Observation: film photos on flickr

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by B&Wpositive, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    I've noticed for a long time that many film photos on flickr look underexposed and bland in color. Even shots on Velvia look like this. Take a look at flickr. I can almost guarantee that if you search for any film and view the photo results, you'll see lots of images with low color saturation and nearly transparent shadows.

    As a traditionalist, I learned not to underexpose negative film, and I've learned to dislike the smokey look that doing so creates.

    I don't get it. Is this some sort of new "look" or trend? Or are people just using a lot of expired film? It's certainly not an accurate representation of the films in most cases.

    And yes, my monitor is set properly. Don't get me wrong. Not every photo looks that way. But many do.
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Lots of people are crummy photographers, content wise, technique wise, or both. Flicker does not disallow these people from signing up.
     
  3. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    They probably don't expose properly and don't correct the scans.
     
  4. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    It's misleading

    I think you guys are right. It's misleading though. I mean, I went to flickr to see how a film I have never used might be expected to perform. Big mistake. Had I not been experienced with film, I would have thought this was the way film renders things. I would have surely concluded that digital was better. It could be confusing for people just getting into film.
     
  5. apconan

    apconan Member

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    Could you link to some images? I'm curious to see what you mean
     
  6. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    I won't do that. It could be incriminating to whoever owns them. Just do a search for Provia 400X and some will surely pop up.

    Better yet, type in 800Z. No wonder no one is buying the stuff!

    You'll have to scroll through the various pages a bit.

    I'm thinking this underexposure thing is a new trend with young film users who are new to film and are using Holgas. But even some people using MF gear are turning out these bizzare, low-contrast results. (I'm young myself and can't stand how it looks.)

    Maybe the limiting factor is the scanning technology people have access to...

    Some of these images get comments like "Gorgeous Capture!"

    They look somewhat cross-processed (even thought they aren't).

    Lots are scanned on flatbeds...or by Walmart.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2010
  7. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Well, the I shoot Kodak film group has links to click to see diffrent films and when you look at thumnails of a bunch of them at once you can get an idea.....
     
  8. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    yes. that and underexposure.
     
  9. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    That is one of the biggest flaws in converting analogue to digi...
    I didn't get better, I only replaced my scanner. :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2010
  10. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    It is at least partly an intentional style call. A lot of people playing with film like vintage looks - and low contrast, etc shots are part of that. I think it is similar to the popularity of holga style shots.

    I think it is also a reaction to the highly processed, high saturation, photoshopped, perfect images people see so frequently. Something of a 'flaws are beautiful' attitude.
     
  11. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    A Fad

    In short, a fad that might pass.

    This look is not what I want the majority of people to envision when people speak of "the beauty of film" or "the earthiness of film" or "digital is sterile compared to film".

    I think it's gone far enough.

    Either that or we'll all have to start underexposing our print film to keep up with the flickr Joneses. Honestly, I think that's a waste of my money in most cases. Very rarely do I want that look.

    I much prefer Jose Villa's bright, overexposed Fuji Frontier scanner look to these bland underexposed ones. But I like well-exposed, well-scanned negs the best.

    I'm not against the look if anyone is successful with it. But it's at the point where people are going to start thinking this is how film is supposed to look ideally.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2010
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Which is exactly why I've said, and still maintain, that you cannot get a decent idea of how ANY film stacks up against another when looking at samples from Flickr or any other photo sharing site. Sure there are good examples there, but you don't run across too many of them.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yup!

    (Or is it nope?)
     
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  15. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    But that's why I love Flickr

    I love photography and the Internet because it's so democratic. During the days of William Randoph Hearst, he owned the printing press and he churned out crap. Now I have the delight of finding great unknown photographers among the mediocre on Flickr :D
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You will notice that I did not say whether or not I thought it was a good thing or a bad thing.
     
  17. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    10% of fishermen catch 90% of the fish.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    could it be that the people anningscay their film don't know
    how to oostbay their evelslay so they look like the print ?

    i don't think it is just bad technique, bad photography and bad content
    although it would be much easier to say it is ...
    it is an art form in itself to finesse a anscay into something that looks like the print.
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    This is why I said content wise and/or technique wise. That way, it could be either one alone, or both! :D

    There are four options:

    1. Bad content, bad technique
    2. Bad content, good technique
    3. Good content, bad technique
    4. Good content, good technique

    Scanning and levels adjustment are just technical aspects, so the content could be very good, but just digitized in a non-flattering way.

