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The Colors of Decay
August 4, 2008 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Keith Thorne has stunningly colored pictures of decaying urban spaces on his Flickr stream, including some taken at an abandoned German military hospital that once treated Adolf Hitler. A few pictures feature himself. Via.
posted by Hollow (26 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mmmm... HDR.
posted by GuyZero at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2008


When you ask for a private room at the hospital, you're recuperating with Hitler.
posted by orthogonality at 11:54 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


These would be much more compelling without the HDR.
posted by availablelight at 11:55 AM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Too much HDR - it's an effective tool to help out a photograph with too great a latitude between light and dark, but tweaked out to this extent, it's gimmicky, calls attention to itself, is kind of cheap, and is the photographic equivalent of adding autotune to voices in music and giving everyone that Cher effect - it's interesting the first time, and then instantly gets annoying.

The HDR does something weird to the middle greys that's particularly pulls the images smack into the uncanny valley, IMHO.
posted by MythMaker at 11:57 AM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


My first thought, clicking into bits of the photo set: this is a really interesting Quake mod right here.

The painterly look it interesting, if likely to make a lot of quick non-fans of the stuff given how goddam everybody-and-his-dog the compressed dynamic range thing has been for the last couple years. Which, e.g.:

These would be much more compelling without the HDR.
posted by availablelight


I won't say the word. I hate the word. But heh.
posted by cortex at 11:58 AM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know who else was treated at that abandoned German military hospital?

Oh, wait. Yes. You already know.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:00 PM on August 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


These are pretty nice, but yeah, HDR. I prefer my urban decay in B&W anyway.
posted by Venadium at 12:02 PM on August 4, 2008


Kept expecting a Big Daddy to be in the background of one of these.
posted by papercake at 12:10 PM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


In those two pictures linked, if you look closely, you will see that all the guys look alike. Do you think they dressed them up that way, or as I believe, they photoshopped the heads on the bodies of the actual people sitting in the chairs? It has to be one or the other. No other explanation makes sense...... I said none!
posted by Senator at 12:13 PM on August 4, 2008


A few pictures feature himself.

OMG how r all thos babby formed?! Poor mohter!!??
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:13 PM on August 4, 2008


Fuck HDR.
posted by popcassady at 12:19 PM on August 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


I love it. Great post, thank you!
posted by perilous at 12:56 PM on August 4, 2008


Should we just have a side poll for those that actually like HDR? Especially such copious HDR'ing (er?) as this has?

It can be a very small poll. It'll hardly take up much room.

(I was sad it ruined the shots of the cool looking old place...)
posted by Brockles at 12:56 PM on August 4, 2008


If we all hate that over-processed look, as one should, why do commenters in Flickr love it so much? Keith Thorne gets way more comments than my favorite urban exploration photographer, whose style is much more naturalistic.
posted by nev at 1:17 PM on August 4, 2008


Me? I like 'em.
posted by dowcrag at 1:20 PM on August 4, 2008


It's interesting to hear people dissing HDR outright when the fact is they likely see HDR images all the time without even knowing. It's a tool like anything else, and as such it can be used in many different situations with very different results. These shots are a bit over processed for my taste, but he's clearly going for a certain look.
posted by evenson at 2:08 PM on August 4, 2008


I think this was a FPP from long ago, but the NYTlooked into the Flickr aesthetic. I don't bother looking for comments on Flickr anymore because of all the braindead morons who drool over the latest HDR technique. Also I shoot film and I am too lazy to scan most of my work in. But, I digress.

I agree with the masses here, overdone HDR. I can't even look past five or six pictures at a time because the tonemapping is so distracting. I'd like to see some of the component shots before they were ruined. Are HDR photographs going to become the Thomas Kinkade of this era?
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 2:11 PM on August 4, 2008



If we all hate that over-processed look, as one should, why do commenters in Flickr love it so much?


If we all hate crappy reality television, as one should, why do they get such consistently high ratings?
posted by davejay at 2:49 PM on August 4, 2008


I kind of like the way the over-emphasised colours and super-HDR makes the photos look like video game screen-caps. Kind of like using tilt-shift to make things appear like models.
Some of these photos I really have to struggle to see something other than rendered geometry.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:36 PM on August 4, 2008


THE HDR-ing works exceptionally well with the lo-res PicLens images.
posted by mattoxic at 4:37 PM on August 4, 2008


Wow, a lot of hate on HDR. Sure in shot after shot like this it's just too much, but I could definitely see one or maybe two of these shots, suitably framed, looking quite striking on a wall. I just wouldn't want a coffee table book full of them.
posted by adamt at 5:41 PM on August 4, 2008


10 Unusually Talented Night Photographers: The History and Art of Night Photography
posted by homunculus at 5:48 PM on August 4, 2008


HDR requires a subtle touch. I think every picture has its own "sweet spot" in which HDR looks good. It's easy to go overboard on it, though, and virtually all of these pics are overboard.
posted by zardoz at 12:59 AM on August 5, 2008


The irony about HDR is that it's meant to be used to capture scenes with a high dynamic range; but everything ends up looking so fake, flat and grey. Often it's used to cover up poor photography; people can't be bothered getting the exposure right to begin with, so rely on HDR to combine a range of exposures instead of thinking about what they're doing to begin with. It can be used well, but only about 5% of the HDR shots I see on Flickr are decent.
posted by Jimbob at 2:05 AM on August 5, 2008


HDR is the Velvet Elvis Carpet Painting of our time.

(yes, I'm guilty, too)
posted by Poagao at 2:53 AM on August 5, 2008


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posted by homunculus at 1:24 PM on August 13, 2008


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