Saturday, March 31, 2012

Faking It in Photoshop?

I really enjoyed the photographic exhibit at the National Art Gallery yesterday. Love seeing those "real famous" iconic photos. The books never do them justice. Learned to really appreciate the quality of the original "platinum prints" and the "silver bromide prints". Although I walked away with a sad feeling that just maybe photography artistry and quality peaked in the 30s, 40s and maybe 50's and has been losing ground since then.
When I got home the first thing I did was Google Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets that would mimic platinum and silver bromide prints. I had once again missed the entire point, quality is quality and real is real. Everything else is at very best, an incredibly poor imitation. The older and wiser I get the more I come to the conclusion that I must be retarded.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Was This Che's Dream?

On a recent trip to Cuba we visited the Che Guevara Monument/Tomb/Museum in Santa Clara. It was an impressive monument to be sure. You can almost tell the scale of it when you notice the lady at the bottom of the photo. 

I was excited to see this, as a youth growing up in the sixties, the name Che was well know to our generation. You see his iconic face on posters and shirts to this day. 

This monument is the size of about one city block, the grounds and parking lot probably bring the space to about three city blocks. It is a very impressive monument, it must have cost Cuba millions and they hold this place sacred.

After our visit inside, Kelly my oldest daughter disappeared down the hill at the back of the parking lot. She met some Cubans living in the small house, literally the closest house to this huge monument. She talked to the kids, gave them some candy and her necklace to one of the girls. And she got some photos, below is one of them.

Kelly's photo is of the small shack these people lived in. It is only about the size of my kitchen. In all fairness I am not sure how many people actually live in there, I see seven, maybe some of the kids were neighbors. Inside there was one bed, a hot plate, some toys, a radio, a table, a chair but not much else.

Upon seeing this photo I had to wonder, is this it? Is this what Che and Fidel fought for? Is this the progress they have made since the revolution ended in 1959?

Would Che be happy with the millions spent on this monument while people literally a stones throw away live in squalor?  Doesn't history view him as the champion of the poor?

Hey, I'm not picking on the Cubans here, every country I have ever been to does it.  When I was sorting the photos from this trip, and these images came up on the monitor it just became so blatantly obvious. 

Priorities people... priorities.

 Thank you Kelly for the photos.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Photographers are ‘Copiers’

Recently a friend of mine and fellow photographer Fred Hinegardner quoted me as saying “Photographers by their very nature are ‘Copiers’... plagiarists.” I have felt that way for years. Photographers "take pictures" they don't "make pictures". They take photos (copies) of things that exist, as opposed to taking a blank sheet of paper or canvas and creating something unique. Don't get me wrong, photographers are very good at what they do, but being "creative" is not it.

It disheartened me that you would go to a professional photographers conference, at the print judging or at a seminar you would see a photographer with a new pose or background or technique. Only to notice the next year that all the photographers had "copied" it. Year after year it because a game of follow the leader. One good idea, only leads to ten thousand copies of it. Then the copiers would advertise themselves as "creative" or "artistic".

My father was an artist. He would take a blank canvas and create something unique, nothing like it anywhere in the world. I grew up with and around artists. I am happy to say that my daughters seem to have inherited that artistic gene. I know what an artist is and that I am not one. I think of myself as a craftsman.

Ironically the day after Fred posted my comments on Facebook I noticed one of my "friends" had copied my tag line and started using it in their advertising.

Nothing new of course, over the years I have had competitors copy the Spencer Studio logo  colour scheme and font to use on their logos. My ad ideas also copied almost word for word.

It's hard not to be cynical about this profession. But I just keep telling myself, Photographers copy, that's what they do. 


Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Don't Get It....

Over the last couple of years the photography market has been flooded with people calling themselves "professional photographers". This has been devastating to the established professional photographers as they try to compete with people undercutting them by as much as 80-90%. 

Recently this industry has lost a couple of truly great and gifted photographers.... leaving the industry to work in MLM (multi-level marketing as in Avon or Amway). 

That's what I don't get, how you can leave the profession that you love to pursue something that may or may not pay the bills.

OK, I understand that bills need to get paid. But to leave a profession that you excel at, that makes you so excited you can't sleep at night for a chance to sell soap, make-up or greeting cards.... I don't get it.