Eden wrote:Is there still a desire to get a good image from the camera
Yes there is Eden,
And, oddly enough, it is still called PHOTOGRAPHY. Much of commercial practice lives there. But you will seldom see it practiced on recreational sites such as this.
Good straight photography has challenges that many find insurmountable and so they opt for trying to make a dud shot into something of merit by playing with sliders and plug-ins and considering it accomplishment.
The process starts with thinking about a subject: thinking about its properties, thinking about its appeal, and thinking about what it is that you want to say about it. Photography is, after all, a communication.
In the process of shooting for my daily bread I have something of a brief to work to. JUst yesterday (Sunday) I had to go to the clubhouse of an outlaw motorcycle club and shoot a customised bike for the cover and centre feature of a magazine. Digital shooting is a commercial necessity: the quality never matches what we did with film on these shoots, but importance of the economics these days for outweighs any concerns with quality. That said, what remains a constant is to see the subject faithfully rendered with the clarity to allow the readers to see and evaluate all the modifications from both a mechanical and an aesthetic viewpoint irrespective of the medium. An overlay of my ego through manipulation and trickery on the pictures is just as much an unnecessary and irrelevant veiling of the required message today as it was back 29 years ago when I started shooting for the magazine.
In addition to my commercial calling I also strongly pursue a recreational involvement with photography and this happens entirely with film ..... invariably in black & white. My recreational photography is perhaps even more stringently devoid of trickery than my commercial antics. I suspect that I am primarily a MODERNIST with sympathies to some aspects of POST-MODERNISM. I vacillate between the two but generally favouring a style of objectivity and so there exists an absence of desire for altering or shrouding the thing being focussed upon.
Just as in the days of the wet-darkroom, there are those who love what used to be called 'special effects' and now seems to go by the simple epithet of 'editing'. I remember attending a seminar with John Sexton, a former assistant to Ansel Adams, at which he presented a slide-show spanning his career from a callow youth to the present day (1994). He showed a highly stylised picture of a pair of seagulls and said that when he did it he thought it was better than button-up boots. The truth was, however, that is was a shallow, stupid bad picture. Sexton explained that in retrospect what the image really conveyed was that he had not yet learned how to make a good picture and so had relied on other impact in an attempt to give justification and draw attention.
In a way, I sort of compare the current situation with post-processing excesses with the stage of music when the synthesiser had just been invented. It went through a pretty outlandish time before settling into something usefully transparent that enhanced the motif rather than overwhelming it. I wonder how much longer it will be before the same levels of finesse are attained in recreational photography?
One of the things that sets Doug (above) apart is that he has a sophisticated and confident vision. He finds great images in the world around him. He then applies whatever post-processing he feels will strengthen his vision. As yet I have not witnessed him shooting crap and turning it into a plug-in fest. Others aren't blessed with his vision and so they don't find that same strength of imagery in the world and so they flounder about trying to build a castle out of shit. It has never worked, and it will never work.