To Anonymous John

People who know me or have followed me on Flickr for a while know that I’m a huge fan of trying new things with my photography: the latest fads, new techniques, old techniques that no one does anymore, things that “no pro would be caught dead doing,” etc.

Basically my view is that if I, as the artist, like it and it’s showing off my vision, then I’m happy. If you, as the viewer, don’t like it, well then that’s fine.  Everyone has their own preferences.  Be on your way.  This is not to say that I don’t appreciate genuine critiques.  But if the comment is along the lines of, “HDR is for losers, this photo sucks!” – that’s not critiquing and honestly I could care less what you have to say anymore.

I picked HDR in that last example because I know that’s a “controversial” technique among photographers.  I just started experimenting with it over the summer and frankly, I like it a lot!  I don’t mind if you don’t like it, as long as you don’t mind if I do like it.  (Sidenote: This is similar to my view of being vegetarian.  I don’t eat meat so I don’t want to hear you pushing me to try it and telling me everything I’m missing, etc., since I’m not sitting there and pushing you to stop eating and “think of the animals” and whatnot.)

Today I was finally catching up with some older links I’d saved for reading, including the inaugural post of Brian Matiash’s Behind the Curtain series.  It was so cool to see the before and after of his photo of the Royal Clipper and I couldn’t wait to see more posts.  As I was reading through the comments, I came across the last one, which said:

“Great tool but intellectually dishonest. The after pic bears no resemblance to reality.”

What does that even mean?  Honestly, my first reaction was to get mad at this (of course) anonymous person.  Who did they think they were?  Then I started thinking about photography as art.  That is what it is, to me.  Basically, I think you should be able to express yourself through the medium in whatever way you please.  Whatever your vision is, express it!

So what if the resulting image that Brian shared does not “look real”?  Did I miss the part where he said, “Oh look at this picture I took which is exactly how I saw it, no editing, no lies”?  He shared his technique, the tools he used to create the image, and even said things like, “blow out the background sky,” and “get some of the detail out of the ship.” Hell, he started off his editing process saying that he wanted to “give the shot a mythical, Tolkien feel.”  So suck it, Anonymous John!

Goodness knows I shouldn’t be getting upset at random Internet people but this one just struck a nerve and I felt it deserved to be addressed.

To conclude, here is one of the latest HDR photos I’ve worked on.  Do I care that reality didn’t look anything like this?  Take a wild guess.

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Brian MatiashOctober 24, 2010 - 9:16 pm

Hey Preeti,

Just wanted to drop a quick ‘thanks!’ for the kind words (and links) on my BTC series. I really appreciate it. I really enjoyed reading your post and feel that you hit on a critical point when it comes to the stylization of digital images. Namely, it really rests squarely on the individual artist to determine the outcome of the image. I always tell people – unless a client is paying you for your photography services, always shoot and process to your own taste. You will have your fans and you will have your detractors, that will always be the case. But, if you style to your own imagination and sensibilities, you will never let yourself down.

So, rock on. And thank you, again.

preetalinaOctober 25, 2010 - 9:32 am

Brian, thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate you taking the time out to comment on this.

Of course, I completely agree with you. I especially like your thoughts about never letting yourself down. Sometimes I wonder what others might think of something I’ve worked on, whether they’ll like it or not, but I always stop when I realize that I like it and it makes me happy.

David MalloyOctober 25, 2010 - 9:41 am

Well said! I think the issue of people criticizing digital images that have been “processed” as you photogs say, isn’t much different than someone looking at a Picasso and saying, “This is ridiculous, all I see is crap.” Art is a derivation of artificial; this maakes art a creation, not necessarily an interpretation of reality. Art is often a perception of reality, the perception of the artist is what makes each artist unique and explains why we’re drawn to some artists and not others (despite their mass popularity or appeal).

So I say to you, Preeti, bravo and live on. As long as you continue to provide us with a perception of your reality, I will continue to be a fan and follow along.

MaryOctober 25, 2010 - 1:23 pm

Preeti, you rock! thanks for introducing me to Brian’s work (and that cool tool On one). I’m a big fan of your work- natural, magical, surreal, real, everything comes together to make it uniquely yours. I’m a big experimenter too, and I want my shop site to have some consistency, but I don’t put everything I create in my shop either. I still put it out there on flickr for people to see, it’s all in the fun of sharing. Just the other day I had someone say “Well, I’m sure you’ve digitally altered these colors and such (but if not, way to go!) on a shot of some foliage I had taken outside my house. WHAT? well, even if I had changed the colors (which I hadn’t) I wouldn’t necessarily say that, nor feel that my image is somehow no longer valid if I had. Puhlease! what a stupid thing to say….that’s what I wanted to say, but I said Nope, I didn’t but thanks! Anyway, great post and I love your work- ALL of it. :)

preetalinaOctober 25, 2010 - 8:03 pm

Well said, Dave! I’m always grateful for your support!

preetalinaOctober 25, 2010 - 8:04 pm

Ha! I know exactly how you feel, Mary! Maybe you should have said that! 😉 Thanks for your support!

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