/ "Taking Climbing Photography to a New Level"?!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
AndrewHuddart - on 27 Sep 2013
http://fstoppers.com/kiliii-fish-takes-rock-climbing-photography-to-the-next-level

There's far better on here. Most interesting thing is the use of composites (although I really don't like the post-processing colour/contrast style.
ChrisJD on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

> "Taking Climbing Photography to a New Level"


I'll assume they mean to a new Low?
Shani - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:
> http://fstoppers.com/kiliii-fish-takes-rock-climbing-photography-to-the-next-level
>
> There's far better on here. Most interesting thing is the use of composites (although I really don't like the post-processing colour/contrast style.

Incredible images. Some of them look surreal.
Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Some of the photos were quite good until I read about his posed climbers and separately photographed backgrounds. Now I realise they are crap. And I'll find it even more difficult to look at and enjoy a climbing photo without wondering whether it is a fake.
Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to AndrewHuddart)

> Some of them look surreal.

Precisely. Not real.

muppetfilter - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: UKC needs to up the voting to 11 !!!
Solaris - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Quite agree. Curiously lifeless images, even the dynamic climbing shots look static and posed - a bit like landscape paintings done from photos rather than in the field.

Could it be that this explains it?
"Some of the shots were shot on location with the focus on getting the body position, and then the climber on that route alone was composited into the exact same scene, but over a clean plate shot on a tripod or at a slightly different time of day etc… By shooting the climber and backgrounds together and separately I was able to focus on getting the light and expression and body positions exactly right without worrying about composition and the other subtleties of landscape photos. For example, shooting in the low light of twilight or to capturing atmospheric effects required a tripod, but getting my climbers in motion to be sharp required a slightly different time of day and fast shutter speeds."
knthrak1982 on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to AndrewHuddart)
>
> Some of the photos were quite good until I read about his posed climbers and separately photographed backgrounds. Now I realise they are crap. And I'll find it even more difficult to look at and enjoy a climbing photo without wondering whether it is a fake.

Yeah I'm in two minds. On the one hand I agree with you, on the other it still looks pretty.
planetmarshall on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart: My immediate reaction to these shots was that they look artificial and staged - I didn't even need to read the article. I'm not opposed to a bit of post processing, but for me it's important that my photographs actually reflect a situation and environment that at some point actually existed.
ChrisJD on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Solaris:

> Curiously lifeless images,

Yep, remind me of those stupid 'motivational' posters with the inane quotes.
Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to planetmarshall:

> I'm not opposed to a bit of post processing, but for me it's important that my photographs actually reflect a situation and environment that at some point actually existed.

Nail on head. Otherwise eyou might as well throw away the camera and buy some paints and brushes instead.
Photoshop is like women wearing makeup - if you can tell they are wearing it, it looks shit.

Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to planetmarshall:

> I'm not opposed to a bit of post processing, but for me it's important that my photographs actually reflect a situation and environment that at some point actually existed.

Nail on head. Otherwise you might as well throw away the camera and buy some paints and brushes instead.
Photoshop is like women wearing makeup - if you can tell they are wearing it, it looks shit.

Ramblin dave - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Needs more Gargoyle Flake imho.
Blue Straggler - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

He is open about his goals, methods and aspirations etc. though.

"One of my favorite photographs of all time is a shot by Chris Crisman of a little girl chasing fireflies in the dark on a black night through a gorgeous meadow. It’s a prime example of something that could never be caught in a single documentary photograph; but the spirit and the joy captured by that shot blows me away and makes me ten years old again, chasing glowing bugs with wild abandon. That’s art, and that speaks to me."
Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to AndrewHuddart)
>
> He is open about his goals, methods and aspirations etc. though.
>
> "One of my favorite photographs of all time ..... the spirit and the joy captured by that shot blows me away and makes me ten years old again"

But the stilted, posed climbing shots fail to convey any of that. He has failed in his aspirations.
Turdus torquatus on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> Photoshop is like women wearing makeup - if you can tell they are wearing it, it looks shit.

Are you keen on the girl off Countdown by any chance?
Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> Are you keen on the girl off Countdown by any chance?

A quick google gives little to object to.

Just a bhoy - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:
As soon as I saw the processing I knew I was out....
that last one is..... erm..... interesting.....
SteveoS - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

What's he ever photographed on grit?
In reply to AndrewHuddart: I can see it is art - but not to my taste. Somehow alarmingly reminiscent of the dungeons and dragons type of airbrushed art of buxom eleven lasses in needlessly short doublets and overly tight chain mail vests. I'm sure my inner critical feminist theorist could say more on the gender politics there.

The abseiling shot is particular weird, it should be called "desolation of the soul on finding your new secret super-crag is actually a grassy, crappy slab"
Fraser on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Ye Gods!
The Pylon King on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Horrible
gethin_allen on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:
The climbing all looks very mission impossible and generally fake. It's like someone has drawn on the people with a set of crayons.
earlsdonwhu - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart: Don't appeal to me. I don't particularly like the light and the climbers in half the shots seem to blend in to the background and look bland.
Ramblin dave - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to planetmarshall)
>
> [...]
>
> Nail on head. Otherwise eyou might as well throw away the camera and buy some paints and brushes instead.

Not sure I agree with that - if you're an artist and you produce an image then I'll judge it on what it looks like, not on some arbitrary rules about what certain techniques (eg photography) are "meant" to be used for.

I think what's weirding people (including me) out about these shots is less that they're artificial and more that the image they present of the climbers is totally at odds with our experience of climbing. The climbers in the images look static, weightless, detached, emotionless, when you'd sort of expect them to look dynamic or struggling or focused or gripped or elated or tired or determined or, well, like something other than cleverly positioned mannequins...
Robert Durran - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> Not sure I agree with that - if you're an artist and you produce an image then I'll judge it on what it looks like, not on some arbitrary rules about what certain techniques (eg photography) are "meant" to be used for.

In my opinion photography is not art; it is different from art in that it should directly record a reality. If it does not, it is bad or at least pretentious photography; if pretending to be art it is, at best, poor art.
Trevers - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

They look like the sort of thing the BBC would use these days for an intro montage if they had a big budget climbing show, presumably with the figures moving in very slow mo against the background.

