The difference between art, photography and photographic art

If you have been part of the photography Community any time in the last 5+ years then you are definitely familiar with Brooke Shaden’s work. She became very popular in a seemingly short amount of time with her unique style of Photography which quickly developed into workshops that she lead.

So I thought this video from her ‘Promoting Passion’ series, was particularly interesting because it really shows the extent to which an image can be and is manipulated and how much the image is actually constructed. So when you look at it, you really see that it’s a work of art and not something based necessarily on an exact representation.

And I think that’s really important particularly for the general population to be aware of. But not just in this instance where it is specifically a piece of artwork where when you look at the finished product you can tell it is obviously a piece of artwork, because you know in reality, a girl didn’t just paint a swath of red across the sky. So you can discern that there is creative license taken with this image. But I think what happens, is when it comes to images of celebrities, or instagram selfie queens, etc., people (though I do think we’re becoming more aware now) need to continue to be aware that images you see daily in media are very manipulated and don’t always tell you the truth of the situation.
And I suppose there’s not anything hugely inherently wrong with that if it is well known fact but at the same time if you are looking images that really drastically change how someone looks like in person to what they look like on the screen, I think there is a problem with that. Because as a regular person you are attempting to attain that as your goal and it’s something that you will never attain. You will never look like that in pictures because the pictures you see are photo-shopped. Nobody looks that good like that. And these are just the simple things, like when you’re sitting down in a chair and you get a photo taken of yourself. And you might look at the photo and think, ‘oh my gosh – there’s a roll here, and there’s something sticking out there’ and you’re just like, ‘wow I just don’t look good. And then you look at a model who’s doing the same thing but looks amazing. The thing to note, is that if you see the original image of the models photo, they also have rolls and things sticking out. But it’s been cleaned up in the final image. Those are the little things that the average person just doesn’t see and doesn’t always realize.

As a photographer (particularly a lazy photographer), I really would love to be able to take images and not do anything to them at all. Like literally shoot and apart from adjusting for exposure in post, not change anything else. The problem with that is that when you are shooting digitally it (can) capture in such definition, that it almost brings out more than what the naked eye see. So when I take a shot with my digital camera and I’m looking at it later on my screen, I’m seeing way more than what I really noticed when I was looking at that person in real life. So my current editing style is, I just attempt to bring that image to look like how that person looked to me when I was standing in front of them and not taking it any further. Also, I typically shoot on a wide aperture (1.8 to 2) and that really helps with ‘softening the edges’ and allows for me to less in post. My goal is to keep it as simple as that, because I think what happens is when you look at a flat photographic image you see way more things. You’re looking at all these details and you’re looking with different eyes then when you look at somebody and you’re speaking to them in person. When you’re engaging with them, you don’t see all that. You don’t take note of all the ‘flaws’. So there is a dichotomy between real life and a digital image. Now the other route would be to go to an all film format and while you can still do some editing in film (you can absolutely scan your image images after they’ve been printed and then you could edit them), really I don’t think there’d be that much point. I think most film shooters probably just adjust for colortone but that would be it. I feel like film is a lot more like seeing the way our eyes see. It would be the way to shoot and not have to worry about anything and getting an image that is closer to reality in a way. It’s something I would like to do.
That I’ve thought of doing, but wow, it is a tough deal to limit yourself to 12 or 24 or 36 or even 72 images when the digital realm offers you 300 and more…

And because photos make things better…

Click through ON the image below to view the un-edited, straight outta camera image and tell me what you think.
I do have to see this might not be the best example because Amanda [click for her instagram] does look that good in-person, being that health and nutritious eating, fitness and beauty are things she’s passionate about.

Amanda | Canon 5DMkII 50mm, iso 200, 1/160, softbox with speedlight into v-flat

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