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Photoshop - The Dark Side

Photoshop is a program that manipulates digital images to the Nth degree. You can make a picture into just about anything you want. You can turn a photograph into something that doesn?t even resemble the original. Is this a good thing, or an evil force to be reckoned with?

Surfing on flickr, my favorite photo sharing site, I?ve noticed many images manipulated with this program. Some to the detriment of the shot by rank amateurs of the program; others skillfully crafted & enhanced to make an incredible image. My question is, is this still a photograph, or now just a computer generated image?

I guess part of the beauty of digital photography is that you can do this. Still, on one hand you have a photo with great composition that can be made better, on the other you have crap that is manipulated to the point where it resembles something else. Is this still crap, or all of a sudden ?art? ?

You have the question of enhancement, to rid the shot of small flaws, or gross manipulation to change the image completely. Is this the Dark Side of photoshop? How far do you go?

Pictures, art, or just crap?

After seeing some of the beautiful enhancements, I?m tempted to go over to the ?Dark Side? and learn this program. However, will I then I cease to be a photographer, and become more of a computer software user or photo manipulator?

Help me Obi-Wan?.you?re my only hope?

Filed under General, Sep 13, 2005
 

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Tags

Tags. More about Flickr

What exactly are tags anyway? In this context, they are words added to a photograph to help describe it. You know, where it was taken, what the subject matter is, type of camera, lens, etc. etc. They help people find pictures of a particular subject or venue

There?s a recent phenomenon that kind of bugs me, a lot, so I thought I?d rant about it.

The current trend is to ?tag? your shot with your screen name?thereby attracting people to your shot because it was taken by you. How fucking pretentious! Gag me! Lets make mediocre shots taken by a popular person even more popular. THAT alone made me write this, it crossed the line of what I could take before I had to vent. Give me a fucking break will ya? I mean, if people want to find a picture by that person, they?ll go to the photo stream, what do you need to tag it with your name for? I notice it more & more, even from talented photographers. It?s becoming sort of a sub group of the clique phenomenon.

I figure, in the end, no matter the hits, comments or faves, if it?s crap, it?s crap, if it?s good, it?s good.

Filed under General, Sep 11, 2005
 

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Cliques

You know what?

I?m on this really fantastic photo-sharing site. I mean it?s awesome. But there are some things that kinda bug me about it. I can?t really say anything in any forums, because there?s the whole censure thing & getting kicked out of groups & offending people & upsetting others & so on & so on. But you know what? Catharsis I think. Isn?t that what a blog is all about?

So, I have contacts, friends, am in a bunch of groups where I post my photos where relevant, check out others & I take a whole pile of shots with a bunch of different cameras & lenses. Last month I took over 800. I only post the good ones, or at least, the ones I think are worthy of posting.

Before I start my rant, let me say that there are a ton of extremely talented photographers on the web site. There are some amazing shots, lots of them, lots too that are acknowledged by their peers. I am humbled by their greatness...BUT there are some really shit shots out there. Real crap you know? Garbage. Crapola. Stuff anyone could take with an instamatic camera. Although there are some great shots with camera phones, fantasitic composition, but there's alot of no talent stuff. Household snaps...mediocre snaps, you know? It's a real melting pot.

That said, some mediocre stuff has become a popularity contest. How much talent does it take to point an automatic camera at a flower & press a button? (Yes, I?ve done it!) There are thousands of these shots on this site. There are a TON of groups dedicated to this type of shot. It appears this type of shot is immensely popular. Some are worthy, but many are completely banal yet get hits & comments galore. I guess it's a soft spot for alot of folks. BUT, no matter the subject, why do many mediocre shots in ANY category get hundreds of hits & dozens of comments? Why do absolutely brilliant shots (hundreds of others I?ve seen by other photographers), perfectly executed, fantastic composition, amazing subject matter, awesome results, get few hits or comments? Don?t get me wrong; I?ve had my share of successes. But a virus is diluting merit.

Cliques.

Yup. ?In-groups?. Little knots of individuals that cater to each other?s photo streams regardless of merit.

There was a ?contest? a short while ago, where people were ?recognized? (by what critical body? I don?t know?In case you were wondering I was nominated in two of the dozens & dozens of categories but I withdrew from the contest because of all the bullshit) for ?excellence? in their field. Well, it became a heyday. Some folks were actively trolling for votes, others gratuitously voted for their friends, and in one case I know of, someone was forcibly removed from the voting process because of their dissenting opinions. Now THAT?S democracy!

I think that happened in Germany in the 1930s.

But the real thorn here is the clique. It kinda reminds me of high school. If you?re not in the ?in? group?forget about being acknowledged. Many talented photographers, are being ignored. Don?t get me wrong, I?m in my own little ?clique? I suppose, with folks who enjoy my shots & regularly comment or look, & I look and comment on theirs with great regularity but that doesn?t stop me from ranting about the phenomenon?

Filed under General, Sep 10, 2005
 

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