Will less really become more?

Messages
11
Name
Pete
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
I recently bought a photo mag, the first for years, in the hope that I would be inspired by some of the contributors. After I got over the shock of the price, I was quite disappointed with the content. 95% of the images appeared to be so manipulated and post-processed as to lose any sense of reality whatsoever. Some techniques, like focus stacking, seem to be useful and worth a try, but 10-stop filters and 30 second exposures, really!
It seems that post-processing has now been taken to the nth degree and is more important than the actual taking of the photo. Having had a look at photos on various threads on this forum, the ones I’ve seen on here are far better than those featured in this high-end, high cost, pretentious mag.
I do understand how post-processing can enhance an image, but there is surely a line that many photographers are now crossing. Hopefully, as with all fashions, there will be a swing back to more natural, realistic looking images. I hope!
 
Messages
9,359
Name
Jeremy Moore
Edit My Images
No
#2
It's worth noting that 10 stop filters and 30 second exposures aren't post-processing techniques, but other than that I agree with you. I've always felt that landscape photography has a large element of the documentary about it, or should have; whereas these days landscape images tend to need a huge amount of post-processing done to them in order to stand out. (not to mention 10 stop filters and 30 second (30 minute!) exposures.

Was it Outdoor Photography? Go on, you can name names here.
 
Messages
8,791
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
It's worth noting that 10 stop filters and 30 second exposures aren't post-processing techniques, but other than that I agree with you. I've always felt that landscape photography has a large element of the documentary about it, or should have; whereas these days landscape images tend to need a huge amount of post-processing done to them in order to stand out. (not to mention 10 stop filters and 30 second (30 minute!) exposures.

Was it Outdoor Photography? Go on, you can name names here.
Yeah, because probably one of the most well known landscape photographers, Ansel Adams, never post processed his images!
 

MartynK

Opting Out.
Messages
4,793
Name
Martyn
Edit My Images
No
#7
Post processing (image manipulation) was well known in the film era, but it's become a lot more accessible with digital technology. Many programmes offer automatic, or quick fix, options and there's a huge amount of scope for photographers who want to learn and explore the subject. Where to draw the line? Is there actually a line? The technology will continue to develop, and photographers will make their own decisions about how they want to use it.

There's a theory that the Turin Shroud is a manipulated photographic negative and some researchers have put Leonardo da Vinci in the frame for this. I haven't a clue if there's any truth in it, but it's intriguing and some experimenters believe that it's possible.
 
Messages
168
Name
David
Edit My Images
No
#8
Is photography about photographic records or art? For some it will be rightly photographic records (photojournalism, travel) but for many it will be about art. Art was always available in the darkroom but we have more opportunity to create an image now. My final images range from very slight tonal adjustment and cropping right through to heavily processed montages. To be fair the heavily processed work in a smallish percentage but I enjoy producing all of these. I would say that in many cases I enjoy the capture most but in other cases the post processing. If I was stuck with record photography only, I would give it up and take up painting,

Dave
 
Messages
1,990
Edit My Images
No
#9
Post processing (image manipulation) was well known in the film era, but it's become a lot more accessible with digital technology. Many programmes offer automatic, or quick fix, options and there's a huge amount of scope for photographers who want to learn and explore the subject. Where to draw the line? Is there actually a line? The technology will continue to develop, and photographers will make their own decisions about how they want to use it.

I wonder how the obviously manipulated images in these magazines will look a few years from now? Back in the film era, similar publications were filled with lurid Velvia creations filtered with coloured grads at the time of capture. Today their apocalyptic skies seem incredibly dated. It's hard to be quite so tasteless in black and white, though that didn't stop thousands of photograhers routinely blackening their skies with Red 29 filters, sepia toning everything, or overusing infrared (look at the white foliage!). Ansel Adams has lasted because he had taste and all his technical wizardry in and out of the darkroom was in the service of an actual artistic vision. A lot of the camera magazine Photoshop trickery is just about prettifying what would otherwise be a dull picture, and takes us into a sort of queasy hinterland between photography and digital 'art'.
 
Messages
1,241
Edit My Images
Yes
#10
I recently bought a photo mag, the first for years, in the hope that I would be inspired by some of the contributors. After I got over the shock of the price, I was quite disappointed with the content. 95% of the images appeared to be so manipulated and post-processed as to lose any sense of reality whatsoever. Some techniques, like focus stacking, seem to be useful and worth a try, but 10-stop filters and 30 second exposures, really!
It seems that post-processing has now been taken to the nth degree and is more important than the actual taking of the photo. Having had a look at photos on various threads on this forum, the ones I’ve seen on here are far better than those featured in this high-end, high cost, pretentious mag.
I do understand how post-processing can enhance an image, but there is surely a line that many photographers are now crossing. Hopefully, as with all fashions, there will be a swing back to more natural, realistic looking images. I hope!
Just look at the covers of all the motoring magazines all photos heavly manipulated to such an extent they look nothing like the original photo that was taken.

