The Context Lens
Saturday, August 02, 2014

Gotta rant about a few photography trends that have way overstayed their welcome. HDRHDR, or High Dynamic Resolution, started in commercial and advertising imagery as a way to make images seem almost hyperreal; high contrast images, often desaturated to emphasize a toughness or grittiness, showed up in images from movie posters to car ads.  Now with most cameras easily creating HDR images, including cel phone camera, HDR is, literally, oversaturated.  These images over-distrot the natural contrast our optical range normally sees, and where it looks great on a picture of a bunch of grizzled old fisherman hauling in a catch, it looks horrible on those senior pictures.  ...

The Pro vs the Amateur
Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Everyone with a simple camera (or phone) is, technically, a "photographer."  They are able to take a "photograph."  Many people advertise themselves as "photographers," happy to take portraits, wedding pictures, senior pictures, baby pictures, maternity pictures, headshots, and of course, "fashion."  When seeking out a photographer, people look for pricing and they look for quality.  The craft of photography is unique in that a photographer is not just creating one product for purchase.  A photographer who shoots multiple images is producing as many "products" as images.  Each image is its own product; it has a value. Here's a few key ...

Touch, Don't Retouch
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It was welcome news that Seventeen Magazine has announced it will do only minor retouching on images of girls in it's popular magazine, as stated in it's "Body Peace Treaty," available in the August issue.  This was spurred in part by a campaign created by a Maine 14-year-old girl who felt the depictions of girls were unrealistic.  In the past few years, some celebrities (such as Kate Winslet) have criticized retouching and body sculpting.  Of course, fashion magazines already choose gorgeous, fit young models to fill its pages; that's pressure enough.  But retouching them into alien standards of beauty goes too far. On the left is an image from a recent photo shoot ...

The Value of an Image
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The instant availability of an astonishing variety of images (or music, art, moving pictures) is, at first thought, truly liberating.  But I try to recall certain photographs created within the last few years (or songs, for that matter) that I have cared to hold on to; that resonate because I have invested time in seeking them, learning about them, and spending time studying and enjoying them.  When the next similar image--or even something better--is just a click away, it loses anything truly special that cements itself in my mental library.  Over the course of many years growing up, I spent hours studying a single photograph (or song, or piece of art) and that time ...

The Flair for Flare
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Seeing lots of sunflare/glare in ads and model portfolios this year--seems very 70s.  Shooting into the sun (with your subject partially or fully blocking the direct sun) can capture some fantastic and beautiful images, but why?  Is it some natural instinct reminiscent of warmth, nature, happy times?  Is it the contrast, the drama that it can provide?  Is it the haziness that washes out detail and leaves more to the imagination, making it more romantic or sensuous?  Or is it just an easy natural light grab?