The reality of the shot

Subjectivity. She is a cold hearted bitch that parades amongst the community of “art” often only talking when she has a crass negative answer to an unimplied question. Living in a world delusion that good will show itself brighter than critical is a nonserving viewpoint if you are a photographer, but I remain that the heart of man leans to the kind. Perhaps I am an unabashed optimist, but I will always conduct life this way even when proven wrong. Never more apparent than when public scrutiny is present, I have seen much these last few weeks, and you my readers, and my critics deserve a response.

I am a photographer. Someone that lives his life in a grateful way, constantly reassuring himself that the good fortune that has come his way has never been deserved. For it is on the shoulders of fate and God’s good graces that my success stands. I find the fact that people take interest in my work humbling and I genuinely try and reciprocate the appreciation, because myself, and every other photographer out there, are nothing without a viewer. Likewise our existence it moot without a counter-opinion, as even the brightest of lights would not be measurable without the shadows. The place of the critic spans the area of you character that you let it occupy, and the critic himself often determines his own quality.

As this weeks launch of the of the Lamborghini video has shown, dissenting opinions are easier to show with the courage that the internet’s anonymity provides. I have read and respect all of them, and quite frankly agree with many, so allow me to address the big one…

“The Lambroghini is over retouched”  –   Hell yes it is!  I haven’t even run the image that the video contains because I feel the same way, but therein lies an aspect of irony. The video that the fstoppers made (and made well in my opinion) is a lesson in where things go in commercial photography, and where they can go. It would be worthless to make a video of instruction and have the photographer end it with, “I get every shot out of camera” because no one does. The best photographer can shoot beautiful images that convey light and emotion effectively, but they will never run unretouched for an ad. What Scott and I set out to do was make a video to teach people how photography on a commercial level works. From the prep, to the retouch, we wanted to show aspects of the process that a lot of photographers prefer not teach due to some unfounded sense of insecurity that showing to much will hurt their bottom line. We knew from the beginning that I would show lighting, both easy and for retouch, and he would show how much retouching could do, why waste the time doing work and interviews to show how little we can do? The result is a shot of over perfection that separates from reality and walks right in the door of surreal.  The entire time irony sunbaths in the concept that many of those we set out to teach got angered by what we taught.

Reality back to center stage and the assumption that the perfect image exists from the camera gets lost in the year that printing began. Many an armchair photographer will argue that Bresson’s leap was blurred, but the the critique itself debases the critic. As a professional photographer I am as unique as the 4 billion other people that classify themselves as such, and my ability to sway the masses is limited to the same baron unpaved flat that gets angered by deep prose in a blog.

In closing, it’s Friday, and another week is over, so let me offer a toast to my readers, my critics, and to those people that just plain don’t like me… cheers

Shot and over retouched with my iPhone

    20 Responses to “The reality of the shot”

  1. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Peter Falkner says:


    Great image of the Lambo, thanks for sharing and killer response to the whiners. L O V E IT

  2. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Carey says:

    Awesome job Blair! Your generosity in sharing your information is Fantastic. Many people are afraid to share because they believe it will hurt them in some way, even thou no two photographers are ever the same. Hell give away money, some won’t like it! I love your insight in what a professional photographer does and what it takes! Keep up the good work, and forget the nay sayers

  3. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Bao says:

    You are an inspiration, thank you for sharing and going with your gut and hart. That makes you different and special from the masses.

  4. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    James Saleska says:

    Well put.

  5. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Bartone says:

    I couldn’t disagree more. Hell, there’s got to be more than 4 billion photographers on the planet. As for the Lamb shoot, hell, you did a great job. Better than 3.9 billion of ’em could’ve. 😉

  6. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Cassie says:

    I just want you to know how much I appreciated this video along with ALL your blog posts, behind the scenes, equipment reviews, and opinions. You and your work are extremely inspiring to me. I was infuriated when I read the Fstoppers comments that were negative. You are offering people an inside look into commercial photography and instead of being grateful for your generosity and taking useful information from it, some people were only focused on being negative. In my opinion this is just an attempt to make themselves feel better about their work and where they are in their photography careers. I hope you don’t take it to heart and just wanted to write to you to let you know how much I appreciate you and there are so many others out there silently enjoying, admiring and learning from you. THANK YOU for you being you and sharing with all of us!!!! Cheers to you and happy friday!

  7. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Rigo says:

    Cheers my friend. Haters will always hate, forever too small minded and shortsighted to know better.

  8. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Rick Lewis says:

    Pinheads all, Blair. (The detractors that is.) Photography is so very subjective. I follow several commercial photographers and each has a different style and a different clientele.

    That’s why I follow them! I love seeing each develop and expand their own talent. That is why I follow your blog, and theirs.

    To the pinheads that were rude enough to make negative comments about the Lambo post, I repeat what my parents taught me when I was growing up. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.” Who knows, maybe they didn’t have parents and were raised by wolves.

  9. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Ben says:

    Criticism is an inevitable result of success. The upside in this case is that your response made for an interesting blog post. Controversy is almost always entertaining.

    The final shot was epic and the video was fun and informative. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    Alan says:

    Keep up the great work, man. You’ll always be an inspiration to me. I can’t wait to see the more personal work you’ve been wanting to do.


  11. March 9, 2012 | Reply
    ed says:

    I need new haters because the old ones are starting to like me. Less than 10% of people viewing a piece of art will like it. Remember a craftsman makes a wage, an artist has unlimited earning potential.

  12. March 10, 2012 | Reply
    Artevedana says:

    Great way of studying a future shoot! Good job!

  13. March 12, 2012 | Reply
    Brian says:

    Hi Blair,
    I enjoyed the video very much as well as the photography information you share in your blog posts.
    Looking forward to more of it!

  14. March 17, 2012 | Reply
    Cbarnett says:

    Thank you for taking the time to show how you shot the Lamborghini. I especially liked the way the video showed the car just before each strobe was turned on and then after they were turned on so you could see the before and after. It is an outstanding instructional video.

  15. March 17, 2012 | Reply
    Terence Moore says:


    I just wanted to say I had never heard of you until I watched your great little video on how to shoot the Aventador. What a beautiful car and an excellent image, you indeed have another follower and admirer. Your comments on haters is spot on, and you eloquently put them in their place. I would hazard a guess that most of these photographers are not as successful as you. As they say jealousy is a curse. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to seeing what you are up too in the future.


  16. April 2, 2012 | Reply
    Sean Bancroft says:

    Excellent points, Blair. I especially liked the over-retouched iPhone toast. Cheers!

  17. April 5, 2012 | Reply
    Richard Klein says:

    Blair, I have never shot cars, other than for fun. After viewing the video on shooting the Aventador, I have decided to try my hand at seriously shooting my car. From my standpoint, this video is very, very successful. You graciously showed your techniques, and I feel that a major goal you had was to inspire photographers to try something new and creative. Thanks so very much for sharing! Oh, yeah…The shot of the car ain’t too shabby either!!!!!! :-)

  18. July 17, 2012 | Reply
    Andre says:

    The end result is pure badass, with a teaspoon of cool!
    Briliant to let us happy amateurs see the process. Thanks dude, and rock on!

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