John Lund Shoots Imaginative Stock Photography

We have all seen standard stock photography before and most of the time its not so good. John Lund shoot stock, but it is unlike anything else you have seen before. Check out his quick interview below.

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16 Comments

I can't say I'm a fan. Every image looked heavily photo chopped to my eyes and that's the first thing I noticed.

This isn't what I consider photographer personally...

I agree. Everything is obviously photo-shopped. I was not very impressed.

Lee Morris's picture

I feel like all successful photography today is photoshopped. In many cases, the more popular the image the more Photoshop was used on it. Instead of tryin to hide it, John embraces it. To me , photography is no longer about the camera alone, it is about image creation.

Well what card do you have......A Sandisk...........

Too much

Have to agree this isnt photography but digital imaging, i think as people become more educated about image manipulation there will be a wholesale move away from this type of thing and a move towards photography again where composition and capture trump photoshop.

I have to disagree with you David and Yianni, if anything, the advertising and marketing world is moving MORE towards this sort of thing and I don't think it's a bad move either. Sure you can always be a purist and enjoy 'real' photographs but if you want to be successful as a photographer (which it seems like FS pushes its readers towards) then you have to embrace being creative more than just being a solid photographer. Everyone is a solid photographer these days and what John Lund is doing is increasing his value as a stock photographer by adding to the creative and marketable value of his images. I don't think it's about being educated as much as it is about making a good business out of photography.

Everybody is not a solid photographer these days, the vast majority are in fact complete crap as "photographers" instead reling on the latest plugin from photoshop to gain a momentary but fleeting " wow " before fading into the oblivious nothingness. Look at the people who are at the top like Jose Villa , Buising, Tommy Oshima , Olive they dont need to hide as " photographers " behind photoshop and they are pulling 50K a wedding and beating clients off with a stick too. Generations of skills that they absorbed are being cast aside by Uncle bob with his 2 x 580ex etc producing mediocity.

In terms of marketing digital imaging that is a different thing to photography.

By the way I think Patrick and Lee are pretty good "photographers" my point was only do differentiate between photography and photochopping as an artform. Clearly im not the only one who feels this way as Kodak are starting to build film cameras again and introducing new films which from what I have seen so far in the right hands leave digital in the dirt.

Lee Morris's picture

This is an interesting argument. I see both sides and I actually think you both are in agreement unknowingly.

Of course we all know the photographers that are terrible and hide behind photoshop but I would argue that every single successful wedding and commercial pro out there uses photoshop. Obviously the basics of photography are necessary but photoshop can work to enhance your work just like time in the darkroom could years before.

There may be fine art photographers out there that still shoot film and don't have any retouching but in the commercial field, the client doesn't care about the art of photography, they simply want a perfect image to sell a product. My brides don't care if I used to layers to burn in a sunset, they just want the sunset.

Lee, I take that point... but look at what you said ,, "photoshop can work to enhance your work just like time in the darkroom could years before."..but those skills.. the what to do .. are being lost, they are not being learned and they are not being passed.. I see so many wedding photographers even doing simple things like broad lighting a short pose, reacting to their own image and photochopping it to bits with skin smoothing etc...why not just light it right? This is what im getting at, the " photographic " skill which I think will be in more demand than ever down the road. The person who will do the best with photoshop is the as James says the solid photographer, i just disagree and believe they are more an endangered species than he thinks.

By the way I never said real photographers dont use photoshop, just that Im not sure the skill of being a real photographer is getting the attention it should in the broadest sense of the word at an academic level. I rang a University to ask for some people to help me with a wedding, the professor told me i had to give them all cameras because they didnt own their own.. he sure was interested in making sure I got them to edit the images for " work experience though " .. that is what I mean.

Lee Morris's picture

I agree that digital photography is helping to destroy the art of picture taking but I'm not sure I agree that anyone other than photographers care. If you light a bride well and come up with a pretty good shot and then your competition takes a bad shot but photoshops the bride out, put her on a cliff, puts in an amazing sky and makes the grass perfectly green. Which image will a bride looking at both be impressed by if the latter is well photoshopped?

I know a very reputable photographer (I will not mention his name) and he told me that he doesn't think Annie Leibovitz knows much about photography or lighting at all. She is a good visionary and she has an amazing team and they all work together to make it happen. I'm not saying I agree with this, but it is an interesting thought.

Ok .. so 10 years down the road when everybody knows its not " real " and the brides sister says your photos were so fake Im getting somebody who knows what they are doing who will she call?

Like i said who are the best paid wedding photographers ..even today .. in your eyes.. I would wager that ps is only enhancing what they do, i dont think that will change soon I really dont.

And honestly if somebody is dealing with brides that accept that photoshopped image for her wedding album , its the cheapest end of the market and the " photographer " doing it deserves her.

Lee Morris's picture

Last reply for me then I have to go to bed :). Yes you are right, you don't want totally fake wedding pictures. But if you can't tell its fake, then it could be used to sell a product or sell your services to another client. My point is simply that clients don't care how you got them image, they just want the image. A bride may not want to be put on a cliff but she would probably want a well exposed image and if you have to darken the sky because its blown out she would never think "oh man my wedding pictures look so fake"

I can imagine a day when a cameras raw file will contain 20 stops worth of data in every shot. There will be no need for changing exposure at all because it can all be done in post. When that day comes, I think it may become trendy to have your photographer do things the old fashion way but it will be the same as the photographers that still shoot polaroid or holga today. Yes I have heard of weddings shot with Holgas, but it's just a trend.

Patrick Hall's picture

I will add my 2 cents to this discussion. First, I think we have gotten off topic with wedding photography because for the most part, weddings are more photojournalistic in nature and high end brides don't want 'fake moments' although I agree with Lee that they do want pretty photos even if that means photoshopped skies using raw files (is a underexposed sky from a RAW file a photoshop job or a file enhancement btw?). But with commercial photography I think it's ALL about photoshop and expressing a unique marketing angle. Take a look at the video industry or any magazine shoot and to my eyes it's all about a final product as Lee is saying. That's not to say the photography/videography isn't solid to begin with (which I think it is the case with John Lund's images)but I think these days to get people's attention you have to really go over and beyond to produce something marketable. This is not the case with weddings though as Lee and I have said over and over. With weddings, it's more about marketing your business and yourself than it is with your photos. Many many mediocre wedding photographers are making HUGE amounts of money because of their marketing and not their photos...brides can't tell the difference between good photos and great photos (they can spot out bad photography though).

All in all I think the commercial/advertising world is very different than the photojournalistic world such as weddings and news. So I think everyone has valid points but we have to compare apples to apples.

"lets get under the hood of you camera. what kind of card do you use?"
"Sandisk."

That was the worst into I've herd in a long time. LOL