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08-10-2007, 10:05 PM   #1
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Pentaxphotogallery.com submission quality

Hey folks,

Now I don't want to belittle other's work, and I realize photography has a lot to do with personal taste. But having said that, I just spent the last hour ranking submissions for pentaxphotogallery.com and I have to say that I am overall not very impressed with the shots that people think are worthy of display on this web site. There were less than a handful of shots I saw during this hour that I could, in good conscience, rate positively.

In general, I think the selections made by those running the site are quite good. From what I have observed on the site, some images are absolutely outstanding, deeply engaging emotionally evocative images, while others are simply aesthetically pleasing, while a few are frankly a bit boring. But to get back to my original point, people are submitting images that I instantly recognize as snapshots, excuses for bokeh, lens tests, lame subjects, or subjects that are so obviously interesting to the photographer but ultimately don't come anywhere near something you would hang in a gallery...pet shots, 'cute kid' shots, and so on. I'm not surprised given the volume of DSLR's being sold, but it seems to me that if you're going to submit shots to a gallery like this they should be at least in the same ballpark as the images that are currently hosted on the site. Even shots with decent subjects often have technical problems with exposure, composition, resolution, colour...name it.

This gallery is designed to showcase the best photos taken on what Pentax argues is the best photographic equipment in the world. If you're going to post shots of your child doing something adorable, the squirrel in your back yard that you nicknamed Winkles, or the leftovers from last night's roast turkey dinner you'd better darn well make sure they're technically brilliant, and uniquely spectacular, because otherwise they're simply not going to get a second glance.

Now I'm not trying to be eliteist, nor am I suggesting that I can do any better then those photographers whose photos I have rated with a negative response. I have only submitted two photos at this point as I don't feel that most of my others are worthy of entry. I would be disappointed if they are to be rejected, but I will also be quite satisfied that at least the review process is effective.

Now I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't be proud of their photos, even if they're not gallery material. I have some shots that I love to pieces that are almost universally disliked by others...it's a personal thing, and it's a lot about you, the photographer, being there in the moment and experiencing beautiful moments in time. The emotional attachment we have to photos like these is real, but we have to understand that others may not share our unique perspective on such shots. Photography is a learning process that never ends and it takes time to hone your skills. But there is a difference between photos that are special to the photographer, and shots that more universally evoke emotion, contemplation, awe...any number of reactions that can make a photo meaningful.

I hope that the Pentax Photo Gallery remains a showcase for truly exceptional photography. Many images on there are inspirational, and give us all something to strive for as we click the shutter release over, and over and over until we get it right.

08-10-2007, 11:52 PM   #2
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You definitely feel quite passionate about this website. Your article here is a great reflection of what most of us would think as well.

The thing is that the site is already being criticised by others in fora for being not "prefessional" enough etc. I think the whole thing comes down to personal taste. We just leave the site be and see what it will become
08-11-2007, 12:38 AM   #3
and
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Well I dont really mind that people have a try, obviously they think their images are good eanough. if the images are not good eanough then they will be rejected and hopefully they will learn from that.

I also hope that it will remain a place for only the best images, that makes it more fun to submit because its more of an achievement to get in.

I submitted 5 images once and all got rejected so Im not gonna try again since I dont have anything better than those 5. Actually first I didnt think I had anything good eanough, but then I saw some images, one in particular, in the gallery that I thought was sh*t and then I thought well if that can get in then anything can get in, so I had a go

I think what they should improve is to reduce the amount of images that people can have pending for review at the same time. I have seen people put 40-50 images in at the same time.
08-11-2007, 02:30 AM   #4
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What I find intersting are some of the shots in the premiere collection to be not so well "premiere". I honestly think a couple of them should not be in there - I have seen better shots in some of the normal categories than some similar shots in the premiere galleries.

As for the quality of work to vote on - yes I think there are some poor quality snapshot type photos waiting to be voted on - I voted yesterday for like 30 shots or so and I think I only had 2 positive's - I don't think Pentax will accept all the work anyways since there are so many images in the gallery now.

