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Old Jan 16, 2013, 12:35 PM   #1
acearchie
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12 most popular analog landscape pictures from Flickr, 2012

Like to know what you think of these shots?

I wish we could find out how much post work was applied and how much is just the true raw quality of film.

I've attached the pictures to make it easier but I found the original article with the names of photographers here.



















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Old Jan 16, 2013, 01:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by acearchie View Post
Like to know what you think of these shots?

I wish we could find out how much post work was applied and how much is just the true raw quality of film.

I've attached the pictures to make it easier but I found the original article with the names of photographers here.
Though these are all very nice shots, most of those are pretty standard/typical pictures.

Funnily enough, one of those is from a Flickr friend of mine whose photography I've admired for quite awhile (and I think he was one of the original programmers of Instagram or something) named Cole Rise. The photo in that article they included (the little shack) is not one of his best. He usually does really incredible and often surreal work using a Hasselblad (he's also a pilot so he gets great aerial shots.)

And here again, though not his best shot, is one of my favorite analog shots of his; all done in-camera -



As for post processing, I've said it before on another thread, you should of course try to get the best image possible in-camera, but there will almost always be some amount of post processing afterwards to bring out the best of your photo. Even classic photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, who didn't even develop his own film, would have "his people" dodge and burn his images in the darkroom over and over again until they were just right.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with post processing as long as you try to get the best image you can first. Unfortunately in today's digital world, most photographers (especially those that have never shot film) rely on "chimping" too much and just snapping away until they get that lucky shot; with the thought that they'll just "fix it in post". Just my two cents...

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Old Jan 16, 2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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Though these are all very nice shots, most of those are pretty standard/typical pictures.
I ask with complete sincerity because this topic is something I've thought a lot about lately: is there such a thing as a landscape picture (without humans or animals) that you would *not* describe as "standard/typical"?

In essence, I have to agree with you because landscapes are such a narrow category, when you think about it. There are only four elements for a landscape photographer to work with (fire, water, air, and earth). Purists would exclude from the category anything that includes manmade elements and any scenes that aren't expansive enough to warrant the "-scape" suffix, but even if you allow those, there is only so much room for "atypical" images. What would constitute one? A particularly exotic or remote location? A strong stylization through technique (e.g. light painting, long exposures, emphatic post-processing, etc.)? The effects of a rare natural disaster? The pursuit of 'ugliness'? Even these possibilities have been exploited a lot in landscape imagery, to the point that even photos of remote places like ice caves in the Yukon abound on the internet, and it seems that every Bristlecone pine and ruined shack in the west has been the subject of a light painting or star trails photograph (often both).

All photography is derivative to some extent, but it's especially true for those genres that rely heavily on 'found' scenes (as opposed to constructed ones). Landscape photography may be the most restrictive genre of them all in this regard. So I wonder what the future holds for it. Has the art world already dismissed it as too traditional, not edgy or trendy enough? Has the genre run its course? Or is it perhaps a special case where the limits of the category are what make it interesting?

Anyone have thoughts on any of these questions?

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Like to know what you think of these shots?
As for the original question of this thread, I find it very interesting that the 12 most popular film photographs on flickr would all be landscapes. Moreover, they're all, for the most part, landscapes that embrace the post-film aesthetic (i.e. punchy, crisp, grainless, vibrant, tonally complex, and purposefully vignetted). None of them strikes me as being really extraordinary or ambitious in terms of timing or craft, but they're all compelling images for one reason or another. I'd be interested to see the 12 most popular images on flickr that were created with digital cameras. I wonder if those too are all landscapes in this style.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 03:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
I ask with complete sincerity because this topic is something I've thought a lot about lately: is there such a thing as a landscape picture (without humans or animals) that you would *not* describe as "standard/typical"?

In essence, I have to agree with you because landscapes are such a narrow category, when you think about it. There are only four elements for a landscape photographer to work with (fire, water, air, and earth). Purists would exclude from the category anything that includes manmade elements and any scenes that aren't expansive enough to warrant the "-scape" suffix, but even if you allow those, there is only so much room for "atypical" images. What would constitute one? A particularly exotic or remote location? A strong stylization through technique (e.g. light painting, long exposures, emphatic post-processing, etc.)? The effects of a rare natural disaster? The pursuit of 'ugliness'? Even these possibilities have been exploited a lot in landscape imagery, to the point that even photos of remote places like ice caves in the Yukon abound on the internet, and it seems that every Bristlecone pine and ruined shack in the west has been the subject of a light painting or star trails photograph (often both).