Like someone else above said, compositing posed images and landscapes doesn't work.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=227097

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=226293

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=227564

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201583

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=223544

These are all so much more evocative.

The reaction on here is pretty negative. I wonder how a group of non-climbers would judge them.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to the thread:

Sorry everyone, but I like them. Yes they're surreal and non-realistic but they're supposed to be. They are atmospheric rather than realist.

> Otherwise you might as well throw away the camera and buy some paints and brushes instead.

Is there anything wrong with producing "paintings" with a camera and post-processing rather than with paint?
ChrisJD on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> In my opinion photography is not art; it is different from art in that it should directly record a reality. If it does not, it is bad or at least pretentious photography; if pretending to be art it is, at best, poor art.

Of course photography can be art, only an idiot would think it couldn't be.

Where is the photography rule book that says that it should directly record a reality.
Solaris - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to the thread)
>
> Yes they're surreal and non-realistic but they're supposed to be. They are atmospheric rather than realist.

All true, but the problem for me is that they are also lifeless.

> Is there anything wrong with producing "paintings" with a camera and post-processing rather than with paint?

Nothing at all, so long as it's not pretended that this is how how it objectively, really *is*. What Ansel Adams saw with his lens and in his darkroom, what Cezanne saw with his brush and canvas, what the photographer we're discussing saw with his composites - what they saw is what they show us is real in their images.

pamplemouse - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:
Art (and pretty good art at that) but not photography,sorry.
adnix - on 28 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

The photos are ok but UKC top photos are much better for example.

His consept needs a bit of adjusting. If you take a look at the photos that win pfofessional contests they aren't perfect in technical terms. Many of them are not sharp but blurred somehow.
paul walters - on 28 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart: In trying to create perfect photos, he's created cartoons. I agree with the post above. The whole point of taking photos (to me at least) is to capture a moment that actually existed, however fleeting.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to ChrisJD:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Of course photography can be art, only an idiot would think it couldn't be.

If people thought of it as a craft rather than an art it might at least avoid some of the wanky bollocks that has even begun to clutter up the UKC top ten on a regular basis.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Is there anything wrong with producing "paintings" with a camera and post-processing rather than with paint?

Yes, if it is not admitted to and is therefore an attempt at blatant deception - the trouble is that it is no longer possible to look at a photo and know whether it depicts reality or not; the most stunning natural effects of light will always be met with at least a hint of cynicism.

I suppose, to his credit, the photographer here does in fact own up to his fakery (not that anyone would mistake the blatantly grotesque pictures for reality anyway!)

In reply to Robert Durran:

> I suppose, to his credit, the photographer here does in fact own up to his fakery (not that anyone would mistake the blatantly grotesque pictures for reality anyway!)

Oh Robert, why not just leave the reactionary old grumpiness to JCM? I think he's been doing it longer than you and I suspect its bad for your blood pressure. In this case "fakery" is a ridiculous word to use when the article quotes at great length the process the photographer uses to create the images he does. I'm not a fan myself, but why get so het up about it as to try and suggest dishonesty when there is clearly none?
interdit - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> the trouble is that it is no longer possible to look at a photo and know whether it depicts reality or not;

It never has been!


Not a massive fan of the work being discussed, but that doesn't mean the guy should never have made his images.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> In this case "fakery" is a ridiculous word to use when the article quotes at great length the process the photographer uses to create the images he does.

Is is fakery (of course it is!), but, as I said, he does at least own up to it. The trouble is that many others do not own up to it and, when done more subtly, might get away with it. It is no longer possible to look at a visually stunning photograph and think that the photographer had the luck/perseverance to be in the right place at the right time and with the right eye for a good picture. The ever present suspicions spoils looking at striking photographs.
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Is is fakery (of course it is!),

Don't be ridiculous - he's not claiming it is an unmediated recording of reality (a stupid claim any way as none are - I'm colour blind for instance, so see the world differently from you, before we even start to talk about camera technology), so it's not fake. Rather he does the opposite and explains what techniques he's using to make the image as it is.

People have made 'pictures' from messing about with photography for a long long time before this.
Ramblin dave - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
Crazy talk - next you'll be telling me that Man Ray didn't really know a girl with cello style f-holes in her back!
Tall Clare - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

<applause> :-)
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Don't be ridiculous - he's not claiming it is an unmediated recording of reality, so it's not fake.

So you are saying a fake is not a fake when owned up to? I see.

Anyway, the important point is that others who do not own up to their fakery are undermining the appreciation of honest photography.

> People have made 'pictures' from messing about with photography for a long long time before this.

True, but it has got a whole lot worse and more prevalent with photoshop etc.

As far as UKC goes, I would like to see a category for,say, "photogaraphic art", a sort of dusbin for fish eye lens shots, long exposures of headtorches, floodlit boulder problems, rotating stars, false colour and all the crimes of photoshop etc, etc.
Tall Clare - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

You take quite a linear approach to life, don't you?
John2 - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: What do you think about a photographer cloning out a distracting ab rope from a photo? Should he bother to explicitly own up to that?
Blue Straggler - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> You take quite a linear approach to life, don't you?

More like "he takes an approach to life that does not understand A SINGLE THING about photography" :-)
Blue Straggler - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) What do you think about a photographer cloning out a distracting ab rope from a photo? Should he bother to explicitly own up to that?

What does he think about photography flattening reality onto a two-dimensional plane?
Ramblin dave - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> So you are saying a fake is not a fake when owned up to? I see.

Surely a fake is an attempt to deceive, by definition? So if there's no pretence that an image is a moment of real life captured on film then there's no fakery? Otherwise you'd better hope you don't own a monopoly set, otherwise you're going to get arrested for your part in a massive currency counterfeiting operation...

The whole thing is massively complicated once you start thinking about it hard, anyway: what if the photo has no sneaky processing, but the shot is cleverly set up to conceal something eg those climbing shots that are carefully framed to hide the fact that you're six inches off the ground, or the beautiful views with the cement factory left carefully out of shot? What about long exposures, to get more light than was really available? Or polarizing filters? If you want to go old-school, what about the impact on colours and contrast of the developing process? What if the shot represents as accurately as possible what the photographer could see, but the people in it were posed? Or what if they weren't actually posed, but were acting up for the camera?

