Re: Art vs Composition vs Content vs Technique

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Anthony Polson, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >
    >There have been recent discussions along the line of 'photographers
    >who concentrate on technique never produce a photograph worth a damn'.



    Only in your imagination, Eric. The phrase "along the line of"
    indicates that you are stretching logic beyond its elastic limit.

    Snap!


    >The argument has almost been pushed as far as saying that 'good
    >photography is inherently flawed'.



    Almost? Nowhere near that, except in your over-fertile imagination.


    >These arguments have been received with the scorn they have deserved.



    "These arguments" were never even made. You chose the grossest of
    exaggerations to try to make your point, which only shows that there
    isn't really a point to be made. You should not exaggerate to the
    point where you end up misrepresenting previous discussions purely to
    start an argument.

    Nice try. Better luck next time. ;-)
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 5, 2012
    #1
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  2. Anthony Polson

    PeterN Guest

    On 12/5/2012 5:16 AM, Anthony Polson wrote:
    > Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >>
    >> There have been recent discussions along the line of 'photographers
    >> who concentrate on technique never produce a photograph worth a damn'.

    >
    >
    > Only in your imagination, Eric. The phrase "along the line of"
    > indicates that you are stretching logic beyond its elastic limit.
    >
    > Snap!
    >
    >
    >> The argument has almost been pushed as far as saying that 'good
    >> photography is inherently flawed'.

    >
    >
    > Almost? Nowhere near that, except in your over-fertile imagination.
    >
    >
    >> These arguments have been received with the scorn they have deserved.

    >
    >
    > "These arguments" were never even made. You chose the grossest of
    > exaggerations to try to make your point, which only shows that there
    > isn't really a point to be made. You should not exaggerate to the
    > point where you end up misrepresenting previous discussions purely to
    > start an argument.
    >
    > Nice try. Better luck next time. ;-)
    >


    I wonder if the response was from someone who perhaps, saw themselves in
    a mirror.

    --
    Peter
     
    PeterN, Dec 5, 2012
    #2
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  3. Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >On Wed, 05 Dec 2012 10:16:40 +0000, Anthony Polson
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>There have been recent discussions along the line of 'photographers
    >>>who concentrate on technique never produce a photograph worth a damn'.

    >>
    >>
    >>Only in your imagination, Eric. The phrase "along the line of"
    >>indicates that you are stretching logic beyond its elastic limit.
    >>
    >>Snap!
    >>
    >>
    >>>The argument has almost been pushed as far as saying that 'good
    >>>photography is inherently flawed'.

    >>
    >>
    >>Almost? Nowhere near that, except in your over-fertile imagination.
    >>
    >>
    >>>These arguments have been received with the scorn they have deserved.

    >>
    >>
    >>"These arguments" were never even made. You chose the grossest of
    >>exaggerations to try to make your point, which only shows that there
    >>isn't really a point to be made. You should not exaggerate to the
    >>point where you end up misrepresenting previous discussions purely to
    >>start an argument.
    >>
    >>Nice try. Better luck next time. ;-)

    >
    >The following was posted only recently in this news group:
    >
    > "People who want to learn more and more about the technicalities and
    > features of their equipment that contribute nothing of any value to
    > an image are the ones who have a narrow focus. Quite frankly,
    > focus does not get any narrower.
    >
    > I have more than a slight suspicion that the same people are
    > lacking basically in creativity and doing everything they can to
    > avoid addressing that issue. Obsessing about the technicalities of
    > the myriad features of DSLRs is a useful exercise in denial.
    >
    > Fill your mind with how your camera works, and it gets much easier
    > to forget that you don't have a creative bone in your body."
    >
    >I thought my statement 'photographers who concentrate on technique
    >never produce a photograph worth a damn', although exaggerated,
    >summarised that point of view very nicely.



    You cannot seriously use such an exaggerated statement to "summarise"
    what I wrote. You painted an extreme view that I simply do not have,
    then attacking it. I hope you enjoyed yourself, because it was of
    absolutely no value to the discussion.


