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Is a desire for recognition distorting our photography?


Lenscapon 3 64
21 Feb 2016 3:32AM
Let's be honest, most of us like to get comments and 'Likes' on our photos, and winning a contest must be a big boost to our enthusiasm (although I've never experienced this first handGrin). But with the proliferation of sites that seemed to be engineered to generate Likes - is this having a detrimental impact on our images?

Are we taking more 'showy' shots with ultra thin depth of field and using more HDR or other post processing tricks to attract more attention to our shots in this competitive world where thumbnail shots are asking for our attention?

I see fewer natural, realistic shots every day. In the distant future will people look back on our photos and think the 21st Century was all vivid colors and out of focus backgrounds?

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Jerrin 4 23 England
21 Feb 2016 7:20AM
I believe photography has a number of facets which cater for differing groups. I more or less visually record what I see but will still manipulate/alter an image to get the best result I can achieve. That might only be to alter the lighting or use a clone stamp but I am still changing the image in some way. There are many wildlife photographers who do the same. The more arty types manipulate an image to a far greater extent and are so skilled in post processing that they create some fantastic images. Then there are those who aspire to create something between the two. There is room for all and, as individuals, though we might have a preference for one style over another, it does not preclude us from admiring other styles. From the moment photography was discovered photographers have been altering the image and testing the envelope.
FabioKeiner 6 111 Austria
21 Feb 2016 8:21AM
lamentably, yes! but it's not so much a matter of a certain trend or style - those may alter from time to time (according to the overall brainwash exercised by manufacturers' industry in the tradeSmile - but of the internal structure of all communities. they all tend get modelled by a manipulating in-group/admins which decides upon standards, excludes dissidents and downgrades the average. more acute and clearly to obserbe in photography, but also in music or even poetry!
maybe an interesting site for 'anti-hdr/classic photo-workshop' standards and rules: www.artlimited.net - but they reproduce there exactly the same inbreed ghettoism (only with inverted standardsSmile as on other sites.
Cymrucwtch 4 55 Wales
21 Feb 2016 9:00AM
If your image taking is geared to taking photos that generate likes than YOU are having a detrimental impact on YOUR photography.
DaveRyder Plus
5 3.6k 1 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2016 9:11AM
I have a few shots that would attract likes/votes.
Some of my favourites would be technically dismantled in a critique, but to me they are priceless.

So I have double standards.
I enjoy photograph, capturing images and each has a value.
That value can be different.

I have however found that my skill has increased by sharing some of my better shots.
But that does not stop me running around the garden with a 4yr old rattling off 20 shots hoping I get a few that show we've had a good time.
Overread 11 4.1k 19 England
21 Feb 2016 9:28AM

Quote:If your image taking is geared to taking photos that generate likes than YOU are having a detrimental impact on YOUR photography.


But are you really?
Is that really a detrimental thing?

This is one of those "purity" questions where arty people try to find that elusive pure creation concept. A means of unleashing their own inner creativity without any constraints or outside influences. It's a total fallacy and unattainable target.

Because our views on what we do and do not like is in part influenced by our observations of others work and by the reactions of other people to our work. Indeed the concepts and theories of composition as a subject are based on the principle of finding visual elements most commonly pleasing and arranging them to please the viewer.

In todays world we also live in a free artistic structure which means that any art is viable (though not all to the same audience). In the past art had rules which were not guidelines or theories they were RULES and you had to follow those rules as described by the art institutions of the day - this highlights why some, fairly mediocre, quality artwork by some artistic "Greats" of those days is considered highly important; not because of the method so much, but because it was rebelling against the status quo of those days.



So with a freedom to express how we want the question is how do we choose to develop our skills. To that end each person chooses their own audience. Of course ourselves is one, but the influences of others will have a degree of impact upon our work. Step back and look at any medium in general and you'll even see patterns in how a series of methods will rise to the fore and "everyone will do them" and then it will change and a series of "innovative/different" methods will slowly move from being the "new thing the cool kids do" to the "thing everyone is copying".