All photography is derivative to some extent, but it's especially true for those genres that rely heavily on 'found' scenes (as opposed to constructed ones). Landscape photography may be the most restrictive genre of them all in this regard. So I wonder what the future holds for it. Has the art world already dismissed it as too traditional, not edgy or trendy enough? Has the genre run its course? Or is it perhaps a special case where the limits of the category are what make it interesting?

Anyone have thoughts on any of these questions?



As for the original question of this thread, I find it very interesting that the 12 most popular film photographs on flickr would all be landscapes. Moreover, they're all, for the most part, landscapes that embrace the post-film aesthetic (i.e. punchy, crisp, grainless, vibrant, tonally complex, and purposefully vignetted). None of them strikes me as being really extraordinary or ambitious in terms of timing or craft, but they're all compelling images for one reason or another. I'd be interested to see the 12 most popular images on flickr that were created with digital cameras. I wonder if those too are all landscapes in this style.
All very good questions and points! And I hope I didn't take away anything from the original poster, they really are all very nice shots, but I feel like it's all been done before (and I've seen much better, on Flickr.) Popularity contests are never an indication of quality (e.g. Justin Bieber, Lady CrapCrap, Britney Spears, et al) but at the same time, what appeals to the most people can obviously have a bearing on trends and the direction artists send themselves.

That's why I posted the other Cole Rise photo with the floating astronaut lady. Technically it's just a simple landscape photo with a human subject added, but there is also something slightly surreal and a bit edgy about it, and it immediately got my attention when I first saw it (but of course, this is all subjective; others may find it boring compared to the long exposure waterfall landscapes that are stunningly beautiful, but have been done to death a hundred thousand times!) This [Cole Rise] is a photographer that is trying to take a tired subject and doing something new with it.

But I don't know, I'm personally no where near where I want to be with my own photography (or music) so I shouldn't be one to criticize anything, to be honest...
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
As for the original question of this thread, I find it very interesting that the 12 most popular film photographs on flickr would all be landscapes.
From the article's title: 10 Most Popular Flickr's Analog Landscaps Uploaded in 2012

So not too surprising they are all landscapes.

However I did enjoy your post. One thought is that landscapes may have been done to death but they are never exactly the same. Some of the truly great images have required a level of commitment you won't find in a snapshot. Your own work attests to this. You can visit the same spot time and again to get just the right light.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 05:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by genshi View Post
All very good questions and points! And I hope I didn't take away anything from the original poster, they really are all very nice shots, but I feel like it's all been done before (and I've seen much better, on Flickr.) Popularity contests are never an indication of quality (e.g. Justin Bieber, Lady CrapCrap, Britney Spears, et al) but at the same time, what appeals to the most people can obviously have a bearing on trends and the direction artists send themselves.

That's why I posted the other Cole Rise photo with the floating astronaut lady. Technically it's just a simple landscape photo with a human subject added, but there is also something slightly surreal and a bit edgy about it, and it immediately got my attention when I first saw it (but of course, this is all subjective; others may find it boring compared to the long exposure waterfall landscapes that are stunningly beautiful, but have been done to death a hundred thousand times!) This [Cole Rise] is a photographer that is trying to take a tired subject and doing something new with it.

But I don't know, I'm personally no where near where I want to be with my own photography (or music) so I shouldn't be one to criticize anything, to be honest...
Yeah, I was just curious what your thoughts were on the topic. I share your appreciation of photos like the one you posted of the 'astronaut,' but I would not categorize that as a landscape. The main subject of that photo is a person, and the land in it is the setting. So I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a really original landscape photo (that is, a photo 'of' an outdoor environment as opposed to its inhabitants), or are we left with appreciating those that are just really well done? And if so, does that mean that landscape photography is a hopeless relic?

I also share your views about 'popularity' and have written about it in this forum in almost exactly the same terms as you just did. The question of value, though, is a whole other philosophical question. If popularity determines it, you get one thing (pretty waterfalls and whatnot), and if money determines it, you get photos like Rhein II by Andreas Gursky.

