So, I’m sat in the arrivals area of Tromso airport in Arctic Norway waiting to meet a group of photographers including the mighty Charlie Waite and Antony Spencer for a photo workshop that I can’t wait to get started on. As I got an earlier flight than everyone else I have 2 hours to kill, so thought I’d add an update. A lot has happened in the past few months, so there’s plenty to comment on before I get round to writing a review of this workshop when it has finished next week.
So first subject, LPOTY. Despite having three photos in the final round of judging none of them made it into the book/exhibition, let alone had a chance of winning. I found out on my birthday, and was pretty disappointed. I felt the photos I submitted this year were far stronger than those from last year, including the ones that made it into the book. Then again, I’ve seen some of the other photos that have been rejected, some not even making it past the first round. Nigel Morton’s work stands out in particular and I can’t see how these haven’t at least been commended. To me they are deserving of winning. I can’t complain really as photography is so subjective, so saying someone’s photos are better than someone else’s really means nothing unless you are a competition judge! Even so, it means another wait of 8 months until I can submit some more with the hope of getting in the book again. You win some, you lose some.
Whilst I am on the subject of LPOTY there is the controversy over the winner, or ex-winner I guess. I won’t go into details as others have extensively looked into the matter. Anyway, I was disappointed to find out the winner was not exactly and original shot, broke some rules and was also heavily manipulated. However I think the judges really did the right thing is disqualifying the photographer, even if it causes more of a stir. It upholds the integrity of the competition and is a victory for those who want to keep photography in camera and not at the computer. Unfortunately the winner will now be labelled as the guy who was disqualified for a while in the photographic community , which is not entirely fair, but terms and conditions are there for a reason I guess. The new winning photo by Simon Butterworth is good. Not great, but good. Whether it deserves to win or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that he is a fantastically talented photographer and if this didn’t win then one of his other shots would have been a worthy winner anyway.
So I guess that leads me nicely into something that has annoyed me a bit about digital manipulation of images. I recently sent in some photos to Digital Photo magazine and was happy to hear they were going to publish one in the magazine. I thought it would be in the front section in the readers gallery, but it ended up in the image critique section. Fine by me, and they even gave me a whole double page section featuring two of my photos of Corfe Castle! They were very complementary about my shots, which is pleasing of course, and I’m really happy that I got such praise.
The only thing that yanked my chain/grinds my gears etc. is the final section of critique. I’m happy to accept critique, but these comments seemed a bit strange to me. It was suggested that the photo was too monotone (orange scale, if that exists) and that I should try to introduce more colour. If this was a criticism of the way the image was shot then ok, but it wasn’t. It was a criticism of post production/photoshop skills. It was suggested that I should add some colour using two gradients, to make the top of the image blue, and the bottom of the image green. So what they at saying is that, regardless of the scene in front of the camera, you should add a bunch of colours that weren’t there in photoshop to make it a better picture. I have a problem with stuff like this. The magazine seems to encourage image manipulation to the point of digital artistry, adding in more interesting skies (see LPOTY), random colours, figures etc. If you’re going to that then to me it’s no longer photography. Someone with serious skills in photoshop can create a scene more astounding than 99% of photographers can shoot, and whilst this is a skill in itself, it just seems like the wrong route to take. Surely if these magazines are aiming to improve people’s photography then they should encourage practicing composition, visiting and revisiting locations, time and patience, rather than the quick fix that can be learned in a book and done on a laptop.
Right, I also went to Thailand for 2 weeks on a great holiday with two friends. I’m not going to write much more about Thailand. Great country, friendly people, great food, great temples and so on. I didn’t take loads of photos, but those that I did will no doubt appear here at some point.
For some reason I can’t upload photos from my iPad to clikpic, so you’ll have to wait for a new shot!
Time to venture off into the cold and find me some Aurora Borealis!!!!