To some extent you have to accept that you're never going to pin down what it means for a photo to be really genuinely authentically real, and accept the image for what it is and what it makes you feel.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) What do you think about a photographer cloning out a distracting ab rope from a photo? Should he bother to explicitly own up to that?

Yes. Or better, pull it out of the way.

Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

>
> Surely a fake is an attempt to deceive, by definition?

Ok. I'm quite prepared to negotiate the definition of fake. But that is just a distraction from the real issue which is deception.

> The whole thing is massively complicated once you start thinking about it hard

Yes, it is a real minefield, just like the definition of "onsight". The important thing is honesty - lack of deception.

> To some extent you have to accept that you're never going to pin down what it means for a photo to be really genuinely authentically real, and accept the image for what it is and what it makes you feel.

Yes. But when I look at one of my own photos, I want it to reflect as accurately as possible via a cropped 2-dimensional image what it was actually like to be there, and when I look at someone else's photo, I similarly want it to reflect what it was like for someone else to be there (unles they own up to trying to do something different).

John2 - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: I think you're taking rather an extremist line. At one end of the spectrum, I suppose that if I had the inclination I could Photoshop an image of myself pulling nonchalantly through the crux of Hubble, and I think we would both be in agreement that that would be wrong (who was that bloke who used to post black and white photos of himself on hard boulder problems here?) But I think you might be surprised to discover how many climbing photos have minor distractions cloned out.

Surely cloning out an ab rope is just the digital equivalent of physically pulling it out of the way.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to John2:

> Surely cloning out an ab rope is just the digital equivalent of physically pulling it out of the way.

Ok, that is pretty harmless, but where do you draw the line? Adding things is even worse. I assume the bird in the last picture wasn't actually there. I was once belaying on the Cioch Upper Buttress when a golden eagle glided by between my second and the Cioch. It was a magical moment which I unfortunately failed to photograph. If I had done so and posted it on here, I suspect many people's reaction now would now be to wonder whether it was fake rather than trustingly share the magic moment. It's a real shame; I think photography has become devalued by deception.

Blue Straggler - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

What about black and white photos?
In reply to Robert Durran:

> But that is just a distraction from the real issue which is deception.

As the original photographer here made absolutely no attempt to hide how the images are constructed from various pieces the only "deception" I see here is in your usage of the word "fakery" to describe his work.

What's wrong with just saying; "don't like it" or if really annoyed "over-processed rubbish"?

In reply to Robert Durran:
> I'm quite prepared to negotiate the definition of fake.

But not "athlete" or "ambassador". ;)
John2 - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: In the case of the photos that started this thread off, I don't accept that there is any deception since the photographer openly describes the process of creation. I don't like the end result, but that's another matter.

As you seem to be realising, the question of how much image manipulation is acceptable is one of choosing a point on a continuum - there is no right or wrong answer.
Blue Straggler - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
>
> <applause> :-)

Aww I was going to do the Man Ray thing but thought it perhaps a bit old hat! Had I known it would elicit applause from you I'd have made like the Sioux, and had no reservations :-)
Blue Straggler - on 30 Sep 2013
Solaris - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

My views used to be fairly close to yours but since using Lightroom on RAW images, my views about "fakery" have changed. However, the change is really only an acknowledgement of what I ought to have been more willing to admit to myself: that film (+filter, +darkroom skills) was always a form of representation, and digital work on images is on a continuum with that.

For example, is this famous image by Ansel Adams, created with much careful dark room work, a fake?
http://genevaanderson.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/15_adams-winter-sunrise.jpg

What is "honest photography"? Is the saturation of Fuji Velvia honest? Stalinist airbrushings out of political non-persons are clearly dishonest because for the purpose of representing who was there when the image was taken, they're not accurate representations. But is the Adams image dis/honest? If it is, in relation to what is it dis/honest? I don't think that the answer can be "what was actually there" since in this case (but not the Stalinist one) that'd be to beg the question.
Solaris - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Solaris:
Composed while the discussion was moving on to deception. That's a refinement, but I think my points can stand: is AA's horse image a deception?
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

No, because there is clearlky no pretence at a realistic depiction.
There is only a problem when the picture could be mistaken for a realistic depiction.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to John2:
> As you seem to be realising, the question of how much image manipulation is acceptable is one of choosing a point on a continuum - there is no right or wrong answer.

And this is why it is such a minefield. If it was clear cut, there wouldn't be a problem.

Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> [...]
>
> As the original photographer here made absolutely no attempt to hide how the images are constructed from various pieces the only "deception" I see here is in your usage of the word "fakery" to describe his work.

Fair enough. But I've moved the discussion on to where deception has arguably occured. I genuinely think it is an issue in mine and others' appreciation of photography.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> For example, is this famous image by Ansel Adams, created with much careful dark room work, a fake?
http://genevaanderson.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/15_adams-winter-sunrise.jpg

Oh dear! Please don't ruin one of my favourite ever pictures for me (I even have it on my wall at home)
kevin stephens - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Grotesque!
interdit - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)
> [...]
> http://genevaanderson.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/15_adams-winter-sunrise.jpg
>
> Oh dear! Please don't ruin one of my favourite ever pictures for me (I even have it on my wall at home)

Now I know you're trolling.

You don't like the idea of photographic manipulation, yet you have an Ansel Adams print on your wall!
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to interdit:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> Now I know you're trolling.

Definitely not. I think it is a serious issue deserving of serious discussion.

> You don't like the idea of photographic manipulation, yet you have an Ansel Adams print on your wall!

Yes, my illusions are shattered.

Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> What is "honest photography"? Stalinis airbrushings out of political non-persons are clearly dishonest because for the purpose of representing who was there when the image was taken, they're not accurate representations.

What about that photo recently in the top ten on here of someone apparently soloing at dusk at an otherwise deserted Stanage. Very evocative. But was it really dusk, or just clever manipulation? Was the place really deserted or were other people just digitally removed?
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> What about black and white photos?

Fair point, but they would be unlikely to be mistaken for a colour photo unless the genuine colours were only black and white.

Ramblin dave - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)
> [...]
>
> What about that photo recently in the top ten on here of someone apparently soloing at dusk at an otherwise deserted Stanage. Very evocative. But was it really dusk, or just clever manipulation? Was the place really deserted or were other people just digitally removed?

