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08-18-2008, 04:23 PM   #1
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Appreciating a photo because its good, or because of a technicality

I often find myself looking at a photo and saying "wow thats cool" for the sole reason that i will never in the near future be able to see or do something similar

for example arial shots of the tropical islands (or any sort of hardcore arial shot for that mater.

a picture of a temple in shang hai.

a buddihst monk in prayer somewhere in the mountains

or a crocodile nearly biting off someones foot


when we look at images that are beyond our ability to capture, do we truly appreciate them for being good photographs, or more so because of the noveltly factor?

being an automotive enthusiast and racing participant, pictures of cars drifting or drag launching, or doing a corner bore the hell out of me, very rarely do automotive racing photographs truly spark my intrest, but that is only because i have seen alot of it with my own two eyes, from the pit and from behind the wheel.

someone thats never seen a racecar in his/her life might really be fascinated by such a display of images


likewise a hardcore camper/hiker might be bored to hell watching other's photographs of nature trails and lakes, yet give him photographs of intriquet architecture and they might drool.

thoughts?

hmmmm??


Last edited by Gooshin; 08-18-2008 at 04:29 PM.
08-18-2008, 04:35 PM   #2
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I love photography, that pretty much sums up how i view any photo
08-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clicker Quote
I love photography, that pretty much sums up how i view any photo
so you like pictures of brick walls and stop signs?
08-18-2008, 05:38 PM   #4
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i agree with your premise, but it's not an either or condition. a picture can be good because of the novelty and technical work into taking the photo

photos i like and appreciate
1. lens test photos - brick walls are good for distortion and vignetting and stop signs good for CA
2. pictures that are impossible for me to take - like olympic sports
3. pictures that i would like to learn how to take that i know i am capable of but not sure how to do yet
4. photos that try to show something different rather than the same old cliche - panos, close ups, etc

i really don't like seeing photos that i've seen a billion of - like the same tourist sites (although at times it's mandatory to take such photos) or flowers ... sorry really don't dig all the macro flowers


Last edited by k100d; 08-18-2008 at 06:10 PM.
08-18-2008, 07:06 PM   #5
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Gooshin....

I have a little different view though I understand what you are saying. I'm a commercial pilot and do alot of aerial photog work. Even after all these years of flying, I still find myself looking over past work and still getting a kick out of seeing the world from the "angel" perspective. There is just something about aerial images that hits the intrigue button on the psych.

I think it might be the love of flying that keeps the spark alive, and the need to try to capture the feeling of flight for posterity. I suppose this could apply to any realm of photography, but there is just something different about aerials...probably because it's not our normal perspective.

My two cents (now worth 1.1 cent due to the decreasing value of the US dollar).
08-19-2008, 12:10 AM   #6
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It's simple - the cold, hard analytical part of my brain melds with the soft, warm, gooey part and I go, "Hmmm... I like that picture."
Probably because it is a technically great image of a subject that interests me."
08-19-2008, 01:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
so you like pictures of brick walls and stop signs?
That's not photography. Those are pictures.
08-19-2008, 02:11 AM   #8
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it is entirely possible to answer "both" to your question Gooshin, but then everybody is different (thank god!!).
For example, I dont have much time for fashion photography, but I do appreciate the work of Ben because of the passion and emotion that he brings to his photography. Remember my in-laws are professional photogs over 2 generations, so i have seen enough from the "inside" to appreciate what goes into this type of photography, and what makes it good or merely technically competent / acceptable.

My passion is landscape and wildlife photography, I marvel at shots from people like Peter Eastway for example and strive to reach that level. It should be no surprise that National Geographic is one of my favourite magazines.

However; I was somewhat taken back the other night, when over a glass or three of a damn fine red I was talking with some friends who have never visited the USA and plan to do so....I was singing the praises of the beauty of the Grand Canyon, Bryce canyon, Zion, Yosemite, Oak / Sedona, Yellowstone etc etc etc etc, saying that I find these places not only beautiful, but deeply spiritual as well...and I am not an overly religous person.....
when my friends said , "yes, but what else is there to do other than look at the scenery?"......

They were pretty sure that would only take up a few minutes of their time .

I was speechless. But it does highlight the different expectations that each of us harbor on many varied subjects. I think the most important thing is that we respect that difference.

Good post by the way.
Cheers.

08-19-2008, 07:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
so you like pictures of brick walls and stop signs?
Yes i like this brick wall



sorry i don't have any stop signs in this series, but it's not the actual subject you look at but how you shoot it.
08-19-2008, 07:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clicker Quote
Yes i like this brick wall



sorry i don't have any stop signs in this series, but it's not the actual subject you look at but how you shoot it.
you purposely misinterpreted my words, but whatever.
08-19-2008, 08:39 AM   #11
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If I am moved in any way by an image I like it. It really doesn't matter what the subject is, although some subjects move me more than others.
08-19-2008, 09:03 AM   #12
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From the very beginning photography has had several streams, for me equally valid and compelling. I'll just name three that come to mind:

The 'show me something I've never seen before' thread has been there from the start. I think of the old story of how people thought horses gallop... which had to be revised when photographs showed reality to be different. Extending our senses and making possible views we normally/never get to see, that's a major aspect of what photography brings us.

