Guy Tal • Exceptionalism In Nature Photography

Exceptional images can rely on exceptional subject matter, light, technique and so on. But, in order for an image to also be meaningful, it must rely on the exceptional vision, imagination and creativity of the photographer

Few things are as insulting to a serious photographer as having their work referred to as snapshot, postcard or cliché. We all wish to avoid the ordinary and the commonplace and to create exceptional work, literally an exception to the norm. And yet, the norm would not be a norm if it did not encompass the majority of work produced by the majority of photographers. The reason may have to do with peer pressure. When online communities and popular information sources place so much emphasis on technical specifications, the latest hotspots, techniques and visual effects, a dynamic is created that rewards conformity and makes it hard for most people to break from the herd or to receive useful feedback when they do.

I am sometimes reminded of my high school years in the days of Punk Rock when so many of my classmates sought to express their innate individualism by sporting Mohawks, torn jeans and metal spikes, ironically ending up looking pretty much the same. In seeing so much repetition of the same subject matter and visual effects in landscape photography today, I can’t help think that the cause is ...

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About Author


I am a full-time photographer, writer, and naturalist living and working in the Colorado Plateau – a scenic and diverse desert region of the western United States spanning an area larger than most countries and states.

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