Critiques Mean Little In Art

Critiques Mean Little In Art

In the past few months I have spent a lot of time soul searching. I have watched countless videos on YouTube of various Landscape photographers and viewed their works online. I have listened to a variety of Podcasts about photography. One common theme I seem to come across is many of these professionals are often critical of others work that is not like theirs. They tend to hide behind the guise they are professionals and everyone should listen and do what they do. I would not argue that they are successful but so are others who develop a different style.

They talk about what people do to their images and point out they are processed incorrectly. The saturation, HDR and many other methods of post processing they are doing wrong. After watching and listening to them talk about it, as if it is so bad, I began to have a lot of self doubt about my own work because it was not like theirs. I like my images and I like color and still look at high dynamic range images as what I like the most.

I process the majority of my images in HDR and try not to “overcook” them as they say. The landscapes I photograph do not look right to my eyes, when processed as an individual image, nor does it look as how I remembered seeing it. With HDR it is more close to how I remember seeing it.

I see other photographers processing their images by masking and dodging and burning, basically adding light and shadows where there was not as much as they liked. This is also altering from the reality they say they portray. I have no problem with what they do and actually like the images. But what works for them is not what works for others.

Recently I even heard photographers making crap of images they see. I have to wonder about their reasons for doing this and why they just can’t accept those images as another view of how they see the world. I came to the conclusion that their work is good but then so is mine and I have had success this past year selling many of my images and in having them published. Some of these photographers are trying to sell photo workshops and they sell their style as the preferred way of doing things. They sell these shops to people wanting to shoot like they do and in essence they become a clone of them. They are missing out on their own journey

I have no problem with them trying to make a living as we all need money and lets face it as landscape photographers it is hard to make money by just selling prints. I very much doubt I would ever hold a workshop to teach others or would I ever sign up for one. I want to make my own way in photography and develop my own style in my own way. I have learned to trust my own instincts and intuition. I do not profess to have the best photography nor do I tell anyone they need to do it this way or else it is not good.

This is what I have found to be fulfilling for me and what I enjoy presenting to others. It is my view of the landscapes I have visited. Who is to say what is right or wrong. Many past artists, photographers included, pushed the acceptable limits of their time. They pressed on no matter the voices telling them they were wrong. The definition of limit is “a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.” Limits choke and restrain creativity and with them all works would be the same. Want to really succeed in photography? Go beyond the acceptable limits and see where it leads.

And my message to the critical people who want rules imposed on all, be a little more tolerant of opposing views and less critical of their work. This will have a lasting impression more than the way it has been done recently. Critique crooked horizons and maybe focus and blown highlights, you know, the more basic things that beginners may struggle with. It may not be how you would have took it or processed it and that is fine because it is art, stop trying to clone others into yourself.

Spooky Woodlands

Spooky Woodlands

WKW Park

The last couple of weekends I have spent a lot of time walking the woodland areas near where I live. This scene caught my eye and I setup the tripod to capture it. I did not like the color version and opted to make it monochrome to give it a much moodier look. That did it and it looks like something from the Blair Witch Project movie set.

I liked the large tree with the dark hole and the v-shape made by the two trees that tried to grow next to it. One is still alive the other died for whatever the reason. I enjoy the peace and solitude of walking through the woods and spring time the floor is just beginning to green. In a short few weeks deadfall will be hard to see.

Land of Gnomes and Fairies
Moss Covered

Venture out in the woods during spring and capture the spring greens growing from the fallen giants of the past.

Why Do I do it?

Why Do I do it?

Been a long long time since I added anything to my Blog. I had a wonderful fall capturing scenes from the Loess Hills in western Iowa. Winter this year has been brutal for cold and snow and it seems like every weekend has had weather that does not do well for light. And during this time from January on I have been in a bit of a rut photography wise and have spent hours self evaluating my work and the direction I would like it to go.

I have watched countless YouTube videos with the photographers I admire the most, Thomas Heaton, Adam Gibbs, Nick Page and Gavin Hardcastle. These guys have some great videos to learn from and many are entertaining. Do I aspire to be like them? To a degree maybe. But during this time I have determined I am happy with where I am at and where I am heading. Be happy in your work and enjoy what you do. Be creative and shoot what you like and process in your own style.

Nick Page said it best in this video.

July 4th Fireworks

July 4th Fireworks

I did not see actual fireworks this year and have not seen any for the past 10 years due to my day job hours but on the morning of the 4th I saw natures fireworks in a sunrise filled with rays of light projecting from morning clouds.  These are my favorite sunrises to capture and this image surpassed my greatest expectations.

I post it on Iowa Through The Lens   and have got more likes than any other image I have shared on that group.  1600 views is a large number of likes and is one of the largest counts I have witnessed on there.  I must be doing something right.  Below is the image I captured, it is a three shot HDR processed in Machinery HDR in raw format and lightly processed in Corel Paintshop Pro after.

Chadron State Park

Chadron State Park

What is not to love about Northwestern Nebraska.  In this view I hiked to the high points of the first state park in Nebraska and boy oh boy what views could be had.  It is about as green as it will ever be as the semi-arid region had 10 inches of rain the past month.  This morning I went out there was a heavy fog in the air and by the time I got to the park it was beginning to clear.  This shot is one of many I took while there that morning.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Another place I fell in love with for photography is Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota.  The opportunities for captures there are never ending.  Rugged beauty of a forgiving and harsh place.