    >After all, when the hammer
    >you have doesn't drive the point home, it is time to deploy a bigger
    >hammer. :)



    You would need an extremely large hammer, because you appear to be
    hitting completely the wrong nail. ;-)


    >The subsequent and related other discussions mentioned the image,
    >composition (only to the extent that somebody mentioned the rule of
    >thirds), and technical aspects. No one made the point that you should
    >have a subject worth photographing in the first place, and that was
    >the point I wanted to bring out.
    >I nearly chipped in at the time but decided not to.



    There is no such thing as "a subject not worth photographing". There
    are plenty of images that should never have been shot, but a creative
    photographer will always find some aspect of a subject that is worth
    pointing a camera at in order to captivate and inspire people. After
    all, photography is a means of communication.

    I give our students assignments that help prepare them for real life
    assignments in the commercial world. They include taking what looks
    like a very dull subject and aiming to make a great image of it. I am
    frequently amazed (and humbled) by their ability.

    Most are between 18 and 22 years old and their experience of life
    outside the confines of a family environment has been short. Yet they
    can take a subject that most experienced amateur photographers would
    either not see, or ignore because they considered it "boring", and
    instead produce images that send powerful messages to the people who
    view them.


    >However, the
    >discovery of the photograph of a detail of Milan Cathedral changed my
    >mind. http://imgsrc.ru/andrew_r/30460732.html#bp
    >
    >I found that detail of the cathedral fascinating. How did they build
    >it? How do the steps remain in place on that flimsy buttress arch?
    >What would the original builders think of the modern steel safety
    >rails?
    >
    >The photographer had little control over this photograph. There was
    >really only the one place he could stand. The lighting has problems
    >but it is what it is: the photographer could neither reposition the
    >sun nor the cathedral.
    >
    >The photograph may or may not be art but I think it is a great
    >photograph.



    It is of interest to people who are fascinated by the structure. Other
    than that, it sends no message at all.

    Obviously, there is a place for images that merely record things as
    they are. But this image is actually a spectacularly poor record of
    what might be an interesting structure if only it were possible to see
    more of it, or from a different viewpoint.

    If you cannot get to a better viewpoint and you absolutely must have
    an image of this part of this particular structure, then press the
    button. Otherwise, walk on by.

    I studied, trained and became professionally qualified in civil
    engineering including significant structural engineering content. I
    have a particular fascination with ecclesiastical buildings because of
    their wealth of fine architectural detail. Over the last decade, I
    have made a good living from shooting architectural subjects. If
    anyone was going to be interested in that image it would be me.

    However, it leaves me cold. In the absence of a distinct subject (ask
    yourself: "What is it an image of?") what stands out are the weird
    composition, the horrible barrel distortion, the tilted horizon, the
    veiling flare and resulting low contrast.

    To me, it is an epic fail, but probably no worse than most of the SI
    postings of the last few years.
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 5, 2012
    #3
  4. Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >
    >>If you cannot get to a better viewpoint and you absolutely must have
    >>an image of this part of this particular structure, then press the
    >>button. Otherwise, walk on by.

    >
    >How would you suggest that the photographer take what you regard as
    >this very dull subject so as to make a great image of it?



    If someone has natural artistic talent, it can be nurtured and
    developed and informed by learning more about the technical aspects of
    photography. It is not possible to teach someone with no artistic
    talent how to make good art, except by accident. Sadly, the person
    whose image you like appears to fall in the latter category.

    As I said, walk on by. For a photographer of so little ability (just
    look at the rest of the album) it really isn't worth the effort.
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 6, 2012
    #4
  5. Anthony Polson

    Jeff Guest


    >
    >
    > I studied, trained and became professionally qualified in civil
    >
    > engineering including significant structural engineering content. I
    >
    > have a particular fascination with ecclesiastical buildings because of
    >
    > their wealth of fine architectural detail. Over the last decade, I
    >
    > have made a good living from shooting architectural subjects. If
    >
    > anyone was going to be interested in that image it would be me.
    >
    >
    >I was a Chartered Surveyor and have an interest in photographing ecclesiastical buildings but have made no money from doing so. Could you point me tosome of your images that have provided a good living for you? It must havebeen very difficult to make good money from such work and I would be interested to see, and get some ideas from for personal use, images that contributed to your success. Titles of Magazines or other information about where your images can be viewed would be much appreciated by me.

