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Discussion Board -> Desktop Wallpaper, Art, etc. -> What Isn't Art? (Photo Borders)

What Isn't Art? (Photo Borders)

.Digital_Angel
06/19/10 6:40 PM GMT
(Edited 6-20)(Don't worry, this post won't be as long as the last one)
I believe there have been discussions about this on the site before, but I've recently come into contact with a lot of photos that have borders in the Art Council voting booth, images which I voted not to be added to the permanent galleries because the border was distracting and unnecessary. IIf I'm on the fence about an image, I look at the image on a desktop. More often than not, the image looks squished on the screen because the top border is pushing the image downwards because the bottom border can't be seen because of my taskbar.

There are some situations where borders are a good thing (like making it where an image can fit desktop dimensions), but in general borders detract from rather than add to an image. Especially as a background site, artists uploading images should be aware that borders around the perimeter of the image make the image off-balance on the screen. The reason is that the top of the border squishes the image towards the bottom because of the taskbar, which covers the bottom border. Instead, make sure that your images are great when you take them; if you feel the need to add a border to your image to "spruce it up", then you probably don't have a great image.

If you are concerned about adding a border to allow the image to fit the desktop size, I would suggest generally using only black or white, because the color should come from the image itself. Having a landscape photo with a green panoramic border is very distracting to the eye because everything's green and the eye has nowhere to focus.

While borders, like art, are a matter of taste, I think there are certain rules that apply to it. Here are some examples of good versus bad background borders:

1. Not-so-good Border

2. Decent Border

(The image is a stock image and isn't great on it's own, as Sam points out below, but these are the type of images that I typically see with colorful/textured borders.)

The first example is distracting from the image: it goes around the perimeter, it has texture, and it has color. The second border enhances the image: it is black, it is panoramic, and it is simple. In my own rule book, borders should be used almost exclusively with panoramic photos and not with full-screen images. There are some borders in between that I think can still be tasteful and elegant without being overpowering. For example, if you choose to do a panoramic image but feel that the black border is boring, try adding a thin line at the top/bottom of the border of any color taken from the image. This gives it a little pop without overdoing it.

Please feel free to add anything to the topic...
0∈ [?]
For wisdom is protection just as money is protection. But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.

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::coram9
06/20/10 10:25 AM GMT
Almost all of my posts have borders top and bottom to ensure that the image fits a computer screen. My camera gives 16:9 ratio images and often I feel that cropping them removes something from then. I therefore add a border, usually black, to create a 1920x1200 image and post that. Of course, older 4:3 displays would still lose the sides. As this site is a desktop site all images in my opinion should be in the size ratio that conforms to computer screens, most other sites insist on it. Would I get a no vote just because of that?
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::LynEve
06/20/10 12:05 AM GMT
I also believe that the addition of borders is a matter of taste and in many cases a border adds to an image which is specifically intended as a wallpaper image. Personally I like border room for my icons (after all this is a computer, not an art gallery) I prefer to view an image in its entirety without it being cluttered with icons, and also do not like 'loosing' my icons within an image. If the image/photo was intended for printing then I agree borders are superfluous but they can have a place on a computer monitor. Whether they are liked or disliked is a matter of choice and there are plenty to chose from with or without.

I do think it is unfair to vote against an image in the Arts Council simply because it has a border, unless it is so horrible the image is ruined.

Previously it was compulsory to upload images in the correct ratio for monitors and for that reason many more images were borderd to comply. Now that we are able to upload any shape or size many are now less suitable as wallpapers but we do get to see images that are more suited to vertical or square presentation.

The subject has been a bone of contention for a long time - and unless borders are banned I think they will continue to be used and we have to remember that in many cases considerable thought and time goes into creating one and that the artist considers it complimentary to and part of the final image.

