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View Poll Results: Dramatic photography v.s. Natural "as seen" photography?
Dramatic (darker, heavier, moodier) 2 8.33%
Natural (brighter, lighter, happier) 15 62.50%
Eh. 7 29.17%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-15-2010, 10:23 AM
 
Location: California
2,830 posts, read 2,097,286 times
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As photographers, amatuer or professional, how do you feel about the aesthetic properties of modern day photography? This is from an amateur photographer's perspective, and what I have noticed is the excessive use of dramatic effect in pictures and film making since about the late 90's. What I'm talking about here is the use of lighting, composure of the picture, color tones used etc. A lot of films these days seem to use unnatural color tones to give it a certain feel... I notice the same thing in professional photography today as well. Everyone seems addicted to digital correction to create a dramatic effect.

Take for example, films or magazine ads prior to about the mid 90's and everything had a very different, more natural look. Colors were more saturated and accurate, and everything looked brighter and more "cheerful". Nowadays the trend seems to be to make everything look dark, heavy, grungy and dramatic. Instead of capturing scenes in the middle of summer at high noon (giving the scene a brighter, more energetic feel), they film at sunset in some depressing alleyway. Now, I understand from a technical point of view what these photographers/film makers are trying to do. I understand that they are trying to make me "feel" a certain way. However, despite me being able to "feel" the effect of the scene, I still prefer the natural look.

Maybe I am just old at 25, but I don't think I'm the only one that feels this way about modern day photography and film making. A lot of people it seems, even kids, appear to notice the lack of good aesthetics in photos and films. I always hear people yearning for the "older" look of photography and movies. Why then, do people continue to pump out the dark, heavy, and IMO, garbage when the demand is fairly high for natural looking photography?

I appreciate all of your thoughts on this.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
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Photography has never been particularly color accurate. It's only now that we have digital cameras with digital files that can be calibrated and adjusted very easily is it even remotely possible to get consistently accurate color photographs. It takes a lot of effort, though, and exacting color accuracy isn't really that crucial--color memory is generally very bad (i.e. if I showed someone a particular shade of red today without telling them what it was, they'd be hard pressed to pick it out of a lineup tomorrow, see Color + Design Blog / Does Your Brain Have Accurate Color Memory? by COLOURlovers :: COLOURlovers)

I can't say that I've even noticed the trend towards dark photographs, anyway. Certainly not the landscape photographs I look it (National Geographic, for example). Perhaps you could post some examples (or, copyright being what it is, directions to some examples) to better illustrate your point.

As for not taking pictures at high noon, at least for landscape photography that's been verboten for quite a while. The shadows are harsh and it's difficult to get good pictures in that situation. Even older books recommend just putting your camera away from 10 to 2.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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"Natural photography" is an oxymoron given that there's never been a camera created that can truly capture what the eye can see. Photography has always been a creative process, and continues to evolve today. One can certainly have a preference for particular styles, but to go as far as denouncing other styles as garbage strikes me as being particularly arrogant.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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no camera reproduces things as they are even film. cameras cant see what our eyes see and lack the range. even ansil adams was the father of post processing.

it depends what degree. since its next to impossible to capture things as they are i prefer to capture them as i would like to see them..
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Californ-eye-aye
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I too am not sure what is meant by "natural" photography in the sense that you describe it.

Photography in summer at high noon rarely works out well. The contrast in summer at high noon is usually too much for most films and camera sensors to handle. The ideas of shooting in the early mornings and late evenings, on coudy days, in the shade, etc. have been around a long time. If you look at some of the older National Geographic magazines you may find a fair number of dramatic photographs that were taken in low contrast conditions, at sunrise, at sunset, etc.

A more clear trend that I noticed in today's photography is the increasing popularity of HDR photography. Even the concept of HDR photography isn't new, stretching back a good 70 years or so. But Photoshop has certainly made the look easier to achieve.
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:45 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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There's a reason actions and presets are so popular in Lightroom and Photoshop. People love to dramatically edit their photos and many are profiting by selling presets on their sites!
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:26 AM
 
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there is no such thing as "natural" ..every camera has its own color profiles and settings it applys.. the algorithums are up to the manufacturer....

if you print them its up to the settings on the print machine and what the operator decides is right....

i tend to like bright vivid colors , high level of detail, lots of you are there presence in my photos...

since in camera settings dont achieve the look i like i do it after the fact in post processing.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovehuskies View Post
I too am not sure what is meant by "natural" photography in the sense that you describe it.

Photography in summer at high noon rarely works out well. The contrast in summer at high noon is usually too much for most films and camera sensors to handle. The ideas of shooting in the early mornings and late evenings, on coudy days, in the shade, etc. have been around a long time. If you look at some of the older National Geographic magazines you may find a fair number of dramatic photographs that were taken in low contrast conditions, at sunrise, at sunset, etc.

A more clear trend that I noticed in today's photography is the increasing popularity of HDR photography. Even the concept of HDR photography isn't new, stretching back a good 70 years or so. But Photoshop has certainly made the look easier to achieve.

By "natural" photography, I meant as the eyeball sees it. No digital correction or added color tints. No darkening or softening to achieve a certain look. I'm sure there is a different pro word for what I'm trying to describe as "natural", but that's what first came to mind, haha.

As for high noon pictures being a bad idea, I think that's subjective... I personally prefer the look of pictures taken with the sun angle high. I guess I'm a bit desensitized to the look of sunset photos and late afternoon photos because there are soo many out there. I understand that from an artistic perspective they allow you to let loose, but from an aesthetic perspective I would always prefer the mid day picture.

Again, these are my beliefs, lol. I'm not expecting to win over people here, just looking to see what other people's preferences are.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:27 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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I personally cannot stand hdr photography. Someone on my FB discovered how to edit their pics in that style and every single picture now looks fake. I'm all for post-processing, but that just takes it to an extreme!
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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our eyes have the ability to adjust "iso" in different parts of the scene. our cameras cant.. parts of the scene can be bright and white and other parts shadowey and dark and our eyes can adjust for all the different parts seperatly and display each part seperatly in our heads ..

lightning areas and darkeninging other areas are always part of the process after the fact when we get home.... even reproducing colors is impossible. no dslr can capture even a coke can in the exact shade it is.

even ansil adams had to find away to correct those beautiful masterpieces he did...

since there is no way to know what you origionally saw everything is a re- creation in our minds of either what we like, how we think it looked or how we think it should look.

personally i dont find most photos as shot out of camera interesting or pretty . unless its some monumental event or photo that was shot and then it dosnt matter how it looks i need it to hold my attention with something.

even my own photos are shot very flat, boring and with little contrast or sharpening in camera as i expose as far right on the histogram as i can to get the best signal to noise ratio i can get. i would never utilize those photos anywhere without putting the life back in to them afterwards.

Last edited by mathjak107; 08-18-2010 at 02:23 PM..
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