Would it make a difference to you if they'd timed and angled it carefully to get the one moment when you couldn't see the gang of students having a barbecue and the half dozen boulderers shouting at each other? What if they'd asked people if they wouldn't mind getting out of the way while the photo was taken? In other words, if the visual representation of the moment was entirely authentic, but that moment was totally unrepresentative of the actual experience of being there? (That's a genuine question, by the way, I'm not trying to set you up for a fall...)

Also, the thing about honesty is rather dependent on the context, isn't it? If I had a photo of me soloing a diff slab that was taken at an angle to make it look like I was on a sustained 30 degree overhang and then stuck it on my facebook page, pretty much everyone who's ever climbed with me would get the (admittedly fairly unfunny) joke, whereas some of my non-climbing friends might think that it genuinely represented the sort of thing I climb. So am I being honest or not?

On a more highbrow note, most art / photography aficionados will know that Andreas Gursky specializes in meticulously constructed composite images, so something like this:
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gursky-chicago-board-of-trade-ii-p20191
doesn't actually represent a "decisive moment" in the Cartier-Bresson sense, even if there isn't actually a label to tell them so. He makes no secret of it, doesn't try to hide it, and talks at length about his process and processing. But a random walking in off the street might not be aware of that. Is he being honest?
Tall Clare - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]

>
> On a more highbrow note, most art / photography aficionados will know that Andreas Gursky specializes in meticulously constructed composite images, so something like this:
> http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gursky-chicago-board-of-trade-ii-p20191
> doesn't actually represent a "decisive moment" in the Cartier-Bresson sense, even if there isn't actually a label to tell them so. He makes no secret of it, doesn't try to hide it, and talks at length about his process and processing. But a random walking in off the street might not be aware of that. Is he being honest?

Jeff Wall is another high-profile example of this. It all goes to reinforce the fact that photography is not a single thing and attempting such definitions isn't going to work.
ChrisJD on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

But none of this can be art, in Roberts opinion: "In my opinion photography is not art"

Take it off your walls people, it's not art. Burn it all!
Tall Clare - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to ChrisJD:

Best let the nation's galleries and museums know too... :-)
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to ChrisJD:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> But none of this can be art, in Roberts opinion: "In my opinion photography is not art"

Ok, I admit I was being (a bit too) successfully provocative.

I think that there is photography as craft (honest attempt at depiction of reality) and art photography. The problem is when art photography dishonestly masquerades as craft photography (although there may well be grey areas).
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Would it make a difference to you if they'd timed and angled it carefully to get the one moment when you couldn't see the gang of students having a barbecue and the half dozen boulderers shouting at each other? What if they'd asked people if they wouldn't mind getting out of the way while the photo was taken?

Yes I think so and certainly if the picture was explicitly captioned, say, "Solitude at Stanage". the trouble is that these days manipulation is so easy and widespread that you just never know and everything has to be treated with suspicion.
Solaris - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)
> [...]
>
> Very evocative.

I think that's the key point: the Stanage image evoked certain feelings and thoughts and it elicited a way of seeing things, of representing reality to oneself, of being there with different eyes. (Sorry, I wish I could put this better, but I think you know what I mean.) Hence, the Adams image can still have value.

And with a bit of skill and patience, Lightroom can make something of Adams's skills available to all of us - and when we can't match his skills, then we can stand in awe of his gifts and his artistry.

To come at the thing from a different angle, looking at your (fantastic) images of the N Face of the Eiger can evoke it for me, and I can just about begin to imagine how you must feel looking back at it through them. But I don't think they can *represent* all that. Nor perhaps should they.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> I think that's the key point: the Stanage image evoked certain feelings and thoughts and it elicited a way of seeing things, of representing reality to oneself, of being there with different eyes.

Exactly what it did for me and why I would be disappointed to find out that it was staged/manipulated.

> To come at the thing from a different angle, looking at your (fantastic) images of the N Face of the Eiger can evoke it for me, and I can just about begin to imagine how you must feel looking back at it through them.

I assure you, anything but staged. And it makes me shudder and feel slightly nauseous whenever I look at them nowadays..... they are all too real for me.


Solaris - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)

>
> Exactly what it did for me and why I would be disappointed to find out that it was staged/manipulated.
>
I think I understand: is it that if the image were staged it wouldn't evoke a possiblity of thought or feeling that could be genuinely available, and that if it seemed to do that, it'd be like being told a lie?
>
> I assure you, anything but staged. And it makes me shudder and feel slightly nauseous whenever I look at them nowadays..... they are all too real for me.

Many apologies if my meaning was unclear. I was trying to get at what you say: they are all too real for you, in a way that they can't be for me.
Robert Durran - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> I think I understand: is it that if the image were staged it wouldn't evoke a possiblity of thought or feeling that could be genuinely available, and that if it seemed to do that, it'd be like being told a lie?

Yes, I think that's about it!

> Many apologies if my meaning was unclear. I was trying to get at what you say: they are all too real for you, in a way that they can't be for me.

No need to apologise. Obviously the photographer who has actually known the reality will feel differently to someone who only has access to the photographs' reflection of reality.



MG - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think that there is photography as craft (honest attempt at depiction of reality) and art photography.

I think I think this too! I am not sure any "serious" photographers go in for the former much though. Do you think similarly about paintings? Are there portraits that intend to represent how people really look and artistic ones that don't


The problem is when art photography dishonestly masquerades as craft photography (although there may well be grey areas).

Didn't Henry VIII have this problem with portraits!?
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2011/apr/27/holbein-engineer-royal-wedding

Solaris - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)

> Yes, I think that's about it!

OK - after that, it's down to moral and philospical differences of outlook. "No tongue, all eyes, be silent"; or the oscillations between Zen Buddhism and Christianity that Andrew Greig so brilliantly explores in "At the Loch of the Green Corrie". (The most deserving book not to have won, or even to have been entered for, the Boardman-Tasker?)
Blue Straggler - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Exactly what it did for me and why I would be disappointed to find out that it was staged/manipulated.
>

What do you think of this Stanage shot? Do you think it might have been staged?

http://j.ukc2.com/i/50247.jpg
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I'll tell you just how it was done. I recce'd the camera angle (using a rope hanging down the buttress on the right), with volunteers climbing the route, weeks before I shot Joe on it. I went to visit Joe in Llanberis, (thanks to Jim Perrin) around Easter and he agreed to do it, on principle. Apparently it was very rare for him to agree to let professional photographers/writers to take pictures of him climbing, because he generally shunned publicity (I was warned that there was less than a 50/50 chance that he'd agree.)