I am sorry I have to disagree that there are any 'rules' regarding borders - a border either looks good or it does not. And what looks good to one person may not look good to another.
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
=Samatar
06/20/10 12:43 AM GMT
All I will say here is that any image that is selected to be part of the permanent galleries should be outstanding; the sort of thing you would expect to see in the pages of a high quality publication. Personally I would certainly reject an image if the framing was unsuitable or ugly... I think the first example shown above is a good one (the image in question wouldn't qualify for the perms anyway in my book, but the framing certainly detracts from it).

I think the second example answers coram9's concern, sometimes obviously a border is necessary for the image to fit desktop dimensions, but I don't think the point of this thread is that images with borders should be rejected, it is simply a reminder to make sure your border does not detract from the image. In most case I think a simple black border is the "safest" option; there is no "rule" to say you can't be creative, just remember that as with everything not everyone is going to share your taste and someone else might think your beautiful border is an ugly unnecessary distraction...
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-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
=Samatar
06/20/10 12:57 AM GMT
PS I should mention that personally I can't ever recall rejecting an image purely on the basis of it's border... I think most people recognise when they have an outstanding image and that it doesn't need any embellishing.
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-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
.Digital_Angel
06/20/10 5:10 PM GMT
First, I'd like to say that I should have taken more time to write out this post before I submitted it. I had somewhere I had to be so I was cut short of editing/adding more to the post to clarify what I meant... which I've now done.

To Coram, Lyn, Sam:

I think that borders, as I mentioned in the examples above, are sometimes necessary for panoramic images. I would not reject an image you have because it has a black border. In my examples, the "not-so-good" border has several elements that I listed above: texture, color, and perimeter.

I agree that borders are a matter of taste, and not to be curt or rude, but there is good taste and there is bad taste. In my book, people should be aware that the images they're uploading to Caedes may be used as desktops and adjust their images to comply with most people's desktops (that means if the flower is on the left, put it on the right an leave the empty space for icons). But if someone adds a border that has all the gradations and textures and colors in it, then you won't be able to see your icons anyway.

Black is typically, to me, the best border to put if a border's necessary. When I reject an image because of it's border, the image isn't an amazing photograph that just happens to have a bad border. I do consider the border when making my decision, though, because a border with color/texture/gradient/etc. is usually distracting from an image.

Chances are, these images aren't outstanding photos to the artist who posts them, thus why they add these crazy borders. Art doesn't need to be tidy and placed in a hat box - the image should speak for itself and should require minimal editing. I feel that adding a superfluous border is just the same as, say, over-saturating an image, in which case it gets a no vote from me.

If I'm on the fence about an image, I look at the image on a desktop. More often than not, the image looks squished on the screen because the top border is pushing the image downwards because the bottom border can't be seen because of my taskbar.

In the end, I take the border into consideration as part of the whole composition of the image. If the composition is off, and the image itself isn't an amazing photograph, I will vote no.

I have to disagree that there aren't any rules about borders. If a photographer submitted a well-composed, in focus image that had a textured,colored border around it to a photo contest and another photographer submitted the same image (forget about copyright for a minute, lol) without a border, chances are that the judges would go for the untextured border.

In the end, yes it is partly just my opinion and I knew that people would disagree with it, but this is also what I've learned from experience with advice from professional photographers and designers.

Whew!

Anyway, I've rewritten some of the post, so I hope that clarifies my opinion on the matter. (I knew it was bad when my reply was longer that the post, lol)
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For wisdom is protection just as money is protection. But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
::LynEve
06/21/10 12:12 AM GMT
It is an interesting discussion :)
I uploaded the same photo with and without a border so as to get some indication as to which was prefered but it has backfired as one of them has been removed by an image mod as a violation of the C of C. The fact that the one with the border was removed (which was my choice and part of a series I am currently uploading) tells me that borders are by and large not favoured. My border was not a crazy border but to my mind enhanced the image and like all my uploads was tested on my own desktop first. Again - a matter of choice.
When voting I am of course influenced by the overall result - there are some top notch images that are enhanced by borders and frames and likewise some that are ruined or do not gain anything by being added to.
I do not test every image I vote for in the VB on my desktop but when voting for the nominations in the AC I most certainly do in most cases.
I am sure each and every image mod does the same when selecting for the permanent galleries - :) :)

I agree that in a photo contest an unbordered image would be favoured by the judges because it is a photographic contest. The choices here are for what makes a pleasing computer desktop wallpaper and sometimes, not always, a border/frame can make it more suitable.
My icons I keep on the right of my desktop so if I am leaving empty space that is where it is - and if anyone wants their icons on the left it is a simple matter to mirror the image.

