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Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 09:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am disappointed. Or am I just jaded?

No offense, friends, but with a few notable exceptions, the glamour pictures I've seen lately are, well, trite and unimpressive. Even some that used to impress me are making me shrug and say, "Eh, seen it."

Some are technically broken. Some are artistically flawed. Some are stuck in the 80s. Some have unattractive models. Some have attractive models photographed unattractively. Some suffer from "glorifed GWC" syndrome.

And it isn't just here. This is not an blanket insult/criticism of GG. I am noticing it everywhere!

I was looking through Playboy recently, arguably the benchmark of modern glamour photography, and I kept thinking, "Where is the new talent? Where is the photographic creativity? Where is the 'next wave'? Why, oh why, must this month's centerfold look exactly like one shot 20 years ago?"

I understand the importance of a "style", especially if you depend on your style to pay your rent, buy your groceries, and put shoes on your kids, but for those who play in the "garage", we should be tweaking the engines more. My personal work suffers the same stagnation. My book is decent. I get acceptable oooos and ahhhs when laymen flip thru it, but it sure as hell wouldn't impress my peers (I know it left a few of you thuddingly unimpressed at HTL last year).

I had a no-show on Sunday, and as I have thought about that no-show and this post, I realize that, had she shown up, I would have done more of the same I've been doing for too long. Nothing new - nothing daring - nothing innovative. I make the excuse that I want to have a strong foundation in the basics before I push out, but that's bull****. I have grown complacent. I know I can produce a passingly good image of an attractive subject against white or black seamless in my studio, and I have rested on that.

I have some out-of-the-box ideas (I actually have one in-the-box idea that could be interesting if I can execute it properly), but instead of taking advantage of those times when I have an attractive subject to push, I stay where it is comfortable and relatively easy.

Perhaps that's the problem I am seeing - too much comfort. The studio is comfortable. The beach is comfortable. The garage is comfortable. That's one reason I am nuts for Tim Dolph's work. He pushes beyond comfortable - for himself, his models, and for his viewers (who can forget his Nazi babes shot?).

If everyone went the way of Tim, or one of my other current faves Octavio, then we'd have another trite and over-done style. Thankfully, I think it will be a long time before I tire of them. I think they have jazzed up and made modern a very time-honored and classical style. The photographers I find inspiring and impressive are re-interpreting Bunny Yeager and Peter Gowland.

Time to get back to work - and back to thinking outside of the box.
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Re: Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 10:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm... I think I know where you're coming from..

It seems that "more cloths" are being worn,.. the feature of the picture seems to be the stylist, and the hair & mua.. rather than the model looking like she's having a good time looking sexy...instead, she is looking like she's doped up on some needle pooping drugs,..and in some downtrodden state..

Oh wait,....sorry.... that's modern fashion... what am I thinking.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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Re: Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 11:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This is the main reason I've lost interest off and on. I get tired of the same thing over and over. Mediocre (at best) images being praised for being so bloody awesome. Whatever! Less than attractive models being praised as the most beautiful thing on earth gets irritating after a while as well. Sure everyone has preferences and everyone sees beauty differently but come on, there are acceptable, unspoken, culturally agreed upon standards of beauty that everyone can agree to.

One problem I've noticed on my end of things is that many photographers mistake a model's personality for her beauty. I don't care how wonderful a model is personally, if she's not photogenic I don't want her in front of my camera. This is a hard thing to analyze and to disassociate yourself rom but it must be done! Don't shoot a model just because she's the sweetest girl you've ever met. Shoot her because she really does have a strong look that could sell well.

I stopped shooting for the last six months to a year because I was tired of mediocre models who had nothing to offer but a bubbly personality (if I was lucky!) Now, I'm going to try the hard core approach. If I don't feel "it" with someone, I won't shoot them unless they're paying me. I haven't felt "it" in years so I'm looking forward to actually making money this time around!

Anyway, I'm loosing my train of thought so I should go do something else for a while.

Cheers!
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Re: Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 12:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it's important to remember that on GG and other internet photography sites, many if not the majority of the images posted are by amatures. They are just learning and for them the tired glamour lighting is new.

Heck it's new for me. I shot really my first glamour stuff two weekends ago. Before that most of what I've shot would be called fashion if you had to put it in a category.

And attempting to reproduce this stuff is how you learn. I'm getting better at seeing an image and knowing I can reproduce that lighting. Once I'm able to do that in a number of settings, I'll be better able to produce stuff that is orginal.

Sometimes I think our attempts to be "orginal" are chasing our tail. "There is nothing new under the sun" was written 3000 years ago.
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I agree...
Old 02-23-2006, 12:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Stan Shutze

Friend of mine in San Diego you may enjoy. Unlike many images here, and his studio is his bedroom!