    Thanks in anticipation.
    Jeff
     
    Jeff, Dec 6, 2012
    #5
  6. Anthony Polson

    Jeff Guest

    On Thursday, 6 December 2012 03:13:21 UTC, Eric Stevens wrote:
    > On Thu, 06 Dec 2012 01:52:36 +0000, Anthony Polson
    >
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > >Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>>If you cannot get to a better viewpoint and you absolutely must have

    >
    > >>>an image of this part of this particular structure, then press the

    >
    > >>>button. Otherwise, walk on by.

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>How would you suggest that the photographer take what you regard as

    >
    > >>this very dull subject so as to make a great image of it?

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > >If someone has natural artistic talent, it can be nurtured and

    >
    > >developed and informed by learning more about the technical aspects of

    >
    > >photography. It is not possible to teach someone with no artistic

    >
    > >talent how to make good art, except by accident. Sadly, the person

    >
    > >whose image you like appears to fall in the latter category.

    >
    > >

    >
    > >As I said, walk on by. For a photographer of so little ability (just

    >
    > >look at the rest of the album) it really isn't worth the effort.

    >
    >
    >
    > But that was not an option you gave to your students.
    >
    >
    >
    > I agree that this photograph has a number of faults. Some are inherent
    >
    > in the scene and nothing can be done about them. Others that you
    >
    > mentioned, such as the horizon are easily fixed. Nevertheless I find
    >
    > the subject striking and quite suitable for confirming my point that
    >
    > 'subject' is something which should not be ignored when evaluating a
    >
    > photograph.
    >
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    >
    >
    > Eric Stevens


    I share your apparent view that images should preferably contain interesting content as well as artistic interpretation with excellent technique. But this view was not shared by the photographer who took a series of images ofpeppers in monochrome and his many admirers. I too was much taken by thosephotographs when I saw them at an exhibition in Edinburgh. They were simply delicious even though the objects were in themselves quite mundane. Well worth the 400 mile round trip by train to see them. I guess it shows that photography is a broad church with much to delight and surprise us all.
    Cheers
    Jeff
     
    Jeff, Dec 6, 2012
    #6
  7. Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >On Thu, 06 Dec 2012 01:52:36 +0000, Anthony Polson
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>If you cannot get to a better viewpoint and you absolutely must have
    >>>>an image of this part of this particular structure, then press the
    >>>>button. Otherwise, walk on by.
    >>>
    >>>How would you suggest that the photographer take what you regard as
    >>>this very dull subject so as to make a great image of it?

    >>
    >>
    >>If someone has natural artistic talent, it can be nurtured and
    >>developed and informed by learning more about the technical aspects of
    >>photography. It is not possible to teach someone with no artistic
    >>talent how to make good art, except by accident. Sadly, the person
    >>whose image you like appears to fall in the latter category.
    >>
    >>As I said, walk on by. For a photographer of so little ability (just
    >>look at the rest of the album) it really isn't worth the effort.

    >
    >But that was not an option you gave to your students.



    That was probably because I have never given them a subject that was
    so difficult to access! :)


    >I agree that this photograph has a number of faults. Some are inherent
    >in the scene and nothing can be done about them. Others that you
    >mentioned, such as the horizon are easily fixed. Nevertheless I find
    >the subject striking and quite suitable for confirming my point that
    >'subject' is something which should not be ignored when evaluating a
    >photograph.



    Previously, you mentioned 'content'. That appears suddenly to have
    become 'subject'. That's highly appropriate, because I look at that
    image and cannot see one. There are several possible subjects but
    none stands out. I suspect that the person who pressed the shutter
    button had very little idea which he was trying to capture or portray.
    I suggest to my students that they always ask themselves about an
    image "what is it of?" If the question cannot be answered simply in a
    single phrase, the image is unlikely to communicate at all well. And
    communication is the name of the game here.
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 6, 2012
    #7
  8. Anthony Polson

    sid Guest

    Jeff wrote:


    >> I studied, trained and became professionally qualified in civil
    >>
    >> engineering including significant structural engineering content. I
    >>
    >> have a particular fascination with ecclesiastical buildings because of
    >>
    >> their wealth of fine architectural detail. Over the last decade, I
    >>
    >> have made a good living from shooting architectural subjects. If
    >>
    >> anyone was going to be interested in that image it would be me.
    >>
    >>

