Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Storm In A Teacup

Many people seem to have been offended by Ugo Cei's post " Will the Real Landscape Photographer Please Stand Up ?" It seems to me that the commercial photography world is unfortunately full of egos,  some so easily bruised.  I didn't find Ugo's post offensive or derogatory in any way. Then again, Photography is not my profession, but merely a creative outlet. I've been crucified on social media for having an opinion which differs from the norm, but isn't that what a creative field is all about ? Thinking outside the square, challenging perceived misconceptions and defending pursuit of a personal style. 

In response to stated wounded feelings by others, Shaun Johnson wrote: 
I often think 'same shit different smell' ('scuse the language) when I see landscape photos, because you basically have a million people going to the same place to take the same scene and trying to outdo each other. I didn't really like that Peter Lik photo that much but you could plainly see he was doing something different with the scene (though it looked pretty clumsy) which at least warrants some merit.

It's pretty difficult to imbibe a landscape photo with 'soul', and 'soul' is always subjective anyway.

I get the odd person complaining about the lack of realism in the pictures I make, and I completely agree there is a lack of realism, but that's just what I do and I'm happy with that. I will explain to whomever is complaining that 'I never really intended to portray reality anyway' and that's normally satisfactory.

IMO there is no 'correct', there's just whatever you're satisfied with. I don't really care about pleasing others, but if I do then that's a bonus.
I agree with Ugo that there is a sameness about landscape and seascape photography with most people intent on emulating the style they believe will be an award winner, to the extent that we see the same locations and same POVs relentlessly reappearing in competition after competition. Take the Wanaka tree for example. Surely that is not the only tree worthy of digital capture ! 

 image by Johnny Spencer
See Johnny Spencer's hints for how he captured the subject.

Ultimately I believe true satisfaction comes from pursuing a path towards enlightenment and not feeling obligated to follow trends. Maturity comes when you can accept that people have different opinions on a subject and allowing them the freedom to express those opinions without crucifying them.

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