who think that they are better) to apply and qualify for a FRPS, an ARPS, or for that matter, an LRPS, or even a LPSS and APSS. Talking about being good is pointless. Show us how good you really are. Think you're good? PROVE IT.
    Quote Originally Posted by teL
    Just a post to satisfy my curiousity.. not intended to start a flame war or otherwise :P What's your take?
    I found it very confusing this thread supposed to satisfy your curiously, has became a challenge to all those out there who think they are good to prove themselves ?

    IMHO, the title is a measurement of where your standard stands and an achievement. We cannot treated it as 'rubbish' as some has cited. If I remembered correctly, the ARPS is equivalent to a degree and if you got a degree in photography, you can directly applied for the title without submission of works.

    They are many photographers who are good but they do not needs a title to prove themselves. Bearing in mind that there are cost attached to the title. I do came across such photographers but they just wanted to play low profile and enjoys photography.

    In anyway, this is interesting to see how wide discussion salon photography can be and we should respect it in such form. There are ups and downs in a person life, so is in the field of salon photography. Why narrow down our mind thinking it is not good ?
    AMPA * WPPI * J team

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    /moderator mode OFF

    Interestingly, I cannot relate to the fact that of a “distinct” persona’s inability in representing his works properly to what I am reading in this thread. Somehow between the line of a common photographer whom is gradually taking off in his photographic journey and that of a self-proclaimed prestigious one, the latter seems to be landing, or rather, crashing with loads of designations which only purpose is from what I can see so far, to disgrace those without it.

    Yup, reality sucks, but the pure order of expression in one’s work supersedes any form of injudicious prestige. As “vinegary” as this may sound, I believe some prefer to remain a photographer true to his/her art than to instill oneself with ornamentations of self-esteem.

    A 2-stop worth of light from yours truly.

    /moderator mode ON
    Last edited by Avatar; 19th February 2004 at 10:02 PM.

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