I then waited for weeks. After about 6 weeks I got a phone call from him saying the delay was that he had pulled his shoulder and it was taking a long time to recover. I carried on waiting.

Suddenly, in August, I got another phone call saying he was coming to Derbyshire that weekend, and would be able to do it on the Saturday morning. Agreed time was 11.00 am. So I went up to Stanage (after a breakfast in Outside - where I didn't breathe a word to anyone about what was about to happen ... how people would have love to have known ...) I was hanging in my camera position at about 10.45. And then we just waited ... and waited. 11.15 came ... no sign of him. 11. 20. 11.25. Then is spotted two climbers coming very fast up the side of the Plantation wood. both with grey hair. Indeed i was Joe. Very taciturn. Hardly said a word. He simply said 'I'm not sure I'll be able to do this, Gordon..' He was still worried about his shoulder.

As soon as he'd got his boots on he started up the route ... there was a moment of doubt when he fixed the first crucial runners before the move in the photograph, and then he just can charging up it at a surprising speed. And as he came, this huge grin spread across his face. He only put on 3 or 4 runners, far fewer than most modern climbers.

Once he was at the top he said he thought that was possibly only the second time he'd done the route. If he'd repeated it, it would have been very shortly after his first ascent in 1949.

And that was it. No fakery whatever. I was very nervous taking the shots, on a 645 camera. The focus was tricky because I deliberately used quite a wide aperture to reduce the depth of field, but fortunately the results were very satisfactory. Those were the days when you waited nervously for the film to be processed before you knew whether the shots were OK.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Sorry about a few typos in the above. Written rather fast amidst other work.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Another thing I remember about that shot. Just seconds after Joe had started i.e when he was on the first ledge, some other climbers turned up, and recognised me. And one said 'Hi, Gordon!' and started nattering. Which was just the last thing we needed. So I just said very firmly and seriously: 'Just shut up, please!' And then there was dead silence, and you could hear this very big penny drop, as they realised what was going on. In fact, after that, you could have heard a pin drop.
Blue Straggler - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Bless you Gordon! I know this story well :-) I think you misinterpreted me. I was trying to illustrate to Robert Durran that "staged" needn't be bad, nor does it equate to "fake", as Robert does seem to be in need of a bit of education....
Lukeva - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart: I love these, ok some climbers appear static but to me they are surrealist anyhow- a painting using digital film as their medium. They are not literal and I’d imagine; to many [non-climbers perhaps] would be highly evocative and striking. I am clearly in the minority but isn’t that the wonder of art in its many guises, it triggers debate and clashes of opinion.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> Bless you Gordon! I know this story well :-) I think you misinterpreted me. I was trying to illustrate to Robert Durran that "staged" needn't be bad, nor does it equate to "fake", as Robert does seem to be in need of a bit of education....

Sure, but maybe quite a few people don't know how this was done, or indeed, how this type of picture is often done. I believe the staging is all about setting the thing up, getting the right ingredients, and then just filming the reality, I'm not interested in faking at all. The biggest problem with faking, apart from the dishonesty, is that it often/usually looks fake.
dek - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
Great story, great dedication, great photograph, of a great guy! :-)
Robert Durran - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> Bless you Gordon! I know this story well :-) I think you misinterpreted me. I was trying to illustrate to Robert Durran that "staged" needn't be bad, nor does it equate to "fake", as Robert does seem to be in need of a bit of education....

Nothing wrong with "staged" as long as no-one pretends it is otherwise. If not admitted to either explicitly ir implicitly (as here - I don't think anyone would imagine that Gordon just happened to be hanging on a rope next to Right Unconquerable when JB just happened to come along to climb it). If not admitterd to then "fake" might be an appropriate, though admittedly strong, word.

lummox - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> You take quite a linear approach to life, don't you?

Dammit Clare- orange squash on my keyboard now ; (

ads.ukclimbing.com
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Surely ‘staged’ means the climber didn’t actually do the route on the occasion the photograph was taken, but abseiled into position and hung on for photos (or whatever). As long as the climber actually climbs the route I wouldn’t call it staged, although obviously the climber and photographer will usually have met by appointment.

jcm
Robert Durran - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
>
> Surely ‘staged’ means the climber didn’t actually do the route on the occasion the photograph was taken, but abseiled into position and hung on for photos (or whatever).

Usually yes, and then it should be made clear. The JB photo, I agree, is barely staged at all, although the motovation might have been largely or at least partly for photos. No objection to it anyway!
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

As to the OP I'd have thought the main point was that the name 'Kiliii Fish' takes stupid names to a new level.

jcm
Blue Straggler - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Surely ‘staged’ means the climber didn’t actually do the route on the occasion the photograph was taken, but abseiled into position and hung on for photos (or whatever). As long as the climber actually climbs the route I wouldn’t call it staged

Ah. Well on this point, our definitions of "staged" do differ. I meant it in terms of the climber being on the route MAINLY for the sake of a photo. I was coming at it from the PoV of how a lot of gnarly high-end onsight / FA photos are in fact taken after the main event, on a repeat ascent. It is a grey area. Obviously Gordon's photo of Joe IS a photo of the "main event", yet to me it is still staged. I just don't see "staged" as a bad thing, under MY definition.
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

>a lot of gnarly high-end onsight / FA photos are in fact taken after the main event, on a repeat ascent

Sure, but those are (or should be) the ones where the caption doesn't say 'on the FA of Megaroute X'.

jcm
Blue Straggler - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Oh yes, I imagine a good sub-editor (or whoever) should take care, when in possession of the facts, not to mislead with the actual photo captions....but you'll often have something implied e.g.

"Uberwad Billy Bobcat makes first onsight of Megaroute X"

then a pic of Billy on Megaroute X, captioned "Billy powering through the crux on Megaroute X" :-)
MJ - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I was coming at it from the PoV of how a lot of gnarly high-end onsight / FA photos are in fact taken after the main event, on a repeat ascent. It is a grey area.

