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.