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12-18-2018, 07:36 AM   #46
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I think that most people take the same travel photos because most do not have a lot of interest in artistry or aesthetics. There would not be so much ugliness in the built environment (with notable exceptions) otherwise. I think most can recognise "style", and might follow it, but only because they consider it something they should follow rather than it striking a strong artistic chord.

To most people therefore photos are a functional thing rather than a form of art and the function is to record occasions, people and locations in a way like a notebook. In the text analogy, a photo is more like a diary entry or a letter to a friend than a piece of verse; and a diary entry is more likely to say "Saw the Eiffel Tower" than to say "Saw a nice pattern of shadows under a park bench".

As this is a photgraphic forum, inevitably there is a strong leaning here towards the artistic function of photography. As such, I'm sure that many of us here have experienced blank expressions from people we have shown our "Park Bench Shadow Pattern" photos, but OTOH their faces lighting up with recognition when they see a standard shot of the Eiffel Tower.

12-19-2018, 12:10 PM - 1 Like   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lord Lucan Quote
I think that most people take the same travel photos because most do not have a lot of interest in artistry or aesthetics. There would not be so much ugliness in the built environment (with notable exceptions) otherwise. I think most can recognise "style", and might follow it, but only because they consider it something they should follow rather than it striking a strong artistic chord.

To most people therefore photos are a functional thing rather than a form of art and the function is to record occasions, people and locations in a way like a notebook. In the text analogy, a photo is more like a diary entry or a letter to a friend than a piece of verse; and a diary entry is more likely to say "Saw the Eiffel Tower" than to say "Saw a nice pattern of shadows under a park bench".

As this is a photgraphic forum, inevitably there is a strong leaning here towards the artistic function of photography. As such, I'm sure that many of us here have experienced blank expressions from people we have shown our "Park Bench Shadow Pattern" photos, but OTOH their faces lighting up with recognition when they see a standard shot of the Eiffel Tower.
Nonetheless, every single shot of the Eiffel Tower (as an example) has a personal rendering. I have played the same golf course for 30 years and even though I am hitting from a 'similar' predictable area, the outcome is infinitely different each time. Photography to me, is analogous to golf in that fashion. Some people try and duplicate Iconic shots, others render them towards an individualistic interpretation, while others still--attempt to go where none or few shooter have gone before. Photography, regardless of method or camera used, has always been about self-expression and that's primarily why I am drawn to it. The subjectivity of imaging is what makes it an art.
12-19-2018, 01:18 PM - 1 Like   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Of course, there's also another segment of children, teenagers, and adults who refuse to "act serious" for the camera and prefer to crazy antics instead of stiff poses.

Ironically, group #2 probably gets more "likes" on social media than group #1.
My wife and my 11-year-old often don't like their picture being taken, so they frequently end up frowning or turning away from the camera. My 10-year-old will usually do any nutty thing I ask, or just invent things on his own. So I get results like the attached. I prefer his nuttiness to "Dad, stop taking pictures of me."

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12-19-2018, 01:33 PM   #49
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FWIW. back in the film days of the 1980's Kodak did some market research and found out that 15% of all photographs taken in the US were taken in property owned by Disney. The second largest source of photographs was at NASCAR races. The Kodak car actually won the Daytona 500 in 1994. I watched it live from a hotel room at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul. South Korea. Kind of weird as it was about 5AM Monday morning there. I was on business for Kodak at the time too.

12-20-2018, 05:29 AM - 1 Like   #50
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A friend of mine is a professional photographer with a long and interesting career. He always emphasized the difference between taking snapshots and making pictures. Though I've often resorted to the most commonly used POV at a well known location in my haste to get to the next place, I find my shots are better when I take my time to consider a different angle, or to capture the nature of whatever it was that made the shot interesting. The Eiffel Tower, for example, is one of the most iconic tourist attractions, and one is fortunate that one can capture it from numerous angles and elevations, but what is it about this structure that captivates any one onlooker? Try to capture that, and one can create a better version of a landmarks that has been photgraphed millions of times over.
12-20-2018, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #51
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I love visiting iconic sights,they're famous for a reason.And whilst I'm guilty of taking the usual "touristy"shots I'll also try for a slightly different angle where possible,often wandering off the usual well trodden path.Angkor Wat in Cambodia is infamous for the hordes of selfie taking robots,but wander a few hundred feet off the main path and a different perspective is possible.

12-20-2018, 06:19 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
A friend of mine is a professional photographer with a long and interesting career. He always emphasized the difference between taking snapshots and making pictures.
'Taking a snapshot' is often a pejorative implying taking something quickly without much thought while 'making a picture' implies careful preparation then lots of lab work. Most of my photography has been somewhere in the middle - careful preparation, getting just the view I want, and then I am done (*), but some of my best shots are dashed off because I just happen to see a neat scene {even if I didn't know in advance that is what I wanted} - if I hesitate, what I could have had is gone. For example, yesterday I saw two squirrels fighting over our birdfeeder; I thought a second, and the fight was over, my opportunity was past.


(*) I treat the JPEG 'machine' in my camera as I did the Kodachrome processor in the days of film .... a professionally designed system that reliably delivers what I expected when I pressed the button.
12-20-2018, 07:29 AM - 1 Like   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
A friend of mine is a professional photographer with a long and interesting career. He always emphasized the difference between taking snapshots and making pictures. Though I've often resorted to the most commonly used POV at a well known location in my haste to get to the next place, I find my shots are better when I take my time to consider a different angle, or to capture the nature of whatever it was that made the shot interesting. The Eiffel Tower, for example, is one of the most iconic tourist attractions, and one is fortunate that one can capture it from numerous angles and elevations, but what is it about this structure that captivates any one onlooker? Try to capture that, and one can create a better version of a landmarks that has been photgraphed millions of times over.
Excellent points!

