Removal of the 'Photo Art' category

Hello everyone, after lengthy discussions with members and @Marc_Ward (the moderator of Photo Art) we have decided to remove this category due to a variety of reasons.

  • The name itself implies that all of the other categories are not ‘art’
  • The category did not have much participation/visitation so people are less likely to post/visit there
  • There is no way to define what this category was. It implied that if you manipulate your images to a certain level that they had to be in this category, but this is completely subjective and makes it confusing to know where to post something.
  • Further simplification of the categories to make things less confusing

These type of images are still allowed, but from here forward any images that would have previously fallen under ‘Photo Art’ can now be posted in their respective category based upon their content (Avian, Wildlife, Landscape, etc.). The only requirement is that you are forthcoming with the techniques you used in the description of the image. This removes most of the confusion on where to post an image if it has been manipulated because in reality all images are manipulated, it’s just a matter of degree, which cannot be defined.

Over the coming week, I will be moving existing images in Photo Art to their respective categories and then removing the category. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

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David: I think this is a good idea. For Flora especially there has been a tension regarding where to post certain images and this will eliminate the ambiguity. :+1::+1:>=))>

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My only suggestion would be to wait for a consensus before moving images across categories. I suspect some members like them in a separate category.

My other thought is: won’t it be challenging for moderators to evaluate these type of images compared to others? It’s like comparing apples to oranges. I’m not sure merging is a good idea. But it might be. Just not quite sure.

I would do some ‘test runs’ at first. Mix a few art images with the others and ask the moderators to choose. And then ask for feedback.

I agree there has been tension of whether to put a post in flora or photo art. I have that problem. My spontaneous reaction to this was that it is a good idea. Then, I got to thinking and read Igor’s post. If we look at what our moderator in photo art does for “creative”, Im not sure where those photos would be put. Elephants with umbrellas, people sitting in flowers, where will that kind of stuff go? Or do we want to encourage the "flight of fantasy " art??? Or let it go???
Having said this, I totally agree that it is hard to know where to draw the line…but someday, I would like to be able to generate the type of creative stuff that our moderator does and have a place to put it. My barrier isn’t wanting to - its learning how to do it.

Kathy

I agree with Igor that this is something that might be put to a vote, before a final decision is made.
Personally, I see both pros and cons at this point - not much time for me to think today.

Pros:

  1. It would increase the exposure of the PA images
  2. It might inspire others to try their hand at PA - Bill F is a great example - he is turning out some beautiful stuff, in addition to the incredible Flora images we all know him for.
  3. It would simplify the categories a little (not sure about this-might make them MORE difficult)

Cons:

  1. I think many people would prefer to keep PA separate, for a variety of reasons. Yes, there is a fine line regarding what images are PA - but, in every category, there is a fine line. It hasn’t really mattered before - the guidelines are accepted as indistinct sometimes. Perhaps this is most obvious in the Flora category - many images include some PA manipulation - my last “Ode to Spring” in flora is a good example. Mods regularly move images to a category they feel fits better. I don’t see anything wrong with this. Art and Photography will always be an evolving, fluid thing.

  2. I don’t foresee a time when a obviously digitally-manipulated PA image in (for instance) Wildlife or Landscape will be judged (literally or informally) equally with a wonderful “straight” landscape or leopard. As Igor said, “comparing apples to oranges.” In the past, many landscape people and others have voiced disdain for anything PA. That’s certainly fine, but I don’t expect this prejudice to change quickly - if at all.

  3. If we ever think the lines defining the categories here will be or can be clear and definitive, I don’t believe that is possible.

  4. I agree with Kathy’s comment on Marc Ward’s incredible composites - aliens on wildflowers, elephants on rainbows, underground planets with insects, etc - what in the world category would these go into ? (Marc - I miss your wild imagination !)

  5. Many other sites like Naturescapes.net have a separate PA category, and it doesn’t cause problems or undue angst.

My thoughts only, as always. I’d like to see many other comments, and then an eventual vote. The thread started by Kathy Barnhart about “What is PA?” started some VERY excellent discussion, but - still - only a few people voiced their opinions.
Sandy

Sandy

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Just wanted to say thanks to all the members who supported my work over the years. Since becoming the moderator of PA, I’ve posted far less than I used to. Part of the reason for my lack of participation was my feeling that what I was working on (and continue to do so) didn’t really fit with the mission and focus of NPN. Thanks to all those that “wandered” over to PA and gave it a try. I wish David and all the folks here at NPN the best and I’m sure I’ll “see” some of you out there on the web.
Marc

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David and All

So I just saw that my composite photo of two birds( wildlife) and one day lily ( flora) got moved to “non-nature”- huh? Now I readily admit this is not the best image out there as it was one of my first attempts at compositing but it was of the type of “creative”images that I was referring to when I earlier spoke of “elephants with umbrellas”. So, since this composite is now in the non nature “behind the scenes”are( this is how I personally view it but I realize that this site here strives to emphasize nature and thats totally cool and legitimate), I’m assuming that such “creative” imagery will not be a goal of this site. That’s Ok. But a shame just in my personal opinion.
But maybe that’s the way the site has to be.

Cheers and have a great weekend
Kathy

I’m more in the camp with a “command decision” such as you’ve done, rather than a vote.

