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Tag Archives: Printing
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.”
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!
After months of Rob talking about nudes, we finally get around to dedicating a show to the fine art nude. And of all times for Rob to have bronchitis. But, for the sake of the show, he powers through it with a lot of help from Rick and Tony!
Topics today include the difference between a fine art nude and a glamour nude, the kind of subjects Rob likes to work with, what’s it like to have a nude model in front of your lens, trust and vulnerability for both the photographer and the model, and whether or not arousal is the intent in fine art. There’s more… a lot more. After all, these are three guys talking about nudity in art.
Finding Inspiration for the Nude from Other Artists
Today’s artist is Georgia O’Keefe and we discuss her floral paintings and whether or not there is an inherent eroticism in the painting. We spent a little more time today actually looking at the difference between overt sexuality/nudity and images where the nude has obviously been an inspiration. O’Keefe’s work is the perfect catalyst for this kind of topic.
Our photographer for this topic is Mary Ellen Mark. We focused primarily on her portraiture and celebrity work. She has an ability to connect with her subject and pull from them a real reaction, even when the subject isn’t paying attention to the camera. Check out her shot of John Belushi from the set of Blues Brothers.
We have questions for you! Would you pose for a fine art nude? Why or why not? Would you be interested in learning to shoot nudes? Do you have a moral or ethical aversion to fine art nude photography (remember, we are talking about fine art and not glamour)? Is there a difference for you between glamour and art? How would you describe that difference?
Let us know here on www.PolarizingImages.com or send us a tweet @PolarizingImage.
As always, thanks for listening!
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!
Our third podcast is done and ready for listening, but are you? After a rough opening by the Aussie, Rob & Tony discuss the print and topics include why having your photographs made into prints adds value, the mistake most people make in printing, a small disagreement about making proof sheets, Rob (again) goes on a rant about the industry’s trend toward providing clients with crap (oops, “images on CD”), and a look at a local (to Chicago) artist and his digital art.
Spoiler alert – Rob still hasn’t given out any foot rubs!