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I Hate It… I Love It… It’s Episode 61

Finally, Tony reveals the answer to the great question, what did he mean when he said Grammar Nazi knows a think or two about self-abuse? And Rob compliments the contrast. It’s something we love…

But, tonight, Rick asks us two questions: what do we love about the photography industry today and what do we hate about it? We pretty much agree on each other’s answers but that doesn’t mean it’s a boring show.

Love it or Hate ItToday’s Artists

Tony, who can never seem to select a normal artist, instead wants to talk about a British documentary series that follows a bunch of kids over many years called the “Up Series“. Doing one episode every seven years, the filmmakers started in 1969  and have followed the “kids” for over 40 years now.

Rob chose a female fine art photographer, Lauren Bentley. Some absolutely beautiful work from a photographer who understands form and beauty. However, we do have a slight disagreement about the historical accuracy of the photographs. They’re fantastic images (and there is some artistic nudity so, you know, be careful opening up her site at work or around tight asses).

As we always say, let us know in the show notes what you think and whether you agree with us or not.

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Let’s Do MORE Questions and Answers – Episode 58

Well, it’s time for another round of Q&A. This time it falls to Rick to ask Rob and Tony a whole series of questions from Social Media use to what inspires us. We go a bit long and Rick tossed out the three-minute rule a couple of times but he was in charge so that’s allowed.

If you didn’t get to listen to the first set of questions, make sure you go back and listen to episode 57, too. It landed us in Stitcher Radio’s “Top Photography Podcasts“!

EJ Bellocq Questions and Answers

E.J Bellocq, 1912

Here’s what Rob and Tony gave answers to in this episode:

  1. Which social media outlet is having the greatest impact on photography?
  2. How would you describe your style of photography?
  3. What are your top three key factors that make a great photograph?
  4. What stifles your photographic vision?
  5. What inspires your photographic vision?
  6. Light or shadow?
  7. What was your first photograph (that wasn’t just a snapshot)?

And this little experiment winds down with our next episode when it’s Tony’s turn to drag answers out of us!

Our Artists

We travel to the South of the US and back in time to one of the early masters in photography, E.J. Bellocg. Particularly, we look at his set Storyville. Storyville was the legal red-light in New Orleans and this portrait series highlights several prostitutes. It’s a beautiful series that brings the women to life and gives them a place in history.

For our other artists, Tony keeps us in the South and offers up the one and only, Louis Armstrong. Really, even if you’re not into Jazz, Louis Armstrong is iconic and well-known. And loved.

So?

And, remember, we’re looking for your answers to the questions as well. Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

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People Change Their Behavior Around Cameras – Episode 55

Gotta start off with two quick notes: first, we apologize for this coming out a day late. Second, there were some technical issues with Skype when we recorded and, as you’ll hear, there are a few times throughout the show where the flow gets interrupted.

Okay, now on to the show.

It’s Tony’s turn to choose the topic and he comes up with something we hadn’t thought of before: how do peoples’ behavior change when they see  a camera? And have behaviors changed now that cameras (and smart phones, etc.) have become so commonplace in our society? Are people more guarded or more open? Are they hesitatnt about where those pictures may end up or do they care? Does it matter whether it’s a professional or an amateur who is taking the picture?

A lot of disagreement in today’s show and it makes for some good stuff. And make sure you tell us in the comments section whether you think you change your behavior when you see a camera. Or have you noticed a change in how people react over the past 5, 10, 20 years?

And should we have named this episode Babies and Bot Flies and Larvae, Oh My?

How do people's behavior change when in front of a cameraOur Artists

Our photographer is Ian Ruhter. Rob first learned of his work after watching the video, Silver and Light. You can also click on the picture to launch the video and it’s worthwhile watching. Ian not only is an accomplished photographer in his own right, but he makes his own wet plates and does all of his development; on plates much larger than we’re used to. In this age of digital photography and knowing we can make as many copies as we could ever need from the file, wet plate photography is awe-inspiring. There are no files, there are no negatives. The plate is the only copy of the photograph that exists. Not a lot of room for error and that makes Ian Ruhter a true artist.

Leonardo da Vinci is our “other” artist. Not much to say other than a true visionary who continues to influence our society to this day. The da Vinci Code may have made him a legend but Hudson Hawk balances that out. “Is looking like a constipated warthog a prerequisite for getting a job in the art world?”

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Is Constantly Recording Life Preventing Us From Experiencing It? Episode 53

It’s Called Life, Dammit!

Life. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it’s awesome, and sometimes it lets you get drunk on Amaretto. Be that as it may, no matter what we do, no matter where we go, we seem to always see people with their damned arms in the air, holding their phones and taking video/pictures of whatever the hell is happening around them. And we do it, too. But should we? Are we so concerned about recording life as it happens that we’re no longer actually experiencing it? Yeah, we think we are. And that shit has to stop.

Experience life

We’re all about taking pictures and being recorders of history but let’s also make sure that we are no disengaging from life and no longer making history.

Seriously,we need to cut that shit out.

Our Artists

Today, we look at Marc Hauser, one of the pioneer modern-day portrait photographers. His ability to capture people in real-life poses and expressions makes for some of the most captivating images we’ve seen in a long time. He’s a helluva shooter and a trip through his galleries is worth 30 minutes of your life.

And then Rick throws us a curve ball. After introducing us to several macabre artists and other “interesting” characters over the past couple of years, he chooses Mr. Americana himself, Norman Rockwell. But hey, it’s about life, right?

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Hello? Jobs, Where Are You? Episode 51

Where Have All the Jobs Gone?

