One of my goals when I make and process photographs is to get a look that is identifiable as “deliberate manipulated” – it is not my primary goal of course, but with this approach, I want to avoid what I call the “fake realism” of today’s landscape photography, and set my photos apart from them. (with “fake realism”, I mean photos that are “sold” (or accepted) as real-looking, while they are actually the product of more or less heavy manipulation in one or the other way.)
But at the same time, this “deliberately manipulated” look has become a mass-product – thanks to dozens of “vintage” applications and filters for smartphones and desktop computers, as well as filters, plugins and develop presets for photo management and editing software. (Snapseed, Instagram, Hipstamatic, Retrocam, Color Efex, etc. etc.) This isn’t limited to any particular type of photography either: landscapes are presented in that look, just like portraits are.
Even a couple of years after Hipstamatic (the iPhone app that perhaps started this trend; I used it when I had an iPhone, back in Germany, in 2008 or 2009), the retro look of square-cropped, cross-processed, textured and heavily vignetted images doesn’t appear to grow old, and people do not seem to become tired of looking at it and enjoying it, either. Heck, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars!
In that regard, the above image was something like a test. While I normally spend a good amount of time on individually processing my photos, all I did with this one was to apply a square-crop and a preset that emulates Instagram’s “Kelvin” filter, plus some minor adjustments (that perhaps mimics Instagram’s one-click fix for lighting and contrast) …and the removal of dust spots. ;-)
I have no conclusions, and no definite results other than the image (which was quite well-received on both Google+ and Facebook) serves well as an illustration of a personal dilemma, and continuing challenge: on the one hand, I want my images to be identifiable as “deliberately manipulated”, on the other hand, this very look can be achieved by anyone, with a couple of finger-taps or mouse-clicks.
PS: the above image is not part of my “Taiwan” portfolio. A similar exposure that has not been “instagramed” is part of it, instead.Thanks for reading! You can stay up to date with my blogposts and subscribe via email (the subscription form opens in a new browser window/tab). It's easy as pie! :-)
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