Ironically, it's the people who are "making pictures" who may be more likely to take the same shots than the snapshooters.

Snapshooters fire at the Eiffel Tower from all over the place with all sorts of compositions and framings. The result is lots of random images of the tower from lots of angles and with lots of different random junk in the foreground and background. If one were to overlay all those snapshots on a map, the result would be a cloud of random points.

It's the careful picture makers who are likely to gravitate to a much smaller number of "good" shooting locations, framings, and compositions that show the tower to good effect with nice leading lines, the Paris skyline artfully placed in the background, etc. If one were to overlay all the careful "made pictures" on a map, the result would inevitably cluster to a smaller number of "best" perspectives on the tower and its environment. All of the "best" photos have been taken and retaken many times.

It's the rare photographer who knows all of the good (and bad) pictures ever taken of the Eiffel Tower who can find a location/timing/composition that has been never done before but also a good image.

12-20-2018, 09:30 AM - 1 Like   #54
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This notion of “never been done” bothers me. Nobody has ever made a photo that is identical to another photo. Something will always be different, though not necessarily in a good way.

Finding the best spot to manage foreground and background, or to be “different”, is a matter of technique. But what makes photos unique is not technique (which is a bitter pill for me to swallow, to be honest). It’s about expression.

But, to express something of any relevance, we have to feel something. And to feel something, we have to be open to those feelings. Here’s where the snap shooter runs into problems—they only thing they feel is the need to demonstrate that they were there (which dominates the expressions I see these days), or that they know how to make photos, or they have great equipment (super-telephoto, super-wide, super-format, whatever), or that their kids or pets are cute.

When I’m in the presence of a powerful natural scene, I feel awe, and admiration for the Creator (or, with the constructed scene, the creator), and humility. How to express those feelings? That’s where craft comes in.

Maybe what strikes me is the simply beautiful symmetry, or the sense of height, or simple reverence. Or, maybe the scene brings me joy, or melancholy, or deep outrage. The art is in manipulating craft to deliver those emotions efficiently, without any contradictory clutter. If the scene is powerful enough, we may just need to stay out of its way—any manipulation distracts from that power and undermines awe. Maybe we need to consider what makes it awe-inspiring. Adams describes his decision to use a red filter to darken the sky to emphasize the contrast between the rim-lit Half Dome and the sky, which was the key to the drama of that scene, and his feelings about it.



He describes this as the first photo he made that demonstrated artistic intent.

But we have to have feelings to deliver first, before any amount of technique can deliver them.

If we tune into those relationships, it won’t matter if we stand at the same place as someone else. It won’t even matter if we express the same feeling someone else expressed. That’s a matter of editing, not art-making.

My beef with current photography is that the only feelings considered relevant are cynicism, sadness and outrage. Joy, awe and humility in the presence of dramatic (or simple) beauty seem to be considered untrustworthy, too easily contrived, or too sentimental. They are too much like calendar photos, and the current thinking seems to be that everything about those feelings is unsophisticated and has already been expressed. Artists are expected to be tortured. But those feelings are still important to me, so my photos express them.

But we can also be trapped by technique, relying on specific technical manipulations out of habit rather than purpose. In those cases, we look for camera locations that fit the technical manipulation we want to make, and the divergence from our feelings only increases. The technique becomes a gimmick, and distracting rather than contributory.

Adams complained about sharp photos of fuzzy concepts.

Rick “cataloguing his own weaknesses” Denney
12-23-2018, 07:17 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote

My beef with current photography is that the only feelings considered relevant are cynicism, sadness and outrage.
Not sure where you've formed that opinion from, @rdenney. Culturally, those are specifically characteristics of Generation X.

Millenial and even the soon-to-enter the industry Gen Z include hipsters, and there is a love of the whimsical, lo-fi, aspiration, and slow enjoyment of life.

Editors these days will commission both the computer exaggerated salutes to nature like beautifuldestinations.com and retro film portraits.

I think the answer to not liking a book you read is to go to a store and pick a better book, if you get my drift!

Australian Instagrammer Lauren Bath:




Canada's Benjamin von Wong (this is a real model holding her breath underwater)"




Russian Elena Shumilova:

12-27-2018, 03:28 AM - 1 Like   #56
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When I choose a well-known and popular tourist destination, I want to capture some recognizable sightseeing object, with myself in the shot. So, it will be the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Tower of Pisa in Pisa, the Statue of Liberty in New York, etc. I assume, most people think in the same way. Thus, we take thousands of similar selfies and the same architectural and views and landscapes.

P.S. I very much enjoyed the photographs posted in this thread. Stunning! Thanks to those who shared.
12-27-2018, 06:00 AM - 1 Like   #57
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I live near a world destination. I help European, Eastern and tourists from the Americas make those memorial family photos in front of Niagara Falls. I laugh at millennial couples standing side by side snapping identical moments with their smart phones. I have even offered to assist by snapping a shot of both on one device chastising them that “their presence” makes the photo unique.

Then I try to make something unique and if possible- tourist free!




Last edited by mattt; 12-27-2018 at 06:53 AM. Reason: update links
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