    >I was a Chartered Surveyor and have an interest in photographing
    >ecclesiastical buildings but have made no money from doing so. Could you
    >point me to some of your images that have provided a good living for you?
    >It must have been very difficult to make good money from such work and I
    >would be interested to see, and get some ideas from for personal use,
    >images that contributed to your success. Titles of Magazines or other
    >information about where your images can be viewed would be much
    >appreciated by me.
    > Thanks in anticipation.
    > Jeff


    sorry to dissapoint you Jeff, but your are asking the arch bullshitter of of
    the photography groups to do something he refuses to do. Although he claims
    to variously own part of a photo retail chain, to work in a camera shop, to
    make a living taking photos, to have students hanging on his every word, to
    have had a Paris Match cover photo and numerous other outrageious claims to
    superiority, the only photos we can be sure are his are some dodgy old train
    photos and a gastly photo of a vcr.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    --
    sid
    RLU 300284
    2
     
    sid, Dec 6, 2012
    #8
  9. Anthony Polson

    Jeff Guest

    On Thursday, 6 December 2012 18:30:02 UTC, sid wrote:
    > Jeff wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > >> I studied, trained and became professionally qualified in civil

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> engineering including significant structural engineering content. I

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> have a particular fascination with ecclesiastical buildings because of

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> their wealth of fine architectural detail. Over the last decade, I

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> have made a good living from shooting architectural subjects. If

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> anyone was going to be interested in that image it would be me.

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >I was a Chartered Surveyor and have an interest in photographing

    >
    > >ecclesiastical buildings but have made no money from doing so. Could you

    >
    > >point me to some of your images that have provided a good living for you?

    >
    > >It must have been very difficult to make good money from such work and I

    >
    > >would be interested to see, and get some ideas from for personal use,

    >
    > >images that contributed to your success. Titles of Magazines or other

    >
    > >information about where your images can be viewed would be much

    >
    > >appreciated by me.

    >
    > > Thanks in anticipation.

    >
    > > Jeff

    >
    >
    >
    > sorry to dissapoint you Jeff, but your are asking the arch bullshitter ofof
    >
    > the photography groups to do something he refuses to do. Although he claims
    >
    > to variously own part of a photo retail chain, to work in a camera shop,to
    >
    > make a living taking photos, to have students hanging on his every word, to
    >
    > have had a Paris Match cover photo and numerous other outrageious claims to
    >
    > superiority, the only photos we can be sure are his are some dodgy old train
    >
    > photos and a gastly photo of a vcr.
    >
    >
    >
    > Correct me if I'm wrong.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    > sid
    >
    > RLU 300284
    >
    > 2


    Thanks Sid.
    My enquiry was rather tongue in cheek given that the post was by Polson whose postings I have marveled at on various groups. He seems to change his name from time to time and the "Anthony" part is new to me. He used to be "Tony" then "Bruce" but his Walter Mitty bullshit remains much the same.
    Cheers
    Jeff
     
    Jeff, Dec 6, 2012
    #9
  10. Anthony Polson

    sid Guest

    Jeff wrote:

    > On Thursday, 6 December 2012 18:30:02 UTC, sid wrote:
    >> Jeff wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> >> I studied, trained and became professionally qualified in civil

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >> engineering including significant structural engineering content. I

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >> have a particular fascination with ecclesiastical buildings because of

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >> their wealth of fine architectural detail. Over the last decade, I

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >> have made a good living from shooting architectural subjects. If

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >> anyone was going to be interested in that image it would be me.

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >>

    >>
    >> >I was a Chartered Surveyor and have an interest in photographing

    >>
    >> >ecclesiastical buildings but have made no money from doing so. Could you

    >>
    >> >point me to some of your images that have provided a good living for
    >> >you?

    >>
    >> >It must have been very difficult to make good money from such work and I

    >>
    >> >would be interested to see, and get some ideas from for personal use,

    >>
    >> >images that contributed to your success. Titles of Magazines or other

    >>
    >> >information about where your images can be viewed would be much

    >>
    >> >appreciated by me.

    >>
    >> > Thanks in anticipation.

