Black crowned night heron © Robert Sommers 2023

Sunday, September 11, 2016


I have been quite flattered with the positive response to my recent surf photography.

Haven't done that much of it but it is a lot of fun and I look forward to doing more in the future. More waves, better pictures...

I posted some shots on DPReview and got several comments on how I should do this or that to alter them.

Like most people I love to give but hate to get criticism.

So I wrote this little screed, which was quickly taken down and redirected to Siberia by a moderator, for some real or imagined sin:

On Post Processing

You know it is funny. I have been involved in digital photography since the 1970's, during the time of dos. Before there were software packages like Photoshop, In the nascent era of the craft, I sometimes was forced to invent methods to digitally manipulate slides. Because pre Corel, there was simply nothing out there. Then with the rise of GUI interfaces a few elementary paint programs finally came on the market but they were extremely primitive in the beginning.
Telling people how to post produce their pictures is like telling a person the proper way to sleep with their spouse. We don't really care how you do it, most of us are happy to do it our way and furthermore it's none of your business.
Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. We live in a world where everything is supposed to pop. But some days are gray, sometimes reality doesn't pop. Is it a sin to go down the path of aesthetic verité and present things as close as you can approximate to how things actually look to you in the real world?
Of course we live in a world where photos can now be de-hazed, saturated and vibranced until they rattle off the shelf like radioactive Kewpie dolls. And we have all done it. But there also comes a time when an artist might see the value in verisimilitude and is content to have their creations fall in line with what they actually perceive.
So we certainly don't have to go down the path of super attenuation and our pictures don't have to look like everybody else's.
Criticism is fine and when one is posting images on a public forum one has to expect that there are people out there who want to legitimately help and have their own opinions. But keep in mind, many of us are happy with our work just the way it is.
Robert Sommers

I think that everybody should do whatever the hell they like with their artistic creations. If you want to boost, stretch or manipulate, have at it. If you are a literalist or representationalist, good on you too. LMTFA.


Ken Seals said...

Just do whatever the hell you like. Critics will do the same.

Anonymous said...

A very articulate way of saying that you gave 0 fucks about criticism that day.

Anonymous said...

too thin skinned.......

Max Hall said...

Nice floater shot on your cover photo above.

Blue Heron said...

She is a very good surfer, very aggressive.

Jon Harwood said...

Everyone on the web is posting over processed stuff that looks like it came from another planet. Such things looked good in the film era when they were rare and unique. Now there is some invisible aesthetic dictator insisting that everyone do the same thing OR ELSE. Screw it. I like my images to look like they came from Earth are of a scene that might have been viewed by a human. That doesn't mean the camera tells the truth, mine lies constantly but it does so in a way that might just have some subtlety. Besides Kinked already locked down the "painter of light" bullshit.

Sanoguy said...

Does this mean you won't be jamming me anymore for over saturating?

Blue Heron said...

No Mike, that's different. You're family.

Sanoguy said...

Am I in the will?