Photography As Art Forum

This forum is for artists who use a camera to express themselves. If your primary concern is meaning and symbolism in photography, then you've come to the right place. Please respect other community members and their opinions when discussing the meaning of "art" or meaning in images. If you'd like to discuss one of your photos, please upload it to the photo gallery, and include a link to that gallery page in your post. Moderators: Irakly Shanidze, Megan, Asylum Steve
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  1. #1
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    http://www.magazineagent.com/cover_v...16308520&sid=2

    Technically speaking this photo is overexposed, the contrast is low and the facial features washed out...

    I take this pic and it would be crap...someone with a contract and well known name takes the shot it's artistic and grazes the front cover of a magazine...

    Any thoughts? seems whacked to me...
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
    .
    Bettie Page

    My Temp site...

  2. #2
    Ghost
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    ...or a beautiful model.....or good timing that captures a unique expression.

    I don't really like the rear light being so bright and agree that it has an overexposed appearance. I don't think the photo was an accident though. I think it's the look that the photographer was after. And it hurts my eyes to look at it sometimes Having a beautiful model helps a lot. I'll probably be strickin down by the powers that be for saying this but a pretty model can do a lot to make a bad photographer look better.

    But for this photo I think it's the expression that makes it. Doesn't she look "human" to you? She looks like a real person with real thoughts. Too often the movie stars are made to be perfect and always smiling and/or looking sexy, etc.

  3. #3
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    IMO, a perfect photo...

    This is a wonderfully beautiful photo. I have the actual magazine and I can tell you the web image doesn't do it justice...

    "Technically speaking this photo is overexposed, the contrast is low and the facial features washed out..."

    Hmmm. Well, I can tell you this pic is shot in classic High Key style. And the defintion of this technique is exactly what you observe: slight overexposure, low overall contrast, high overall brightness, slightly washed out tones, usually with strong backlight.

    What I find funny is that that is the 100% CORRECT way to shoot it, and the results are outstanding, but the way you say it Nat sounds like you think the shot is a mistake.

    It most definitely is no mistake. This type of shot takes a great deal of planning and styling, and the result has an amazing delicacy to it that is next to impossible to achieve any other way.

    "I take this pic and it would be crap...someone with a contract and well known name takes the shot it's artistic and grazes the front cover of a magazine..."

    Have to disagree. This pic would be considered a great fashion image regardless of who shot it. W is arguably the number one fashion mag in the world, and they would never run a cover simply because of a photographer's name. Bottom line is the shot rocks...

    I guess I'm a bit baffled why you would think the shot is crap if you took it simply at face value. Heck, I'd die a happy man if I could have a shot like this in my book...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  4. #4
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    Re: IMO, a perfect photo...

    This is a wonderfully beautiful photo. I have the actual magazine and I can tell you the web image doesn't do it justice...
    I subscribed for two years because I love how creative some of the lighting and make -up are---almost to the point of salivating...And I presumed the web didn't do it justice...


    What I find funny is that that is the 100% CORRECT way to shoot it, and the results are outstanding, but the way you say it Nat sounds like you think the shot is a mistake.
    It most definitely is no mistake. This type of shot takes a great deal of planning and styling, and the result has an amazing delicacy to it that is next to impossible to achieve any other way.

    I think if regular on here took a similar shot posted on critique...everyone might be less than applauding. I think BECAUSE it is a celebrity/or well known face that it makes the shot more acceptable as artistic...I don't doubt that it took one heck of a set up to get every aspect just right but in the non professional world I live in---a shot like this would be viewed as flawed. even if I took a great deal of time planning just the right exposure, just the right look, lighting etc. I still think it would be viewed as flawed.

    W is arguably the number one fashion mag in the world, and they would never run a cover simply because of a photographer's name. I presume so...since they wouldn't be in business by accepting mediocrity...again I say that if joe schmo took this shot it wouldn't have the same artistic weight or reception as if it appeared in an internationally recognized publication...

    I guess I'm a bit baffled why you would think the shot is crap if you took it simply at face value. Heck, I'd die a happy man if I could have a shot like this in my book...

    I'd die a happy woman if I took a shot like that...I never said I thought it was crap...I said that I think viewers(regular photgraphers-with non fashion/glamour experience) would have it percieved it as a foul up of sorts...

