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The New Barrier to Entry?
We start off with Rick trying to dial back his (seemingly) hatred of the French but then he turns his attention to the Basque region of Spain. But, hey, he does an Irish friend. If you’re familiar with the other podcasts that Tony is involved in, you’ve gotta be shocked that he is the voice of reason and sanity on Polarizing Images!
And don’t forget the new segment! Send us the name of a drink via our Twitter account – @PolarizingImage – and we’ll have Rick drink it through a Red Vine straw. Remember to tag the Tweet with #RedVineDrink.
Anyway, lots of good stuff in this episode once you get past our usual goofiness (A.K.A. the reason you keep coming back). Topics today include:
- Do we really expect Tony to do any heavy-lifting? *Can* he?
- If E&J is good enough for us, it’s good enough for hillbillies. Let’s just call it “domestic”… I wonder if Rick is blind yet?
- With the cost of software, does that make it a barrier to entry? How about the learning curve of software?
- Does keeping on top of software updates prevent the guys from updating their gear?
- Is there a perfect tool or piece of software?
- How terrible or lazy are actions and filters? (hint: Rob has changed his opinion)
Even just 20 years ago, it was quality camera gear that posed the greatest barrier of entry to being a professional photographer. You would never have dreamed about becoming a wedding photographer with “just” a 35mm camera and a couple of inexpensive zoom lenses. Today? Different story! But you need something for post production. Whether you’re buying high end applications like Photoshop (still the “gold standard”), paying less for a more appropriate version of Light Room, or stand alone apps and filters, your collection and library of software is going to grow and, regardless of how much you spend (or don’t) it all takes time to learn. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the time required to hone your craft as a photographer!
Starting with our photographer, we look at Italian photojournalist Clay McLachlan. Want to see how a working (and successful) photojournalist sets up a seemingly easy food shot? Check out this behind the scenes video called Blue Bottle.
As an homage to Rick’s father, Rick chose the German-American architect, Helmut Jahn. Jahn was the architect behind the United Airline’s terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. And yes, at one time, O’Hare was an example of modern architecture. Chicago is a city filled with architectural history and relevance but, beyond that, a city of artistic importance. Anyone who wants to be a travel or architectural photographer will, at some point, need to travel to Chicago and see the works of influential designers such as Jahn.
Why the Hell is Photoshop So Controversial?
Photoshop: it’s a tool that, for some incredibly stupid reason, seems to be controversial. Some people love it, others hate, but the smart people know that it is just that – a tool to achieve and end-result. But what got us going this week was a comment from someone on Facebook regarding a photograph they had seen, “…wow, is it real or PS?”
C’mon, really? Just because a photograph has been through the Photoshop cycle, it ceases to be real? But that got us thinking – what does it really mean for a photograph to be “real”? Too many people confuse “real” with “realism”. Are Picasso’s works not “real” paintings because they don’t depict realistic subjects? You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who would take such a position. So why do we say that about photography and Photoshop? If I create a shallow depth of field through a lens choice that’s okay but if I add blur in Photoshop, then it’s not a real photograph? If I make a bride’s teeth whiter than they really are or, more to the point, than they appear because we’re under incandescent lighting, that’s not a real photograph but if the bride had her teeth whitened by a dentist, that’s okay?
This whole concept of post-production, regardless of the tool that’s used, has to stop. As long as the photographer/artist is trying to achieve an image that they see in their mind’s eye, why the hell should we care – or judge – how it was achieved? And we’re not even touching on the differences between using Photoshop to manually alter an image versus allowing a camera to do it outside of our control!
So, to all of you who believe that Photoshop renders a photograph “fake”, it’s time to allow your photography and creative vision to mature a bit.
What about photography before there was Photoshop? Today’s photographer is Kansuke Yamamoto (1914-1987), an early surrealist photographer from Japan. His work included several pieces on film that, today, we would accomplish with Photoshop or other digital imaging tools but, as a film photographer, Yamamoto did his post-production in the darkroom. Are these “real” photographs?
What happens when you let Tony choose the artist? You get a musician! Today we have Captain Beefheart. As long as we’re talking about art being real without requiring realism, the good captain is actually an excellent choice for an artist who inspires. Especially in the realm of surrealism. Let’s let Captain Beefheart have the last laugh today:
“It makes me itch to think of myself as Captain Beefheart. I don’t even have a boat.”