Photography or Art: The results are in! {Update}

We posed the question in a recent post: Is it photography or art? where we shared a photograph taken at the beach and manipulated in post to create something resembling a watercolor painting.  The response was loud and clearly unanimous in saying that photography, like the edited photo, was also art.  A commenter suggested that we offer the original photo to anyone who wanted to edit it themselves and then we could share them on 2 Guys.

Well, we’ve done just that and here are the results.

Debbie Glessner, who had actually made the suggestion to share the original photo and let everyone have a go at it, sent us this version.  She gave it a tight crop to focus on the three people, converted it to a sepia tone and boosted the contrast, then wrapped it nicely in a matte and frame:

Deb's beach scene 1

Deb’s beach scene 1

Mark James sent us this edited version:

Mark's day at the beach

Mark’s day at the beach

Mark writes:

I took a stab at playing with the photo. I have to say that in general it’s a nice shot with realistic colors so short of going crazy there is not much to be done with it. I rotated and cropped it and because it has so many great sunny colors I did some tweaking there as well. I also did a little “airbrushing” on the woman’s leg to clean up the shadows a little and smooth out the skin tones a little. I would have liked to play with it in LR but because I’ve never messed with JPG there before I used PS which I don’t like as well. I think I could have pulled some extra detail out of the sand and shirt with LR.

Kara Stewart really got creative and sent us many beautiful edits.  Here are a few:

Kara’s beach photo Impressionistic

Kara’s beach photo Impressionistic

Kara’s beach photo Modern Painting

Kara’s beach photo Modern Painting

Kara’s beach photo displacement map 2

Kara’s beach photo displacement map 2

Kara writes:

I started by cropping out the distraction bottom right (blue chair?) and the person/body on the left.

I then started my versions with some photo painting. I used Corel’s Painter Essentials 4. First I did an impressionistic version since I liked the idea of that watery, painting feel for a beach photo. Seems to echo summer heat and water. When it was done, I used a soft clone brush to bring back a bit more detail in some of the people. I then popped it over to Photoshop CS5 and adjusted the curves slightly to brighten it up from the impressionistic colors. I was thinking of beach = bright colors.

With that in mind, I then tried another painting version, also in Corel’s Painter Essentials 4. I used modern painting style this time, and didn’t actually alter it when it was done. I liked the bold, bright colors and the amount of detail lost.

I played with displacement map (still using Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2). I loved the results and could have kept playing with more and more versions for another week!

So you never know what you can turn a photo into! It’s all art, it’s all good.  🙂

Well said Kara, and well done!  You can see much more of Kara’s art (and photography) at her site, which is appropriately named “Kara Stewart: art in photography”.

Rey and I also weighed in with our own versions.  Rey tells us he “saw a need for a tighter crop and a more nostalgic maybe even post-card like feel.  I played with the edges to give it a polaroid transfer look”…

Rey’s Polaroid post-card look

Rey’s Polaroid post-card look

And finally, using iPhoto, I wanted to keep the brilliant colors of the umbrellas while desaturating and adding a vignette, throwing the rest of the of the photo back into an earlier era.  I cropped out the sky and foreground sand using a square crop and kept the less than straight horizon line as it adds a dynamism to the scene…

Ed's Desaturated square

Ed’s Desaturated square

Many thanks to Debbie, Mark and Kara for helping to demonstrate that the line between photography and art has faded away.  And as always, thanks for visiting 2 Guys Photo.

About Ed Spadoni "Thoughts and opinions, resources and experiences… for emerging photographers everywhere."
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4 Responses to Photography or Art: The results are in! {Update}

  1. Debbie says:

    These are all wonderful! I submitted one too but don’t see it here.

  2. mikeronesia says:

    My favorite is “Kara’s beach photo Impressionistic”. It retains enough detail to satisfy my photographic needs while still giving it that artistic feel. I don’t have corel and have tried a few different filters in PS and never found one I was happy with. Map 2 is also far out man. 🙂

  3. Kara Stewart says:

    I love the variety here! And thanks for your groovy thumbs up, Mike! 🙂 Ed, I think there may be a few others on the dailies who were going to post, so maybe you can do another update if others send in? This was fun! Thanks for letting us play, Ed!

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