-Jim
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Re: Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 01:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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where photography is concerned, and i'm speaking directly to the genre of glamour photography, i can't think of another artistic craft that requires making as many concessions to commerce if the artist wants to make a living from their art. if artists like dolph and octavio are making a good living shooting glamour without ever sacrificing their personal visions, my hat is tipped to them.

if i were just starting out, i'd be shooting equal amounts of "out of the box" stuff, as well as images that are much like much of what i see commercially, i.e., well within the box. this is how you get noticed. if something about the style in which those images are shot catches the eyes of the people who might pay you to shoot, that's great. more often than not, though, someone who gets noticed for their personal style and vision, as well as their abilities to capture commercially viable images, will, once they join the rank and file of working photographers, find themselves needing to make concessions to their clients in order to make a living from their art/craft. this is how, for the most part, the ****t works.

you used "playboy" as an example. and it's a good example. "playboy" has a specific and proven formula. and that formula includes what kinds of models will go in front of their cameras and how those models are lit, shot, and presented. they don't deviate much from that. they know what sells (for them) and since they're in business to make money, they're going to continue to shoot and publish what sells whether eselby or jimmyd or anyone else thinks those images are trite and commonplace.

when clients send me models to shoot, I don't call the client up and tell them this girl ain't all that and I'm not going to shoot her. at least, if i want to get paid and continue to get paid by this or that client i don't. those same clients also have expectations of what kinds of images i'll shoot which often means in front of a seamless and lit and posed a certain way, in other words, they have graphic design requirements that i must fullfill. again, if i'm unwilling to do that, i might be artistically true to myself but i might also not be able to pay the rent the following month.

i guess it's all about what you hope to accomplish with your photography. if my eyes were set on becoming notable as an artist regardless of what that meant to my wallet, i might risk starving but i'd be shooting some very different sort of stuff. but i gotta tell you, if i were a wedding photographer, for instance, i don't think i'd do too well if i showed up at someone's wedding with some nazi SS hats and asked the bride and groom to wear them for their wedding portraits.

just my opinion here. i could be wrong.

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Re: Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 01:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Don't misunderestimate me [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] BELIEVE me, I appreciate the learning curve! I often think that I am still mid-way thru the beginning of it myself. But, hell, I can think of two beginners I watched go from "eh" images to images that always impress me - Dolph (again - yeah, I know, but I like his work!), and Dwayne Hills. Being a beginner is no excuse for "settling".

And as far as nothing new under the sun - I believe that. Everything old is new again. That's why we have music, literature, photographs, and other art forms that are "classic". The standard is set. The creative work with that standard and re-interpret it.

What was it Christian told me a while back? Ah yes, "If you keep doing what you do, you'll keep getting what you get." I am the first to admit guilt in that respect.
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Re: Unimpressed
Old 02-23-2006, 01:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Valid points, and I addressed your points in my original post:
[ QUOTE ]
I understand the importance of a "style", especially if you depend on your style to pay your rent, buy your groceries, and put shoes on your kids, but for those who play in the "garage", we should be tweaking the engines more.

[/ QUOTE ]
Tim doesn't make a living from his photography. Octavio, as I understand it, doesn't either. Sure, they may both put some extra coin in their pockets from their shoots, but...

I dunno - I think this is like ice cream. I used to love the stuff. But 25+ years ago, I worked in a Baskin Robbins. I haven't enjoyed ice cream nearly as much since (unless I make it myself).
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So. . .
Old 02-23-2006, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm guessing this is all rhetorical. There isn't an artist (if they are true artists) that don't wonder if they aren't missing something. My problem has always been that I couldn't reproduce those playboy images.
Even when I had models that I thought were PB quality they just didn't come out right. then somebody pointed out that they had a MUA and had a set designer and and then to top it off they were airbrushed. Well Duh. of course I couldn't repeat. And then somebody pointed out that after ten years the PB's seem to be repeating their self. I guess it's like sex there is only so many ways it can be done and most of those are throughly unsatisfactory.
So I quit worrying about doing what I couldn't and trying out stuff I could:



"Immelmann Turn" . . . Poser and Photoshop

Once I started looking at art I realised so much of the things artist do can be used in photography and vice versa. Lighting and composition being foremost in this. If you looked at Tim's page you will have seen a link to the Echo gallery that is chock full of references to various photographers and painters and everything in between. More of my stuff can be seen here: Stuff
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You must be new here....
Old 02-23-2006, 01:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
I know you aren't new, but as was pointed out to me in a private email, I post a version of this message at least once a year.
[ QUOTE ]
I'm guessing this is all rhetorical

[/ QUOTE ]
Yeah, I guess it is. More for me to say than for people to respond to...
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