    Just my opinion and wanted to see what people's take was on it...I never knew this magazine existed because glamour and fashion are NOT my world...but I got it because I want to understand it a bit better/pour myself in it to see what they see...just like I would be willing to sign up for any workshops (HINT HINT) that you ever wanted to put together to help those of us less experienced with that side of photography...

    Photography can be like a religion of sorts...hard to discuss it intelligently without doing your research first. Just trying to understand that shot of Nicole Kidman with the whacked hair and pink shadow(which I loved) and how someone like me can have that be great instead of a scray misunderstanding...do you get what I'm getting at?

    glad to give you something to talk about--not as good as Irakly at stirring up trouble but it was my subtle attempt to get the boards moving a bit....

    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
    .
    Bettie Page

    My Temp site...

  5. #5
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Re: IMO, a perfect photo...

    Nat, just so ya know, I'm hearin' ya, sista...
    Drink Coffee. Do stupid things faster with more energy.


  6. #6
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by natatbeach
    http://www.magazineagent.com/cover_v...16308520&sid=2

    Technically speaking this photo is overexposed, the contrast is low and the facial features washed out...

    I take this pic and it would be crap...someone with a contract and well known name takes the shot it's artistic and grazes the front cover of a magazine...

    Any thoughts? seems whacked to me...
    70's chic. I have to say I really like it. Although I can see how you really would have to have the credits to back up work that is intentionally flawed.

    almo
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  7. #7
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Gotcha...

    Sorry about the mixup, nat. Yeah, I reread your original post, and now I understand that you meant some might "call it crap" if YOU presented the shot, not being a big name shooter and all. It's a valid point...

    Oh, and yes, I forgot to thank you for starting the discussion in the first place. It's fun to talk about.

    I think an issue you bring front and center is that many people have to be educated about art, whether it's photography or any other media. I realize now that you DO appreciate how good a shot this is, but as you mention, many might not if the pic was taken out of context (in this case off the cover of the mag).

    I guess one reason I relate so much to this image is that I'm trying to concentrate on indirect lighting for much of my commercial work now, too. I find it much more facinating and challenging than more conventional lighting styles.

    I think when a shooter starts to think of photography as truely painting with light, "creating" an atmosphere and world (not capturing it), they can begin to appreciate this style of lighting.

    This image is simply an example of "bathing" a subject with light, and the intent is to wash away much of the detail, leaving what's left fairly soft and subtle.

    You may be right. Some might crticize this technique on a site like this. But if they did, they'd be showing their ignorance... ;)
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

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  8. #8
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by natatbeach
    http://www.magazineagent.com/cover_v...16308520&sid=2

    Technically speaking this photo is overexposed, the contrast is low and the facial features washed out...

    I take this pic and it would be crap...someone with a contract and well known name takes the shot it's artistic and grazes the front cover of a magazine...

    Any thoughts? seems whacked to me...
    I think I remember an artist saying something like.... Even when I make mistakes they praise me, becasue they think I'm so good I have to F@*K up on purpose.


    almo
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    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  9. #9
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    Re: Gotcha...

    when I sw the shot the first thing I thought is that it was reminiscent(sp?) of that look and feel they go for in movies when a a beautiful girl---girl your dreams-- walks thru an open door and she's washed over in light---all you see is the silhouette of the figure and you just start to realize that she's beautiful but you could'n t see it until she's fully in the light...

    the fact that you have been working so closely with different lighting styles (which would make a great workshop HINT HINT) explains your more than usually passionate response
    he he ;)
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
    .
    Bettie Page

    My Temp site...

  10. #10
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    I think I remember an artist saying something like.... Even when I make mistakes they praise me, becasue they think I'm so good I have to F@*K up on purpose.


    almo
    sounds like something eminem would say...who was the artist...Good arrogant qoute
    although I guess it;s not boasting if it's true
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
    .
    Bettie Page

    My Temp site...

  11. #11
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    Re: IMO, a perfect photo...

    Quote Originally Posted by kellybean
    Nat, just so ya know, I'm hearin' ya, sista...
    Power to the people...oh ahem... I mean thanks glad you get me...and you've got my back
    ;)
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
    .
    Bettie Page

    My Temp site...

  12. #12
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    I love it!

    and all the other covers on that page. In fact, I may subscribe.

