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Messages - Orangutan

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1
What concocted fables?  I'm not familiar with his career, but I didn't see that in the NY Times article.  The price of the Phantom print does sound unbelievable.  But I wouldn't claim it's a "stunt" without some proof that is.

What outright lies about the origins of the moon photo?  Again, I'm not familiar with his career and didn't see this in the NY Times article.

This will get you started on the moon photo.  The tl;dr is that he claimed it was a single frame, but that's physically impossible for several reasons.  http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=3084.0

Due to the fickle nature of the valuation of art works, it's common practice (so I hear, no personal experience) for a person considering an expensive work to hire one or more experts to evaluate the purchase.  They might hire an academic art historian and an art appraiser, etc.  They'll want to know things like: is it real or counterfeit (e.g. for a painting by a big name), has it been "repaired?" Would it be considered artistically interesting by art scholars?  Is it likely to hold value?  etc.  From what little I've read about his work, the answers to important questions would come back resoundingly negative.  A sane rich person is not going to drop $6million on a pretty, wall-sized postcard.  I want to be clear: if I'd done some of these photos I'd be rather pleased with myself, but I've seen as good or better done by many other photographers.  It's not bad stuff (depending on the individual piece and your tastes) but it's VASTLY overpriced compared to what's out there.   All considered, 6mil is far outside the realm of believable for a legitimate sale: the burden of proof should be on PL to substantiate the claim.  Not that I really care, but my assumption is that he sold it to himself, possibly using shell companies, for the publicity.

Take this for what it's worth, it's just my opinion mixed with hearsay.

2

The difference is that one is an abundant, naturally-occurring mineral that's been made rare by unethical (ahem!) means, and the other is rare because the creator of the work chooses limited distribution.  Copyright vs. cartel.  One is legitimate, the other is not.

Legitimate it is.  So why are people criticizing him for making his work artificially rare?  He makes his prints in editions of 995, which is not especially rare, and yet he gets criticized for this.  The art world has a long history of limited editions, in prints, photography, etc.  Most paintings exist as singles.  Artificial scarcity is the name of the game.  Otherwise Ansel Adams would have been knocking out millions of Moonrises, and Van Gogh would have painted a fresh copy of Starry Night every morning and another every afternoon.

I don't think that was the primary criticism: most of the criticism appears to be directed at his habit of concocting  fables about himself and his work.  The unbelievably high trumpeted sales price on the one print, and the outright lies about the origins of the one moon photo are laughable. Stunts like these not only call his integrity into question, but risk side-effects for ethical photographers.

3
Buy what you like and hang it on your wall. Don't get caught up in the imperial "art market":
+1

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the emperor has no clothes, and never has. Just ask Andy Warhol.
+10  I never thought much of his work, but he was quite the marketer.

4
Look at Diamonds...artificially made to be RARE.

Much of the art ever made was artificially made to be rare.  Photographs can be mass-produced in unlimited quantities, or they can be produced in limited editions.  Either way is valid, and neither way is dishonest.

The difference is that one is an abundant, naturally-occurring mineral that's been made rare by unethical (ahem!) means, and the other is rare because the creator of the work chooses limited distribution.  Copyright vs. cartel.  One is legitimate, the other is not.

5
"Lik has quietly managed to turn himself into the Thomas Kinkade of photography, selling pretty, pleasing, banal images that are wildly popular with a certain class of inexperienced collectors, but are barely recognized by the art establishment. "

As a photographer I would wear that critique like a badge of honor.  Somehow, starting in the mid 20th century, anything that's "pretty and pleasing" was not art, and is the subject of scorn.  In fact, if you want to get into a NY Art photo today, ugly and grotesque is the key.   If I can sell my prints by the thousands to the ignorant masses who never went to art school or read the NY Times art critic, I'd consider myself a success.

It's entirely OK to have pretty and pleasing photos on your walls, I do.  The problem with Lik is that his work is not distinguishable from the work of thousands of amateurs on Flickr or other portfolio sites.  There's nothing to justify the inflated price.  He's got solid technical skill as a photographer, but tremendous skills in marketing.

6
I don't know who was fool enough to pay 6 million for a photo.

This was previously discussed.  My personal opinion is that his left hand bought it from his right hand.  Or perhaps his cat bought it from him and gave it to the dog as a birthday present.

7
"It's morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money." - W. C. Fields
I certainly disagree with that!  We're all suckers, only the subject-matter of our sucker-ness differs from person to person.

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If he can get people to buy his photographs and he is not misrepresenting anything, more power to him.

This part seems to be in doubt.  Misrepresentation can include omission of important information.

8
EOS Bodies / Re: The State of the Camera Industry in 2014
« on: February 28, 2015, 10:26:29 AM »
I wonder if that is enough to lead to a pink 5DIV?   ;)

      It doesn't matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.

9
EOS Bodies / Re: The State of the Camera Industry in 2014
« on: February 28, 2015, 09:21:00 AM »
Interesting.  If I'm reading this correctly there seem to be several lessons: (1) Canon did a pretty good job predicting the actual mirrorless market -- strong demand isn't there yet; (2) Future models may be developed with Asia in mind rather than North America or Europe because that's where the potential growth exists;(3)There's potential for a lot of lens demand in Asia if the economic recovery continues;(4) We can expect stronger efforts to separate dedicated cameras (both compact and DSLR/MILC) from phone cameras;(5)We can expect stronger efforts to improve the camera modules in phones.

Competition is good.

