Poor David Byrne. He was the overall winner of the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year Award but has been disqualified. From his comments and those of the judges he seems like a very genuine bloke who simply didn’t read the rules closely enough so did not realise that adding in elements from more than one image was not allowed. I suppose that is fair enough and he has been very sincere in putting his hands up and there was clearly no intention to cheat.
So, for me, it raises a question. What is a landscape photograph? There are now many kinds of landscape image making which involve a camera. At one end there are single RAW files to be presented “in the raw” (that’s a bad idea by the way!) or tonally adjusted to taste and presented. There are multiple exposures of the same scene that multiply the capabilities of our digital sensors but leave the temporal singularity of the scene (effectively) intact. Then there is the creative use of camera movement, filters and lens effects to give a personal interpretation. Finally there is the compositing of multiple exposures which are dislocated in time and space to give an image which conveys something of interest to the image-maker.
My view is simple. These are all different but all valid. For a landscape competition the crucial thing is that the rules should be clear and be followed. For our every day image making should we not do whatever makes us happy? David Byrne’s images are fabulous. I love them and would happily have them on the wall of my study. The only fault is that they don’t follow the rules of this competition.
As food for thought I’m posting an image I made 2 days ago at Portencross, Scotland.
The three images from left to right show: RAW file processed in Lightroom, centre is the same image layered with a monochrome version in Photoshop to allow some tonal adjustment, the last version takes a fisherman (who was there 2 minutes before and then left) and composites him into the shot. For me the first 2 are landscape shots and the last is a story composite. The line is some where between the 2nd and 3rd image. I think…I could be wrong…
For comparison the original RAW image (unprocessed follows).