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Yesterday I received the latest newsletter/catalogue from Rohan, the outdoor & travel clothing company.

 

All the main images were significantly oversharpened to the extent that they had pronounced edge artifacts and they looked grainy, especially in the shadows and the out of focus areas. The theme was North Africa and the pictures were also well saturated (overly so?). I wondered if the intent was to make them look as though taken under harsh African light but the main shadows were very soft. Or it may have been to get the cameraphone look. The pictures were large, up to about 11inches (29cm) square.

 

My reaction was that we would never get those pictures through Alamy QC. Anybody noticed it elsewhere, is it a trend, a current fashion?

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Not seen this elsewhere but I see what you mean about the Rohan catalogue.  Some are so extreme/obvious that I think it must be deliberate (if so I don't think it works!)

 

Steve

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Are you guys looking at a printed catalogue or the catalogue online? And I'm wondering if I'm seeing the same display here in the States as you are in the UK? 

 

Basically, everything looks sloppy and inconsistent. The studio shots of specific items are flat while the outdoor lighting is too contrasty and some shots have that look of an old Ektachrome dupe (which I guess is the chic new cellphone look). Whoever did this catalogue must be a better salesman than a photographer. 

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Sounds like it Ed, and agree it looks like an old slide dupe/ smartphone image. But from the shadows the lighting clearly was not that contrasty.. I was looking at the printed catalogue but http://www.rohan.co.uk/Content/Detail/may_2014_magazine is the same.

 

Might be a decent photographer but poor at post-production or it could be some graphic designer fresh out of college who is responsible. The photographer might actually be embarrassed (or incensed) by what has been done to his/her images.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Wow -- that's a totally different site than the one I was looking at . . . and I agree with much of what you gents were saying. This is what I was looking at: 

 

ohandesigns.com/?gclid=CIKW8ZCFn74CFYqhOgod2XEA7A

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I guess the magazine must be UK (or EU) only.

 

The oversharpening is much more pronounced in the UK magazine and site. As well as high contrast there is a hint of it on the .com site Ed was looking at it.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Ooh, God, that's horrible!  I really do hope that it's a mistake somewhere along the line and not a deliberate design decision.

 

EDIT: just Tweeted them to ask about it. Will let you know.

 

Later...They will get back to me...

Edited by losdemas
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I have some of their stuff and am happy with it, and their service when I have had problems, even if it is a bit pricey. My main gripe is it so dull, grey, browns, greens, beige for the most part.

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I have some of their stuff and am happy with it, and their service when I have had problems, even if it is a bit pricey. My main gripe is it so dull, grey, browns, greens, beige for the most part.

Those are good colours for travelling, though. Loud Hawaiian shirts and canary yellow sneakers are not the best things to sport if you want to blend in with the crowd or landscape. Personally, I just wear my regular, rumpled old clothes for the most part when on the road. Nothing advertises you as a mark like overpriced Tilley Endurables, etc.

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Well these are fashion images for a specific brand rather than stock images which might need to be used for a variety of different purposes and different clients.

 

So they have a look / style which is either associated to the photographer and that is what gets them hired, or in the brief to be shot to or post-processed to. Perhaps Rohan are trying to portray a more edgy, gritty, modern look to their images to appeal to a different demographic ?

 

So does it matter whether they would get through Alamy QC - not in the slightest.

 

Does it mean the photographer is of a lower standard or less capable in the art of photography than Alamy stock shooters - certainly not.

Edited by Mike@Meonshore
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Ugh ! Overuse of the clarity slider to boost local contrast giving models lizard skin. Lizard skin is not appealing to the target market of older traveling consumers. I think it is a mistake.

 

Clarity can be useful, if you restrict it to parts of the image that need it.

 

In this image the white part of the wave had some clarity brushed in to bring out detail. Without the added clarity the wave was too much of a white homogenous, only one tone, mass. The hotel and clouds had no clarity added. Clouds are supposed to be soft and ill defined, and you do not need to generate halos around the edge of the hotel.

 

DY5P4X.jpg

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It presents Alamy with a dilemma. They accept pictures like that for Stockimo but not for Alamy yet they claim to want more commercial business and need creative images. If this is where creative commercial photography is or is going then Alamy may need to have a hard think. Perhaps they need to add some sort of selection process on the basis of content and style  as part of the overall QC/acceptance process - if technically "flawed" is there a useful creative reason for it?

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Replies from Rohan via Twitter:
 

Customer service say thank you and 'It's always interesting to spark a debate’.  I'm sorry some of your members [sic] don't like the processing.  We're taking a careful look at the shots and will be assessing if it has gone too far.

 

Really interesting to get a response from Rohan, even though they haven't 'fessed up as to the reasoning behind the processing. Will be even more interesting to see what they decide is the right path for the future.

 

On a related 'power of social media' note, really good to be able to pressurise organisations into 'doing the right thing'.  It appears that after my Tweet regarding inappropriate usage of competition entrants photos, BBC Wildlife Magazine changed their T&Cs for their current competition (albeit very quietly).  Half the thread here, if you're interested.

 

Right, off in search of world peace and harmony now (might have to grow a fake beard, wear a dress and sing a crap song first, though).  ;):):P:D

Edited by losdemas
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