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Originally Posted by Laird Knox View Post
From the article's title: 10 Most Popular Flickr's Analog Landscaps Uploaded in 2012

So not too surprising they are all landscapes.

However I did enjoy your post. One thought is that landscapes may have been done to death but they are never exactly the same. Some of the truly great images have required a level of commitment you won't find in a snapshot. Your own work attests to this. You can visit the same spot time and again to get just the right light.
Ah, I completely missed that bit! That explains a lot! (So much for my attentive reading skills ).

Thanks for your very kind comment about my work. Anyone who has seen my output should be able to understand what is at stake for me in this issue. Though I have a firmly formulated (perhaps stubborn) personal approach that I bring to each photograph, none of my preferences, techniques, or stylizations are making any kind of break with tradition. Being wholly novel has never really been my goal with landscape photos. I do my best to avoid rehashed compositions of iconic locations, but I'm not kidding myself that getting a remarkable photo of an obscure location (no matter how much research and effort went into it) constitutes a triumph of originality.

I agree that what makes landscapes exciting is the ephemeral nature of them, but, outside of constructing/setting-up scenes with props or characters, there is only so much the 'maker' can do to produce "atypical" landscapes. Some might find this state of affairs pathetic or depressing, but I prefer to think of it as liberating. If landscape photographers can be excused from the pursuit of novelty, then we're free to go about making "traditional" images of extraordinary scenes...and maybe we can even call it "art"!
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by genshi View Post
Though these are all very nice shots, most of those are pretty standard/typical pictures.

Funnily enough, one of those is from a Flickr friend of mine whose photography I've admired for quite awhile (and I think he was one of the original programmers of Instagram or something) named Cole Rise. The photo in that article they included (the little shack) is not one of his best. He usually does really incredible and often surreal work using a Hasselblad (he's also a pilot so he gets great aerial shots.)

And here again, though not his best shot, is one of my favorite analog shots of his; all done in-camera -

Thumb resize.
Noticed I didn't really share my opinion so much. I don't think all of them are stand out amazing. I actually think #1 and the heavily cropped with vignette one are slightly out of place. The main reason I posted is that I saw so many gear/post threads that I realised that there isn't much discussion of photographs not taken by members of the forums.

I personally am people person and love the shot that you posted. It just has a quirky feel to it and the addition of a person really makes it for me.

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Originally Posted by genshi View Post
But I don't know, I'm personally no where near where I want to be with my own photography (or music) so I shouldn't be one to criticize anything, to be honest...
I think this is especially a reason you should be critical. I feel like I'm at a similar point where I am improving with every shoot but there is still a place where I want to be and I am certainly not there yet! The reason I can tell is because I can pick faults in my own photos and this is only from many hours spent analysing others and finding their faults, at least to me, in the pictures.

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Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
So I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a really original landscape photo (that is, a photo 'of' an outdoor environment as opposed to its inhabitants), or are we left with appreciating those that are just really well done? And if so, does that mean that landscape photography is a hopeless relic?

I agree that what makes landscapes exciting is the ephemeral nature of them, but, outside of constructing/setting-up scenes with props or characters, there is only so much the 'maker' can do to produce "atypical" landscapes. Some might find this state of affairs pathetic or depressing, but I prefer to think of it as liberating. If landscape photographers can be excused from the pursuit of novelty, then we're free to go about making "traditional" images of extraordinary scenes...and maybe we can even call it "art"!
I think the only way I could think to take an original landscape would be to use some angle that no one had thought of before. Although with nearly everyone having a digital camera on even their phone this has become almost impossible. I like occasionally coming across landscape photos taken from the air as they add a perspective not usually seen at least by people like me who tend to walk or drive everywhere.

I think the thing that makes me excited about a good landscape is knowing the difficulty and seeing all the variables come together to make a successful picture.

If you don't mind me posting one of your own pictures I think that this was a perfect example of a shot that really "did it" for me.

Thumb resize.

The light is fantastic but also the positioning and exposure and haze all has a wondrous appeal and all those elements have come together to create this one image that will probably never be created again.

Although I prefer taking people pictures there is so much repeat. So many styles copied, reused and rehashed. I don't think you can get this pure capturing of a moment like you can with landscapes.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by acearchie View Post
Like to know what you think of these shots?

I wish we could find out how much post work was applied and how much is just the true raw quality of film.
Great thread, I'm with you acearchie more pic threads are needed!