08-11-2007, 12:17 PM   #5
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The "voting" feature in the Pentax Gallery is very new and should serve to reduce the number of snapshots that do get in.

Are there shots already present that don't belong in the gallery? Probably... Are there shots that don't get in that should? Probably... Just look at some of the examples posted in various "these didnt get in" threads here at PentaxForums. The biggest complaint that I have about the gallery is that they never give you any feedback on the rejects. Some are probably obvious but I know I am not alone in wondering why certain photos were rejected.

The Pentax Gallery is no different than any "art gallery" anywhere in the world. Someone somewhere has to sort through the submissions and decide on a vary personal basis what is good enough. Consensus judging can help lessen the personal biases, but generally if a given judge feels strongly enough about a given image it will probably get in.

Personally, I think that most of the stuff that is in many modern art galleries is crap! Does that mean I am right. Maybe, maybe not. Point is, what I feel is good may not match yours or visa-versa.

The gallery will be fine It is really a way to show what good photos can be taken by talented photographers using Pentax equipment. Everyone there doesn't have to be Ansel Adams or Galen Rowell.

Last edited by MRRiley; 08-11-2007 at 01:00 PM.
08-11-2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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I have not posted to the Gallery in some time - mostly because I am trying to spend more time behind the camera rather than in front of my PC. I am somewhat disturbed by the new format of letting "everyone" vote without some statement of criteria. I know that on this forum and others - there are a few people who only take images of birds, flowers, their kids, bugs and animals. I guess it depends on whether or not "they" vote your images down due to their “style – emphasis” etc. I would like to see Pentax establish some ground rules for making a choice – again, I have not submitted an image since voting began so I do not know if Pentax has provided a basic set of ground rules.

As for the quality of submissions, I question some of the accepted ones, although the number of questionable ones is a mire handful. (I think I am just jealous) I think it would be interesting to look at the statistics of how the images are broken down by category – I bet the bugs and flower numbers are the highest. (I have a flower image in my set too)

Out on DPR there is one guy who posts his latest rejects and asks why? I look at them and say ho-hum seen this before. Subject’s dead center, harsh lighting, over saturated colors and way over sharpened (halos visible on nearly everything). I also notice that people are displaying images of people who can be recognized, I think Pentax is wondering if model releases have been signed (per the rules) especially for images of children. But, I keep my mouth shut and enjoy the quibbling that goes on in the thread.

The OP states they are “not trying to be elitist” but in fact he is to some extent. As am I, but I am not unwilling to admit it. The most insight generating aspect of attending a National Geographic Photographic Workshop was the systematic daily exercise of picking the image of the day for all of the participants. We had to shoot a minimum of 3 rolls of 36 frame slide film (72 images – those of us who were shooting digital could not PP since the film shooters could not alter their images) although you could take more if you wanted. After the film was developed overnight we had a half an hour to pick 20 keepers. The instructors came over and picked and threw out images – as did the other students. Then we had another 15 minutes to pick 5 images out to show the whole group. Once the 5 had been chosen, we all sat in the room and jointly picked 1 image per person per day (some exceptions). The main instructor then created a end of the week slide show to demonstrate all of our chosen work.

My point is – the hardest thing to do was to pick the images that worked for the group. Only one of my favorite shots was picked for my series and those that were selected would not have made my first 20 cut if I were working alone. So – do not think you are being too “elitist” – just get rid of the low hanging fruit at the first cut and save the gold. Don't worry about what other people are doing, pick what you think is good and move on.

It is all about subject, composition, content and intent. With modern cameras exposure is not really all that much of an issue.

PDL
PS - just to show that I have more rejects than accepted.
PENTAX Photo Gallery
http://pdlanumimages.shutterfly.com
08-11-2007, 07:40 PM   #7
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I agree

QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
There were less than a handful of shots I saw during this hour that I could, in good conscience, rate positively.
On average, I rate 1 positive per two pages (10 images) which is 10%. (And I am trying to be not too harsh.)

