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Honest Images

Denali National Park

As of now, Denali National Park (pictured here) is closed! I won’t go into how I feel about that, that’s not what HOSSedia is all about. What I wanted to touch base with you about is the concept of ‘Honest Images’. I recently heard someone describe their photography as ‘Honest’. It was an interesting concept to me. Something that triggered some soul-searching to answer. It could mean, images that aren’t composites or overly processed. I think those are simple answers that miss a critical aspect of photography. In my estimation, even if your images are hyper post-processed, they can still be honest. Can’t they? I think the only facet of honesty that we as artist should care about, is are we honest with ourselves. That is easier said than done. I’m finding that not only is my personal aesthetic changing, but my entire motivation to make photographs is on the precipice. I began this site with a simple goal, to help cultivate the creativity in others so that we might make the world a better place. It is a lofty goal, but from the interactions I have had with the great folks I’ve met through this site, I think we have succeeded. Now, with that same goal in mind, I want to take it a step further. If I’m honest with myself, not only as a photographer, but as a person….I think we can!

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  1. Hey Justin.. don’t see why they can’t just leave the parks “open.” Let people use them at their own risk, etc. Oh well.
    Anyway, yes I think you have met your goal. Through this site and others, I’ve been inspired to try and get a little creative and it’s been a blast. I guess we all go through phases with this stuff too. Sometimes people will put their camera on the shelf for a while until they get the bug again. Or maybe you burn out on a certain type of processing and go in another direction. Maybe experiment with some new gear. It’s all good. Maybe the “honesty” thing is too much analysis. Maybe it just means making images that you yourself really like and hoping others feel the same. I think when somebody likes an image that you also think is cool, it creates a connection. Like watching a movie with somebody and digging it together.

    • Agreed on the NPS…but we don’t let anyone do anything at their own risk here! Glad the site has inspired you, and I agree, everything you mentioned is ‘all good’…who cares how you create, just as long as you create!

  2. So sad about the government shutdown. I just got back from a cross country trip with my son and we hit a ton of national parks and monuments. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if we did it this week. The honesty comment in my mind is just someone trying to elevate their own work. Too much of that going on. Excellent shot, Justin.

  3. Well if you’re going to go down the road of honesty you have to ask yourself if the scene was really black and white, 2 dimensional, or cropped to just to show what we see in the picture. As said by Brooks Jensen, “Photographic truth, more often than not, is a constructed, believable fiction.”
    So the real question is, are we lying to ourselves or others when we present a photograph we made of a place and call it honest? There is no real honest photograph, just the image we create if we are honest with our feelings when we create our art.

  4. “Honesty” in photography is extremely subjective and over-rated. It could mean no post-processing to one but it could also mean the final image is my work, regardless of image content. For me, I’ll tweak sliders in LR all day long but I won’t add an object that wasn’t present in the original image. If I remove skin blemishes in a model, does that make my photography dishonest because I altered the reality of the captured moment?

Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you