Some magazines held of with manipulating photos for a time but must are seccumbing to carton like images now Just like TV's now all mega contrast and ramped up colours and no detail in the blacks or whites.. All crap.
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
3,378
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
No names, no packdrill. One local school's photography curriculum (6th form) states that a camera isn't necessary; the same school for a number of years offered a photography evening class where the syllabus covered a) controls on your digital camera, b) downloading photos onto the computer and c) manipulating them with software. Which isn't photography as I know it. But it does illustrate the way people are taught to think of photography.

The end of year show of pupils' work at the school has had a common element running through all the work for the last two or three years: start with a photograph, then make a collage or write over it or stick something on it; but don't show an unadorned print (not even an overphotoshopped one).
 
Messages
4,772
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#12
Messages
1,292
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#13
I moved away from landscape and general photography and now focus on model photography "In the landscape" when the weather is fine. What I have noticed over the last four or five years is the rise and rise of digital art being used in images. Overlays and textures featuring very prominently, some done to a very high standard but a lot not so. Adding a little saturation or cloning out unwanted objects is one thing but changing entire backdrops beats me.
 

TheBigYin

Staff member
Messages
22,749
Name
Mark
Edit My Images
Yes
#14
to be honest, with a magazine title like Digital Photography, there's always going to be a chunk of Digital Manipulation in the mix, and, it's probably much easier to fill 8 pages of the magazine with a step by step guide to photoshopping an image (or bunch of images) into a final shot, than it is to fill 8 pages with the actual craft of going out, selecting and taking a worthwhile photograph in the first place... and, dare I say it, it'll cost less to sit in front of the computers that everyone has to have to actually write and lay out the magazine, than it would to pay someone expenses to drive up to Scotland / Wales / Lakes / Somewhere else pretty, stay over there a couple of days until they've scouted locations and got a good photo - whilst the process is being documented by ANOTHER photographer....
 
Messages
13,380
Name
Toni
Edit My Images
No
#15
It's worth noting that 10 stop filters and 30 second exposures aren't post-processing techniques.

Was it Outdoor Photography? Go on, you can name names here.
I'd say 10stops and long exposure has it's place.

I have a sub to OP. I the last issue was a picture where someone had slapped a hard grad over an image in post regardless of the shape of the subject and claimed it had made a dull image interesting. At that point I almost lost the will to read the rest.
 
Messages
517
Edit My Images
Yes
#16
This is not new. I worked with someone a very long time ago who was throwing all their old photography mags.

I had a look through and thought blimey how on earth did they make these photos with 2006 / 2007 dslr`s.

Had a look in the small print and there was a long list of expensive photoshop plug-ins used that I have never even heard of.
 
Messages
21,662
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#17
Not a photo mag but on the same processing lines...

I posted a picture on this site and someone said it was the best picture I'd posted. I didn't tell them it was the most processed. Just goes to show :D but at the time I felt a little :(

I suppose some subjects and pictures suit it and some don't. I certainly find that but mostly I'm against heavy and obvious processing, unless it suits the picture.
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
8,669
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
#18
Does "post" processing include in-camera post I wonder. I shoot a fair amount in very low light under "harsh" conditions for which I used to use an Olympus TG4 Tough camera but I now mainly use my phone because it is much better. Most of that "betterness" must be due to some clever software in the phone "post" processing the image caught by the sensor.
 
Messages
13,380
Name
Toni
Edit My Images
No
#20
Does "post" processing include in-camera post I wonder. I shoot a fair amount in very low light under "harsh" conditions for which I used to use an Olympus TG4 Tough camera but I now mainly use my phone because it is much better. Most of that "betterness" must be due to some clever software in the phone "post" processing the image caught by the sensor.
I'd say 'post' counts as any processing, including what the camera does by way of presets. A lot of phones have a very passable HDR that can balance out otherwise awkward extremes of exposure.
 