I think they're all "nice", but 3 catch my eye:

#3, #4 and #5

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#3 has a really nice quality of light and vantage point, very Phrasikleian while #5 is very Doylemesque.

I find #4 with the old shack very interesting, it has a really nice gentle ambient light and total balance. I love the contrast of gentle pinks and greens, it seems to have a wide variety of tone.
I'm guessing this was taken with medium format given the unique field of view but am puzzled as to the foreground blur?? Is this a digital addition? Tilt shift? The bokeh looks pretty legit but I'm not 100%. Really nice pic.

#2, #7 and #8

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I instantly recognise the rocks and trees in #7 and #8 as being Australian, along with the big red rock Uluru so they're a hit with me too
I'm not a fan of the heavy vignetting on #8

I'm a big fan of the more expansive MF field of view, so I recently picked up a medium format film camera for what I think was a good price, and bought some Ilford B&W and Fuji Velvia 50 slide film to go with it. This was party influenced by your terrific postings here acearchie

At 15 shots a roll, it's going to force me to slow down even more, be a lot more selective and careful when shooting than with digital, I'm looking forward to the experience
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 10:39 PM   #9
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The initial shots are all pretty generic, nothing really unique about them at all. There are some beautiful shots in there, but they have all been done before, a million times over thanks in part to places like Flickr.

I think that for landscape photography we are nearing the point where everything has been captured already. Maybe not to its fullest potential or in the most creative of ways. It takes the Phrasikleia's and Doylem's of the world to keep showing us new scenes. Boat loads of obscene and obnoxious tourists hit Antarctica and Alaska daily with their 5D Mk III's and L series lenses for example, doesn't mean they are going to come back with good pictures though.

What was unique is no longer and as society in general needs more intense entertainment the artists go there also. Back in the early 90's we had an artist here in my town that took famous landscape paintings of the local area and then proceeded to spray paint fluorescent crop circles on them, for the sake of art, apparently.

When I see that replicated in landscape photography by sticking foreign things into a landscape because it's considered pushing the boundaries, I shake my head and remember the crop circle graffiti.

Whilst I enjoyed and found humorous the picture of the surreal landscape with the bouncing astronaut lady, would I want it on a wall in my home? No. Do I consider it a landscape? No.

I'm not a traditionalist and I'm far from conservative, but I consider a landscape a landscape. Can landscapes be reinvented or reinvigorated in some way? Do they need to be, would be my reply?
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 05:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by acearchie View Post
If you don't mind me posting one of your own pictures I think that this was a perfect example of a shot that really "did it" for me.

The light is fantastic but also the positioning and exposure and haze all has a wondrous appeal and all those elements have come together to create this one image that will probably never be created again.

Although I prefer taking people pictures there is so much repeat. So many styles copied, reused and rehashed. I don't think you can get this pure capturing of a moment like you can with landscapes.
No, I don't mind at all, especially if you're going to be so generous with your compliments.

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#3 has a really nice quality of light and vantage point, very Phrasikleian while #5 is very Doylemesque.
Heh, I almost wrote in a previous post that #3 of this lot was my favorite. It is the type of subject I would pursue (that is, something with good isolation and verticality), and I like working in that kind of light, though there are a few things I would do differently in both capturing and processing.

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Originally Posted by ijohn.8.80 View Post
The initial shots are all pretty generic, nothing really unique about them at all. There are some beautiful shots in there, but they have all been done before, a million times over thanks in part to places like Flickr.

I think that for landscape photography we are nearing the point where everything has been captured already. Maybe not to its fullest potential or in the most creative of ways. It takes the Phrasikleia's and Doylem's of the world to keep showing us new scenes. Boat loads of obscene and obnoxious tourists hit Antarctica and Alaska daily with their 5D Mk III's and L series lenses for example, doesn't mean they are going to come back with good pictures though.

What was unique is no longer and as society in general needs more intense entertainment the artists go there also. Back in the early 90's we had an artist here in my town that took famous landscape paintings of the local area and then proceeded to spray paint fluorescent crop circles on them, for the sake of art, apparently.

When I see that replicated in landscape photography by sticking foreign things into a landscape because it's considered pushing the boundaries, I shake my head and remember the crop circle graffiti.