Here’s why: My wife and I just finished judging a photo competition with two others. There were 10 categories including one that was called “Computer Graphic” intended to cover the same spectrum as NPN’s Photo Art. But the catch was, the photographers themselves got to choose the category for their entry.

The result was a hodgepodge, and even we judges couldn’t agree on where the line existed and where and entry “should” have been placed. Our command decision was to stick with the categories as submitted and to judge the Computer Graphic (read: Photo Art) images in other categories as intended in that particular category. Frankly they didn’t fare well in other categories, though several would have been very competitive within the Computer Graphic entries.

Bottom line, some definitions and a name change would likely be in order if the category is retained (restored). But if our panel of judges was representative, the images won’t fare well in weekly competitions in the other categories, if that’s important to the photographer.

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Sandy
Very good reply. The thing that troubles me is I won’t be able to tune in to the truly creative stuff easily and it’s something Im very interested in. I love this site for many things but it can’t be everything to everybody. I’m lazy. I hate to go to several places. But I think that is what I’m going to have to do. Location undetermined for my creative leanings
This is not sour grapes at all everyone! I want this site to succeed and love Flora and birds! ( and other things on occasion!)

Kathy

I think it is important to give il capo, David Kingham, a relatively free hand in managing this site. So far he has done an admirable job. The changes under debate for a “vote”, or not, are minor, and in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter that much to me. I am personally not interested in watching him try to herd this bunch of cats!

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Hank says further: “Bottom line, some definitions and a name change would likely be in order if the category is retained (restored). But if our panel of judges was representative, the images won’t fare well in weekly competitions in the other categories, if that’s important to the photographer.”

Hank - I think this is exactly what we are afraid of - that the PA images will “not fare well in other categories.” and the images will be so lost among the hundreds of other images posted (especially in the Landscape category) no one will even find them or care any more.
I personally don’t care much at all about any of the weekly competitions, although it’s certainly nice to have one’s work recognized, and I’m grateful. I care far more about the promotion of the PA ART FORM and the incredible creativity that the images demonstrate.

One of my very first concerns months ago was that PA would be dropped, overlooked, or otherwise de-valued. Feels to ME that this is now exactly what is now happening.

I personally still feel that PA should continue to have it’s own category, and we just have to accept that there are no absolute defining lines in ANY of the categories.
This site is advertised to be “for the members” so I feel the members should have a vote as to what happens on the site.

Sandy

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I share David’s concerns about the title. It’s his site and decision, but I wonder if a name change would help while still giving the images a home of their own. There’s some fascinating stuff going on in the field. I was comfortable with the photo competition’s title of Computer Graphic, but I’m sure there are other likely candidates. I’ve worked with enough GA’s and AD’s (graphic artists and art directors) that I’d be equally comfortable with the category name of Graphic Design.

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I think I agree with Hank Pennington’s suggestion. PA seems to be a distinctly different genre of photography. On the other hand I don’t post there so I don’t have strong feelings about it.

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Hank, I think yours is a great idea!!! It’s a very simple solution to the “definition” problem. Much much easier than moving 1000 images, closing categories and galleries, and creating probably even more confusion and questions…
Looking forward to other’s thoughts too - brainstorming almost always finds solutions.
I also like “Computer Graphics” title but I’m sure others would have good candidates too.
S

Hi, Tony - doesn’t il Capo mean " the mafioso boss, " from that TV series years ago?
Is that really what you meant??
S

Mark, I guess this post is your goodbye?
I’m very sorry to see you leave, as I have been VERY inspired from your PA work and encouragement over the years.
Thank you for all your contributions. Please keep in touch.
Sandy
Moonshadow.Sandy at yahoo dot com

“Il capo” is the generic word for boss. Could be the boss in your office, or could be a mafia boss, or the owner/leader of a photo forum. Totally similiar to the english word “boss”. Italians use the word frequently. I meant it affectionately.

For me the value of this “genera” of photography may be in helping interested members think beyond standard treatments and presentations, as wonderfully demonstrated in your recent post Oxbow Bend Triptych.

Frankly photographers are accustomed to talking to- and shooting for- other photographers and have very little experience (or success) in the larger world and market for art. Graphic Design is certainly a good pathway to explore for breaking out of the usual photographic navel-gazing and reaching into the art market. Graphic artists and art directors do it all the time and make quite nice livings at it… While using the same photos!!! My favorite graphic artist, also a very highly trained and skilled commercial photographer, made the most telling (and perhaps damning) statement I’ve heard about today’s photographers in general:

“The most dedicated photographers use only about 5% of the tools in Photoshop. In fact it’s a graphics program and NOT a photographic program. More’s the pity for them in attempts to break into the market.”

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This is a tough call as images posted in Photo Art are quite different than the standard nature photo. A photograph is a slice of reality and if the image is manipulated in Photoshop with significant changes, then we can argue that it should be placed in its own category such as one titled Altered or Artistic Reality. On the other hand, many of these nature photos have been manipulated beyond with what nature presented at the time of the shot (stick removal for example). So I can see where David is going with this line of thought. I do like Hank’s suggestion for a name change more fitting for the results of creative endeavors in photo editing. Just my 2 cents worth…Jim

Interesting perspective. But it’s called PHOTOshop.