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02-10-2013, 02:44 AM   #1
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My PPG rant

I have lately re-ignited my activity on PPG. Been doing quite a lot of voting and also (by accident I guess) had a few of my pictures accepted there. There are fantastic pictures that are submitted there and some true talent. But also lots and lots of pictures that make me wonder: Why bother? What were they thinking? So I'll vent a little about what very easily gets my "Thumb Down". Of course, these are just my purely subjective and perhaps flawed opinions.

- Technically and artistically poor pictures of of the photographer's loved ones. Of course the photographer likes those pictures, they do after all present somebody close to them and perhaps raise lots of fond memories. But one should not mix those warm feelings with the merits of the picture.

- The cuteness factor. Hell, yes - everybody likes small children and fluffy animals! But cuteness in itself does not make a photograph interesting or worth submitting. There has to be some real idea behind it or some other picture element.

- Pictures of art. Often we see beautiful images of sculptures and other works of art. Beautiful, yes. But is the beauty in the photograph or the original work of art? Most often the latter. In my opinion, a photograph presenting a piece of art must go well beyond that and add another layer of content to be worth it.

- Insect and flower macros. Yes, we all love when the difficult macro shoots with the brand new and shiny lens are successful. Macro shooting is often pretty demanding. And flowers are beautiful by nature, insects intriguing and strange. But after a few they all look the same. Yawn, yadda-yadda. Yeah, nice macro - next! Again I think there should be some extra element or extraordinary technical skill to be interesting. And there rarely is.

- Birds. Much the same as the macro rant above. Birds are beautiful, they are often far and fast and getting a technically good picture isn't easy. I probably couldn't shoot most of the bird pictures that people submit there. But are they interesting? Mostly not IMO. You've managed to get a good picture of that bluetit or magpie? Great, congrats! But is it really worth submitting?

- Bad technique and/or post processing. Sometimes a picture is very strong despite its technical flaws and every now and then the imperfections add to the effect. But mostly it's just bad, bad, bad. Focus off, exposure off, composition off.


So that's more or less it. Sorry about this, but just needed to vent a little. And I'm not saying I'm a better photographer, probably well below the average PPG photographer in skills, but this is how I see it.

02-10-2013, 02:57 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raffwal Quote
So that's more or less it. Sorry about this, but just needed to vent a little. And I'm not saying I'm a better photographer, probably well below the average PPG photographer in skills, but this is how I see it.
OK, good vent - I certainly enjoyed it . How about now describing what you do think is a good image and perhaps providing links to examples (yours or others)
02-10-2013, 03:01 AM   #3
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I agree entirely. I would also add that not all of the poor photos are prevented from entering.

As a disclaimer, I know that PPG contains many, many great photos too.
02-10-2013, 04:05 AM   #4
Zav
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You forgot the signature in Comic Sans MS.

02-10-2013, 04:25 AM   #5
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Well put. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
02-10-2013, 04:33 AM   #6
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It may be in the nature of forums like this that as the number of people involved grows, the more mediocre material you get.
I may get a reputation of an elitist by saying this, but you do have a point!
02-10-2013, 04:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raffwal Quote
So that's more or less it. Sorry about this, but just needed to vent a little. And I'm not saying I'm a better photographer, probably well below the average PPG photographer in skills, but this is how I see it.
Thanks for sharing your personal opinion, but after all is said and done, that is all it is, your personal opinion, possibly and probably not shared by all the other people who vote for shots on PPG.

Below is the suggested voting criteria for the PPG

"Please vote based on the technical and artistic merits of each image. When reviewing images please consider composition, exposure, subject matter, lighting, focus and other image aspects.
Also, ask yourself the following questions when considering your vote:
Can you see this image in a traditional photo gallery or printed publication?
Does this image elicit an emotional response?
Is this image original?
Does this image offer a personal perspective of the subject and display the unique vision of the photographer?
Would this photo stop you if it were hanging in a gallery? "

I can see how photos in many of the categories you mention could qualify under the listed criteria, perhaps not the poor technical quality ones.

I hope the venting helped you feel better.

Last edited by jackassp; 02-10-2013 at 04:47 AM. Reason: Added criteria
02-10-2013, 05:31 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jackassp Quote
I hope the venting helped you feel better.
It did, thank you for your concern. I am familiar with those recommended criteria and following them very strictly would very rarely give a thumb up. Criteria like being original. After all, how many snowy landscapes or bug macros can be considered "original"?

02-10-2013, 05:50 AM   #9
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Totally agree Raffwal. I would like to add that on some internet browsers the photos look slightly blurred which adds to the lack luster presentation of PPG. In absolute honesty, PPG was the website that convinced me to get my first Pentax.... this was many years ago when the images were from pros and featured artists only and the quality of the images was higher than today..... would I be buying a Pentax now based on that site.....probably not.
02-10-2013, 06:09 AM   #10
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What I think is a fair question...

...Other than the practical considerations of space and even given the very unlikely possibility that there was a general agreement of what is "bad" and what is "good" - where's the harm in including the bad with the good? After all the very contrast between the two can prove to be informative in it's self.

Why not let the good and the bad compete in the aesthetic "market place" of images?

Last edited by wildman; 02-10-2013 at 06:18 AM.
02-10-2013, 08:38 AM   #11
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Raffwall, I'm in complete agreement with you.
02-10-2013, 09:50 AM   #12
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I have posted some pictures with "Artistic Merit" there that never got approved. So for the the hell of it I posted a generic flower pic and a picture of my daughter holding a camera and both got approved.

I really don't have any interest anymore either posting or judging over there.

In other words I could not care less about PPG.
02-10-2013, 07:36 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I don't really mind the "unoriginal" photos, or even the flower or insect pics (provided they are technically accomplished). What surprises me is how many bad pictures are submitted: bad technically and compositionally. Sometimes it's a matter of just pedestrian subject matter incompetently photographed. But sometimes it's worse than that. Some photographers actually have an image with potential to become something decent, but they refuse to take the trouble to, say, straighten the image, or tweak the exposure, or simply make what they have a bit more presentable, turning a borderline image into something worth looking at. Even worse, it never ceases to amaze me how many people upload multiple photos, from slightly different angles, of the same thing, even though they're specifically told not to do that. Don't these people have any sort standards or even pride? Do they even realize, or care, how good or bad their images are? Perhaps not.

I don't necessarily believe that PPG should have only the very best and most original photos. I simply want to see good, technically accomplished images that show off what various Pentax lenses are capable of. However, many people don't take the trouble to tell us which lens they were using. This is true of well more than half the images uploaded there. I don't mind seeing yet another flower picture if it gives me an idea of what a specific lens is capable of. But if the photographer won't take the trouble to tell me what lens he's using, then he's just wasting my time.
02-11-2013, 02:35 AM   #14
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PPG is useful when I am considering a new lens, to see what it's capable of. It's a shame that third party lenses are not allowed to be acknowledged for their part in taking many pictures.
02-12-2013, 11:18 AM   #15
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Right now in my possession I have the following books on the these famous photographers:

Ansel Adams at 100
Paris, Eugène Atget, 1857-1927
Looking at photographs; 100 pictures from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art,
The collection of Alfred Stieglitz
Robert Frank
Steichen,
Strand

All of these books are well made and put out by first rate sources.

If I had all the pictures in them as files on my drive and, without knowing the source, no more than 10 percent would end up
as keepers in my opinion.

Perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on the posters to PPG.
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