Whilst I enjoyed and found humorous the picture of the surreal landscape with the bouncing astronaut lady, would I want it on a wall in my home? No. Do I consider it a landscape? No.

I'm not a traditionalist and I'm far from conservative, but I consider a landscape a landscape. Can landscapes be reinvented or reinvigorated in some way? Do they need to be, would be my reply?
Your last question really gets to the heart of the issue. I'd like to answer "no," they don't need to be, but I think plenty of people would disagree. Historically, the measure of importance of an artists' oeuvre has centered on originality--the extent to which the artist has done something to generate some kind of knock-on effect for that particular genre, for the medium, or even for the fine arts as a whole (very rare, of course). It's easy to pinpoint Ansel Adams as a watershed moment for landscape photography: he did something that propelled the genre into new aesthetic territory and even developed a technique that was influential in all genres of photography. What (I think) we're seeing nowadays is an era of refinement, of incredible ambition and accomplishment, but not so much of originality because the pioneering phase is more or less over. Therefore, if prizes like the Deutsche Börse or the MacArthur Genius award are any indication, landscape photography is not very exciting to the art world these days.

I personally don't let that bias deter me; I'm going to keep on doing what it is that makes my heart thump and hope that other people like what I do too. And if they want to buy my creations for their walls, all the better!
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 06:16 PM   #11
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I think for landscapes to be "competitive" these days they have do something besides just take a pretty picture of some nature, it should be more conceptual and focus on the design. Like what was done here http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2013/...n-the-shadows/
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 06:31 PM   #12
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I think for landscapes to be "competitive" these days they have do something besides just take a pretty picture of some nature, it should be more conceptual and focus on the design. Like what was done here http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2013/...n-the-shadows/
Another case in point. It says on that page "Filed under Street Photography." So essentially, for landscape photography to doing anything new, it has to become something else.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 08:05 PM   #13
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I think for landscapes to be "competitive" these days they have do something besides just take a pretty picture of some nature, it should be more conceptual and focus on the design. Like what was done here http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2013/...n-the-shadows/
zombiecakes are you saying that good composition and a fascinating subject are not enough to hold the attention of the average joe?

The idea that landscapes have to be "competitive" is what saddens me about this whole topic. Are we really that disconnected from Nature that it has to be messed with to make us admire it? Why does a mountain range need to be turned into a Warholesque neon treatment to make it more edgy? Hell, why not make a reality TV game show about Landscape Photography that'll grab the young ones attention.... Ooohhh, the anticipation, is he going to go with the fish eye or the pancake?! OMG, she stuck a tomato soup can on that rock, what originality! I can see the tweets now....

Maybe that's where the cityscapes and industrialscapes come in to the picture. They work perfectly with stylised treatments and artsy approaches and are definitely more competitive. I've seen architectural and street shots from back in the 30's to 50's that could fit this stylised design niche and would be perfectly at home in any funky art gallery today. What we commonly and frequently think of as innovating is quite often actually reproduction...

When I think about "Landscape Photography", the terms edgy, stylised, artsy, and competitive, don't leap to mind for me. You can take a shot from a different angle or point of view and process it differently to the norm, but then it starts becoming too surreal when taken too far. It is a traditional art form and there's nothing wrong with that, hell, people still do traditional embroidery you know, they haven't taken it all neon and LED infused flashing threads just yet!

Things have cycles to them, and in regard of popularity, maybe it will get more popular again as people get sick of being surrounded by harsh (so called cutting edge) images. We are effected by what we see and eventually people cotton on to this and change their artworks in their homes. People who work long, hard hours at work want to surround themselves in beauty at home, generally as an escape from the chaos.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 11:12 AM   #14
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zombiecakes are you saying that good composition and a fascinating subject are not enough to hold the attention of the average joe?

The idea that landscapes have to be "competitive" is what saddens me about this whole topic. Are we really that disconnected from Nature that it has to be messed with to make us admire it? Why does a mountain range need to be turned into a Warholesque neon treatment to make it more edgy? Hell, why not make a reality TV game show about Landscape Photography that'll grab the young ones attention.... Ooohhh, the anticipation, is he going to go with the fish eye or the pancake?! OMG, she stuck a tomato soup can on that rock, what originality! I can see the tweets now....

