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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Impressionism: The non Masters Thread Challenge
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11/11/2004 09:44:49 AM · #1
Although I cannot participate in the masters challenge, I figured it will be a long time if ever before impressionism II comes around, and since I haven't personally found any of the recent topics interesting, I decided to challenge myself to the details of the impressionism challenge.

First part of challenge: I have found a few good sites where you can learn more about impressionism, which I will post later in this thread.

Second part of challenge: For my own rules, I wanted to stay away from PS filters to achieve the main impressionistic effect. That leaves camera movement, rain, fog, and camera filters to achieve it instead. I plan on eventually trying all of the above, but I started by continuing my camera movement experiments.

Here is my first finished work:

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I also wanted to see what it would look like on Canvas, so I did use a PS filter to add the canvas texture:

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Please let me know what you think, and feel free to join in on the experiment (only those who cannot enter the Masters challenge).
11/11/2004 09:48:45 AM · #2
I like it, Neil! I'd forgotten about taking impressionist shots myself, but I'm going to try and do this soon and post one of mine. :-D
11/11/2004 09:52:38 AM · #3
I've got quite a few more but they are mostly just cliche water reflections. For something slightly different...

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11/11/2004 10:22:55 AM · #4
I like the results you got with the very linear 'brush strokes'. Not so sure about the canvas filter but I think it would look good actually printed out on canvas and mounted.

One thing I've played with, with reasonable success is the idea of using the camera to produce brush strokes in the end result. A lot of impressionistic era painting is in many ways defined by the type of brush stroke used. The strokes are visible and a part of the whole composition, rather than just a means to get paint on the canvas.

Building on this idea, I tried to use my camera like a brush, to create these repeated strokes in the final image. Now you can hold a camera and wave it around and get streaks, but I was looking for something a bit more controlled. I found mounting the camera solidly on a really sturdy tripod let me make very small, controlled movements of the camera duing the exposure, giving the small, detailed brush stroke results that I wanted in the final version.

Using a small aperture, mainly to ensure a longish exposure, let me make these strokes 'count' in the final image. (f22/ 0.3s @ ISO 100 type range)

I also found that making the 'brush strokes' sympathetic to the major compositional elements in the scene was quite effective - e.g., small bridge shapes for a shot containing bridges, circular motions for shots with 'round' themes and so on. This isn't as trite and 'cut-out' as it may sound - I'm not trying to imply perfect repetition of the shapes, but the general mood gets repeated throughout the scene when this works well.

Strong, simple colours work well too, as the fine detail is 'lost in translation' This works well in your tree branch shot too - it is still clearly a tree, while not having the detail of a tree. Without strongly defined archetype shapes in the scene the impressionistic result wanders off towards abstract.

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 10:23:33.
11/11/2004 04:54:10 PM · #5
Here's one of the links I promised:

Learn About Impressionism

And to just browse images, you can see a lot of impressionist images with this link:
Google Image Search for Impressionism

Gordon: Good information and ideas--I haven't tried the tripod approach but that seems like it would produce a good result. Handheld, I have found the best results are with about 1/6 to 1/8 of a second exposure times.

Tranquil: That works for me, but like some of my earlier works, I would classify that as more abstract than impressionist.

I encourage others to learn and try. I proposed this challenge before as a learning experience. Just because the challenge is masters only, that doesn't mean we can't get our own hands on learning.

I will encourage people, as they post their own impressionistic images in this thread, to look down the thread and comment on others images. One thing I don't personally like about a lot of the "post here" threads is that people post but more rarely comment. To learn you should analyze, comment, and post.

Also post any other links to educational resources about impressionism.

11/11/2004 05:49:41 PM · #6
I have tried all weird stuff with the camera as well. Nothing that I am too proud to show right now. Just experimenting.
I have so far not been able to create the exact look I have in my head. If ever I get it right, I would be posting it right away.
11/11/2004 06:11:49 PM · #7
i know a guy - sort of - who does something called canvas transfer.
you ruin the print, but it gets transfered to real stretched canvas, and the technique produces lifetime lasting results. getting a DPC print would be a minimal expense - i think he can do up to 20x30" or so.

i saw some photos he had transfered, and the effect was pretty cool.
it might be something to look into for theses impressionistic type photos.

for more information PM me - i have his phone number. as long as he hasn't moved.

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 18:13:41.
11/11/2004 06:19:07 PM · #8
Here are some impressionistic shots already in my portfolio. I would really like to be able to submit to the Impressionism challenge but I am short of two ribbons.

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Maybe I will post some new shots later.
11/11/2004 06:21:05 PM · #9
You get extra points for quoting Roger Waters :)
11/11/2004 06:22:00 PM · #10
In my opinion these are works of art which take us beyond current received wisdom. They transform the camera from an "eye" into a "brush".
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Neil... I hope that you understand how important your work is.

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 18:28:19.
11/11/2004 06:54:23 PM · #11
well, i think this is one of the most interesting challenges and to do so with minimal photo-shoppin' forces some pretty amazing and creative techniques...

here's a shot i took through a warbled church window last fall in chicago-land.

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11/11/2004 06:55:35 PM · #12
well done. ^^
11/11/2004 06:57:37 PM · #13
Neil, I love your tulips. The trees presented here don't quite nail it for me. The motion of the camera is to pronounced in the end result I think. To succeed in this endeavor it seems to me that the camera's motion needs to be hidden from the viewer. This is much more successful with the tulips.

arngrimur - Hmmm, ...to my way of thinking only Air and Floating in Architecture represent impressionism. Especially Architecture.