    And I remember someone posting a similar thread when that one with Giselle was current. Something about how she looked too masculine, so on...I think someone replied with the fact that as she is a very successfull and well known model, no one is going to mistake her for being to masculine.

    And, like Steve, I'd die a happy camper if I could shoot like this. Love the Nicole Kidman one too.

    adina
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  13. #13
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    I'm not going to focus on just that image.

    Hi Nat,

    I'll speak more general.

    Without even looking at the image, I understand what you're saying. I find it's a strange phenomena how an image, that for intensive purposes is exactly the same as another, gets praised while the other doesn't. The pundits may even go as far to point out the technical ineffencies of the other image. Then they'll point to the same things as "artistic" with the known photographer. More often than not, I find this is associated with the photographers name/reputation.

    I sometimes wonder if some of these people can take a technically good image? Similarly, there are many pro photographers that work by formula. Which, all and all isn't necessarilly bad either if the rest of the elements are good.

    Much of this has to do with the name of the photographer. Which, in turn, they often got that reputation by being good at selling themselves. Salesmanship is very important in the photography business or any business. Not that different from the rest of life. The most talented person in the company isn't necessarily the CEO. People tend to like charismatic, tall, good looking people. And studies have shown....

    And CRAP does sell if you have a name. Did JP roll over in his grave when they sold the toilet seat?

    Mike

  14. #14
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by natatbeach
    sounds like something eminem would say...who was the artist...Good arrogant qoute
    although I guess it;s not boasting if it's true

    It was from some doc on the 60's. It may have been hendrix. I'm not sure.


    almo
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
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  15. #15
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Excellent points, Mike...

    I think you make a more important point about the industry (and one that drives me nuts) in that some big name shooters coast on their reputations and simply crank out formulaic fodder over and over again.

    In this case the pic that nat posted is probably a poor example, as I feel most can appreciate it as a really good shot, albiet a bit unconventional.

    Truth is, while W's covers have a track record of being truely inovative, many if not most monthly fashion magazines use very simple and slightly boring lighting and styling for their covers.

    Covers are generally considered the easiest thing to shoot in a magazine, it's just trying to get an Art Director to GIVE YOU the cover assignment that's incredibly tough...

    A good example of what I'm talking about is Scavullo. He built his reputation up by producing outstanding fashion and portrait work over the years, but at some point IMO his Cosmo covers were 95% styling, 4 1/2% his assistants setting up his equipment, and (maybe) 1/2% him stepping up and tripping the shutter.

    The covers were pure formulaic, the only thing changing from month to month were the color schemes and the model.

    I certainly agree that crap sells if you already have a name...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
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  16. #16
    Moderator Irakly Shanidze's Avatar
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    Re: Excellent points, Mike...

    very interesting discussion, guys.
    i indeed agree that buyers are usually more indulgent to big names, but this is the case only to a certain degree. sometimes flare, or overexposure, or motion blur that looks like an evident mistake makes the shot, contributes to its artistic meaning. that is why it is a dangerous practice to put yourself in rigid boundaries of conventional "do-s" and "don't-s".

  17. #17
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    I think this shot is more about how to find the find the right barbie doll and know to dress her up the proper way than photography.

    And I think that this one is even ten times worse:

    http://www.magazineagent.com/cover_v...16308520&sid=2

    Yeah ok, call it art, guess what... art is pesonal and I think both images are crap, serious.

  18. #18
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by Elysian
    I think this shot is more about how to find the find the right barbie doll and know to dress her up the proper way than photography.

    And I think that this one is even ten times worse:

    http://www.magazineagent.com/cover_v...16308520&sid=2

    Yeah ok, call it art, guess what... art is pesonal and I think both images are crap, serious.
    Aren't you being just a little overly critical here. These images are perfectly good for what they are. This isn't high art. They are meant to be eye catching. They want to grab your attention from amongst a sea of played out glam rags filling the racks. Personaly I think they are doing a pretty good job of it.


    almo
    John Cowan
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  19. #19
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    True, but he's right...

    Like I said, W's covers are about as inovative as anything in mainstream US publishing (note I said mainstream). Eye catching, yes...

    Still, Elysian is right on the money. Fashion work is often more about the model and styling than any technical aspects of the photo. And the trend now in US mags is using attractive celebrities on their covers. WHO it is modeling is as important (or more so) than anything else...