Messages
9,359
Name
Jeremy Moore
Edit My Images
No
#22
Is photography about photographic records or art? For some it will be rightly photographic records (photojournalism, travel) but for many it will be about art. Art was always available in the darkroom but we have more opportunity to create an image now. My final images range from very slight tonal adjustment and cropping right through to heavily processed montages. To be fair the heavily processed work in a smallish percentage but I enjoy producing all of these. I would say that in many cases I enjoy the capture most but in other cases the post processing. If I was stuck with record photography only, I would give it up and take up painting,

Dave

I think there's a very basic misunderstanding here about what "art" is. I can foresee a deluge of critical responses here but a heavily processed montage would have more in common - in my opinion - with painting by numbers than "art".

Describing documentary photography as "record photography" is doing a serious disservice to some great photographers in many genres throughout the history of photography.
 
Messages
9,359
Name
Jeremy Moore
Edit My Images
No
#23
I'd say 10stops and long exposure has it's place.

I have a sub to OP. I the last issue was a picture where someone had slapped a hard grad over an image in post regardless of the shape of the subject and claimed it had made a dull image interesting. At that point I almost lost the will to read the rest.

I read OP religiously for years. It WAS the best of the lot (for me, anyway); but to be honest I stopped reading it when I realised I could write more interesting stuff myself than most of that appearing in the magazine. So although I still see it occasionally I can't really comment on the current style of the magazine.

Although I'm tempted to go and have a look anyway just to see that photo .........
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,810
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
Yes
#24
Its all fine :) So long as the author likes their work WTF does it really matter what anyone else thinks

That said, I had a 'funny' query with the head of an Association re the number of miserable looking kids winning portrait comps or being given Golds these days

Personally, and while the craft of such photos is exceptional, I just don't like photos of kids looking sad and especially when a whole gallery is full of them

The response was interesting in that they too don't like them! But the current fad is that's all they are getting to judge, so until togs get bored of it too it won't swing around to happier images

All photography has fads, no-one forces you to like them or shoot them, so just do your own thing and be happy :)

Dave
 
Messages
1,437
Edit My Images
No
#25
I can foresee a deluge of critical responses here but a heavily processed montage would have more in common - in my opinion - with painting by numbers than "art".
...but who are we to say that painting by numbers isn't art? It is (as you say) all opinion.
 
Messages
13,380
Name
Toni
Edit My Images
No
#27
Its all fine :) So long as the author likes their work WTF does it really matter what anyone else thinks

That said, I had a 'funny' query with the head of an Association re the number of miserable looking kids winning portrait comps or being given Golds these days

Personally, and while the craft of such photos is exceptional, I just don't like photos of kids looking sad and especially when a whole gallery is full of them

The response was interesting in that they too don't like them! But the current fad is that's all they are getting to judge, so until togs get bored of it too it won't swing around to happier images

All photography has fads, no-one forces you to like them or shoot them, so just do your own thing and be happy :)

Dave
Interesting. I think it was last year's Taylor Wessing had an image of a girl outside a pizzeria in which she looked really distressed, almost to the point of abuse. I remember commenting out loud at the time.
 
Messages
13,380
Name
Toni
Edit My Images
No
#29
I read OP religiously for years. It WAS the best of the lot (for me, anyway); but to be honest I stopped reading it when I realised I could write more interesting stuff myself than most of that appearing in the magazine. So although I still see it occasionally I can't really comment on the current style of the magazine.

Although I'm tempted to go and have a look anyway just to see that photo .........
I'm fine with people putting crappy images on the web, but I expect magazine editors to filter out the 'less good' stuff. Not a question of art or not.

I generally look at OP for the image quality and breadth, and the words matter less.
 
Messages
3,590
Name
droj
Edit My Images
No
#31
I don't even look at what might be called 'commercial' magazines, and would certainly never pay for one, since their editorial content has always seemed to be just padding for the ads as far as I can see. I couldn't even tell you what's available, apart from AP which I see on the supermarket shelf and what a limp rag that is!

Their overriding editorial motive is to cultivate photography as a commercial activity (shopping!) and in conspiracy with their advertisers encourage the constant buying of stuff. Which to me demeans photography and makes it culturally cheap - a shoddy business.

If I paid money for a periodical that was stuffed with ads and what is effectively a payola-type editorial I'd feel cheated and insulted.

I would however pay attention to photographic journals of more serious intent, including BJP, Source, Aperture or Hotshoe.

This isn't snobbery. Life is short, so let's make it meaningful!
 
Messages
21,662
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#32
Good God droj what a conspiracy laden joyless world you've painted.

Magazines have to be run for a profit and we have to accept that and if you can't filter the ads out and stop yourself compulsively buying all that shiny kit then just stay away from the shelves.

It's a long time since I bought a mag but I used to enjoy them, Amateur Photographer springs to mind. I never enjoyed them cover to cover but there was usually an article or two I enjoyed and I even liked the ads too as they helped me to keep up with developments and what was out there and how much it cost.