    >>
    >> > Jeff

    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> sorry to dissapoint you Jeff, but your are asking the arch bullshitter of
    >> of
    >>
    >> the photography groups to do something he refuses to do. Although he
    >> claims
    >>
    >> to variously own part of a photo retail chain, to work in a camera shop,
    >> to
    >>
    >> make a living taking photos, to have students hanging on his every word,
    >> to
    >>
    >> have had a Paris Match cover photo and numerous other outrageious claims
    >> to
    >>
    >> superiority, the only photos we can be sure are his are some dodgy old
    >> train
    >>
    >> photos and a gastly photo of a vcr.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> Correct me if I'm wrong.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> --
    >>
    >> sid
    >>
    >> RLU 300284
    >>
    >> 2

    >
    > Thanks Sid.
    > My enquiry was rather tongue in cheek given that the post was by Polson
    > whose postings I have marveled at on various groups. He seems to change
    > his name from time to time and the "Anthony" part is new to me. He used to
    > be "Tony" then "Bruce" but his Walter Mitty bullshit remains much the
    > same. Cheers Jeff


    phewww, thank goodness for that, I didn't recognise your name and your
    inapropriately long line length so I thought he had actually fooled
    somebody, ha. I'm glad to see I was wrong. :)

    --
    sid
    RLU 300284
    2
     
    sid, Dec 6, 2012
    #10
  11. Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >>Previously, you mentioned 'content'. That appears suddenly to have
    >>become 'subject'. That's highly appropriate, because I look at that
    >>image and cannot see one. There are several possible subjects but
    >>none stands out. I suspect that the person who pressed the shutter
    >>button had very little idea which he was trying to capture or portray.
    >>I suggest to my students that they always ask themselves about an
    >>image "what is it of?" If the question cannot be answered simply in a
    >>single phrase, the image is unlikely to communicate at all well. And
    >>communication is the name of the game here.

    >
    >
    >We seem to be in agreement on that.



    Sorry, but we are not. See below.


    >I don't share your view that
    >'subject' and 'content' are two significantly different things but
    >that's as it may be. My point was and still is that the art of taking
    >photographs should include consideration of what is being photographed
    >and why.
    >
    >Of course it may be that it makes for an attractive pattern of light,
    >shade and colour to hang on the wall but that is hardly the sole be
    >all and end all of photography.



    That would be an image of light, shade and colour.
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 6, 2012
    #11
  12. Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >On Thu, 06 Dec 2012 23:40:33 +0000, Anthony Polson
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >>
    >>>>Previously, you mentioned 'content'. That appears suddenly to have
    >>>>become 'subject'. That's highly appropriate, because I look at that
    >>>>image and cannot see one. There are several possible subjects but
    >>>>none stands out. I suspect that the person who pressed the shutter
    >>>>button had very little idea which he was trying to capture or portray.
    >>>>I suggest to my students that they always ask themselves about an
    >>>>image "what is it of?" If the question cannot be answered simply in a
    >>>>single phrase, the image is unlikely to communicate at all well. And
    >>>>communication is the name of the game here.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>We seem to be in agreement on that.

    >>
    >>
    >>Sorry, but we are not. See below.

    >
    >See 'what' below?



    My comment below.


    >>>I don't share your view that
    >>>'subject' and 'content' are two significantly different things but
    >>>that's as it may be. My point was and still is that the art of taking
    >>>photographs should include consideration of what is being photographed
    >>>and why.
    >>>
    >>>Of course it may be that it makes for an attractive pattern of light,
    >>>shade and colour to hang on the wall but that is hardly the sole be
    >>>all and end all of photography.

    >>
    >>
    >>That would be an image of light, shade and colour.

    >
    >So?
    >
    >Are you arguing that it _is_ the sole be all and end all of
    >photography?



    No, not at all.


    >If not, what are you arguing?



    In this particular case, an image of light, shade and colour is valid
    in itself and does not need to have the type of 'content' that you
    invariably seek.

    The danger of valuing 'content' above all else is that you can end up
    producing images that communicate absolutely nothing. I think the
    Milan Cathedral shot falls right into that category.

    There was someone I knew a few years ago who liked to shoot images of
    his (and my) local area to record changes. He wanted to capture it as
    it was so that future generations could see how it had changed and
    what had been lost.

    This was a real opportunity to document social change and particularly
    the way people's lives had changed with the changes to their built
    environment. The changes in each inspired, or were inspired by,
    changes in the other.