My own view is that I think people have to choose, if they want to seriously improve, who their mentors and influences are more carefully. They have to view a wide range of material and decide for themselves what they like more so; but also react to the feed back of others, but simply be more selective in what they view.

However at the end of the day if you choose the common person as your guiding hand that's no bad thing. Sure it might mean that you develop in certain ways with your artistic skill and not in others; but its no more nor less right to say that that is superior nor inferior to others. Heck consider how many photographers consider National Geographic to be a highly important publication in terms of photographic (if not artistic) quality - and shock horror the common person also thinks this.
Belleyeteres 9 264 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2016 9:40AM
I do think it is a desire in some cases and in others it is technology making it easy to do. I belong to a club where our images do not win external competitions because we do not create a picture from more then one image. The NEMPF exhibition is now mostly computer generated images from more then one camera generated image and not just one camera generated image. There are a few clubs in NEMPF and these few clubs are mostly just putting in these type of images so that they win.
I do like to see some of these computer generated images but I do not do them myself has I feel it is not photography. To me photography is just one image taken in camera.
georgehopkins 11 112 England
21 Feb 2016 9:57AM
The desire for recognition through social media has probably fragmented the individuals perception of photography. Most of us have manipulated an image in some way be it minimal or extensive, so can we manipulate the recognition of that image by the "no of friends" you have on social media.....most probably YES.
The impact to the individual can be both positive and negative, in the positive aspect sharing your photographic image by critique will improve your perception, in the negative you can be drawn into the world of forced distorted opinions.
At the end of the day you are probably taking photographic images because you enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from doing it, desire for recognition is secondary.
21 Feb 2016 10:07AM

Quote: In the distant future will people look back on our photos and think the 21st Century was all vivid colors and out of focus backgrounds?

No, they won't. Because it isn't.

Any artist is an attention seeker almost by definition, simply because he's trying to communicate something to others, and so he needs an audience. The 'Fine Art' photographer is not simply recording what he sees, he's responding to it, and in that sense there's no difference between photography and painting. Of course, there are some who still think that photography is purely a factual recording medium, and is not an art form...

And If you trawl through the galleries here on EPZ I suspect you will find that it's actually the "natural, realistic shots" that generally get the most attention.

Overread 11 4.1k 19 England
21 Feb 2016 10:25AM
On the subject of competitions don't forget that a lot of bias depends on the judge. As always those who win tend to be those who see patterns in how a certain judge votes and what they like and dislike. No "judge" is perfection and art in itself is a multitude of opinions and viewpoints so whilst there is a right and wrong there is also no right nor wrong.

Cymrucwtch 4 55 Wales
21 Feb 2016 1:07PM
Wow - we went from discussing taking pictures for likes....... to the meaning of art......
Lenscapon 3 64
21 Feb 2016 2:52PM

Quote:Wow - we went from discussing taking pictures for likes....... to the meaning of art......


I guess the art question is relevant though. Are we selling our souls for Likes? Over saturated colors, portrait androids with perfect skin. I agree that the excellent wildlife shots seem to be immune to the curse of HDR and Portrait Pro, and I think professional artists have always had to meet the needs of their customers - but there just looks to be a trend for over processing by non-professionals and I suspect it's competitive?
21 Feb 2016 3:53PM

Quote:
Quote:Wow - we went from discussing taking pictures for likes....... to the meaning of art......


I guess the art question is relevant though. Are we selling our souls for Likes? Over saturated colors, portrait androids with perfect skin. I agree that the excellent wildlife shots seem to be immune to the curse of HDR and Portrait Pro, and I think professional artists have always had to meet the needs of their customers - but there just looks to be a trend for over processing by non-professionals and I suspect it's competitive?