Daisy - nice effect!

:) Great project.

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 19:00:47.
11/11/2004 07:16:13 PM · #14
daisy77. That's fantastic! I left you a comment on the image.
arngrimur. Quite a nice set! My favorites in the impressionistic mold are "Air" and "Sightseeing"--I left comments on those.

These went in my favorites!

Fibonacci and just-married, thanks for your kind comments. Hopefully you will try some experiments and post as well.

soup Thanks. I'll send you a PM. I am interested.

xion post em when ya got em! ;-)[/b]

This is of course a multiday project, and hopefully other "non-masters" will also join in.

Regards--Neil

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 19:17:19.
11/11/2004 07:30:27 PM · #15
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Sort of things I have been attempting.
11/11/2004 07:38:35 PM · #16
I'm impressed. Some of these are really good. In particular I like xion's people with umbrella shot, and arngrimur's carriage. Wow!
11/11/2004 07:41:00 PM · #17
At what point do these shots become merely abstract shots? For me, shots in which I cannot discern what I'm looking at (without the help of a title), do not really qualify as an impressionistic shot. Of course, the truth is in the beholder's eye.

I'm anxious to see the masters' interpretation of this topic. My guess is that I'm still not getting it and I'll see a lot of, what appear to me to be, simply abstract shots.
11/11/2004 07:41:45 PM · #18
Originally posted by xion:

...snip...Sort of things I have been attempting.


I love #1, Quay, though that's perhaps abstract more than impressionistic.
Colors are great for #4, Street II. I like it as is, but I think you might find some interesting crops for alternates in there as well.
Shots #2 (and to a lesser extent #3) below are classic material reminding me of impressionistic paintings, and well done. Where I think these might lean more toward impressionism is getting some texture into the large areas of highlight. I love umbrella shots in impressionistic photos and paintings, and I have to mention my favorite on this site which was done by ccraft:

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I don't know if she's into impressionistic art, but if not, she did it without even trying.
11/11/2004 07:43:27 PM · #19
I posted this some time ago as an impression of life in an old folks home but it was mullered because of "quality" issues.
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11/11/2004 08:27:55 PM · #20
OK, a question. Without taking anything away from the pictures themselves, some of them are really beautiful, but, why is it that so many of the examples that have been posted for impressionism in photos are motion blur of one kind or another, either long exposure or camera motion or both? Almost seems that the thinking is that a picture has to be in some way or another "blurry" to qualify for impressionism. The idea I have of impressionism is: no black and catch light to give the impression of a place, person, moment (pardon my non-technical wording). Motion blur seems almost like a cliche for impressionism, but it a picture doesn't have to be "blurry" to qualify, right?

I'm just wondering.

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 20:33:26.
11/11/2004 08:29:33 PM · #21
This is really quite an interesting thread. I've been teaching about Impressionism for several years now in an art-history kind of way. Just my opinion, but I think the carriage and stalker and people under the umbrella come closest to an impressionistic painting "feel."

Don't know how much you guys know about the French Impressionist, but they were fascinated with photographs -- a fairly new invention at the time. They adjustment some of their painting techniques to immulate photography (especially Degas), and now here we are all these years later trying to do the opposite.

This is a good idea -- I'll try to get some of my own impressionistic photos this week-end. I've been relying on PS to achieve that effect.
11/11/2004 08:32:32 PM · #22
Originally posted by ursula:

OK, a question. Without taking anything away from the pictures themselves, some of them are really beautiful, but, why is it that so many of the examples that have been posted for impressionism in photos are motion blur of one kind or another, either long exposure or camera motion or both? Almost seems that the thinking is that a picture has to be in some way or another "blurry" to qualify for impressionism.

Oh well. I'm just wondering about that.


Up close, impressionistic paintings look like blobs of paint. It's only when you step back from them you see what the artist wanted you to see. They were trying to capture their impression of how light changed things, so they painted quickly -- with fast brush storkes and thick paint. They are also very colorful -- usually. That doesn't come through as well in photos of the paintings as when you see the actual paintings.
11/11/2004 08:35:43 PM · #23
Originally posted by dipaulk:

Originally posted by ursula:

OK, a question. Without taking anything away from the pictures themselves, some of them are really beautiful, but, why is it that so many of the examples that have been posted for impressionism in photos are motion blur of one kind or another, either long exposure or camera motion or both? Almost seems that the thinking is that a picture has to be in some way or another "blurry" to qualify for impressionism.

Oh well. I'm just wondering about that.


Up close, impressionistic paintings look like blobs of paint. It's only when you step back from them you see what the artist wanted you to see. They were trying to capture their impression of how light changed things, so they painted quickly -- with fast brush storkes and thick paint. They are also very colorful -- usually. That doesn't come through as well in photos of the paintings as when you see the actual paintings.


I realize that the technique doesn't translate well to photography, but the idea would, wouldn't it, without having to emulate the technique?
11/11/2004 08:36:49 PM · #24
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11/11/2004 08:37:30 PM · #25
Originally posted by pcody:

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Why would this be impressionism?

Edit: not a comment on the picture, just a question.

Message edited by author 2004-11-11 20:38:12.
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