    I work hard on the technical side of my photography, but I'd say I spend at least ten times that on casting talent and styling my shots. Great styling will save a technically weak shot much more often than the other way around...

    THAT'S the word that's been missing form this discussion. STYLE. Fashion photography is all about style, and often in achieving that style, we go against the grain of conventional photography.

    In a successful fashion shot, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It captures something that often cannot be explained with technical terms.

    W's covers have great style, and they're legitimate as fashion art because you can't fool an entire industry over and over again.

    If someone doesn't "get it", well, that's it. They just don't get it...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
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  20. #20
    Moderator Irakly Shanidze's Avatar
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    Re: True, but he's right...

    Steve, I think you've just hit the G-spot It is not only in fashion, but in any type of phoography that whole is greater than just mere sum of the cunstituents. In science and engineering it is called synergy

  21. #21
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    Aren't you being just a little overly critical here. These images are perfectly good for what they are. This isn't high art. They are meant to be eye catching. They want to grab your attention from amongst a sea of played out glam rags filling the racks. Personaly I think they are doing a pretty good job of it.


    almo
    I think your statement is also a little critical and/or over simplified. Go look at a lot of fine art photography. Much of it is eye catching. Much is played out, and much can also easily be converted into advertising. Often by just adding clothes or an accessory. I'm sure the fine art photographer spends as much time screening models as the fashion photographer. Good looks sell irregardless of whether it's a glamour/fashion shot or fine art. What makes this less arty than high art? Yes, I am trying to knock over this barrier. It comes off as pretentious and snobby IMO. The only difference I can summize is how they are trying to make money.

    This, and Steve's responce about screening models, begs the question would someone be considered a better photographer if they used proffesional and good looking models/actors/actresses and a good stylist? Based on what I see, I would say yes. Assuming a decent level of competency.

    Mike

    BTW, there was a recent show on the history channel discussing advertising. They pointed out that celebrities are being used more for covers now than in the past because of the easy ability to touch up photos in PS.








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  22. #22
    Ghost
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    The thing about innovation

    The thing about innovation is that to get it you usually have to go through an enormous amount experimentation and failure.

    Any photographer willing to try and innovate earns my respect....even if I don't like the photographs.

    I think with any discipline there is always going to be someone who is respected or "overly valued" based on past rather than current results. And this seems perfectly normal and appropriate to me. It's not unreasonable to expect more results in the future. But then I think there are people that are so blinded by the past results that they accept the current results (of lesser artistic merit) as being genius just because the photographer at one point in the past had a stroke of genius. And I don't see anything wrong with people thinking that way either. Heck, it's probably just differences in personality types.

    Note: I know NOTHING about the photographer and photographs being mentioned in this thread. I'm speaking generally.

  23. #23
    Ghost
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    Re: Is a good photo JUST in a name/or reputation

    Quote Originally Posted by darkman
    This, and Steve's responce about screening models, begs the question would someone be considered a better photographer if they used proffesional and good looking models/actors/actresses and a good stylist? Based on what I see, I would say yes. Assuming a decent level of competency.
    I'm in complete agreement. There are always exceptions here and there but I completely agree.

  24. #24
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    Re: The thing about innovation

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Ash
    I think with any discipline there is always going to be someone who is respected or "overly valued" based on past rather than current results. And this seems perfectly normal and appropriate to me. It's not unreasonable to expect more results in the future. But then I think there are people that are so blinded by the past results that they accept the current results (of lesser artistic merit) as being genius just because the photographer at one point in the past had a stroke of genius. And I don't see anything wrong with people thinking that way either. Heck, it's probably just differences in personality types.
    .
    Bringing this one step further, often I'll see a photographer that just does outstanding work at one style of photography. Then that person will do something else, a completely different facet of photography, and because he's outstanding at one style people will automatically like the other.

    Mike

  25. #25
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    interesting viewpoints so far

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve

    If someone doesn't "get it", well, that's it. They just don't get it...
    I'm one of THOSE people...i really don't get most of the attempts in the fashion industry that are like that cover of Nicole kidman with her whacked hair and bad make up...but I enjoy the vision and the energy that goes into it and frankly they are so absurd in their styling efforts that I continue to look and learn in the off chance I will somehow in some way "get it"

    I guess I am more interested in the psychology behind the efforts than the actual end result.
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
    .
    Bettie Page

    My Temp site...

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