Then there's a thread of documentary photography, Atget being a prime example, but also the Jacob Riises of the world. Again, there's a bit of making the unfamiliar accessible, but more so there's the truth telling combined with an acceptance of the frame: this is what is in the frame. Here the photograph functions as a medium, a carrier, for whatever overlay the photographer and viewer bring. The overlay can be artistic, political, humanitarian, and so on. But in theory at least, taking the photo is just taking the photo. (That many photogs ended up manipulating and staging for effect is just a shading of purpose towards the next thread...)

Then there's a fine arts thread - the photograph is a medium the way bronze or oil and canvas are. There's an artistic intent and techniques are in service of whatever artistic expression. Through the abstraction of 2-d, framing, the compression and expansion of light and space the photographer may leave strict mimetics behind.

Many of the great/famous photographs have aspects of all three.

This brings up a point that I've been pondering of late: granted, boards such as pentaxforums are mainly about the equipment, but many of our photos are just slapped on the screen. This aesthetic isn't invalid - warts and all, we want to see just how the hardware works. Yet there's a selection bias also - what's easy to photograph (pets, flowers, buildings) and what sort of lighting / focusing gives the photo - and by extension, the lens, the camera - that wow factor. Nothing wrong with that, per se.

What we may not be doing enough, however, is the education of ourselves in the complete photographic process. We do talk a bit about composition and lighting, exposure and color/contrast. But perhaps we don't value all the pre and post work it has always taken to make the very best sorts of photography. Then again, like I said, that's not necessarily the purpose of this forum.
08-19-2008, 09:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
This brings up a point that I've been pondering of late: granted, boards such as pentaxforums are mainly about the equipment, but many of our photos are just slapped on the screen. This aesthetic isn't invalid - warts and all, we want to see just how the hardware works. Yet there's a selection bias also - what's easy to photograph (pets, flowers, buildings) and what sort of lighting / focusing gives the photo - and by extension, the lens, the camera - that wow factor. Nothing wrong with that, per se.

What we may not be doing enough, however, is the education of ourselves in the complete photographic process. We do talk a bit about composition and lighting, exposure and color/contrast. But perhaps we don't value all the pre and post work it has always taken to make the very best sorts of photography. Then again, like I said, that's not necessarily the purpose of this forum.

This has me thinking. I'm mechanical by nature. I love to tinker with things. I also have an art side, though it is not nearly as developed as my mechanical side. This is why I like photography. I love the mechanical aspect of the equipment and I get to use it to create art. I don't get the same satisfaction with oils or pastels, etc....no mechanical side!

I am not a photog by trade and have no formal training in photography. All I know I've learned "on the job" or from friends who are photogs, such as the fine folks here. I have tons of engineering/mechanical training and experience. I have no problems finding my way around photography equipment. What I lack is refined composition training...how to SEE like a photographer.

I've read some books, but it's hard for me to learn art from a book. I need better structure but have zero time to travel to a formal college or classroom. Do any of you fine people have any advice on where to learn how to see the lines and textures better so I can continue to take it to the next level?

Sorry...bit off topic but the thread has me thinking. A dangerous thing.
08-19-2008, 09:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
This has me thinking. I'm mechanical by nature. I love to tinker with things. I also have an art side, though it is not nearly as developed as my mechanical side. This is why I like photography. I love the mechanical aspect of the equipment and I get to use it to create art. I don't get the same satisfaction with oils or pastels, etc....no mechanical side!

I am not a photog by trade and have no formal training in photography. All I know I've learned "on the job" or from friends who are photogs, such as the fine folks here. I have tons of engineering/mechanical training and experience. I have no problems finding my way around photography equipment. What I lack is refined composition training...how to SEE like a photographer.

I've read some books, but it's hard for me to learn art from a book. I need better structure but have zero time to travel to a formal college or classroom. Do any of you fine people have any advice on where to learn how to see the lines and textures better so I can continue to take it to the next level?

Sorry...bit off topic but the thread has me thinking. A dangerous thing.
post photographs and demand critique

ask questions, follow the works of others and try to jam it in your head how they came up with a particular shot or how they positioned themselves to take it

analyze the works of people you think are better than you to a point where you think you can take a better shot.

that and you can just read alot.
08-19-2008, 11:45 AM   #15
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I do see your point Gooshin, and do agree. I see lots of pictures of flowers (some of which aren't found where we live), insects, etc....and to be honest, most of them I don't find appealing EVEN if they are exceptional shots. Fashion is another non interest, and to some degree landscape work.

I would have to agree that seeing images, even if they are not exceptional, that are different from what I can obtain (perhaps due to location) are more appealing to me. A specific example I can think of is the space shots that were shown recently by Daacon (I believe). They were very moving (and also technically sound).

In a sense I'm also hypocritical too because I do occasionally shoot flowers and landscapes. I don't believe I shoot these out of subject interest, but rather interest to see if I can get the same/similar results as those who have a passion for the subject. Often I find that I'm dejected by my results...and usually I chalk it up to subject interest, as I believe I'm a competent shooter who perhaps lacks somewhat in PP'ing the WOW factor.

Meh...maybe I'm rambling a bit here, as my thoughts are a bit scattered. I do think that I understand your point though...and would say that I'm in agreement with it.

c[_]
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