    Sadly, he didn't want to record any of that, only the buildings.
    Indeed, he frequently took great care to exclude people from his
    images.

    The result was a series of anodyne images of buildings that were
    technically very good but conveyed absolutely no emotional message.
    With no human interest to be seen, people quickly tired of his images
    even though the same people were keen to identify with their changing
    feelings. There was no communication with the people viewing the
    images so the opportunity to send a message or messages was lost.

    You can see examples of this every month in the SI. No attempt is
    made to connect with the people viewing the images. Attempts are
    made, if you believe the word of the shooters, to achieve some kind of
    technical result, but that just falls flat with the viewer.

    There is the old adage that "A picture tells a thousand words". That
    can be true; a really good image can speak volumes and inspire people.
    It was sometimes true of images shot by competent photographers in the
    early days of the SI. However, those competent photographers have
    long gone, most of them sick to death with the banal comments of
    certain participants who used (and still use) critique to discredit
    others' emerging abilities as some sort of sick approach to making
    their own pathetic efforts sound better than they look.

    After their departure, the inability of the SI participants to produce
    images that tell a story, or produce an emotional reaction in the
    viewer, has become dominant. It was never better summed up by the
    need for one particular participant to write an essay in a vain
    attempt to delivering the message to viewers that his images never
    could, can or will.

    To sum up, a good photograph is about a lot more than content. Indeed,
    the content may be minimal, certainly not enough to satisfy someone
    who looks for content alone or above all else.

    A good photograph sends a message, tells a story and/or sparks an
    emotional response. It can shock, please, disgust or charm, horrify
    or inspire the viewer and/or deliver any (or even many) other(s) from
    the whole spectrum of human emotions.

    Content can be part of that, or even most of it. But content can also
    be almost none of it. It is the message that matters, not the
    content*.


    [*Obviously, I exclude the narrow specialist genre of record
    photography.]
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 7, 2012
    #12
  13. Anthony Polson

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Friday, December 7, 2012 1:14:15 PM UTC, Anthony Polson wrote:
    > Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > >On Thu, 06 Dec 2012 23:40:33 +0000, Anthony Polson

    >
    > ><> wrote:

    >
    > >

    >
    > >>Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>>>Previously, you mentioned 'content'. That appears suddenly to have

    >
    > >>>>become 'subject'. That's highly appropriate, because I look at that

    >
    > >>>>image and cannot see one. There are several possible subjects but

    >
    > >>>>none stands out. I suspect that the person who pressed the shutter

    >
    > >>>>button had very little idea which he was trying to capture or portray.

    >
    > >>>>I suggest to my students that they always ask themselves about an

    >
    > >>>>image "what is it of?" If the question cannot be answered simply in a

    >
    > >>>>single phrase, the image is unlikely to communicate at all well. And

    >
    > >>>>communication is the name of the game here.

    >
    > >>>

    >
    > >>>

    >
    > >>>We seem to be in agreement on that.

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>Sorry, but we are not. See below.

    >
    > >

    >
    > >See 'what' below?

    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > My comment below.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > >>>I don't share your view that

    >
    > >>>'subject' and 'content' are two significantly different things but

    >
    > >>>that's as it may be. My point was and still is that the art of taking

    >
    > >>>photographs should include consideration of what is being photographed

    >
    > >>>and why.

    >
    > >>>

    >
    > >>>Of course it may be that it makes for an attractive pattern of light,

    >
    > >>>shade and colour to hang on the wall but that is hardly the sole be

    >
    > >>>all and end all of photography.

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>That would be an image of light, shade and colour.

    >
    > >

    >
    > >So?

    >
    > >

    >
    > >Are you arguing that it _is_ the sole be all and end all of

    >
    > >photography?

    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > No, not at all.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > >If not, what are you arguing?