Maybe that's where the cityscapes and industrialscapes come in to the picture. They work perfectly with stylised treatments and artsy approaches and are definitely more competitive. I've seen architectural and street shots from back in the 30's to 50's that could fit this stylised design niche and would be perfectly at home in any funky art gallery today. What we commonly and frequently think of as innovating is quite often actually reproduction...

When I think about "Landscape Photography", the terms edgy, stylised, artsy, and competitive, don't leap to mind for me. You can take a shot from a different angle or point of view and process it differently to the norm, but then it starts becoming too surreal when taken too far. It is a traditional art form and there's nothing wrong with that, hell, people still do traditional embroidery you know, they haven't taken it all neon and LED infused flashing threads just yet!

Things have cycles to them, and in regard of popularity, maybe it will get more popular again as people get sick of being surrounded by harsh (so called cutting edge) images. We are effected by what we see and eventually people cotton on to this and change their artworks in their homes. People who work long, hard hours at work want to surround themselves in beauty at home, generally as an escape from the chaos.
[**Insert standing ovation here**] Well said.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 02:24 PM   #15
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I think these questions and comments may not be limited to landscape photography but apply to all genres.

Through the technological evolution of hardware and software, the opportunity to create extraordinary images is available to just about everyone. Before long, will we be able to consider any image original?

It's not something I worry about because this is very true:

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Things have cycles to them, and in regard of popularity, maybe it will get more popular again as people get sick of being surrounded by harsh (so called cutting edge) images.
Two other comments from this thread really stand-out in my mind:

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Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
If landscape photographers can be excused from the pursuit of novelty, then we're free to go about making "traditional" images of extraordinary scenes...and maybe we can even call it "art"!
Phrasikleia, I hope you don't mind it I take the liberty of suggesting a rephrasing your comment to read:

If all photographers can be excused from the pursuit of novelty, then we're free to go about making "traditional" images of extraordinary scenes...and maybe we can even call it "art"!

I say this because to me...this is what photography is all about and why I do what I do:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
I personally don't let that bias deter me; I'm going to keep on doing what it is that makes my heart thump and hope that other people like what I do too.
Additional Comment: Recently, a friend asked me "Why would you spend so time, energy and money on pictures that you can get off the internet for free". The answer was obvious to me: "Because I didn't create those pictures".

Last edited by Cheese&Apple; Jan 18, 2013 at 02:49 PM. Reason: additional comment
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 02:42 PM   #16
genshi
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Originally Posted by Cheese&Apple View Post
If all photographers can be excused from the pursuit of novelty, then we're free to go about making "traditional" images of extraordinary scenes...and maybe we can even call it "art"!
I guess what I was trying to say previously, it's not about trying to be novel or purposefully edgy, it's about getting out of your comfort zone and growing as an artist.

Too many times I see really good photographers just taking the same exact photo over and over and over again (see the Photo of the Day thread as a prefect example.) Photos of the same subject, be it landscapes, sheep/flowers/birds what have you, and as good as they are (and they are quite good in most cases) they are just not stretching themselves artistically; they've become all too comfortable with what they do. And if they are content with that, so be it, but personally, I can't do that.

I always try to get out of my comfort zone and shoot something that is new [to me] and I usually fail at doing so... and that is when you learn and grow as an artist; from those failures.

Great discussion though from everyone!

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Old Jan 18, 2013, 03:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by genshi View Post
Too many times I see really good photographers just taking the same exact photo over and over and over again (see the Photo of the Day thread as a prefect example.) Photos of the same subject, be it landscapes, sheep/flowers/birds what have you, and as good as they are (and they are quite good in most cases) they are just not stretching themselves artistically; they've become all too comfortable with what they do. And if they are content with that, so be it, but personally, I can't do that.
I do agree with you genshi. Photography, as with any art form, can be so wonderful and amazing because the most important perception is that of the artist and what works for the artist personally.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 03:31 PM   #18
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Here is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a shot I took last weekend:



Chickadees have been done time and time again. Some would say done to death. But there I was, laying flat on a gravel path, in the winter, freezing cold with this guy a metre from my lens. I haven't done it before and I haven't done it for me and that floats my boat.

Anyway, I think I may have gone too far off topic.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 03:34 PM   #19
Phrasikleia
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Originally Posted by genshi View Post
I guess what I was trying to say previously, it's not about trying to be novel or purposefully edgy, it's about getting out of your comfort zone and growing as an artist.

