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11-22-2014, 07:08 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Great (or even good) photos

This is kind of a two-pronged question.

In my own photography, the shots that appeal to me most are not always the most technically perfect ones. Of course, they need to be reasonably well-exposed, properly focused, etc. But it's usually something else that makes a particular shot speak to me: the expression on a face, the look of the sky, a memory conjured...whatever.

So, first question: are you more satisfied by technical perfection, or is it something else?

Also, I take several shots that are technically well-executed but have no soul. I look at them and think, "So what?" There are iconic photos by some of the legends that stand alone as great images (Lange's migrant mother, Adams' moonrise, and many others). But I see a lot of shots by great photographers that are held up as examples of why they're great, and I just don't see it. (To be clear, this is NOT an I'm as good as they are thread. I'm not even close and I know it.)

So second question: Am I missing something? Am I too dense to appreciate that a photo of a trash can is great because it depicts about 57 sociopolitical issues but all I see is a trash can? Whaddaya think? What constitutes a great image to you?

11-22-2014, 07:17 PM   #2
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Make yourself fell good

Take photos for your own self pleasure , if others enjoy and appreciate them so be it.
QuoteOriginally posted by Lenscap Quote
This is kind of a two-pronged question.

In my own photography, the shots that appeal to me most are not always the most technically perfect ones. Of course, they need to be reasonably well-exposed, properly focused, etc. But it's usually something else that makes a particular shot speak to me: the expression on a face, the look of the sky, a memory conjured...whatever.

So, first question: are you more satisfied by technical perfection, or is it something else?

Also, I take several shots that are technically well-executed but have no soul. I look at them and think, "So what?" There are iconic photos by some of the legends that stand alone as great images (Lange's migrant mother, Adams' moonrise, and many others). But I see a lot of shots by great photographers that are held up as examples of why they're great, and I just don't see it. (To be clear, this is NOT an I'm as good as they are thread. I'm not even close and I know it.)

So second question: Am I missing something? Am I too dense to appreciate that a photo of a trash can is great because it depicts about 57 sociopolitical issues but all I see is a trash can? Whaddaya think? What constitutes a great image to you?
11-22-2014, 07:24 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Personally, I always want to take pictures for my own pleasure. To hell with whoever else dislikes them. I also try to keep that in mind when I am browsing through Flickr, or looking at a family member's photo album. It's subjective, like art, for the most part. (And most of the time I enjoy enjoying other peoples' snaps!)

Although this is all reminding me of an argument about I got into on Facebook with some people defending an extremely poorly assembled panorama recently published by none other than National Geographic. My mind is still reeling and I was not able to see the subjective artistry in the technically and objectively terrible panorama.

I guess it's a situational thing, too?
11-22-2014, 07:30 PM   #4
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My photography IS for my own pleasure, like yours is I'm sure, and I approach it that way. I'm not looking for ways to make other people like my images. I'm just wondering what appeals to others in their own work, and in the work of some of the greats.

11-22-2014, 07:32 PM   #5
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My wife has told me my pictures have no sole. She says, great post card stuff - but no sole.

If I am going to drive up to Sedona I ask her if she wants to come along. Her reply is usually, your just going to go take some old boring pictures. Na - I'll stay home...

I'm also probably too pragmatic - an old trash can is just an old trash can....

11-22-2014, 07:36 PM   #6
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I agree... The cliché of beauty in the eye of the beholder. I don't see the sociopolitical blah blah, and don't WANT to. That's just me and I'm fine with others enjoying it. I think along the lines of the original post, at least for me, is "street photography" I mean, I've seen some really good and visually engrossing photos in this category but most of the ones I see on blogs, etc, I don't "get it" ... What am I supposed to see? So you're not alone. Photography and art are a work of love and an escape for me and I loathe having it tainted by politics or trendy things.


Edited for stupid autocorrect

---------- Post added 11-22-14 at 07:41 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
My wife has told me my pictures have no sole. She says, great post card stuff - but no sole.