I use THIS as an example of where I think a frame has improved the final image - but again that is just my opinion and there will be many who would think it would be better without. I am sure most members do as I do and compose their images first and foremost to their own liking and then present them to share with others.

A poor quality image can never be improved by a fancy border but a good image that can stand on its own merits can sometimes be made to look better by adding one.

My apologies to the image mods for breaking the CofC. It was not my intention to leave both images for more than a day - when I last looked the bordered one had more positive comments than the one that remains.
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
=Samatar
06/21/10 2:57 AM GMT
I thought these two might qualify as having borders that add to the image:

1


2

I thought the color choice in both those examples is what made them work.
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-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
::LynEve
06/21/10 3:03 AM GMT
I agree Sam, they are good examples, and there are hundreds if not thousands of others that 'work' as well.
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
+purmusic
06/21/10 10:55 AM GMT
When I view some images and see more 'work' put towards that of an accompanying border, then that of the actual imagery itself ... makes me ... think ...


Why not devote the editing time towards learning something new about your chosen field? Or, improving upon a singular aspect?

Exposure, composition ... for example, in the case of photography and so forth.

Trying something, or shooting something ... 'new'.


It seems to me, not always mind you ... it is simply a way of 'gussying' up an image.

Not that of a complimentary, nor, 'artful' addition to the overall image.
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"There is always something waiting at the end of the road ... if you're not willing to see what it is ... you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place."
::LynEve
06/21/10 12:27 AM GMT
Point taken Les but could I respectfully ask you to consider for the sake or argument This Image

I spent many hours 'gussying up' this photo and I believe (others may not) that the time spent learning how to do it and actually doing it was not wasted as it turned a very ordinary image into something acceptable. The photo was a two second capture and not worth a second look as it was, so I feel no guilt in trying to improve it.
Sure, I could have been studying my camera manual and playing about with exposures and apertures and all those things I do not understand and never will.
:)
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
.Digital_Angel
06/21/10 6:19 PM GMT
Lyn -

To me, the two examples you've given as reference are photomanipulations, not simply photographs. Once someone does more to an image than what would normally be done in a traditional darkroom (i.e. sharpness, burning, dodging) I don't view it as a photo anymore. What you've done with those two images changes them from photographs to digital art. The skewed perspective in the first image, for example, is a filtering option available in several digital editors. Likewise, the second image can be made up of a series of layers in Photoshop. I do think the fact that you've taken the time to understand how this works is great because knowing digital editing is important to any artist.

For the most part, I think your borders are very well done and tasteful, but sometimes they are unnecessary because the photos are great on their own. A few of my favorites of yours (Out & About #7, Clematis Through Rain) are great photos on their own, with or without the thin border you have around them.

Les -

I guess that's what I should've set from the start. To me, borders are generally a wasted opportunity. I used to spend hours trying to figure out which border went with which colors, and what gradient to use, or if I should use a texture. Eventually, I came to understand that I was ignoring the whole purpose of what I was doing - photography!

A while back, I e-mailed the director of photography at National Geographic to see if he would take a look at some of the photos and work I'd done up to that point. I never expected a reply, but surprisingly, he did (and told me I was lucky to have received one)! I then sent him some of my images and he critiqued them. Some had borders, some were over-edited, and some were just bad. He kindly told me that my work was crap (he used much more elegant phrasing, lol). He told me that I really needed to focus on the photographs themselves, not how I could try to improve a bad or OK image digitally. I've since become a bit of a purist on photo editing.