    The goodness or badness of content is, of course, subjective, and I would not say that it is anything but!
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    sorry 2f - i didn't equate bad aningscay as technique, i thought the technique you were
    referring to was behind the camera :wink:

    and again, we are in full agreement :wink:
    john
     
  21. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

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    huh? why are you talking elvish?
     
  22. hrst

    hrst Member

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    It is/was also the trend of 2000. Look at the movies and tv series. (US police shows from 2000's are especially good examples). They desaturate colors at post and get a muddy brown-grey-blue look. I never liked it a second. It seems to be over now; at least I hope so. Most of these films are shot on film (and destructed in digital post) and I think it is/was a total wasting of film. Good thing though they are keeping Kodak alive.

    Anyhow, this trend can be seen clearly also in how people shoot and scan&manipulate their images on Flickr etc.

    Please note that many digi shooters manipulate their images in the same way. They usually look even more dull. And note that any image on Flickr will almost automatically receive enormous number of comments like "GREAT CAPTURE!!" "NICE COLORS!!" etc. It's just flickr, don't take it too seriously :D.

    "HDR" (nothing to do with dynamic range) images (shot completely digitally, always!) are a complete opposite to these dull pictures. Still, they look as awful. It's just as the dullness effect; it's interesting for a few minutes. Then it loses it power.

    However, great thing with film is that there are so many options. I think that the correctly exposed colorful neg look will be back soon. It has a dynamic range of "HDR", but it doesn't look like "HDR". It has realistic, natural colors without being dull. It has contrast, but not too much. It looks automatically like a bit contrast masked (but not too much), even when it's not.

    Many small (and not so small) things, like the introduction of colorful Ektar 100, make a way for the renaissance of this 1990's look. Ektar may be too unrealistic for some people, but it's not dull and that's most important. It's a message. People who make their photos dull even in 2010 are just slow. They are clinging to a trend that has come to its end. Most of people start to get bored and are looking for alternatives.
     
  23. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    After looking on Fuji 800Z and Provia 400X on Flickr, perhaps I'm not seeing what you're saying, B&Wpositive.

    I see a few photos where there is severe overexposure, blowing out any contrast and de-saturating colour. I see some where the colours look badly skewed. I also see some that are very underexposed and hard to make out anything. I also see a couple where there was deliberately digital de-saturation implemented. In short, I see a dog's breakfast of results.

    In the end, there are three considerations to allow:
    1) Many film photographers are in a constant learning process, some further along than others (while some just don't progress beyond a certain point);
    2) Some photographers don't hew to a notion — or an agreed one — of "traditional" methods, as you expressed;
    3) Style is highly varied between different photogs — just like other artistic media — and one's saturated, underexposed, contrasty shot is another's undersaturated, overexposed, flat shot.

    Personally, after seeing some of Jose Villa's work — his name is new to me — I must say that I really do not appreciate his style, one I would call "milky and washed out". But again, this is entirely a subjective call. Clearly his style resonates with the wedding client crowd, and rightly so, his formula appears to pay off. When working with colour — more specifically, when working with reversal colour — give me someone who underexposes by 1/3rd or 2/3rd stop in order to saturate colour and give shadows a rich darkness. I really don't like seeing blacks that end up being greyish and highlights which look like white crinoline was draped over the lens.
     
  24. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    I can't say this has been my experience on Flickr, but then I have to admit I don't spend that much time looking at an extensive list of images on there. It's more just the place I can stick some of my stuff.
     
  25. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I looked at a few pages of 800Z photos and what stood out was how grainy many of them were. Even ones taken on medium format show more grain at 4"x5" on my screen than my 10"x8" optical prints from 35mm.
     
  26. marylandphoto

    marylandphoto Member

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    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! This has plagued movies/tv shows for the longest time. Many times, the digital intermediate work they're doing on films now totally ruin it for me.

    One thing I never understood about Flickr is how they decide which pictures get featured. I've seen wonderfully composed pictures on Flickr with no attention, and then some absolutely dreadful (to my eyes) images with pages of comments. As one poster said, it's almost as if people are more attracted to the "pretty colors" of photoshopped images than they are images that are striking in more ways. I've also never liked the insane amount of xprocessing and lofi...seems like it is mostly people experimenting, but hey...if they're trying out film, I'm happy!