There are some among us who remember the good old days where you could be a full-time photographer and making some pretty serious money. But, in light of a variety of factors, it would seem that jobs are quickly disappearing. Or, at least, jobs that paid enough to live off of. Between everyone having a camera that’s capable of compensating for mediocre skills, money-making moves by newspapers to eliminate their photojournalists, to saturated markets, etc. are there jobs to be had?

Is a job in photography as much an antiquity as old cars?It may not be as bleak an outlook as a lot of people fear.

Today we talk about the the state of the wedding photography industry, photojournalism, fine art photography, and commercial photography. We’re not in complete agreement on everything but we certainly see some bright spots.

Here’s a tip to keeping, or finding, your photography career: learn video.

No artist or photographer today as we spent a lot of time on the topic.

And, please, leave us a comment! Are you looking for a job in the industry or are you trying to figure out how to keep it? We want to hear from you!

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Has Photography Been Impacted by Casual Photographers? – Episode 49

casual photographs are important for capturing memories

Nice snapshot, Patch!

What the Hell is a Casual Photographer?

Sorry for missing an episode and, as they say, “Sorry For Your Luck”

Normally, we discuss the art of photography from the perspective of the professional and enthusiast photographer. But what about all those other people (and there are a lot of them) for whom photography isn’t a hobby? We’re talking about those folks who carry around a camera (or smart phone) for the purpose of taking casual snapshots of their friends at a bar, uploading them to social media sites and then doing nothing else with them.

In today’s topic, we look at how the “casual photographer” has impacted photography and, more to the point, how the photography industry has changed as it has adapted to meet their needs. This was all inspired by a picture that Patch tweeted to us. We may have railed against sites like Instagram and Facebook before on the show, but we’re coming around and seeing the value and importance of them as people record their everyday activities and relationships.

What do you think? Leave us a comment and tell us if you think that photography has been positively impacted by all of this.

Our Artists

Once again, we feature a musician as our artist of the fortnight. Rick chose Michael Jackson (yes, that MJ) and we talk about whether music changed because of him or did he change because of the music industry. By “we”, Rick and Tony talk about it while Rob showed his disdain for MJ by tuning out and surfing 500px.

Our featured photographer, however, is a phenomenal food photographer, Marcus Nillson. His portraits of chefs, particularly of Jose Andres, are simply brilliant. Check him out!

Hey Tony, let someone else talk, will ya?

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Will Photography Become a Core Competency? Episode #48

Competency in Photography

Courtesy of long-time listener and huge fan of ours (yeah, I am taking liberties but so what?), Ivan, we have tonight’s topic: Might good photography one day become a core competency?

Will photography become more mainstream? Will those of us who see photography as a craft be able to step up and excel? Or does photographic quality continue to slide toward mediocrity?

Or both?

Continue reading »

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Smart Phones are the New Polaroids – Episode 44

Smart phones are all around us. In the past four years, the number of iPhones, Android-based phones, tabelts, iPads, etc. that people own has grown exponentially. They’re everywhere! Concerts, parks, on trains, in  schools… And one of the main consequences of this is that we are now back in the mode of photography being shared instantly. Sometimes this has enormous social consequences like Continue reading »

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Is Software the New Barrier to Entry? PI41

The New Barrier to Entry?

We start off with Rick trying to dial back his (seemingly) hatred of the French but then he turns his attention to the Basque region of Spain. But, hey, he does an Irish friend. If you’re familiar with the other podcasts that Tony is involved in, you’ve gotta be shocked that he is the voice of reason and sanity on Polarizing Images!

And don’t forget the new segment! Send us the Continue reading »

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Is It Real or Is It Photoshop – and Who Cares?

Why the Hell is Photoshop So Controversial?

Photoshop: it’s a tool that, for some incredibly stupid reason, seems to be controversial. Some people love it, others hate, but the smart people know that it is just that – a tool to achieve and end-result. But what got us going this week was a comment from someone on Facebook regarding a photograph they had seen, “…wow, is it real or PS?”

C’mon, really? Just because a photograph has been through the Photoshop cycle, it ceases to be real? But that got us thinking – what does it really mean for a photograph to be “real”? Too many people confuse “real” with “realism”. Are Picasso’s works not “real” paintings because they don’t depict realistic subjects? You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who would take such a position. So why do we say that about photography and Photoshop? If I create a shallow depth of field through a lens choice that’s okay but if I add blur in Photoshop, then it’s not a real photograph? If I make a bride’s teeth whiter than they really are or, more to the point, than they appear because we’re under incandescent lighting, that’s not a real photograph but if the bride had her teeth whitened by a dentist, that’s okay?

This whole concept of post-production, regardless of the tool that’s used, has to stop. As long as the photographer/artist is trying to achieve an image that they see in their mind’s eye, why the hell should we care – or judge – how it was achieved? And we’re not even touching on the differences between using Photoshop to manually alter an image versus allowing a camera to do it outside of our control!

So, to all of you who believe that Photoshop renders a photograph “fake”, it’s time to allow your photography and creative vision to mature a bit.

 

Artists

Photographers have done post-production long before Photoshop existed

The Surrealist Photography of Kansuke Yamamoto

What about photography before there was Photoshop? Today’s photographer is Kansuke Yamamoto (1914-1987), an early surrealist photographer from Japan. His work included several pieces on film that, today, we would accomplish with Photoshop or other digital imaging tools but, as a film photographer, Yamamoto did his post-production in the darkroom. Are these “real” photographs?

What happens when you let Tony choose the artist? You get a musician! Today we have Captain Beefheart. As long as we’re talking about art being real without requiring realism, the good captain is actually an excellent choice for an artist who inspires. Especially in the realm of surrealism. Let’s let Captain Beefheart have the last laugh today:

[pullquote]“It makes me itch to think of myself as Captain Beefheart. I don’t even have a boat.”[/pullquote]

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