To make it greyer, how about when the climber abseils/top ropes to a certain position, momentarily unclips from the safety of that, has a flurry of shots taken and then clips back in?

Robert Durran - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
>
> I was coming at it from the PoV of how a lot of gnarly high-end onsight / FA photos are in fact taken after the main event, on a repeat ascent. It is a grey area.
>
> To make it greyer, how about when the climber abseils/top ropes to a certain position, momentarily unclips from the safety of that, has a flurry of shots taken and then clips back in?

Surely that is much less grey.

Of course, if photos are captioned honestly, there isn't a problem, though I would much rather see genuine first ascent photos taken with the outcome still in doubt.

Knitted Simian - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Makes me think of Milli Vanilli
felt - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Surprised no one has mentioned this image, surely one of the most contentious on UKC.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=21714

Solaris - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
>
> Of course, if photos are captioned honestly, there isn't a problem...

I was under the impression you felt that "faking" or "deception" applied not just to staging of images but to digital/darkroom work done on them - for example, those that started off this discussion, Ansel Adams's, or the one that Felt has just posted.

To my mind, it's the latter that are the philosophically/aesthetically challenging ones.


Robert Durran - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to felt:
> (In reply to AndrewHuddart)
>
> Surprised no one has mentioned this image, surely one of the most contentious on UKC.
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=21714

Not seen it before. It looked artificial to me even before I fead the caption. Having read thge caption, my personal view is that it's just worthless, silly, gimmicky crap. But at least the photographer is honest about it.

Robert Durran - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> I was under the impression you felt that "faking" or "deception" applied not just to staging of images but to digital/darkroom work done on them - for example, those that started off this discussion, Ansel Adams's, or the one that Felt has just posted.

Your impression is right. I must admit that I feel a bit disillusioned to learn that Ansel Adams was doing the dark room equivalent of photoshop.
Turdus torquatus on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> What about black and white photos?

Of pantomime cows?

Double fake heresy!!!
Ramblin dave - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Solaris)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Your impression is right. I must admit that I feel a bit disillusioned to learn that Ansel Adams was doing the dark room equivalent of photoshop.

Could you not just accept that the image and the atmosphere it creates strike a chord even if it isn't actually a pure an unmediated snapshot of a single moment? That the feeling that it evokes is authentic and real even if the composition is "fake"?

There's a lot of artifice in any photography, it's never just a pure unmediated recording of reality. Even in pure documentary stuff like Cartier-Bresson you have to ask yourself what's just out of shot, why he didn't take the shot a bit earlier or a bit later. He's basically using a bit of manipulation via artful omission to capture a combination of things that generate the feelings that he's trying to evoke.

So why not accept that people are manipulating stuff in other ways as well? That a painstakingly stitched together composite image with highly skilled post-production work - as in the Ansell Adams - can actually evoke the atmosphere of a scene more accurately than just pointing and shooting would? Or even that it can evoke an entirely different atmosphere, but that that can also be a valid thing to do.

I'm not saying that endless bad photoshop manipulation is fine, just that it's bad because it mostly looks weak and unsatisfying, not because it interferes with the unmediated recording of reality that photography naturally fulfills.
John Rushby - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

I get what you are saying but

Photoshop is like autotune for bad singers.

It works, but the pure an better framed version is better.

I think sometimes that there is too much emphasis on "Shops" than on composition. Composition is what works, naturally or even with a crop, it still works.

I say this as a punter and I think too many photographers forget this - the viewer has to engage with the photo.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> Could you not just accept that the image and the atmosphere it creates strike a chord even if it isn't actually a pure an unmediated snapshot of a single moment? That the feeling that it evokes is authentic and real even if the composition is "fake"?

No. The photo is a lie. As I said, a lie only moderated by being owned up to. I've no objection to what I would call "photographic art" (though I have next to no interest in it), which is so clearly unrealistic that nobody could mistake it for an attempt at a depiction of reality.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Are you even reading this thread? ALL photos are lies.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Are you even reading this thread?

Yes.

> ALL photos are lies.

No, some are an honest attempt to capture reality. Obviously not reality itself, but as close as possible given the limitations of the medium.



Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: > Obviously not reality itself, but as close as possible given the limitations of the medium.

OK, so I use a polarising filter on my SLR because I like the sky to look as blue as it seems to me (see my profile pic for example) when I'm there, not the rather pale whitey-blue that cameras often record. So it that OK?

And if it is, why is it any different if someone later uses photoshop to get the same effect as I get with a filter screwed to the front of my lens?

I fear Tall Clare's point right back at the start might be the most prescient one here!
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: There are all fakes in the sense there is no honest attempt to capture reality.
JDal - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Also remember that all digital cameras take B&W images with red & green & blue filters in front of the sensor(s). The "colour" is is then invented by software. The same scene shot with 3 different makes of camera will have 3 different sets of tones, and not by error but because each manufacturer will aim for their own "look".
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to JDal: But they are all trying to record the light that was going through the lens at the time.

Isn't there a parallel here between recording birdsong and so on in Spring, and say Beethoven's Pastoral symphony? The former will always be imperfect because of limitations in the recording equipement but is nethertheless an attempt to record how things actually sounded. The symphony by contrast makes no serious attempt to reproduce reality but rather to provoke the same feelings in listeners as reality would. Both are fine. But pretending one was the other wouldn't be.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> OK, so I use a polarising filter on my SLR because I like the sky to look as blue as it seems to me (see my profile pic for example) when I'm there, not the rather pale whitey-blue that cameras often record. So it that OK?

Yes, OK. It seems like an honest attempt to reflect reality.

> And if it is, why is it any different if someone later uses photoshop to get the same effect as I get with a filter screwed to the front of my lens?

If no difference in final outcome, I see no difference. It's fine.

> I fear Tall Clare's point right back at the start might be the most prescient one here!

It seemed to meet with much approval. I'm still not quite sure what she meant - possibly yet another amusing attempt on UKC to label me as autistic?

Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

The Jorasses one and the climbing one seem ok but nothing special - no obvious lie to me (setting aside the issue of black and white). The other ones are "photographic art" making no pretence at realism. I don't like them, but that's just me.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to JDal:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Also remember that all digital cameras take B&W images with red & green & blue filters in front of the sensor(s). The "colour" is is then invented by software. The same scene shot with 3 different makes of camera will have 3 different sets of tones, and not by error but because each manufacturer will aim for their own "look".