Too many times I see really good photographers just taking the same exact photo over and over and over again (see the Photo of the Day thread as a prefect example.) Photos of the same subject, be it landscapes, sheep/flowers/birds what have you, and as good as they are (and they are quite good in most cases) they are just not stretching themselves artistically; they've become all too comfortable with what they do. And if they are content with that, so be it, but personally, I can't do that.

I always try to get out of my comfort zone and shoot something that is new [to me] and I usually fail at doing so... and that is when you learn and grow as an artist; from those failures.

Great discussion though from everyone!
It's absolutely important for photographers to push their own boundaries, but there does come a point when it's best to 'lock in' to your specialty and refine your style. I get your point about the Photo of the Day thread, but I would actually say that what you see the most is not so much people repeating themselves but stopping short on the commitment. People who like to shoot "a bit of everything" are definitely in the majority, especially among those who are just starting out. If they carry on like that, they never break through in any one direction.

I actually think people should do *more* of shooting the same photo over and over again, but each time trying to get it that much better. Flitting about too much can result in breadth without depth.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 03:47 PM   #20
Laird Knox
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The idea that landscapes have to be "competitive" is what saddens me about this whole topic.
I think that in this case the idea of being "competitive" is marketability, not one-upping the other guy. I can understand that. I would love to find the secret sauce that allows me to make a living off of what I enjoy. Until that happens I'll have have to swallow the investment in equipment, time and learning.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 04:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by genshi View Post
I guess what I was trying to say previously, it's not about trying to be novel or purposefully edgy, it's about getting out of your comfort zone and growing as an artist.

I always try to get out of my comfort zone and shoot something that is new [to me] and I usually fail at doing so... and that is when you learn and grow as an artist; from those failures.

Great discussion though from everyone!
genshi, I admire your ability to try new things so regularly. I'm still just a babe in the woods in regard to photography, so I feel that at this stage in my development it would be unwise for me to spread my focus so wide. My loves are architecture, landscape, place and things. Later I'll look at animals. I'm still trying to master my new camera and lenses, that alone is going to take me a lot of time and trial and error. I don't have 20 years of experience behind me to go off experimenting just yet.

I've enjoyed the banter here, no hostilities, a good hearty discourse! I hope I didn't offend anyone with my thoughts, that wasn't my intention. Thanks acearchie.

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I think that in this case the idea of being "competitive" is marketability, not one-upping the other guy. I can understand that. I would love to find the secret sauce that allows me to make a living off of what I enjoy. Until that happens I'll have have to swallow the investment in equipment, time and learning.
LairdKnox, I was responding directly to the following quote:

I think for landscapes to be "competitive" these days they have do something besides just take a pretty picture of some nature, it should be more conceptual and focus on the design.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 04:57 PM   #22
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I've enjoyed the banter here, no hostilities, a good hearty discourse! I hope I didn't offend anyone with my thoughts, that wasn't my intention.
So far, this really has been a great and informative discussion, with everyone making really good points on all sides!

And despite my previous comment, I too wonder if maybe I just haven't found my "voice" in photography, which is why I tend to try so many new things instead of, as Phrasikleia mentioned here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
but there does come a point when it's best to 'lock in' to your specialty and refine your style.
<snip>
I actually think people should do *more* of shooting the same photo over and over again, but each time trying to get it that much better.
... maybe I should be concentrating on perfecting one style/subject/genre. But, at the same time, for me at least, I just can't seem to settle on doing the same thing over and over, where as those that do, and that have perfected it, maybe I admire them more than I care to admit. Even though I may say "seen that already a hundred times before" deep down inside, maybe I'm just a little envious that they've made such a perfect capture, and am humbled that I don't have the discipline to spend that much time/effort on any one style... looks like I need to reflect more on this.
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 05:09 PM   #23
Laird Knox
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Originally Posted by ijohn.8.80 View Post
LairdKnox, I was responding directly to the following quote:

I think for landscapes to be "competitive" these days they have do something besides just take a pretty picture of some nature, it should be more conceptual and focus on the design.
Exactly, I took that quote to mean competitive in the sense of marketable. YMMV

That doesn't mean that I did not enjoy reading your post.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 06:27 PM   #24
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Things have cycles to them, and in regard of popularity, maybe it will get more popular again as people get sick of being surrounded by harsh (so called cutting edge) images. We are effected by what we see and eventually people cotton on to this and change their artworks in their homes. People who work long, hard hours at work want to surround themselves in beauty at home, generally as an escape from the chaos
That is my point, we already had the "pretty landscape" cycle. God have we ever had that cycle. That was the main cool thing in the 80's-90's. Every doctor's office in america has a smorgisboard of colorful slow exposure landscape photos. It has become so overdone that it is approaching kitsch status, if not already there. How many times do we need to see *insert famous mountain* or *random babbling brook*?