If I am going to drive up to Sedona I ask her if she wants to come along. Her reply is usually, your just going to go take some old boring pictures. Na - I'll stay home...

I'm also probably too pragmatic - an old trash can is just an old trash can....


Hmmm... Take pictures of her!
11-22-2014, 08:11 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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Technically perfect photos is what we strive for. But technically perfect is in the mechanics, Not the subject. You need to capture the moment, the emotion or tragedy. Although they are few and far between, those are the ones you really want to preserve. The expression of a child face, when they get to play with a puppy or kitten for the first time. This is why I take pictures.

Lange Worked in a very opportune time for photographers. Photography during the Great Depression was a very powerful tool. It provoked deep emotions from everyone. And was credited with giving photography a meaningful place in documenting history as an art form. Some of the most powerful pictures have come from tragedy and unrest. Things that we need to see and remember, but never wanted to see.

Keep striving for the technically perfect picture, but be ready to capture that moment that sparks an emotion. Those moments will always make the best pictures.
11-22-2014, 09:07 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
Technically perfect photos is what we strive for. But technically perfect is in the mechanics, Not the subject. You need to capture the moment, the emotion or tragedy. Although they are few and far between, those are the ones you really want to preserve. The expression of a child face, when they get to play with a puppy or kitten for the first time. This is why I take pictures.<br />
<br />
Lange Worked in a very opportune time for photographers. Photography during the Great Depression was a very powerful tool. It provoked deep emotions from everyone. And was credited with giving photography a meaningful place in documenting history as an art form. Some of the most powerful pictures have come from tragedy and unrest. Things that we need to see and remember, but never wanted to see.<br />
<br />
Keep striving for the technically perfect picture, but be ready to capture that moment that sparks an emotion. Those moments will always make the best pictures.
<br />
<br />
Unless you do landscapes...
Not that they don't evoke strong emotions but people in photographs will always get the strongest reactions
But I love your point nonetheless

11-22-2014, 09:10 PM   #9
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Sorry for being repetitious but, art is in the eye of the beholder.
11-22-2014, 09:42 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by geomez Quote
Sorry for being repetitious but, art is in the eye of the beholder.
Many years ago, a man opened an art exhibit of paintings. The art critics praised these paintings as being masterpieces. Then the man revealed a secret, they were all painted by a monkey. It seems the man was tired of these art critics claiming great works of art that were really no better than what a monkey could paint.

In music there are thousands of people that can play the notes, but they just cannot play the music.

The same is true in photography.

Art may be in the eye of the beholder, but you also have to consider the source.
11-22-2014, 09:51 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I stopped caring about what other people thought a long time ago, and I'm not just talking about my photography. That doesn't mean that I don't want feedback for improvement. Just means that I like what I like, and if you like it too, cool. It's all subjective. That's what makes the world an interesting place -- it's all beautiful to somebody out there.
11-22-2014, 10:20 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
My wife has told me my pictures have no sole. She says, great post card stuff - but no sole.
While none of my photographs start out with sole, a few of the printed ones end up with plenty of sole after I stomp on 'em in frustration and disappointment.

M
11-22-2014, 10:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
While none of my photographs start out with sole, a few of the printed ones end up with plenty of sole after I stomp on 'em in frustration and disappointment.

M
I see you caught my pun. Yes - my photography gets a lot of shoe leather at the house. It gets walked all over, but gains no traction.....

11-22-2014, 10:49 PM   #14
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IMHO, good photos are generally technically sound (composition, color, tonality, balance etc.) while great photos are often attention grabber, inspiring and sometimes have story lines behind it. I appreciate good techniques but especially great inspiring photos.
11-23-2014, 12:42 AM   #15
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The question could also be about the difference between a stock shot which necessarily has to be technically correct and something which is engaging or creates an emotional connection. It's not just subjective otherwise we wouldn't single out any photographer as being better than any other.
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