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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 9th March 2019
Dewi9 Dewi9 is offline
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Club Photographic Competitions

I am not sure if this has been discussed on here before, or recently, but we had a discussion after a club night (at the pub, naturally) regarding club entries accepted to a Federation Competition.

The discussion revolved around ' Do entries get accepted because of their authors expertise with Photoshop (or Lightroom) or purely on content ? '.

I, myself, have managed to get three images accepted in five years (out of 23 images entered in that period) and can confirm the standard required is higher than at our club.

Looking at the image (see link) from a professional photographer I do wonder at how much of it 'is real, as seen' and how much is from 'tweaking', especially as this image is for sale commercially.
https://jansedlacekphotography.smugm...hy/i-sjpPqM7/A

I know on Foto Fair most of the images posted are 'out of camera' images and of a high standard, but would they make the cut these days ?

David
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Old 9th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

If you go back a few years, the RPS stopped accepting HDR & Tone Mapped images as the whole "Larger that Life" look was getting out of hand and at minimum cliché...

I judge a lot of competitions within the EAF and I am often commenting that images are over vibrant/saturated and look like they are produced for commercial advertising of an idealistic view of things.

Sometime however, an image will be deliberately "over produced" for effect and it can work well (even score high).

Personally I prefer natural looking pictures or really "different" images that push to and even beyond the expected limits. We used to colour wash prints in the old darkroom days and even applied graduated tints, so it's not new.

I tend to keep in mind the words of David Bailey: Photoshop can make a bad picture look average, and make a good picture look the same...

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Old 9th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

I am not in any camera clubs, but would say I would not care what had been done to a picture as long as it was within the specific competition rules - it's the end images that counts

if someone has the skills to make more of an average picture, or conversely has the thinking that they know how to do it, but don't that is part of the skillset, just as selecting the right type of film, the right type of paper and having the right skills was all part of getting to the final image on film

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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

It is the image that counts, not how it is done.
Speaking to a KCPA judge sometime ago he commented on how most of the images accepted for their exhibition were over worked in PP. My acceptances in the KCPA and EAF had very little PP done on them. But that was some time ago.
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

How the final image is produced should not matter. If an image is overdone in PP, then it won't get the votes/ marks/ points. Simple! If making an exceptional image means learning how to PP properly, then you know what to do . It's all part of the skill of being a photographer in 2019.
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Personally, I do not like it when someone takes, for instance, the sky of one picture (or even off the internet or a magazine giveaway) and merges it with a different foreground or subject matter to give a totally different picture. I've seen many pictures which are manipulations done like this and even if they are spectacular to look at, they are just not 'real' pictures, IMHO.
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith-369 View Post
Personally, I do not like it when someone takes, for instance, the sky of one picture (or even off the internet or a magazine giveaway) and merges it with a different foreground or subject matter to give a totally different picture. I've seen many pictures which are manipulations done like this and even if they are spectacular to look at, they are just not 'real' pictures, IMHO.
Why should "real" matter?
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Old 11th March 2019
Keith-369 Keith-369 is offline
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

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Why should "real" matter?
As I said, Paul, it's just MHO.

But to me, a 'real' picture is one picture. Not a combination of two or more and definitely not one which has plug in sky/background changes which have been obtained from magazines or the net.

I have no objections at all whether a picture has been sharpened, cropped or otherwise enhanced as long as it remains integrally that one picture, not composites of two or three very different pictures.
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith-369 View Post
Personally, I do not like it when someone takes, for instance, the sky of one picture (or even off the internet or a magazine giveaway) and merges it with a different foreground or subject matter to give a totally different picture. I've seen many pictures which are manipulations done like this and even if they are spectacular to look at, they are just not 'real' pictures, IMHO.
That's a perfectly valid opinion.. mind you there is at least one book out there where the cover picture is two of mine. The Author loved this foreground ...



but hated the fact the sky was dark and they wanted to portray a nice day as it was a walks book. So they asked if i could take another... hmmm... they know it's a composite on their book I was open about it.

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Andy
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

David (Dewi), There are certainly some mouth-watering landscapes under your link, my favourite is the carpet of Bluebells in a forest on a steep hillside.

Graham - to me, photo or art "competitions' are curious notions, I never enter them. Do they attempt to turn photography into some kind of sport? I reached a conclusion some years ago when I accepted an invitation to be the sole judge of an art show. It made me realise just how purely subjective choosing a winner is - changing the judge will change the outcome. So what are "competitions" really about? In my cynical view competitions are a trick of the weak to harness the able; the 'weak' are the sponsors, the 'able' are the participants whose talents and skills are used to boost ratings and revenues.

That said, my view of post-processing is stated below my signature line, I reiterate, the camera kneads the dough, PP bakes the bread. Andy (Shenstone) puts it succinctly, "if someone has the skills to make more of an average picture, or conversely has the thinking that they know how to do it, but don't that is part of the skillset".

At last week's camera club meeting the first competition of the year (I did not enter) was judged remotely by a Melbourne photographer from unsigned EDI (electronic digital images). His recorded assessments were played as we watched on screen a Powerpoint presentation of the entries. To gather some insights into where he was coming from, I took a look at his website that revealed his bias.
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith-369 View Post
As I said, Paul, it's just MHO.

But to me, a 'real' picture is one picture. Not a combination of two or more and definitely not one which has plug in sky/background changes which have been obtained from magazines or the net.

