I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...

Started May 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
ROC124 Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...

GaryR60 wrote:

Hmmmm....well, what strikes me most is the apparent contradictions between his comment that people weren't aware they were looking at photographs (which caused me to wonder if they'd been overprocessed in HDR, to the point of looking like paintings, as I've seen so many do) and the statement from the buyers, who say they find digital photography "too obviously photographic." Since they were evidently not talking about his images, I assume I was right in thinking he'd overprocessed them to the point at which they no longer look like photographs, but instead, look like paintings or 3D renderings. Personally, I dislike images that have been so overprocessed that they no longer look photographic. I grew up with film and so my personal aesthetic is very film-oriented and I appreciate the gritty realism of digital images, especially in black and white. I do street photography, among other genres, and most of my street work is rather high-contrast black and white in which maximum detail is deliberately revealed to provide a gritty realism, as my subjects are usually shot in an urban environment. But, that's just me. the buyer reaction was about their first impressions. The images in question were obviously photos. They explained that their first impression was about the image itself, and their second impression was about the medium used. They were telling me they are put off by too many images where the medium is the most important and obvious characteristic, and the image content seems secondary.

The buyer reactions were about their first impressions. The images were realistic, not my impressionistic work, and obviously photographs. Their first reaction wasn't about the medium used, it was about the image content.

Couple of years ago I saw an 18 x 24 (image area) landscape print at a local photo competition, don't recall the photographer. It was selected by the public as their favorite. It was taken with a medium format digital back, and was extraordinarily detailed throughout, but the detail didn't jump out, it was very subtle, playing only a supporting role. It was sharp and crisp in key foreground elements, and less sharp and crisp in the background, but everything looked very natural. The detail was there, but the exquisite lighting and tonality were dominant over details. I looked at it a long time before even noticing the detail.

As folks came by I tried to overhear their comments. Nearly everyone's first reaction after saying it was breath-taking was wondering why a painting was in a photography show. Then they quickly realized it was photo and were astonished, as was I. It was clearly a photograph with tremendous realism, but the first impression transcended photography. Every part of the image looked completely natural, nothing looked over processed. It was just drop dead gorgeous. Since then I've been trying to explore how viewers react to images and why.

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