Rosario Civello of Italy is presented as the "Discovery of the Year" at something called the Neutral Density Photography Awards for 2016, about which I know nothing. This beautiful thing earned a prize of $1,300.
Funny, though...it used to be that if a photograph looked like nothing I had ever seen before, that was a point in its favor. Now, it just makes me suspect that it might be manipulated. I have to say this looks like a Photoshop creation to me. (I've invited the photographer to comment.) But I don't know, and does it matter? A cursory look around the ND website reveals no rules about manipulation. Either way, it's still an interesting idea and good to look at. Second-guessing the veracity of artistic creations is like guessing if someone colors their hair: these days it just doesn't matter to anyone.
Here's his website.
(Thanks to Hernan Zenteno)
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Fulvio Senore: "It might be a real thing. It looks like a ski slope cut in a beech wood. Beeches grow at lower altitudes so usually there are no ski slopes in those woods. I live near the Alps and our slopes cut fir woods or they are above the trees. I suspect that in central Italy, where mountains have much lower altitudes, many slopes cut beech woods."
ShadZee: "Wow...I love his style. As we've discussed here (too many times), it's artistic expression, and he's got talent and expresses his vision very creatively."
Roger Overall: "Something odd happened to me when I saw this photograph. My first reaction was, 'That's wonderful. How well observed and executed. A marvel.' Then I read your comment that you suspected it was manipulated on a computer. Immediately, my impression of the photograph changed. 'Meh. Nothing special here.' Bonkers! Without any evidence, my opinion changed. The mere suggestion that it might be manipulated photograph was enough for my high opinion of it to come clattering down around my feet. Let's face it, manipulated or not, it's still a very striking and beautiful image—the product of a good deal of creative talent. Maybe my disappointment stems from my hasty assumption at first glance that it was a photograph. If I'd known from the outset it wasn't, maybe I'd still gaze upon it in wonder. 'What a clever thing to imagine and create,' I would say. Silly me for assuming it was a photograph. Much better to appreciate it as an image, without basing its value on how it was created? Or does that undermine the fundamental enjoyment of appreciating a photograph: that it is, in fact, a photograph? Oh dear. I seem to be digging quite a hole."
Mike replies: I think what you describe is a big part of looking at photographs now—namely, that you don't know exactly what you're looking at. It's similar to the confusions between news and propaganda—which exactly are you listening to? My 12-year-old niece mentioned in passing (when she was 11) that she assumes all photographs are manipulated. Maybe that solves the issue.
Curiously, I noticed this phenomenon first because I realized that I know exactly what is happening in one person's photographs—my own. With mine, I know what's up. With other peoples', I have to wonder.
I need to work on just accepting the possibility of manipulation and incorporating it non-judgmentally into my assumptions when I look at pictures.
Jim Bullard: "From the 'About' page on his site (which includes the above image): 'these are not abstract constructions but photographs of actual places and objects.' It appears to me to be a photo looking down a mountainside in winter. I did not take it as a construction or 'Photoshopped' when I first saw it except that he has clearly heightened the contrast to the extreme."
Nick Hunt: "Yes, this is fabricated, or a montage—there are duplicate tree groups in the top and bottom halves, above and below the treeless middle part. For me, this means I am somehow less delighted by the image, while still admiring the craft technique and imagination involved."
[Ed. Note: Jim's and Nick's comments came in one after the other, in the above order. Together they do seem to illustrate Roger's and my point just above that.]
John Camp: "I don't like manipulated photographs and the more that manipulated photos appear to be not-manipulated, the less I like them. Most manipulated photos are simply inane, but some are not. And usually, those take their power from their closeness to reality, and through the photographer's willingness for people to believe they are real. In other words, they are usually dishonest. And when the photographer (graphic artist would be a better word) is honest, and tells us the photo isn't real, my interest usually falls precipitously."
TBannor: "The problem with the cloning is once you see it, you can't unsee it."