Enough already with the HDR bashing

Even as I write this title, I know it wont do any real good. But it’s how I feel today, I’m riled up and I’m dusting off the ol’ soapbox.

I’m sick and tired of the term “HDR” feeling like a scarlet letter that forces photographers to feel ashamed about their work. I know a guy on Flickr who removed his whole HDR set and stopped tagging his photos with “HDR” so he can quit hearing the crap spewed from people about his pictures.

Are you kidding me?

The real sad part about all of it is that in my experience, 99% of the bashing comes from fellow artists…fellow photographers.  I’m  young in the world of photography…I’ve sold barely a dozen prints, but 95% of them have been HDR photographs. So far the feedback from non-photographers on my work has been nothing but positive.

Yet photographers, those that would never lower themselves to “HDR”, seem to enjoy bashing those that use it as a tool to convey an image. It’s amazing to me how easy it is for some artists to trash the work of others  just because they don’t like it.

Aren’t we all in the same boat? Aren’t we are all artists trying to create “something” that we hope people will appreciate or will somehow find meaning in? Or we’re creating something that WE like, and don’t much care if anyone else does. But regardless…we’re a brotherhood of people using various tools to create art. Why attack each other?

For example…I’m not much into computer generated imagery. But the guy who created it loves it, other people love that style of art and therefor who am I call it fake because a computer helped with making it? Who am I to write a blog dedicated to trashing the “art of computer generated imagery?” Am I supposed to go on a crusade against it?

But that’s what people do. They don’t like HDR, so they go out of their way to tweet about how much they hate it, they write blogs on how much it sucks or they stalk users on Flickr with insulting comments.

Again…are you kidding me?

Art is art. It’s about creating something. Whether you take an image straight out of the camera and print it to a canvas, or if you spend hours on HDR processing to get the vision you want, it’s all about you conveying something to the viewer.

Purists out there despise Photoshop and post-processing. I just read a person’s profile on and within three lines he makes it completely clear that he still uses a darkroom and Photoshop is for losers. I don’t get it. I feel no need to tell these kind of people to get out of the stone age and realize the beauty of Photoshop, because I try to appreciate all ways to make a photograph. If you want to dance naked in a cave and paint murals onthe walls with your own blood…so be it. Have at it. I don’t want to do it, but if you do…more power to you.

It’s funny to me. Some photogs will make a big deal that they don’t touch their pictures after taking them. They snap the shutter and print the image. “That’s how it should be.”

Ah…but interesting. You are basically pointing the camera at something and letting it do all the work. The type of glass, the ISO, the aperture, the shutter speed…maybe the quality is dependent upon the manufacturer of the camera. So you snap the button and just take what you get. What did you actually do? Compose it? Well done…hopefully the image comes out the way you envisioned it in your head.

The last sentence wasn’t meant to be serious. The point I’m making is that it’s so incredibly easy for any artist to bash another artist’s style. Why?

Photographers…unless you can snap a photo with your eyeballs and print it out directly from your brain, you are always using SOME KIND OF TOOL to make your picture. Ansel Adams, the classic, ultimate photographer, used tons of darkroom processing techniques to make his pictures look how he wanted them. If you somehow think that’s so much different than using Photoshop, you’re out of your mind. Whether you use post-processing or not…the bottom line is this:

Are you proud about the picture you created? Is it what you wanted?

I was chatting with my good friend Brian Matiash about this stuff before writing this blog and he gave me the conclusion to this article.

I am a photographer. I take pictures. I make pictures. I like HDR. I like black and white. I like portraits. I like landscapes. I like storms.

I am a photographer.

If you don’t like my work, tough cookies. Perhaps instead of wasting energy bashing someone else’s art, go make more of your own.