The most common flaw (as you have noticed) is the choice of subjects: people are shooting everything, without paying too much attention at what can and what can't be photographed successfully, as well as often not thinking about the possible meaning (or lack of meaning) of a particular subject to other people (kid and pet photos mostly).

Poor composition is the close second: lots of centered subjects with large unbalanced empty areas is the leading flaw. Cluttered composition with everything on the photo asking for attention is quite common as well.

Technical image quality is distant third which may explain why people are trying then asking why their photographs got rejected: if sharpness, colors and contrast are good the photograph must be good as well, right? Well... not really, as we all know.
08-12-2007, 05:13 AM   #8
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So...

Is the voting meant as a pre-screening process so that the judge's job is made easier?

Like many here, I have given the "thumbs up" to less than 10%.

From my other post (before I knew about this thread) - is the SOLE purpose of the gallery to showcase the quality of photos that can be taken with various camera/lens combinations?

Or does it serve other purposes?

08-12-2007, 09:13 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
is the SOLE purpose of the gallery to showcase the quality of photos that can be taken with various camera/lens combinations?
I think that is the idea, but as usual Pentax is not quite focused on achieving this goal. Some accepted submissions are of low quality and site is really hard to navigate and overall it looks unfinished still requiring lots of work and it seems there is no product/project manager on site to drive that properly. The whole thing appears to be some sort of a "spare time/lazy afternoons project" so if it works that's fine, but if it doesn't no problem as well.

The idea is good, but the implementation is not. In my opinion the whole thing should be discarded and reimplemented from scratch using different technologies and underlaying architecture (I think there is no real serious application/database powering the site at the moment. It looks simply like "Flash-enriched" web presentation to me.)

Disclaimer: With 25 years experience in the software industry, including past ~10 years as a technical architect and software project manager developing mission critical enterprise systems I am certainly less tolerant to (in my opinion) obvious implementation "mistakes" and system "flaws". Perhaps some of them only I can see.
08-12-2007, 06:39 PM   #10
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Since the user-voting feature was implemented I admit that I have given less than 5% thumbs up (on average). There do seem to be a lot of snapshots being submitted.
08-15-2007, 08:16 PM   #11
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For the record, I have submitted 5 shots to date, and actually have had one accepted. I'm happy to say that my best shot of the bunch (in my opinion) was selected. I hope the process works, and people will start being more selective of their submissions!
08-15-2007, 08:38 PM   #12
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PDL - you said it best. It's not being elitest at all, it all simply comes down the photographer seriously evaluating and editing their own work before they submit it. People think the more they submit, the better chance they'll have a few accepted. But this isn't the lottery, it's photo judging, which at best is a crapshoot depending on the judge's mood and what they've seen in the past two hours of judging.

If someone thinks a cute photo of their kid/plant/dog/car/etc is worthy of submission, by all means they should submit it - But they should submit the best one - not 5 or 10 that they shot at nearly the same moment in time of the same subject - because then it just bogs down the system.
08-18-2007, 01:10 PM   #13
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link

What is the link for photo submission-seems as I have lost/deleted mine..

Thanks
08-19-2007, 06:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick1946 Quote
What is the link for photo submission-seems as I have lost/deleted mine..

Thanks
You have to login first Nick...

Photo Gallery :: Artist Pages

After logging in you will be able to navigate to the submittal page.
08-19-2007, 11:55 AM   #15
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I hope

this is not considered as mean and nasty. That's not my intent here.

Here's a shot that was submitted to the Pentax Photo Gallery:



I don't claim to understand other photographers' tastes or techniques, but am curious as to whether other Forum members would submit something along this line.

If this shot was submitted by a Forum member, please do not be offended. I am trying to learn something here.

I have stopped rating photos in the Gallery. One, I don't feel qualified to give a thumbs up or down in many catagories (architecture/portraits, etc.) and two- it's just too frustrating.
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