I think it's a mistake if one spends more time editing his photos than he does considering the composition and outcome beforehand.
0∈ [?]
For wisdom is protection just as money is protection. But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
+purmusic
06/21/10 7:25 PM GMT
"I think it's a mistake if one spends more time editing his photos than he does considering the composition and outcome beforehand."


Waiiiiiit ... a sec ... only 'his' ... only 'he'??

Is 'she' talking about 'me'??

:oP
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"There is always something waiting at the end of the road ... if you're not willing to see what it is ... you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place."
=Samatar
06/21/10 10:30 PM GMT
Politically correct version:

""I think it's a mistake if one spends more time editing one's photos than one does considering the composition and outcome beforehand."

Is one satisfied now? Hmm? Is one???
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-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
+purmusic
06/22/10 2:38 AM GMT
One feels slightly ... better now.

... ...

Thank you, Mr. Poopy Pants.


... ...

Wait, my apologies ... here is the more P.C. version now:

Thank you, 'Person Who Dons Poopy Apparel'.


:oP
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"There is always something waiting at the end of the road ... if you're not willing to see what it is ... you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place."
+purmusic
06/22/10 2:39 AM GMT
And I think that you had better apologize to Bethany for hijacking her thread here.

... ...

After all ... it is alllllll ... your fault.
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"There is always something waiting at the end of the road ... if you're not willing to see what it is ... you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place."
.Digital_Angel
06/22/10 4:53 AM GMT
Technically, when you say "one", the masculine pronoun comes afterwards, otherwise the "one" becomes redundant and makes the sentance stale... :) It would be like saying "Sam hates my post, but Sam can't help it because Sam..."

Besides, we all know that women don't have to follow rules =D

And it's kind of sad to me that all Sam could say to my reply is a criticism of my PCness... but mayhaps that's a good thing? I tend to leave people speechless; although, that may be because they see no point in arguing... blame me for being Scottish (i.e. stubborn... know-it-all...)
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For wisdom is protection just as money is protection. But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
+purmusic
06/22/10 4:10 PM GMT
I just know that there is going to be a test on this stuff. :o\

Sam ... lemme borrow your notes.


On a more serious note, first ... apologies for the hijacking, Bethany. My inner imp couldn't resist making an appearance.


Last, and certainly not least ... thanks for your time in putting down your thoughts on this particular discussion thread.

Most informative, and at the bare minimum ... depending on the level of 'one's resistance' (:oP ... <--- kidding, kidding ... erhm ... maybe?) ... food for thought for all.

Myself, included.

I'm alllll about ... teh learning. :o)
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"There is always something waiting at the end of the road ... if you're not willing to see what it is ... you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place."
::LynEve
06/22/10 10:08 PM GMT
Surely it is time for some cookies ?
One gets hungry exercising one's brain

Thanks Bethany :)and I have replied to your pm
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
+purmusic
06/23/10 7:51 PM GMT
New baked good morsel in town making a guest appearance ... these.

Enjoy. ;o)
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"There is always something waiting at the end of the road ... if you're not willing to see what it is ... you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place."
::LynEve
06/28/10 2:32 AM GMT
My grammer ain't what it could be but just want to add something.

When one ventures into one's bloated and overloaded gallery and removes 145 images, one accepts that indeed there are some frames/borders that are, or were - in a word - hideous, or using two words - horribly hideous. Not worth the time spent on them, and did nothing to enhance the enclosed image, be it high or low in quality. Some were in fact, cringe making.

Now as one slowly and humbly uncringes oneself one shall pour a cup of tea to accompany the delectable baked morsel, and try not to be so half-baked (insufficiently thought out)in ones opinions :)
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
.Tootles
06/28/10 5:40 PM GMT
I know the feeling, Lyn... a couple of weeks ago I was looking at an old website of mine, and I wanted to crawl off and die. :-) I suppose it happens to everybody.

I'm not fond of borders (even thin white lines round the images), but I appreciate the work you put into yours -- and sometimes borders do work and are decorative, and I have several taking their turn on my desktop.
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+purmusic
03/04/17 1:09 PM GMT
~ le bump ~
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