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Are HDR Photography and Surrealism Analogous?

HDR photography

Is HDR photography authentic surrealism?

Let’s take a look at HDR photography, the most debated genre of photographic arts. Some say it looks fake; others love it, wanting all of their images to have the look.

HDR photography is created by merging images of different exposures. The photographer shoots two or more images, changing the time the shutter remains open with each shot, creating photos that range from dark to light.

HDR photography can look fake. Some don’t agree that they do.  When we speak of surreal here, we’re not talking Salvador Dali. The images don’t depict a thought process without any constraints, as HDR photography is only an enhancement with nothing to do with how one ponders the life process.

Surreal also refers to an aspect of fantasy, a medium that is an imprint of the subconscious. In short, it’s satire. There’s nothing satirical about an overprocessed HDR image.

In photography, the word surreal has taken on a new meaning, one that is more related to the term hyperrealism than surrealism. Have you ever looked at a painting that looks like a photograph? The look is very similar to an HDR processed image because of the sharp details that can be included in paintings.

HDR photography offers a slew of choices to increase its realism, from filling in shadow areas with detail to wiping out any clipping of colors, replacing it with an increased differentiation of pixel tone and color. In other words, the process has the potential to transform an image from one that’s mediocre to one that’s compelling.

The term for a overprocessed HDR image should be changed to hyperrealism because, indeed, it’s not surrealism. In order to make surrealistic photography, you have to spend a lot of time creating hundreds of layers so that the image turns into a subconscious fantasy.

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