Sorry, I have always wondered if I could write headlines for The Sun newspaper and I hope this post’s title would meet with the editor’s approval. Moving on….
Peter Lik is not on my active radar and this is because his photographs aren’t my thing. However, I won’t deny that I find him, his work and his business model fascinating. In this sense, he holds a tiny reserved spot in a corner of my mind, alongside Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and Vicky Pollard.
A while ago, I wrote an article about Peter Lik’s business model and some of the controversy surrounding it here. Yesterday, however, he popped up again on PetaPixel.com, where the article discusses his recent photograph ‘Moonlit Dreams‘. I recommend you read the PetaPixel article so you can form your own opinion whether a) the photo is indeed a composite and b) whether it matters. FStoppers first raised the issue in this 30 minute panel discussion.
Peter Lik would appear to be making large amounts of money from his prints. This means that the explanation behind a photograph matters. Although it is unclear, some people are alleging that Lik has been suggesting on certainly platforms that apparently composite photos are single captures. This would arguably have a profound impact on the rarity of the actual scene depicted. Would someone who has paid $10,000 for a print feel OK knowing that ‘a rare alignment of light, cloud, moon and rock’ (my words, not his) was in fact assembled in photoshop (if indeed this is the case)? We photographers might care, but what about his actual customer base?
Personally, I don’t like dishonest representation of photographs and feel worried by how much of a problem this has become (see articles Staged Photos: Misrepresentation & Ethics, Photography Ethics & Guidelines and Troilo Stripped Of World Press Award). Moonlit Dreams to my eye appears to be a glaringly obvious composite, in which case is it a photograph at all, rather than a digital illustration? Whereas this would matter hugely with a documentary photograph, does this matter as much when it is a landscape scene?
What do you think?