These days people are more drawn to something conceptual, a lot of people are getting sick of pretty colors and slow exposed water. They want something new, something we havent seen before. Sure they may be copying someone elses style but the style is new enough that it still provides something fresh, or it may not even be a new style, it may have been popular in the 20's and died out long before any of us were born, the point is that its new to us.

That is how art and fashion work, after something gets done to death it gets retired until a new generation picks it up again. Usually something very different emerges to rebel against the norm, ie the lofi movement popular with all the hispters these days is a reaction of the advances we've made in digital photography to make the perfect sterile photo, they are sick of everything being perfect and are resorting to technology that would have been considered sucky in the 70s

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Old Jan 24, 2013, 09:44 PM   #25
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That is my point, we already had the "pretty landscape" cycle. God have we ever had that cycle. That was the main cool thing in the 80's-90's. Every doctor's office in america has a smorgisboard of colorful slow exposure landscape photos. It has become so overdone that it is approaching kitsch status, if not already there. How many times do we need to see *insert famous mountain* or *random babbling brook*?

These days people are more drawn to something conceptual, a lot of people are getting sick of pretty colors and slow exposed water. They want something new, something we havent seen before. Sure they may be copying someone elses style but the style is new enough that it still provides something fresh, or it may not even be a new style, it may have been popular in the 20's and died out long before any of us were born, the point is that its new to us.

That is how art and fashion work, after something gets done to death it gets retired until a new generation picks it up again. Usually something very different emerges to rebel against the norm, ie the lofi movement popular with all the hispters these days is a reaction of the advances we've made in digital photography to make the perfect sterile photo, they are sick of everything being perfect and are resorting to technology that would have been considered sucky in the 70s
I would go one step further by saying that both sides of the coin have been thoroughly exploited at this point: both the "pretty" and the "ugly". We've seen not only the full gamut of landscapes that look beautiful/harmonious/idyllic/salubrious, but also the full range of those that look grungy/neglected/vacant/apocalyptic, etc. We've seen fantasy composites of every sort, retrospective techniques from the pinhole camera onward, combinations of antique photos and new ones taken from the same location…and the list goes on.

Therefore, as I said above, perhaps it's time to give landscapes a pass on the requirement to feed the insatiable desire for novelty that the art world is so keen to perpetuate. Maybe the movement that we're seeing now is more akin to the Arts & Crafts movement of the late 19th/early 20th c., when the emphasis shifted from the "what" to the "how", and great value was placed on craftsmanship. We're now in an era of incredible refinement in landscape photography, and I think it is only just beginning. Techniques like exposure blending, focus stacking, and image averaging are enabling photographers to render scenes that were unthinkable in the film era, at least on technical grounds. The emerging aesthetic of the last decade is utterly unlike what we saw in the eighties and nineties (the age of Galen Rowell, et. al.).

And as for landscapes having the potential to be conceptual, it's absolutely possible without having to change the genre into something else. A few examples:

• The lone, stalwart tree surviving through adversity...
• Tree stumps in a forlorn clearing: the fallen heroes...
• The hill transcending all others as it is picked out by a ray of light...
• A window in a desert arch puts the focus on a distant goal...
• After the storm, the light of hope returns...
• The day disappears forever in a blaze of glory...
• The soft cloud that kisses the rugged tip of a mountain: beauty and the beast...
• Light at the end of a forest trail gives assurance that something good is just around the corner...
• Temple ruins: nature triumphs over culture…
• Dark storm clouds enveloping a field: something sinister this way comes...

This list could go on ad infinitum. Only the most powerful landscape photographs manage to convey such ideas/stories very strongly, but concepts abound even in photographs where the maker did not necessarily intend them.

Anyway, that's my perspective. I would be interested to hear what others think.
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