At least a mag is something you can hold in your hand, take away, put down and pick up again at your leisure and it's a completely different experience to staring at a screen and being annoyed by the inevitable screen blocking cookie message and pop up ads that some hateful algorithm deems appropriate based on personal info some faceless corporation has purloined.
 
Messages
21,662
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#34
I used to buy and look at mags when I was a beginner but that was long ago and long before the internet existed. Then, mags and books were all there was.

I do!
Maybe in time you'll forget the trauma all this has caused you and move on.

Things you can do with a mag that you can't do with the internet...

Eat chips out of them.
Pile them up and stand on them to reach that thing on the high shelf.
Put them under a wobbly table leg.
Put a cup of hot chocolate on them.
Cut pages out and put them on the wall / in a file.
Rip pages out to wrap stuff for packing away.
Tear pages out and make paper aeroplanes and hats.
Roll them up and hit spiders and wasps with them.
Rest on them when filling out forms.
Hold them over your head in the rain.
Sit on them on damp benches in the park.
Kneel on them when gardening.
Lite fires with them, stoves, camping, bonfire night etc.
Put them on the floor when house training puppies.
Hang them in the bathroom!

I'm sure there's more, in fact anyone out and about would be well advised to always have a mag with them. It's a dangerous and challenging world out there so remember your mag.
 
Last edited:
Messages
21,662
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#35
I used to buy and look at mags when I was a beginner but that was long ago and long before the internet existed. Then, mags and books were all there was.

I do!
That's true.

One lovely line from Benidorm "The internet's not only for hard core porn" or something like that :D
 
Messages
4,772
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#36
I would however pay attention to photographic journals of more serious intent, including BJP, Source, Aperture or Hotshoe.

This isn't snobbery. Life is short, so let's make it meaningful!
Maybe not snobbery, but the only one I see in WHSmith is BJP and they are all a bit pricey for this poor boy to buy on a regular basis. So perhaps they're a little bit elitist. :D
 
Messages
3,590
Name
droj
Edit My Images
No
#37
Yes BJP is a bit steep and very 'London', but well- printed on decent paper. Can't remember seeing any sheep images in it, Dave! (I referred my sister to your website, she wanted a sheep print and I could only offer a Border Leicester which was the wrong breed, but I don't suppose it came to anything.) Source is quite good value and not really elitist at all, being more healthily provincial. There's a lot out there that isn't ad-heavy, and more about the culture of photography than shopping.

Another trouble with all mags is that the content is bitty, so less satisfying as an archive, and they can just end up fodder for the paper bank, whereas books - well, books are for keeping. You can see the spines on the shelves and remember what's inside.
 
Messages
4,772
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#38
Yes BJP is a bit steep and very 'London', but well- printed on decent paper. Can't remember seeing any sheep images in it, Dave! (I referred my sister to your website, she wanted a sheep print and I could only offer a Border Leicester which was the wrong breed, but I don't suppose it came to anything.) Source is quite good value and not really elitist at all, being more healthily provincial. There's a lot out there that isn't ad-heavy, and more about the culture of photography than shopping.

Another trouble with all mags is that the content is bitty, so less satisfying as an archive, and they can just end up fodder for the paper bank, whereas books - well, books are for keeping. You can see the spines on the shelves and remember what's inside.
Thanks for the pointer to my site, but no, nothing came of it. Maybe I hadn't photographed the right breed either!

I've got copies of all the periodicals you listed. I tend to buy them when they look like there's enough in them to keep. Hotshoe 202 for example.

BJP seems like it's trying to be something to save with its current production values. Trying a bit too hard for my liking.

Of the mags I have seen in WHSmith Outdoor Photography and Proffesional Photography have been the least 'camera clubby' and sometimes worth a punt.

As for books. The least said the better. I am managing to exercise restraint at the present!
 
Messages
2,736
Name
Andy
Edit My Images
No
#39
The only paper mag I get these days in Black and White Photographer. I sometimes feel that it does get a bit samey in terms of the work they feature, but in a different way to the other monthly comics who are forever filling their pages with ‘Shoot your best ever landscapes’ as Black and white mag more about the work than how to make it. And it smells fabulous when I open the postage bag it comes in!
 
Messages
3,590
Name
droj
Edit My Images
No
#40
As for books. The least said the better. I am managing to exercise restraint at the present!
And a downside of books is that along with all other possessions (including photo gear!) you can't take them with you when you pop your clogs, and some poor soul left behind will have to deal with them all ... :-(
 
Top