In my previous post, I made a snide remark in the footnotes: “given the amount of positive reactions that highly saturated landscape photos and overcooked HDR images still get, there is clearly plenty of bad taste out there. :)”
I’ve added that smiley to make clear that I’m joking… and for what it’s worth, it’s only the photographers who get so obsessed about over-processed images, usually (as I’ve already said). But I feel that I should elaborate about this whole “taste” thing a little bit. <taking a deep breath>
There is no good taste or bad taste.
Of course not. But there probably is something like an “expert taste” and a “layman’s taste” (or an “educated” taste versus an “uneducated” taste, mind you I put these words in quotation marks, don’t take them literally).
When I was a boy I listened to pop music on the radio. I liked it (but everything was better back in ye olden days). As I grew older, I became interested in making music myself* (on the computer) and as I learned more about making music, I began to recognize how simple popular radio music was. And I became more interested in different kinds of music, from the complex compositions of progressive rock to the intriguing, multi-layered arrangements and sound wizardry of psychedelic trance, to the minimalistic essences of ambient.
I had gained an understanding of the process, and it had changed my taste. The majority of the population still listened to pop music on the radio though, and me and my friends would occasionally fret about how cheap it was. How could people be so dumb, and listen to that? It was the oenophile frowning at the folks drinking Two Buck Chuck. It was the gourmet frowning at fast food. And so on, and so on.
And the over-saturated landscapes and overcooked HDR images** are appealing to non-photographers because they don’t know the process. People who like these images don’t have bad taste. They simply can’t tell that it’s rather cheap to crank up the saturation and/or detail extraction in software. It’s only the photographers who get agitated about it though.
And while I’m comparing music with photography, there’s another similarity: in music, there was something going on that was called the “Loudness War” (Wikipedia). It was about mastering records with dynamic compression so much that they would sound louder, as a whole. I guess we’re seeing something similar in “pop” photography – the color war. When an endless stream of images scrolls by on social media, the “louder” ones stand out more. It’s the ages of principle of attention seeking.
Creatives of the world, get over it.
Popular things are often cheap and don’t appeal to those of us who have refined their tastes through dedication to a craft and art. And that’s all.
*) a creative outlet that I eventually gave up in favor of photography, but if you’re interested, have a look at my Bandcamp page.
**) I think it’s safe to say that a certain type of HDR, done well, even has become a technical style (like low-key or high-key).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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