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Thread: Photographing Icons

  1. #1
    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    Photographing Icons

    Recently I came across a social media post where several high profile photographers were lauding the efforts of another photographer who visited Iceland in his attempt to shoot non iconic locations.
    Clearly, I won't be naming names but the article that I followed through a facebook link had many images which I could best summarise by my thought process of 'why did you shoot that?' and 'that's s a pretty ordinary shot' or 'that shot really doesn't tell me this is Iceland".

    I found that the images on their own were just ordinary images (of an extraordinary country) that did not really speak of Iceland and were images I did not find evocative on their own . The whole context of the article was how that photographer was trying to come away without shooting the 'icons' of iceland and hence come away with something original and by inference , elevated above the masses of iconic shots now taken around Iceland. People have different agendas for photography but I personally feel that if I'm going to go all the way to Iceland, I'd want to photograph the magnificent icons and keep a few images for myself but overall, photographically, I would still want to keep a certain standard of image. The fact that the shots were not iconic, would have nothing to do with how pleased I was with a photographic outing. I was disappointed that this post tried to play on the sympathies of the audience by attempting to artificially elevate the standard of the images simply because they were not iconic shots. I was also surprised that noone had mentioned that the shots weren't that great either??

    I tried to phrase this in a blog post !

    https://everlookphotography.wordpres...ift-and-icons/
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  2. #2
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    D and M. What a clearly enunciated precis of what is increasingly patently wrong with social interaction.

    I hope these people were NOT bakers, lest their wares should turn out as half-baked as their ideas. Shots of icons
    or not, you can't dispose of the infant along with the waste from the ablutions. (OK, already said enough about such
    a non-starter of an idea.)
    CC, Image editing OK.

  3. #3
    Ausphotography Regular landyvlad's Avatar
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    Well that's it then.

    Put up the signs in Sydney - for the Opera house and Bridge NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED.

    That'll up the creativity level......
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by landyvlad View Post
    ...Put up the signs in Sydney - for the Opera house and Bridge NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED...
    Don't Wrry!

    Pretty soon there'll be...

    ...one for the birds!
    AU-Icon2lr.jpg

  5. #5
    Shore Crawler
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    haha I never thought of animals as icons!
    That's right, no lion shots from safaris please!
    Thanks for reading guys

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    I'll read your blog tomorrow but my initial reaction is why don't you join in and post some of your no doubt good photos of non-ionic Iceland? I'm presuming you have some and they may help show the lack of quality of others. (I think I know what I mean )

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    Shore Crawler
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    Mark , my point is that I went to Iceland to shoot the icons because that's what I wanted to do! If I shot non iconic stuff and its no good, then I'm not going to parade them as awesome simply because they were not iconic. I hope that explains what my initial message was
    [edit , sorry I didn't answer your question] - I think if I did what you suggested, that would come off as a personal attack and that's what I don't want to do with all the arguing currently going on in landscape photography openly! Besides, I don't think that highly of my non iconic shots anyway - they're more for personal records

    An example would be this :
    OK shot I think, but I'm not going on about how I didn't shoot the icon behind but instead, chose to shoot this more 'intimate' scene and by doing so , somehow elevating its status from OK shot to "OMG that's so original!"

    Last edited by Dylan & Marianne; 16-07-2015 at 12:54pm.

  8. #8
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I have to admit here that I'm not a fan of photography of icons .. that is photos of icons.
    Admittedly tho some people do provide some good takes of the same scene, so in that there is some interest.

    SHB, or Opera House .. or Eiffel Tower, Pizza .. etc .. seen them(so many times) .. had enough of them now.

    While I am guilty of having probably shot an icon of some type over these past years, for me it's more about the shot for my own sense of achievement(and usually don't share them, if I capture them).

    I'm more of a 'looking for the mundane' type of landscaper.
    it doesn't have to scream out Australian bush, or outback or whatever. I just look for interest in shapes/forms/patterns/etc as well as lighting and so forth.
    It doesn't bother me that no one else likes them, or appreciates them .. but to seek out icons is of no interest to me.
    I guess that If I can create an interesting image of some obscure location without any reference to it, and the viewer somehow manages the connection to the location, then I consider that shot successful.

