The era of overprocessed images is here

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Siobhan_K Regular Member • Posts: 233
Don't Agree; Authenticity is Hotter than Ever
3

Parker21 wrote:

More and more images are overprocessed, with maximised contrast, color vibrancy, sharpness etc.

Nah.

It all depends on who / what artists or media you're following, of course.

From where I sit, the photography making the biggest waves right now is produced to emphasize authenticity. Over the past five years or so I've seen a renewed emphasis on production before the camera shutter clicks to inform whatever might be done. Even the lighting paradigm has changed from the obvious "strobist" stuff of the early 2010s to far more location-sensitive, location-logical, naturally-appearing ideas, now.

Philosophically, there's no getting away from artifice in photography--the whole point of the exercise is to share a subjective--i.e. artificial--perspective. However, when I say that "authenticity is hot" right now, what I mean is that perspectives and production are not carried out in such a way that draws attention to themselves, in of themselves, for themselves. There's a much greater consciousness of service to story and subject than even just five years ago.

It's all about making a statement, with punchy colours, HDR treatment and so forth.

Eh?

I just don't think so. The most popular, most effective work I see, now, deploys story and subject to make its statement.

Agree, don't agree? Post here.

Five to seven years ago, I would have agreed with you.

But the overproduced-look played out--at least, it played out in the places where photography works and does work. In galleries, in e-commerce, in the fashion press, among the top-tier instagrammer / influencer set. Even the Her Royal High Kardashian, Kim the First, hallowed be her name, has pulled waaaaaaay back on the obvious appearance of photographic post-production in her material.

Even on the craft-show / amateur-sale landscape scene, I can't remember the last time I saw the nonsensical HDRs that were agonizingly commonplace in the early 2010s, when shadows were always over-mapped to be more luminous than skies.

Overall, I think net levels of sophistication with photography have grown substantially over the last decade. Which is understandable, given that we all live at the end of a daily high-pressure social+media firehose of the stuff. So people are just a whole lot more literate with it, even if they don't shoot much themselves; and honestly I don't know many people who don't shoot much, given the ubiquity and quality of smartphone cameras. Even young kids are really good, now, with basic portrait lighting and perspectives. Being able to image things meaningfully and effectively is just sort of #lifeskills at this point. Give an 8-year-old your phone for a selfie (assuming she doesn't already have her own), and she'll go for a short-light high-angle like it's second nature and she's a second-semester Brooks student.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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