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Bucharest, June 2015

Annie Leibovitz For A Day

Mirror, mirror on the wall/ Who’s the shadiest of them all?

I used to be a frequent visitor of the yahoo answers site, and wrote a couple of times I guess about it on my blog. I thought it was a great way to interact with people, but without all the weirdness and swearing forums have to offer. I answered and asked all types of questions, from stupid to funny, from deep to non-sense.

I liked to get feedback on certain things, as I believe the Internet is a great tool for communication with people who can be honest. But the problem with the Internet is that you don’t actually know who those people are. Most of them seem nice, but let’s be honest, you don’t even know what country they’re from or what their cultural baggage is.

Anyway, so, coming back to asking for feedback, I linked a few times to some of my photos and asked to photography community to say what they think about my photographs. Who else is better to tell you than the real pros? Yes, I’m being cynical.

I didn’t get much feedback from the Internet, but it wasn’t actually good, most of it. Basically, what I have been told was that my photos are holiday snapshots which are fairly decent and not that great or anything. I’ve also been told that I used “goofy” effects, which was not true, as a lot of my photos hardly see a photo editing software. Anyway, I smelled that something was not quite well with these people, since none of them actually linked to their pictures to show me how it’s done, even though some claimed to be pros.

I therefore made an experiment. I uploaded an Annie Leibovitz photograph to my photostream, claiming it was mine. I know, that’s not quite ethical, but it is for an educational purpose moral. I did not upload any Annie Leibovitz photo, I uploaded a photo that was on the cover of one of her books.

For those of you who have not heard of Annie Leibovitz, she is one of the three people in the world who make a good living out of photography. For most people, she is known to take photos of celebrities which end up on the covers of magazines such as Vanity Fair. But Annie’s work is more than that: she takes excellent pictures of other things as well, sometimes with a small compact camera, but their aesthetic quality is maybe even bigger than that of the Hollywood celebrities pictures. The photo I chose was from the 2nd category.

So, I linked to “my” picture to see what the art experts would say. The answers were, again, mostly bad and worse. Someone said that there’s nothing about the picture that makes you say “wow”, I got the holiday picture comment again and I was told to take the next step and even to try to take control of the image.

I actually started laughing. The fact that some guy was bashing the picture of one of present day’s most known photographers, to whom I’m sure he would bow if they met was just a great image in my mind.

So, we learned that Annie Leibovitz needs to take the next step in photography, take control of her images, stop making these bad photos that nobody will actually care to look at and not to mention, buy.

Yves Saint Laurent said ” We must never confuse elegance with snobbery” and to keep it in a “quotes tone”, Joseph Brodsky, a Russian writer, said “Snobbery? But it’s only a form of despair.” and they were right.

People need to educate their taste. I’m not saying this means that should appreciate my work by any means, I’m just saying that we should want to learn to tell a quality work from a non-quality work not based on the person who created it, or that brand that it belongs to, but by it’s true quality.

Of course, there are some people who will never be able to want to learn, like a funny video I once saw said:

“You called me a hypochondria!”

“I called you a hypocrite.”

“Now I’m a hippo?”

I mean, there’s always hope.

The Phoenix Stronghold

The fortress in the picture, which is to be found in downtown Braşov, (even though it is situated outside the old walls) was built in the Middle Ages, and has had different stages of construction (from just a tower in the 15th century to what it came to be) and different purposes. It was destroyed and rebuild more times. Of course it served as defense, but it also served as a place for the city archives. Now it can be visited and is a restaurant.

Cetate Brasov

I took this photo in 2013.

I used the high dynamic range technique because I felt that it needed to be done here. I could not get the atmosphere of the citadel and the daylight with a simple exposure, so I used this technique which makes it  “dreamy”. I usually don’t believe in using a technique or a photography option such as black and white unless the content fits the technique.

What do you think of it?

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