I have no objections at all whether a picture has been sharpened, cropped or otherwise enhanced as long as it remains integrally that one picture, not composites of two or three very different pictures.
I totally agree Keith. Photography has evolved into 2 different but related schools. On the one hand, those that use a camera to take photos which reflect reality, whether improved in PP or not. On the other hand those that use the camera to create a form of art not caring about the original image as seen and only caring about the final artistic creation.

Both schools are closely related and overlap with such things as slow exposures of seascapes, waterfalls and rivers to depict an image with milky frozen water which is far removed from reality, adding better sky and clouds or removing items you hadn't spotted when taking the photo. Whether you accept these manipulations as being photography or alternately as an art form is up to ones personal preference.

Personally, I would never produce a photo which didn't depict reality in the final image. If I wanted to produce art I would have taken up oil painting, pottery or drawing but no doubt would have failed even more than I do with photography.

Both schools have their place but often the art forms such as milky water and other manipulations with the camera or in PP become so overused as to become boring. You only have to look at photos of water in various forms in this forum to see how overused the effect is.

Any photo presented which depicts reality, no matter what the subject is, always has a certain element of interest not always found in a manipulated artistic photo devoid of reality.

I know most here will not agree and this has been discussed previously but it is all down to personal preference and opinion. No doubt both schools will continue to develop and flourish despite any opinions to the contrary.


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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Your point about long exposure water shots being perhaps overdone and boring is well made, but the idea that a frozen 1/125s of time is any better "reality" than a long exposure really can't be justified from a philosophical perspective.

We perceive the world not as a sequence of still images but as a moving continuum that embeds time into our perception of reality. I don't know about you, but when I stand on a pier looking at a seascape I don't imagine it in my mind's eye as being lots of waves frozen in time. I see a dynamic and changing canvas. The long exposure interpretation is just as valid and "real" as the frozen 1/125s.

Maybe we should all be shooting short animated GIFs rather than completely still images? They'd be hard to print (Harry Potter notwithstanding), but given that probably 90%+ of still images these days are viewed on screens, probably a totally reasonable thing to do.
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Old 12th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Mark (Pandora) - I picked the image off Jans' website as an example. Jan has taken many pictures of the area I was 'brunged up' (from age of 5 - 22). I quite like his images taken by drone, showing a different viewpoint.

Comments so far have been interesting, given the broad spectrum discussed. I do use Photoshop to a small degree, especially for removing bits on the edges of images I have missed, such as half a person, when I do not want to crop things.

At our club there is always a mix of 'straight', 'composite' and 'creative' images in competitions and the judges often have difficulty sorting them out. Some even state they 'do not understand' what the author was trying to say (in the image, all pictures have to tell a story these days).

As technology has evolved we have had to broaden entries to our club competitions such that 'any image capture device' can be used - including 'phones, drones, scanners and even cameras. What we will have to include in the future remains moot, only time will tell.

As Paul (pdk42) says, perhaps future competitions will take the form of a series of film clips (say 5 seconds max each). Who knows ? Judges will still have their own perferences, just like ourselves.

David

Last edited by Dewi9; 12th March 2019 at 12:31 PM. Reason: changed photocopiers to scanners. got it wrong.
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Old 12th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

Jans images remind me of the images printed onto aluminium sheets and offered for sale in "Art Markets" in New Mexico (and perhaps elsewhere)

To me they are so larger than life that the are meant for busy corridors in public buildings.

However they are quite impressive
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Old 12th March 2019
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Re: Club Photographic Competitions

An interesting discussion.

For me, the point of photography is that the images are grounded in reality; they are representations (or "captures") of something the eye has seen. That's what distinguishes it from e.g. painting, in which the artist may be inspired by prior visual stimuli but is completely free to compose at will, starting with a blank canvas. This applies whether the canvas is literally canvas painted with a brush, or it is a work of computer graphics. Working from a blank canvass and no limits except the artist's imagination is very different from the photographic image taken from a reality as seen by the eye, and captured within the constraints of a camera.

When I've seen some heavily "post processed" images in competitions, I've sometimes wondered why they bothered with a camera at all. The same image could have been created without one, purely using computer graphics, which leads to a blurring between the painter and the photographer. (Does anyone think it could it be called photography if no camera was involved?) What will be the impact of post-processing on the notion of photography as "evidence" in courts, or photo-journalism to influence people, or photos as historical records, if we lose the representative aspect of the craft?

Photo club competitions are odd. I heard one judge criticise a photo of part of St Pancras railway station as being not as symmetrical as it should be, and suggesting the photographer ditch the right hand half of the image and replace it with a Photoshop mirror image of the left hand half. To me, that would be more symmetrical but - more importantly - it would no longer be St Pancras station. I heard another judge comment that a shot would be much more visually balanced if the creator could put a moon in the sky at a particular spot, and I remember thinking that it might be even better balanced pictorially if they could put three moons there in a curve with slightly decreasing sizes. It might be a nicer image in some sense but it would no longer make sense as a photo. (Maybe someone like William Blake might have painted such an astronomically impossible image of course ...)

Sometimes feminists have commented quite sharply on the social impacts of having too many representations of certain female forms, and the way this can lead women with different shapes and complexions to feel inferior and even get into unhealthy dieting, eating disorders, depression, and unnecessary cosmetic surgery etc. Post processing software does sometimes encourage photographers to manipulate images to make a (usually female) model's complexion featureless and to slim her waist and emphasise her bust.

Having said all that, I've sometimes seen photos which are representative and evocative of e.g. a streetscape, but have also used very significant post processing to deliberately and overtly distort and embellish the image in a quite beautiful way.

I guess this is really largely about genre. And also about overt rather than covert modification.
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