Just a strong warning from me. This post is going to be somewhat of a harsh rant and if you do not want to read anything like that from me please continue on. Plus if you disagree with me on the following please do the same. I am not willing to get into a debate here. It is something I have to get this out to anyone willing to listen.
I recently blogged about a photo stolen by a French website. and after numerous attempts to contact them and the web host and IP owner. I have as of this point not heard a single response. That is frustrating enough as is, knowing that I will probably have to make a legal case about it. The last thing I desired.
To top it off, I recently posted the photo on Facebook reminding everyone following it (which is a brand new page with only 11 followers at this point by the way) that photos that is found on the internet are always copyrighted and should be treated as such unless it explicitly states otherwise. Well to put icing on the cake I received a message that did not specifically refer to the post but did state that I did not “CREATE the beauty”. So not only do I have an image that has been stolen but having other people tell me that I did not create it in the first place.
The question I have to ask is to those who have been doing this for a long time, I assume you have had to deal with this before, I am wanting to know how you deal with people like this? How do you stay polite to such ignorance and rudeness? The other question should be, why do I need to stay polite to these individuals?
It’s really a disgrace to the human intellect, that people, despite easy access to information continually remain ignorant. Is it laziness? Or is it a willful disregard to think beyond one’s own narrow view of how they think things should be?
I am sure any artist (which includes photographers for those not inclined to think as such) would agree that it is extremely difficult if not nearly out right impossible to get any kind of name recognition. I am talking about enough of a name recognition to at least have the opportunity to make a living off of it, not to have the name recognition that Ansel Adams has. I am sure any artist (again including photographers here for those not inclined to view fine art photography as an art form) agrees that you can not just pick up a paint brush or camera for the very first time and create a masterpiece, it takes years of hard work and dedication to develop ones own artistic vision and skills of which is a lifetime journey. I myself still see that I have much to learn both in the skills of composition and post processing, of course so did Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Galen Rowell, Louis Vuitton, Annie Leibovitz, Sally Mann, Sal Cincotta and so many others too numerous to mention over the years of just photography history alone. No one has truly mastered the arts, but that is art too, it is a creative endeavor that is never stagnant, many artistic concepts remain fairly relevant over the years such as photography’s rule of thirds, but styles and movements and techniques change constantly.
One compositional element I am going to try to incorporate more often is the Golden Ration, something that the rule of thirds may have evolved from, but requires a whole different level of vision
A man I have much respect for once said that only a fool is totally content, we humans have a desire to push boundaries of human ingenuity, vision technology and skills. So why do people think that all you need to do is pick up a phone and take a family vacation snapshot and think that it is on the same level as Louis Vuitton?
Above image is actually 3 exposures merged together manually in Photoshop. it is 3 exposures but not an HDR but blended manually using luminosity masks. Contrasting, dodging and burning, removal of a few distracting elements such as brown clumps of grass and cow manure that was unavoidable, plus contrast on specific colors in the RGB channels using curves while other areas were desaturated. Just a list of many things going into the creation of this image that started off as a real scene photographed
Artists as well, inherently view the world differently than the rest of the population. Is that why most artists are, and I am admittedly so, considered eccentric? That is why we took the arts as opposed to being lawyers or doctors or mathematicians? So why do people insist on expecting that someone who has no artistic inclination both in desire or personality think that they can do what other artists can do? Like create? Just because it might be an image of something that is already there in reality, don’t you think that perhaps the original scene is merely the inspiration and the image itself wasn’t hours in the making to create it how the artist interpreted the scene or perhaps the proper word would be Intended. Again laziness? Or again just a willful denial to think beyond your narrow view of what the world should be?
I know many photographers are what would be considered “purists”, any post processing is wrong. Wouldn’t that just be a documentary style photography? which is in it’s own right fine, but is in reality silly to say that all photography has to be this way. Perhaps this also contributes to this attitude that people have who do not value photography as an art form. Also lest you forget, that alot of creativity and planning as an individual still come into play, the developing of compositional knowledge and the understanding of how certain light effects a scene that in most cases would be rather ugly. Even a simple photograph is in reality heavily planned and honed before the shutter of the camera is even pushed, why did you choose to shoot from that angle? Why did you choose to use that focal length on your lens? Why did you choose to incorporate certain elements but not others
Also please don’t get into the idea that only because of God does these things exist. The idea that without a God nothing is possible that he even drives our hearts is faith, it’s saying that we humans can not come up with ideas on our own, that we humans have no inherent skills or creativity and ingenuity. I don’t want to get into a debate about it, but you do realize not everyone believes in a God? Nor a Universal Conscience, nor Gaia? Many of us believe from the remains of a supernova through gravity to the ever increasing complexity through natural selection (sounds like art, it evolves over time). Those of us who believe this also believe that we are in charge of our own destiny and creative endeavor, and yes we do own our own creations. I understand there are many artists who are people of faith and I do understand that without that or through the laws of physics and natural selection we would not even exist, but it does not take away the fact that you created that painting or photograph, that you are in full control of what inspires you and how you interpret what you see, also how you chose to express what you saw in that art piece.
Just a little glimpse from my personal life. I have struggled with PTSD which includes bouts of severe depression including suicidality. This medium of art is the only true effective therapy I have found to date. you bet I want to make a living off of it, and such a large number of people who have such a negative view of artists and photographers due to either laziness or willful ignorance does have a huge impact on me. I already struggle with trust, their attitudes just reaffirms that distrust.
Above photo: Why did I chose to brighten the foreground using dodge and burning and curves layers with masks? Perhaps it’s used as an anchoring point to first attract the eye, also the very subtle s-curve of lighting using the same processing technique to take the viewer through the rest of the scene. Sometimes extremely subtle works best, other times large contrasts between what is light and what is dark works. In this case nothing was removed from the scene, the lighting was natural but I felt that the camera just could not capture how I personally experienced the scene. it’s a simple scene, very few elements, little color, it’s the drama of an approaching storm. Sure I could have made it Black and White for this, but I wanted to keep the warm lit foreground against the gloomy clouds as a contrast. I deliberately warmed the foreground by adding yellows and faint reds. while cooling the sky and adding a very slight hint of magenta.