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Iconic Underwater Images, Can you name them?

Best Underwater photos ever Iconic Images

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#21 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:10 AM

I think a key point that many have raised in the discussion is that iconic underwater images vary depending on where you live, what you are exposed to.

Iconic images are ones that have a cultural resonance and this depends on your culture, what you are exposed to, where you live. For example, in the US there is no surprise that iconic images tend to be ones from your National Geographic magazine. In the same way that in the UK, iconic TV usually comes from the BBC. And while Nat Geo magazine is sold all around the world, it has much less cultural resonance in the UK, as an example. I bet most members of BSoUP couldn't tell you what was the subject of the last UW feature in Nat Geo. I suspect most LAUPS members could.

However, as your talk is on the West Coast of the States, Steve, I suggest you bias towards what are likely to be the audiences' iconic images.

Alex

p.s. I am not so introspective about my photography (and like most photographers I am most excited by my latest work). To go back to Steve's graph, my aim (as is most photographers) is to to produce photos that end up as far up his line as possible. But exactly how much they end up resonating culturally is usually much more about where they get used (how widely they are seen) rather than any intrinsic artistic superiority. I guess I am saying you can't set out to produce an iconic image, you can simply aim to be as high up the graph as possible and then need factors beyond your control to give your photo the platform to make that last step.

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#22 Steve Williams

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:49 PM

Thanks Alex, I really appreciate you jumping in. If we forget the word iconic for a second do you folks believe that what we see as beautiful and awe inspiring is affected by where we live? I would have thought that in today’s global environment where I can see what’s on the BBC as easily as CNN. It would at least begin to level, especially with regard to underwater images. I would have said that truly beautiful, emotional images would be perceived the same the world over. I will have to think about it for a while.
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#23 DiverPam

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:16 PM

Thanks Alex, I really appreciate you jumping in. If we forget the word iconic for a second do you folks believe that what we see as beautiful and awe inspiring is affected by where we live? I would have thought that in today’s global environment where I can see what’s on the BBC as easily as CNN. It would at least begin to level, especially with regard to underwater images. I would have said that truly beautiful, emotional images would be perceived the same the world over. I will have to think about it for a while.
Steve


Steve - From an intellectual perspective, this argument makes sense. But not everyone "feels" the same. Our emotions change based on many variables - and these are not constant with emotions - and they change over time. Our own experiences play a huge part in how we see (or feel about) an image. And just as Alex mentioned above, culture plays an important component in this as well.

And even though most of the photographers on here are "global" not everyone is. In answer to your question about where we live impacting how we see an image...I believe it is yes. How can it not?

So. ..for me, a part of this iconic image gallery might also be a component of why it is iconic from the viewers' perspective - not just the photographers'.

My 2 cents worth - DiverPam

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#24 Steve Williams

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:37 PM

OK I'll go along with that. We each bring our own perspective to an image, I agree. But I'm still fascinated by those very special, unique pieces of art that are the best of what underwater photographers can produce. I'm asking myself if one of the qualities that make a special underwater image special is a broad appeal, independent of culture or where one calls home. Are those images very special because they drive an intuitive emotional response in all of us?

One way of thinking about the quality of any image might be in how many people it affects, for how long and how deeply.

Still thinking,
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#25 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:49 AM

The more important point I was trying to make was that images need the right platform to become iconic. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech wouldn't been iconic if he'd been at home on the sofa shouting at the TV!

I am sure that there are underwater images with the potential to be iconic sitting on the hard drive of some photographer no of us know. Of course, in photography most of the avenues that allow an image to be widely seen are accessible to all - we can all submit to major magazines, newspapers and contests.

And, just as important, we should recognise that only a few images that are widely seen have the graphic/artistic/emotional qualities to become truly iconic. Which is the point you are making, Steve.

However, I do think that an image needs both the platform and the artisitic quality (to generate a strong emotional response) to become iconic.

Alex

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#26 loftus

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:31 AM

Very often, iconic images make a leap that goes beyond artistic, in fact the artistic part may become quite secondary, and the artistic part may even be absent.
Not to say the artistic part does not help, but some iconic images are not really special from this artistic standpoint, or when captured just a second later may be quite ordinary from an artistic standpoint. This is when capturing the moment trumps everything; many iconic images do this - images that come to mind are Eric Cheng's turtle image.

Edited by loftus, 14 February 2013 - 03:38 AM.

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#27 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

Steve, I’m doing a couple of talks about creating memorable images at the Irish Dive Show and London Dive Show. I wonder if I can use your model with credit as I think it is a good talking point. 


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#28 Steve Williams

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:02 PM

 I wonder if I can use your model with credit as I think it is a good talking point. 

 

Absolutely Alex,  I consider it a Wetpixel model since everyone joined in with their ideas to help create it.  I would be interested in the response you get from the folks there. PM me a good email address for you and I'll send you a file if you'd like.

 

Cheers,

Steve 


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#29 gorantrener

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 03:50 AM

one of iconic images to consider would be Dr. Mustard "selfie" with curious sea lion on his shoulder. everytime i see it somewhere on the web generates a big smile on my face. interesting is that few purists would maybe find some objections to the image overall, but in my opinion image doesnt have to meet all photo criteria to be iconic 



#30 mcliffy2

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 02:49 PM

The ones that come to my mind have been mentioned, but I'm watching this thread eagerly to see what the WP community comes up with  :notworthy: