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Photography: You Ready to Go Pro?
Holy shit, this sucker is one long show. Two freaking hours! Anyway, this show is based on a question that Rick and I (Rob) get on a regular basis. It usually goes something like “I’ve been shooting for a while and I get lots of positive comments on my photography and now I’d like to start charging. Am I ready?”
It’s a tough question. Hell, we don’t mind answering it and for sure as shit’s sake we’ve been there, too. Rick and I are certainly tainted by their own experience, having been through the school of hard knocks, and would love to tell everyone asking this question to hang tight for a bit. But we also know that they won’t, so we try to talk about what we wish we had known and what we think every new photography professional needs to know before diving in. Here’s a hint, it’s a business so treat it like one!
Just as we were wrapping up the show, Rick asks an “innocent question” and then he and Tony start arguing for another damn half hour while I played Words with Friends. I think, dear listeners, that if you can make it through to the end of the show, you’re going to tilt on either what Rick says or what Tony says!
Since wedding photography is often the attempted path into professional photography, we look at one of the best wedding
photographers in the country, Chicago-based David Wittig. David’s photography shows his depth of experience with the wedding niche, an ability to connect with clients, and an ability to shoot great photographs that are unique to his style. If you’re thinking that wedding photography is an area you might want to get into, David Wittig is a photographer you need to be aware of.
Tony, never wanting to do anything normal, chose Adrian Newey as this episode’s artist. Newey designs Formula 1 race cars. They’re pieces of beauty and he creates game-changing designs.
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.”
Photography? No, really, we do talk about it eventually! As usual, the guys take the long way around to getting on topic as we have our usual discussion about what we’re drinking, why Rick will eventually play all seven dwarfs, whether Rob or Tony has the larger breasts and, well, you know by now…
Oh, and thanks to Mr. Sadie Breeze for preventing brain damage.
Photography, Dinosaurs, and When You Won’t Change
After the last episode’s emotional tirade about whether or not the photography industry still needs a traditional sales force, things come down in this second part. Instead, we talk about whether the film shooters and even the dSLR users today are being left behind by the advances of technology. Is there still a place for traditional print portraits? Is there still room for the fine artists? How about the RAW vs JPG argument: is that argument going to be irrelevant in the near future? And what about those guys who insist on only selling prints and not providing CDs? That’s an issue we need to deal with.
Let’s face it, photography is indeed changing and, as much as we want to believe differently, we don’t have the actual answers about what will still be viable five years from now. But one thing is clear – if you’re not going to be a visionary in photography then you’ll end up a dinosaur and, historically, we now how that ends.
Artists of the Fortnight
Tony points us toward the amazing photography of Dennis Hopper. Sadly, Dennis is no longer with us but his work in photography remains with us. Rob believes that actors often make great photographers because they live their lives being creative. Regardless of why, Hopper himself has a body of work that is poignant and strong. Anybody who wants to get into the fine art side of portrait photography would do well to take a good long look at Dennis Hopper’s work.
For our artist, we look at the well-known Rembrandt. If there was ever a true Renaissance Man, Rembrandt was it. Schooled in math, science, art, literature and history, Rembrandt used that learning to develop a style of portraiture known for its sharpness and, of course, it’s lighting.
Don’t forget – Our Photography Book Review
Head on over to www.PolarizingImages.com now and take part in our book discussion, The Art of Photography!