I'm inclined to agree, though personally I don't quite see where "competitive" comes in.
And you can only use the term "over processing" if you're talking about an image that purports to be "realistic," otherwise how could you possibly define a standard? Look at the work of serious artists like Valda Bailey or Chris Friel and tell me how you would decide whether they are guilty of over processing.

In any case, I don't think the kind of people you are talking about should be taken seriously as photographers.
Give people a tool, and there will always be those who will think it's a toy.
TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2016 12:54PM

Quote:I do like to see some of these computer generated images but I do not do them myself has I feel it is not photography. To me photography is just one image taken in camera.

Robert, I have to admit that I snorted at that, then had to have a stern talk with myself because I remembered that the sentiment you expressed was exactly the one I started out with. The desire to produce something right, in camera. The scene as it was at the time I took it, with no added extras. So apologies for the snorting! Smile

When you refer to 'computer generated images', if you mean images that have no basis in reality (i.e. not an actual photograph and they're created purely by using other methods like software) then I agree that it's not 'photography'. If, however, a final image is made up of several photographs, taken by the same author and put together to create something more than the individual elements, then to my way of thinking it's still 'photography', but just a different aspect of it.

Regarding the whole 'desire for recognition distorting photography' thing - everybody wants to be recognised on some level, even if it's only by their friends. As humans, we're social animals ... still the 'pack mentality' on many levels. As a late-comer to social media, its power to make or break people is something I find mind-boggling. The overwhelming urge to 'Like' something, just because one of your friends put it up is sometimes pretty hard to ignore. I'm guilty of it, as are lots of others I'd assume.

How refreshing would it be if, irrespective of whether the image you're looking at is by a friend, a stranger or someone you wish to emulate or cosy up to - what if people only 'liked' the things they really liked, and left alone those they didn't like or weren't sure of, safe in the knowledge that the 'someone' in question isn't going to unfriend or be arsy with them, just because they've been honest?

As I've grown older, one thing I've found is that I have a need to create ... it's not a desire, it's an actual need. It might be in order to express a fleeting feeling, something deep felt or moving, a sadness or a fear. Something I can't put into words, but I can try and immortalise with an image. Most times those images aren't to everyone else's tastes and, if I'm honest, I couldn't care less - I don't do them for other people, I take photographs or create images to satisfy something in me, something that has no outlet otherwise.

I think what distorts our photography is trying to be like everyone else, to take the images that we know people will like. Many people cite the 'camera club mentality' of taking images that they know will do well, so that their creator is able to sit back and bask in the accumulation of points, league tables and awards at the end of the season.

And if that's what makes them tick, then great. I'd personally rather go out on a limb and create stuff purely for me, because it satisfies something inside me. If other people like it, that's lovely - if they don't, then I'm not going to cut them off the metaphorical christmas card list for being honest. I don't want to 'compete' with other people, because that's not in my nature. I don't care if I'm ever 'recognised' or not, because that's not the reason I do it. I don't 'desire' anything other than to create a piece of work I can look at and remember why I made it, and for it to bring back the emotions or thought processes that went into it.

I think I may have gone off on a tangent here, so sorry if I have done that. The original question of whether a desire for recognition has distorted our photography is actually a really good one and very thought-provoking! Grin
11 Mar 2016 10:11AM
I am here these days in a different guise, really because I wanted to get away from the " recognition " issue. I take images for myself, it is away of me expressing myself , so to an extent it really shouldn't matter what others think, for the same reason I have never entered weekly photographic competitions in clubs . It is good to hear people's views and criticism but do I care that my photo has 9.5 votes rather than 9.6? No i really don't, I wonder if Lartigue or Cappa went in for competitions? I doubt it.

I am thinking of turning off " voting" for just that reason. On EPZ much of the reason why people get loads of votes is because they have been around a ling time and have a following of friends. That is fine if it is what you want. A different version of community if you like .

For me the community i want is about artistic appreciation, in both directions.

Stiobhan - Steve


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