10
Photography Technique / Re: Game Ranches for photography
« on: February 27, 2015, 02:01:53 PM »
Personally, I do not think that I have to explain that these chickadees have been baited into a spot where it is possible to take a reasonably close picture of them.....

Nor do you have to apologize for tampering with their natural life cycle because neither the species nor the individuals are in appreciably greater danger, and there are plenty of them in the wild.

11
Photography Technique / Re: Game Ranches for photography
« on: February 27, 2015, 11:32:23 AM »
Game farms have a real use.  I don't want 100s or 1000s of people out in the wilds stressing animals, perhaps causing them to abandon their young.  No picture is worth the animal's life (or yours - but you can control the latter in most cases).

There is a fine line between game farms and animals that are free but are regularly feed/protected or baited.  How do you honestly label the latter?
I agree and unless they are abusing the animals, its gives far more people the opportunity to see/photograph animals than would be possible or responsible to do in the wild.  It's the captioning that is important, at least to me.  I don't think people would think any less of a photo if they knew it was at a game farm upfront, but I think they would be very disappointed if I tried to pass one off as wild and they found out I was lying.

The whole attractant thing is another matter.  If it's a man-made watering hole or a bird feeder that supplements natural food and water sources, I don't think that's a huge deal, but if people use bait, or game calls, that's going too far, IMHO.  It may take animals away from doing activities they need to survive, teach them to become dependent on humans, or in the case of large predators, teach them associate humans with food.  Note, that is humans=food, not humans=creatures who feed us. 

Finally, if it were me, I would caption a photo of a bird, even if the feeder wasn't in the frame, something like "Blue jay visiting my backyard bird feeder".

++Agree

12
Photography Technique / Re: Game Ranches for photography
« on: February 27, 2015, 11:18:56 AM »
If a publisher / forum has rules  about labeling then of course they need to be followed.
Forums which impose strict rules will lose traffic, unless all forums impose these rules.  It's a perverse incentive.

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If they ask, I tell the back story.
Why do you wait for them to ask?

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I don't want 100s or 1000s of people out in the wilds stressing animals, perhaps causing them to abandon their young.  No picture is worth the animal's life (or yours - but you can control the latter in most cases).
Absolutely agree with this statement, but not your conclusion.  My conclusion is that photographers should neither stress wild animals nor fail to label their photographs.  In general, photographers should not value their own photography over the health/safety/well-being of their subjects.  For animals that are stressed by close proximity to humans, close-up photos should be taken by the scientists studying them, not by photographers.

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There is a fine line between game farms and animals that are free but are regularly feed/protected or baited.  How do you honestly label the latter?

Label: "Photo of habituated grizzly bear near xxx river in Alaska."

13
Photography Technique / Re: Does this photo work?
« on: February 27, 2015, 10:13:07 AM »
sanj,

The photo almost works for me.  I don't have time to try right now, but I'd see if adding just a bit more blur would help.  That would make it less realistic and more impressionistic, which (I think) might work well for the color boost.

Just musings, not criticism.

14
Photography Technique / Re: Game Ranches for photography
« on: February 27, 2015, 10:08:50 AM »
Thanks for posting this link.  A year or two ago we had a similar debate here, I believe it centered on the famous "impossible" Peter Lik photo.  There were several people who argued vehemently that a photo stands on its own, that its origin is irrelevant.  They argued that aesthetic value was the only thing that mattered, and that origin, whether it was a composite, fauxtoshopped, etc, were irrelevant unless a person explicitly claimed the photo was a work of journalism or science. Bollocks to that!

Key question in my mind is what is claimed.  If nothing is claimed and the viewer assumes something, then the viewer needs to own their own bias.  One could say that by not labeling the photographer is leaving out critical information but how much labeling is required.

Game farm and zoo / wild park animals are clear.  Their own food source is their handler.  What about habituated animals - wild animals that come to our feeders?  Should they be labeled?

In the end IMO the photographer should not lie but also the viewer should ask if the issue is important to them.  If the picture is "art" or simply illustrative then it probably does not matter.

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viewer needs to own their own bias

It's more important that the photographer own her/his own bias: the photographer has access to information about the construction of the image that's simply not available to the viewer.  While I agree that humans should be skeptical, critical and thoughtful about everything, not just photographs, it's better for the photographic community to label honestly than to expect caveat videtor to rule.  Otherwise we descend into a situation as has happened with Internet forums: you just assume it's all false unless proven otherwise.

An honestly labeled photograph will stand out in today's environment; the days of a presumed tacit agreement between photographer and viewer are going away.
 

15
Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Lightroom 6 Coming March 9
« on: February 25, 2015, 12:36:18 PM »
I see the combined needs of all photographer users still as a comparatively small subset of the full PS gamut.

How do you figure that?  The only parts of PS that seem truly unrelated to the "photographer" would be the press-related components, e.g. CMYK support.  Even compositing is used (in legitimate ways) by many photographers these days.  Can you provide some examples of features of PS that photographers definitely don't need?

Any image where you start from a blank canvas (instead of photographic capture/s) and all steps involved to create them. Don't ask me what those are in detail, i've never done it. But the graphics experts i know all contend it is quite a bit. :-)

Anything the graphics experts can do to a canvas without a photo, a photographer can do to a canvas with a photo.  It sounds like what you really mean is not so much "needs of all photographers" but what's needed to process a photo (including multi-exposure images) into an end-product that would be called a "photographic work" rather than a "graphic" work.  I guess that could be legitimate, but I think there's a lot of cross-over of photographers who do a wee bit of graphic design, and graphic designers who do a wee bit of photography.

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