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Tag Archives: Photoshop
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.”
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!
The New Digital Workflow
Howdy! Today we welcome Giulio Sciorio, a well-known commercial photographer from Miami, to fill Rick’s place while Rick is traveling and we chat about the changing nature of the digital workflow. New cameras coming out this year are mirrorless and provide a host of advantages. Today, we talk about how the digital workflow is changing and gives photographers more options and gives us time back in our day. That’s never a bad thing!
But a new digital workflow is not just about taking advantage of new cameras. Giulio brings up an amazing point that, today, there is a return to photo-realism and clients are moving away from the excessive post-production and heavy-handed editing of the previous few years. Rob and Tony completely agree and think that that is welcome change. So, when you combine the ability to take the JPG right out of the camera (Rob’s use of RAW files in his digital workflow has dropped dramatically), the use of new lights that allow easy balancing, a new casualness in styling clients (also reducing the need for post-production tweaking), and a shift away from the heavy editing, you get a new digital workflow that is easier to follow and more accessible to everyone.
What do you think? How has your digital workflow changed in the past couple of years?
Rob dropped the ball and it shows. We start off talking about another photographer documentary, Strand: Under the Darkcloth. But after talking about his best-known image of Wall Street (1915) but then the discussion kind of fizzles from there. Hey, after 31 episodes, it was bound to happen. Still, if you’re not familiar with how important Paul Strand was (and still is) to photography in the United States, it’s well worth your time to learn more about this early master.
And, if you want to learn more about hybrid photography, check our Rob’s new web site, Shoot Hybrid.
Alright, Brian, it’s a new episode and the deal with Jameson has expired, so you get mentioned again (a lot). So bear with us for the first few minutes of showing the love to some friends before we finally get around to talking about tonight’s topic: the death of the print. Yup, we’re rehashing a topic from just 10 episodes ago but, so what? This is such an important issue for all of us as artists that we’ll likely explore the print and its importance every so often. The impetus for tonight? Rick’s purchase of a Peter Lik print.
The Print: Still Relevant?
Tonight’s topic includes discussing the difference between an art print and a photographic print, the death of the cheap print from the big box stores, the stages of art collection as we move through life, and (thankfully) the death of the cheap poster industry. Then there’s the whole income-range of our potential clients and who has the money to buy a $3000 portrait for their home? No, seriously, how? We all want to know.
During the show, we discover that we’re at a point where we realize that art isn’t going away, there’s just a lot more noise in the marketplace. And this leads Rob to one the biggest pieces of insight he’s had in the past couple of years; ask yourself if the shot you’re going for is gallery quality. And just what the hell does that even mean?
Oh yeah, PHOTOSHOP IS NOT A VERB!
Our photographer tonight is Erik Johansson: a visual illusionist who is at the peak of his craft. Tony calls him a magician and does so with the greatest respect. Rob is struck by the paradox of creating something physical (like a print) that shows something that cannot actually exist in nature. Rick has a hard time thinking of him as a photographer.
Interestingly, last time we talked about the print (episode #3, by the way), we featured another photographer whose work begins with the photograph and uses it to create digital art. What is it about this topic that causes Rob to find inspiration in digital artists?
The artists for tonight are one of the most famous unknown couples: Charles and Ray Eames. You may not know them by name, but you probably know one of their most famous pieces of furniture, the Eames Lounge. A very prolific pair of artists, they were successful in designing interiors, creating furniture, photography, art, and more. They demonstrate how everyday items can be art.
Signing, off, fucking step it up, buddy!
Rants and opinions on post-production (especially poorly done post), several tangents, and what it means to be a professional podcaster – or not. Four episodes later and Tony finally drops an f-bomb while, somewhere in the episode, we mention Brian and TAI. Hey, whatever it takes to get listeners!