I'm not sure what your point is. I presume all are doing their honest best to reflect reality.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> If no difference in final outcome, I see no difference. It's fine.

So if I pull my abseil rope up out of the way that's fine, but is also fine if I later notice a bit of rope hanging into the frame and clone it out with photoshop?

It just seems you are immensely strict and judgemental on this until you're not. Competent photographers always messed around with things in their darkrooms to make the picture look better or even more real - and cameras have always had limitations so tend not to record things as our eyes see them.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> So if I pull my abseil rope up out of the way that's fine, but is also fine if I later notice a bit of rope hanging into the frame and clone it out with photoshop?

That seems so minor that I'm not bothered by it. Worlds apart from that blatantly unreal Matterhorn picture or the ones in the OP.

> It just seems you are immensely strict and judgemental on this until you're not. Competent photographers always messed around with things in their darkrooms to make the picture look better or even more real.

I'm not really sure what your point is; if the messing around is to improve on the relection of reality in the raw image, then why would I have a problem with it? I don't. I only have a problem with deliberate attempts to distort reality without owning up to it.
Solaris - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think the key issues are <pompous voice> What is representation? and What is reality?

It's not just photography that raises those questions but how electro-magnetic radiation in the frequencies humans can detect hit the lens of the eye, get to the retina and then via the optic nerve to the brain, and what the brain does with that "data".
ads.ukclimbing.com
ChrisJD on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Your vision of photography is so so dull, limited in scope and devoid of any creative thought.

It's like you are happy to accept a man-made machine robotic output, but get upset should a human mind get involved in the process!
johnj on 02 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:

This is a very good troll you've got going maybe worth a 7
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> no obvious lie to me (setting aside the issue of black and white).

Stitched panoramas are OK are they? They actually have FALSE DATA created by software interpolation! And incidentally mine was shot in infra-red, which opens a whole new debate of course...
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> This is a very good troll you've got going maybe worth a 7

Definitely not a troll. I think there are important and interesting issues being discussed.

Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> I only have a problem with deliberate attempts to distort reality without owning up to it.

Hmmm.
It's been said that a 50mm focal length (on 35mm film) yields a decent representation of the field of view and the perspective that you get with just one eye open, and that a 35-38mm focal length (on 35mm film) yields a decent representation of the field of view and the perspective that you get with both eyes open.

So would you say that shooting with lenses outside this range, e.g. a wider angle to exaggerate perspective, or a telephoto to foreshorten perspective, is "fakery"? Because that is in fact encompassed in what you are saying.

One or more of these two pics is "wrong" and "fake", yes?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-straggler/7985199886/in/set-72157631533262826
johnj on 02 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's just the words you seem to use like fakes, crap, etc. To describe the use of developing technology which elicit the responses, which makes me call troll. You have to understand like post processing trolling is much more sophisticated than it used to be.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> Stitched panoramas are OK are they? They actually have FALSE DATA created by software interpolation!

I'm not sure whether people are deliberately misinterpreting what I am saying or whether I've not made myself clear enough.

A camera (film or digital) is just a machine which proceses the lioght passing through its lens to produce a 2-d image representing as best as possible the reality being photographed. If the processing afterwards is just an extension of that process, I have absolutely no issues with it at all. When the processing deliberately distorts the reality and this is either owned up to or blatantly obvious, it could be termed "photographic art" - not to my taste, but if other peopole like it tht's fine. However, when the distortion is not apparent and not owned up to I consider it equicalent to a lie.

I'm not sure I can make myself clearer than that.
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: If we avoid pejorative terms like "fake", would you accept to photographs are attempting to reproduce reality while some are aimed at more artisitc impressions?
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> So would you say that shooting with lenses outside this range, e.g. a wider angle to exaggerate perspective, or a telephoto to foreshorten perspective, is "fakery"? Because that is in fact encompassed in what you are saying.

Obviously there is a continuum of lenses and yes, I do think there is a cut off - I find the obviously distorted fish eye lens photos that someone regularly puts on UKC really silly (but at least no-one would mistake them for an honest attempt at reality!)
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> It's just the words you seem to use like fakes, crap, etc.

If the Matterhorn photo had not been owned up to, it would undoubtedly have been a "lie". As it is, I think "fake" is a fair description. My personal opinion of it is "crap". What is the problem with that?
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Define the cut-off point though! In both directions, wide and long.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler) If we avoid pejorative terms like "fake", would you accept to photographs are attempting to reproduce reality while some are aimed at more artisitc impressions?

Of course. But this whole thing is about pejorative terms and attitudes!
Ramblin dave - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to johnj)
> [...]
>
> If the Matterhorn photo had not been owned up to, it would undoubtedly have been a "lie".

Hypothetically, what would you think of the Matterhorn photo if it had been totally genuine in terms of a single shot developed with no post-processing, but had been cleverly framed so that you couldn't see the massive hotel complex just out of shot to the left and the municipal dump to the right? What if it was totally genuine but the photographer had spent two days waiting for the one moment when there weren't loads of hikers cluttering up the foreground? What if it was totally genuine but they'd spent two days waiting for the light to be "just right"?
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> When the processing deliberately distorts the reality

I deliberately chose examples (apart from the Couvercle panorama) where any distortion of reality occurred at point of capture and NOT in processing. So are they OK? i.e. is an "in-camera effect" up to your standards of verisimilitude - whether by choice of focal length, film, exposure, slow-sync flash, filters etc.?
johnj on 02 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to johnj)
> [...]
>
> If the Matterhorn photo had not been owned up to, it would undoubtedly have been a "lie". As it is, I think "fake" is a fair description. My personal opinion of it is "crap". What is the problem with that?

I have no problem with it as it's art, one mans sublime isn't worth much to the next man, so to say its crap is your call. Most folk then would leave it at that, but probably like most folk who read the boards this circular conversation has been continuing with the same repeated patterns hence why I scored you as quite a good troll, I could have said your troll was crap, but it isn't like those pictures what you call crap lots of them have good votes.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> Hypothetically, what would you think of the Matterhorn photo if it had been totally genuine in terms of a single shot developed with no post-processing, but had been cleverly framed so that you couldn't see the massive hotel complex just out of shot to the left and the municipal dump to the right?

