Or flogging a dead horse.

There are two aspects of modern photography that get under my skin. People go back and forth over these, argue the merits and demerits, and really – why should I add anything new?

The first is HDR – High Dynamic Range Imaging. If you don’t know what this looks like, just Google search HDR images, such as here and that will give you an overview. A rather illuminating overview, actually, because scattered among these heavily altered images are the rare examples of HDR done right. These are the pictures that look like photographs and not like cartoons. Cartoons are all very well, but they are not photographs and have no business representing themselves as such. Unfortunately, thanks to in-camera HDR facility in the latest digital models plus a good number of image processing programs that will do the disservice for you, it continues to thrive as a photographic fad, particularly attractive to amateurs. A badly done HDR image (and let’s face it, by far the majority are badly done) makes my skin crawl.

The second fashion is the ballooning habit of slapping a copyright notice, often in some hideously tacky font attached to a ridiculously clichéd graphic, in plain and over-sized view on your photograph. Someone in one of my photography clubs in all seriousness postulated that not putting your watermark on your photograph meant you didn’t value it. What absolute bollocks. All putting your overgrown watermark on an image indicates is an overblown ego. It’s not even as if it will stop the image thieves – any watermark other than those so large and intrusive that you barely make out the photograph itself can be cloned out with a few quick Photoshop moves. Plus, image theft, much like being mugged in a ‘bad’ part of town, is much more evident as rumor than as fact. 

Now, I ask myself, is it a coincidence that I am returning to film photography? Film, that cannot be HDRed or inscribed with a watermark (well, I suppose you could with a very fine point tool and magnifying glass), seems unsullied by these fads. Of course, a scanned film negative is just as subject to potential digital manipulation, but let’s put that aside.

In a world where police and protesters stand off in a tense struggle of wills in a town only a few miles from my house, thoughts such as these are very unimportant in the grand scale of things. Still, it’s fun to spout.