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Friday, 11 October 2013


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Didn't you say a few weeks ago that there's a lot of conflicting information out there about nutrition, and that it was basically impossible to take any single study or book as gospel?

Okay, as long as you are on a restrained rant allow me to mention of another gimmick (one of my personal peeves): selective saturation, like a red rose in a black and white photo. Surely this must be one of the long-time overused photography gimmicks. I don't even want to think about what the literary equivalent would be as it makes my head hurt.

Mike wrote, "We'd rather eat an excessively rich diet loaded with salt, sugar, and fat, animal protein, and processed foods."

What constitutes processed? Peeling an apple? Cooking an egg? Grinding wheat into flour? It's a mystery to me.

[Processed food is any food that's been altered or modified from its traditional, raw, or unadulterated form by the addition of chemicals or preservatives. For instance processed meats include bologna and bacon, and Velveeta is a good example of processed cheese. In many countries, processed cheese cannot legally be referred to for commercial purposes using the word "cheese" alone. --Mike]

>> I went to watch a pool tournament last night, and one of the contestants was an extremely obese man.<<

He wasn't, perchance, from Minnesota?

One gimmick I loved at first and now is WAY overdone is HDR.
I know I am showing my age here, but I much prefer a photograph that simply says something rather than "LOOK AT ME!"

I wasn't going to link as you didn't, but I'd forgotten how good Sergey Larenkov's work was. He blurs old and new together and I find it very powerful (and tearful).
WW2 images, but not too harrowing.

best wishes phil

I'd like to coin a term: "Instant cliché".

[[One gimmick I loved at first and now is WAY overdone is HDR.]]

What's way overdone is way overdone HDR. I would bet good money that everyone who visits this website has seen HDR photographs and not known it.

If I can quote Dali: The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.

Pretty much mirrors my own feelings on rephotography, though I did see one that I really liked not too long ago:


There's motion, there's context, there's a genuine merging of times, and Black Flag are opening for the Ramones.

If I'm honest, I suspect that last bit matters more to me than the others...

And on three somewhat related notes:

1) Didn't you praise a series of photoshopped multi-generational portraits not too long ago?

2) What do you think of Chris Rauschenbergs slavish recreations of Atget's photos?

3) Or Brian Rose's revisitations of his own photos? (At least, I think it's Brian Rose--his website is broken, so I can't check.)

I have a friend who very carefully dropped historic landscapes into current ones to show the changes that took place in a valley where folks were displaced for a reservoir, not in China now but Massachusetts in the 1930's. Some thoughtful images resulted.
Given what you described, I'm tempted to speculate that your overweight pool player was not very good at the game.

I agree with Rob about HDR. Most of it is done really badly with all the sliders turned up to eleven.
I have seen some pictures where it was done subtly and had the caption not said they'd used a HDR technique to make the picture I'd never have guessed.

I nominate we describe the technique of blurring together old and new pictures as HTR (High Temporal Range).

I tend to think of gimmicks a little differently. Any technique can be a gimmick. It's a gimmick when it's used for its trendiness, or because it's fashionable, or because some editor likes to see a stuffed mouse in every scene, or whatever. It's not a gimmick if it serves to enhance and strengthen the point of the photograph, whatever that may be. If the photograph doesn't have a point, then it's a gimmick in its entirety. In another domain, those of us old enough to remember the early days of computer typesetting for the masses also remember the tasteless profusion of fonts, colors, sizes, etc. used simply because they were available, not because they made for good readability, or elegant design, or any other sane purpose. Most of the time, good type choices don't call attention to themselves. The reader should be grasping the words, sentences, and paragraphs, not marveling at baroque letter forms. The same principle applies to photography. if my first thought is "HDR", then it's a bad photograph. If my first thought is about the subject, then likely HDR has been used in a non-gimmicky way to enhance, not overshadow, the photographer's vision of the subject.

I'm a Brit who's been living in North America for the last five years and I've been struck by how many of the Americans I meet suffer from some kind of chronic illness or food allergy, way more than in Europe. It got me interested in the subject of the relationship between industrial scale food production and poor health.

Two documentary films I discovered should be seen by everyone in this part of the world,

Forks over Knives - http://www.forksoverknives.com
Genetic Roulette - http://geneticroulettemovie.com

Having seen the evidence presented in these films I decided to alter my diet significantly, reducing meat consumption in favour of vegetables, and avoiding processed foods and GMOs.

I'm also now of the opinion that I'm as likely to get the truth from the FDA on food matters as I am an honest answer on surveillance from James Clapper.

The good news is that it's in your own hands to significantly improve your own health - even reversing chronic medical conditions - and to vastly lower the risk of contracting the diseases that kill most Americans.

Recently this month, The Invisible Photographer, posted an article on something similar—not exactly what you spoke about—but along the same past/present idea. According to the text, a few Japanese photographers collaborated on a project to photograph "scenes of incidents reported in newspaper articles". These are Japan centric news items.

An idea from my previous post, if The Invisible Photographer and The Online Photographer were to ever collaborate on a project, that would be tip-top.

Hi Mike,
Looks like the internet ate my first post, which makes my addendum a bit odd...

It's difficult to fight several hundred million years of evolution whereby animals have adapted by preference to choose high-calorific foods which are normally in short supply in the wild, ie. fats and sugars: ditto salts and minerals which is why elephants will go deep into caves in search of salt;

I like photos-within-photos if done well, as it is a good way of showing that history is ongoing, and people also dig out and republish old photos.
Streetmuseum is an app for smart-phones which allows you to be on a street in London, hold up your phone, and see an old picture of that location.

best wishes phil

An interesting discussion. Michael Reichman has a companion piece of sorts over at Luminous Landscape today, " The Art of Fooling Around". I struggle with this all the time in my own photography and processing. I suspect that I also suffer from a lack of a proper education in the "Arts", and thus don't really know where my own feeble attempts lie in the art world, not from a quality standpoint, but in not knowing if I'm doing something that's already been beaten to death or actually is something fresh and perhaps new.

It could be worse, Mike, they could be colorizing the old picture and superimposing it on the new shot.

I did that too many years ago to want to go looking for the photos. I had collected a set of postcards (circa 1900) of the small town where I lived including one of our house (formerly the community school). I scanned the postcards and duplicated the viewpoints in new photos to blend the two in layers. The only one ever got around to was our house. Both my kids have a copy. It was fun, the postcards are out of copyright (and unharmed).

I have actually used the side-by-side comparison for a piece of artwork. Searching the bins of a used bookstore in Lake Placid NY I found a handcolored etching of an Adirondack view I had photographed from the same viewpoint some years before. I bought the etching, dug out the slide and made a print the same size as the etching and framed the two alike to be hung side-by-side.

Glad that you didn't illustrate the post.

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