    So I hear what you're saying Dylan.
    And having just read most of your current blog, I reckon I'm in agreement with you on most topics(definitely with exception to references of Taylor Swift music!!) photographic.

    LOL! you got me curious now as to who this non iconic photographer is, and the Fb interest created.

    (While I finally succumbed to creating a Fb account, my use is limited to maybe one or two views of it every month or so).

    ps. the second image in your blog looks remarkably the same as one I captured in the area some time back.
    (I'm now frantically going through this section of uncataloged archives to see if I can find them .. and tag them!)
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  9. #9
    Shore Crawler
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    lol arthur who could resist 'Taytay' :P
    The photographer has some amazing shots in his portfolio (non iconic) I just found it odd that he chose those particular ones for the blog - maybe to make more of a point?
    Messaged you about details of that shot
    Your approach is just as valid as anyone elses but what I don't see you doing is creating blog posts which glorify the shots simply for not being icons!

  10. #10
    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    When I spend the money to travel to the other side of the world I will photograph every icon I see. Maybe not particularly well but the reason I have travelled to that country is usually to see said icons. I can't imagine coming back from India without a shot of the Taj Mahal, China without the Great Wall, Cambodia without Angkor Wat, even if getting a reasonable shot of these icons as a normal tourist can be extremely frustrating.
    Glenda


  11. #11
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I'm with Arthur on this one. I will photograph icons if I see them, but without any great effort as I prefer to find the hidden gems. I've been to India 5 times and I have tried not to see the Taj Mahal. I failed and I've now seen it on 3 occasions. The experience of seeing it was worth the effort, though the photos, while ok, don't equal the best in that genre. I do think that if you are trying to make a living from landscape photography, it is often necessary to take icons. I remember a friend telling me that if he buys a postcard, he expects to see a scene from where he would view it as a tourist. He doesn't want to see some view from where a photographer has had to hike for miles to see something that no normal tourist will ever see. I guess he wouldn't like Peter Dombrovskis' work, but maybe that has now risen to the "iconic". I do agree with you that the non-iconic photo does need to compete with the iconic in all respects except the familiarity, and even then it will often take some time for people to like it. I know from posting fungi that images were often ignored to start with and it took some time for people to familiarize themselves with that type of image before they would accept it.

  12. #12
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    ¿Porque no hay dos?

    Well, it does sound like an argument over tacos!
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    Shore Crawler
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    Steve you make a very good point about needing to photograph icons! When we go on our trips to New Zealand , we are looking to contribute to more postcard designs to Pikitia (the agency we submit to) - and that includes icons, often in broad daylight.
    When we travel around Australia, we try to take cover images for Australian photography magazine in terms of leaving lots of headroom, empty space etc.
    I enjoy doing both of those things apart from the shots that are just 100% for myself, or 100% for a laugh on social media.
    There's room for everything and each has to have quality for its intended purpose

  14. #14
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Dylan, we think along the same lines. I take fungi photos, as you know, and I sometimes will change what I do depending on what people will pay for. Some customers particularly like fungi which is strange to them, often Australian, unique species, so I will concentrate on them even though there are others which I actually like more. After all, if someone will pay, and I like taking the photos anyway, I will bend. I think it's the same with landscape. Would I get grumpy by being dragged off to Angkor Watt or Patagonia? Not likely, and I can see the icons and the other spots as well. Our costs are being covered for a trip to Yunnan next month, to photograph fungi. If they want photos of some relatively boring fungi (though no fungi is really boring to me), that's fine. If they weren't paying, we wouldn't be there. I guess it's the same for you. If people didn't buy the iconic photos, you wouldn't be able to travel to all these wonderful places.

  15. #15
    Focus Pocus
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    Last year Christian Fletcher (current International Landscape Photographer of the Year) told me he loved taking and making the dark and moody shots of the landscape (even of iconic places like Sugarloaf Rock) but pictures like Scarborough Beach on a summer's day were clearly way more popular with his customers. They're the bread and butter shots that help pay for the more creative stuff.
    Of course there's nothing stopping us taking photos of icons in a different way - see my take on Scarborough Beach here:
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...different-days
    Mike

    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
    Marcel Proust



  16. #16
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    So that Scarborough? Fair! enough

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