A bit dishonest.

> What if it was totally genuine but the photographer had spent two days waiting for the one moment when there weren't loads of hikers cluttering up the foreground?

No real problem with that.

> What if it was totally genuine but they'd spent two days waiting for the light to be "just right"?

No problem at all. Indeed, to me, landscape photography is about just that; the luck or perseverance to be in the right place at the right time to capture a moment of extraordinary reality.

MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: Good! I think the pejorative terms start to creep in when an "artistic" photograph attempts to be passed off as a "real" one. I don't think this is unreasonable. There is of course a continuum and identifying where art starts and reality stops is tricky.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> I deliberately chose examples (apart from the Couvercle panorama) where any distortion of reality occurred at point of capture and NOT in processing. So are they OK? i.e. is an "in-camera effect" up to your standards of verisimilitude - whether by choice of focal length, film, exposure, slow-sync flash, filters etc.?

I have just made it clear that I make no distinction between "in-camera" effects and "processing effects". Both could be honest or dishonest in recording reality.

Solaris - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to johnj)

> Definitely not a troll. I think there are important and interesting issues being discussed.

Well said.

If you haven't come across it, this is worth a look:
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Illusion-E-H-Gombrich/dp/0691070008
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I have just made it clear that I make no distinction between "in-camera" effects and "processing effects". Both could be honest or dishonest in recording reality.


You did exactly the opposite.

"A camera (film or digital) is just a machine which proceses the lioght passing through its lens to produce a 2-d image representing as best as possible the reality being photographed. If the processing afterwards is just an extension of that process, I have absolutely no issues with it at all. When the processing deliberately distorts the reality and this is either owned up to or blatantly obvious, it could be termed "photographic art""

johnj on 02 Oct 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Solaris:

Some of the better discussions on here only come about by trolling, like I said it's more advanced these days, just words we use to describe things one mans crap fake is one mans wind up troll.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> You did exactly the opposite.

If I failed to make myself clear (because I happened then to be talking specifically about post processing), then I apologise. I hope my views are now clarified
MJ - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to people:

Should the images in the original post and the one of the Matterhorn be eligible to be entered into a photography competition?



Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think so <like wringing blood out of a stone though :-) >

But do please clarify what range of field of view is acceptable (keep it in terms of focal length on a 35mm or "full frame dSLR", if it's easier). All we have so far is that "fisheye is unacceptable".
Ramblin dave - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
>> What if it was totally genuine but the photographer had spent two days waiting for the one moment when there weren't loads of hikers cluttering up the foreground?

> No real problem with that.

But wouldn't that also be a lie? It'd be saying "look at this beautiful place with its atmosphere of quiet solitude" when in fact, for 99% of the daylight hours it's got an atmosphere of dozens sweaty hikers trudging along blathering at each other.
Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> But do please clarify what range of field of view is acceptable (keep it in terms of focal length on a 35mm or "full frame dSLR", if it's easier). All we have so far is that "fisheye is unacceptable".

No I won't. I dislike obvious distortion. Otherwise there are clearly grey areas - a matter of taste.

Robert Durran - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> But wouldn't that also be a lie? It'd be saying "look at this beautiful place with its atmosphere of quiet solitude" when in fact, for 99% of the daylight hours it's got an atmosphere of dozens sweaty hikers trudging along blathering at each other.

Yes, perhaps another grey area. What about that Stanage photo referred to erarlier?



planetmarshall on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart: I must admit I have absolutely no issue with Adams' manipulation of the 'Lone Pine' photograph. I still think that photography for me at least is about capturing a moment, but the perception of such moments is subjective - not just in how they are seen at the time but also in how they are remembered.

That said, mountaineering photography especially is all about capturing the situation and the risk. If it becomes clear that there was no risk, or that the situation was somehow manufactured, then such photographs become devalued.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to planetmarshall:
>
>
> That said, mountaineering photography ... is ... about capturing the ... risk.

Is it really? Blimey.

kevin stephens - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Feel free to vote in support of my post here: http://fstoppers.com/kiliii-fish-takes-rock-climbing-photography-to-the-next-level

No harm in stirring things up ;-)
planetmarshall on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: In my opinion, obviously. I didn't feel it necessary to add "IMHO" after every statement.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to planetmarshall:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler) In my opinion, obviously. I didn't feel it necessary to add "IMHO" after every statement.

Fair enough. I was using exaggerated sarcasm to emphasise how strongly I disagreed. I didn't feel it necessary to explain this last night, but perhaps I should have done.

I have enjoyed plenty of mountain photography that quite obviously had posed no risk to the photographer. It is a shame for you that IYHO such images are "devalued"
planetmarshall on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: Of course there may indeed be a risk to the photographer, but that wasn't what I meant - rather the risk to the subject. If that risk has been removed by setting up a pose, then yes I find the photograph devalued.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to planetmarshall:

My apologies. I get it now, and I think I should have got it from reading your first post. I think I misread "mountaineering photography" as "mountain photography".

All that said, I think a pic of someone happily sauntering along an easy scramble (or equivalently, on something harder and more exposed like the Cosmiques, but with plenty of protection in place) with absolutely no sense of danger, is a good pic and devalues nothing.
deanstonmassif on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
>
> And I'll find it even more difficult to look at and enjoy a climbing photo without wondering whether it is a fake.

You wanna get hold of one of the calendars given out by civil engineering contractors at christmas. February this year looked like a nuclear winter over Blencathra, whilst June went all Avatar on Wistman's Wood. Oh for the simpler days of proper site hut calendars, with girls holding power tools ....

Nick
Kieran_John - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

-Looked at link and thought: 'wow, clearly photoshopped but awesome looking'-

-Read description of how it was done and thought: 'that's really clever, good going!'-

-Read comments here and thought: 'Ah crap, I'm not being pretentious enough.'-

What a load of absolute tosh these are...
Blue Straggler - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:

Exactly. Sometimes you are allowed to just like the image, and a lot of people lose sight of that.
Robert Durran - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Kieran_John)
>
> Exactly. Sometimes you are allowed to just like the image, and a lot of people lose sight of that.

You are allowed to like them, but you also have to accept that the vast majority of people on here are also allowed to see them as pretentious shit.


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.