‘creative’ photography

One of the better known aviation photographers, Rich Cooper, recently started an interesting discussion on his personal Facebook page. Put simply it’s about why aviation magazines only use the ‘purist’ pictures and never the more creative(ly edited) ones. And if there is any room for it. I must say it’s sad we actually have to have this discussion…

The discussion soon went about all kinds of stuff but first let me give my opinion about the actual question. I guess aviation magazines only use the more ‘simple’ pictures because the design is still looking like 15 years ago. I remember buying my first magazine in 2001 and since then nothing has really changed. I just can’t imagine seeing a good photo in a lay out like that. And with a good photo I mean a picture that can be liked by people who are not into aviation.

Soon the discussion also put up front the question if there is room for a magazine that is different from other existing magazines, just because of it’s looks and use of well made and edited pictures. Some of the photographers state that magazines should be factual and that the only pictures matching are ‘purist’ pictures. Of course there is a need for a magazine like this, but when I look through all existing aviation magazines they are all the same. So I guess there is also room for a new thing. With a fresh and young lay out and the use of good pictures. It doesn’t even have to be from an aviation photographer as I believe there shouldn’t be a distinction between aviation photography and photography. It all comes down to taking a good photo. This magazine could be about the stories from the pilots or from interesting flying trips. Or about aviation photography itself, as put forward by some of the people commenting on the discussion. Aviation can be such a cool thing but now it mostly looks like some technical thing put in a magazine that is stuck in the eighties. Some of the comments state that a magazine like this is difficult to be made because advertisers are scared for changes. Examples in other niches show a different story. All it asks is time, money and persistence. But with a good dosis of all three I guess it should be possible!

The discussion soon turned into a discussion about photo editing. I must say I’m surprised some people still seem to have difficulties with the digital age in which photoshop gives us a big freedom. Some people don’t see the difference between editing pictures and just photoshopping an entire new image. Stating that a photographer can spend a couple of minutes taking pictures and can make of it what he wants with photoshop is a bit of bullshit. When your picture is shit it will stay shit even when you heavily photoshop it. A picture has to show something, it has to be framed, it needs a good lighting, etc. When you’re just putting different pictures together and make something new it’s not photography in the first place, but digital art/design/…

I’m happy though many photographers do think a different approach towards aviation photography is good and needed. And I couldn’t say it any better than Hesja: “I take pictures for myself and I edit them as only I like.” And that’s how it should be!


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