The Never-ending Story
A long standing discussion
We all have our own Line.
After many years, sitting watching camera club talk, for doing photographic talks and entering Exhibitions all over the world.The one question that’s been asked most is ‘ Is it proper photography?’ To the point in one club in particular to a very aggressive towards my Creativity so why did they ask me?
It’s not a question I get asked as much in these educated days. Now, the main question is ‘How do you do it?” It’s simply I play. but still get a very mixed reaction to the fact I don’t share. When I developed my style because I value the creative process and individuality.. I learnt by trial and error. These days everyone wants instant awards and expect me to tell them everything..
In the Darkroom, we dodged and burned, added images, textures, created various effects and removed things we didn’t want, added colour filters for various effects, e.g. red for mono etc. a highly skilled hobby – isn’t that what we do in the Computer Room? The boundaries we push are greater but it now allows us all to explore and progress in the world of Image Making.
The Cottingly Fairies is a perfect example of what people call cheating today, one or more images to create a final image but it was done in the early 1900’s in the darkroom by children. Cheating the darkroom?
The SRGB Group ran their first Print Only – BPE 2013 we made the sections to cover all the areas of photography and every bodies tastes etc.
We put in As Shot to allow Non Manipulated Photography, somewhere to showcase their work and compete on a level playing field (whatever that is) very few took up this opportunity.
The Rules- Section 2013 – The images may be Silver Print or Digital. The image has to come straight from the camera. For many people, it translated to levels, cropping and even cloning. There is no way of policing this or checking the manipulation without the RAW file – we had far too much to do to request these files and compare the images to the prints. So how do we know they’re not manipulated? After all our cameras manipulate when we take the shot, to factory settings.
SRGB BPE 2014 – we have changed the Section to Believable Reality but it does include any image that looks like a straight shot.
SRGB 2017 – This Theme later became Anything Goes as however we tried to get a Theme for non manipulated work it wasn’t a pure theme. This image as been highly manipulated. The security equipment removed, wires and switch removed, music sheets added and a plant removed but it looks straight
Follow You own path
I love looking at photography from darkroom to highly creative work, I can appreciate all these types of imagery and the skills it takes to make the images. Many photographers have specialities in their work, e.g. nature, mono, sport and creative. It takes skill and hard work to achieve a high standard of imagery, no matter how or what you do. To do anything well, it take time and effort. I just wish all photographers enjoyed all types of photography and applauded the ability to make them, however created. Why fight over, how and why? The final image is all that matters and the skill and enjoyment that image brings. Why not get better at what you do, rather than tell people they’re doing it wrong. The world is a many faceted place to be accepted, why can’t photography be too?
If the photographer enjoys the image, that for me is the most important part of photography. If, others enjoy it too, even better. Many people are based in the awards and aim to achieve in their chosen section of photography, this is great way to learn and make yourself improve. Some will do anything to win. I’m more worried about where people get their images from. Why take images from other sources? Cheating by using other people images is simply not Acceptable in club photography. Many are copying images like for like simply to win!
I’ve been creative in the darkroom and in the digital world has opened up, ways of being creative and my enjoyment of photography more than I could ever imagine. I’ve met and made friends with many like minded people and continue to do talks and workshops all over the UK
Using Photoshop isn’t a crime, it gives people freedom of individual expression, which is sadly needed in this society controlled world. Remember, if you shoot RAW and convert in a RAW Converter, you are manipulating your image to fit your needs, already it’s an MANIPULATED IMAGE. By simply pressing the button on your camera or phone, the default settings manipulate your shot.
Good PhotographyGood photography, no matter how it’s created Darkroom,Traditional, Manipulated, Montage or Creative, the good ones will always come to the top, in any Club, Competition or Exhibition.
For most Club based Photographers It’s a hobby, enjoy it, get from it what you want to get from it, let other people get from it what they want. Appreciate the others peoples work and help them to achieve more, put something Positive forward instead of Criticism and Segregation. In the end it would be easier to have Open Sections for Colour & Mono and awards for Best Landscape, Portrait etc. then we play on a level playing field but there are always those who won’t
Reaction to Creativity
I’ve found recently, a complete turnaround in my photo club talks, instead of years of criticism of creativity, they all want to know how I do it, for free. To the point of verbal aggression from members when I won’t tell them. not just in one club, I say its’ not a workshop to technical talk but the get annoyed with me when I don’t tell them have to be creative, it’s not something you can learn, it comes from the heart but they don’t understand. I have perfected my style over many year with no YouTube or anything else to help me, I just pressed button and tried things out to see the results. I often find the mistakes are the things that give you new perspective on the image. I did run workshop for three years. This is something I enjoy and is my creative outlet. If you could do something no one else could doo would you share? Where”s your line?
The New Question
How Do You Do It?
Each year I travel round the country and give my talks. Showing Prints and talking about the Photographic experience of taking and creating Prints. Giving hints and tips about my work and how I approach it.
Most clubs are lovely and really look after you BUT some clubs are becoming less caring and don’t help with boxes or offer you a brew on arrival. One club sold tickets without telling me, another left me to pack my boxes etc and most members had left before I’d finished. The Speaker experience isn’t as enjoyable as it used to be. As a result of this I’ve come out of the PAGB Lectures List as there’s no fee chargeable, you can only charge for PAGB Rates which is Fuel and a meal etc which many clubs don’t seem to realise. Clubs focus is more about making money not the speaker or the members. Things have changed even more with Zoom. Zoom speakers who don’t charge for their talks. The clubs are still charging for the people to watch Zoom or join the club members.
I found there is a rise in more How Do You Do It? Questions and when I explain I did workshops and find it wrong to the techniques free at talk. I’ve had a variety of orally aggressive reactions when i refused ( I won’t be going back there) . If, it was their techniques would they give it away for free? I suspect not! Many speakers have similar experiences.