    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > In this particular case, an image of light, shade and colour is valid
    >
    > in itself and does not need to have the type of 'content' that you
    >
    > invariably seek.
    >
    >
    >
    > The danger of valuing 'content' above all else is that you can end up
    >
    > producing images that communicate absolutely nothing. I think the
    >
    > Milan Cathedral shot falls right into that category.
    >
    >
    >
    > There was someone I knew a few years ago who liked to shoot images of
    >
    > his (and my) local area to record changes. He wanted to capture it as
    >
    > it was so that future generations could see how it had changed and
    >
    > what had been lost.
    >
    >
    >
    > This was a real opportunity to document social change and particularly
    >
    > the way people's lives had changed with the changes to their built
    >
    > environment. The changes in each inspired, or were inspired by,
    >
    > changes in the other.
    >
    >
    >
    > Sadly, he didn't want to record any of that, only the buildings.


    is he famous as a friends studied the works of someone nthat did he or they spent year photgraphing old building square in no imaginative angles and always in overcast conditions in fact they refused to photograph most things in sunlight & shadow.

    >
    > Indeed, he frequently took great care to exclude people from his
    >
    > images.


    I wouldn't have a problem with that as it's one of the best reasons I had for digital editing i.e getting rid of tourists ;-)

    >
    >
    >
    > The result was a series of anodyne images of buildings that were
    >
    > technically very good but conveyed absolutely no emotional message.


    For me that's OK, in fact I prefer that to some pictures of a snotty nose kid who I don't know but everyone goes Ahh isn;t that cute :-(

    I'm also tired of seeing trampsm asleep on benches as staetments....
    which worries me about the next SI.. Oh anothe rold tramp half asleep ......




    >
    > With no human interest to be seen, people quickly tired of his images
    >
    > even though the same people were keen to identify with their changing
    >
    > feelings.



    Doesn;t that depend on who your showing them too, some get bored of cars and planes.


    > There was no communication with the people viewing the
    >
    > images so the opportunity to send a message or messages was lost.


    I can get an emotions from loking atv an old picutre it's doesn;t need a person in it, for me peole usually get in the way.



    >
    >
    >
    > You can see examples of this every month in the SI. No attempt is
    >
    > made to connect with the people viewing the images.


    I'm not sure one should do the picture should speak for itself .


    > Attempts are
    >
    > made, if you believe the word of the shooters, to achieve some kind of
    >
    > technical result, but that just falls flat with the viewer.


    depends on the viewer doesn't it.


    > There is the old adage that "A picture tells a thousand words".


    I thought it was speaks.....

    > That
    >
    > can be true; a really good image can speak volumes and inspire people.
    >
    > It was sometimes true of images shot by competent photographers in the
    >
    > early days of the SI. However, those competent photographers have
    >
    > long gone, most of them sick to death with the banal comments of
    >
    > certain participants who used (and still use) critique to discredit
    >
    > others' emerging abilities as some sort of sick approach to making
    >
    > their own pathetic efforts sound better than they look.


    Can;t say I've noticed but I haven;t been around that long checking.


    > After their departure, the inability of the SI participants to produce
    >
    > images that tell a story, or produce an emotional reaction in the
    >
    > viewer, has become dominant.


    That depends on teh viewr if I want a story I'll read a book, if I want entreetaining I'll watch TV or play a game.

    > It was never better summed up by the
    >
    > need for one particular participant to write an essay in a vain
    >
    > attempt to delivering the message to viewers that his images never
    >
    > could, can or will.


    for me viewing is about seeing something I've never seen or unlikely to see personally, or showing me something in a differnt light or angle.

    >
    >
    >
    > To sum up, a good photograph is about a lot more than content. Indeed,
    >
    > the content may be minimal, certainly not enough to satisfy someone
    >
    > who looks for content alone or above all else.


    Yes I agree.

    >
    >
    >
    > A good photograph sends a message, tells a story and/or sparks an
    >
    > emotional response. It can shock, please, disgust or charm, horrify
    >
    > or inspire the viewer and/or deliver any (or even many) other(s) from
    >
    > the whole spectrum of human emotions.


    Yes, but suppose (for the SI) I enter a well exposed and focused picture of a dog turd on a street corner, I wopnder how it;'s be judged or commented on.
    Personally I wouldn;t be too happy to see such a things as I typically view the SI during my lunch hour :-@


    >
    >
    >
    > Content can be part of that, or even most of it. But content can also
    >
    > be almost none of it. It is the message that matters, not the
    >
    > content*.



    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > [*Obviously, I exclude the narrow specialist genre of record
    >
    > photography.]


    glad you put that in saves me 50+ lines of trying ;-)


    But I do find passport photos funny
     
    Whisky-dave, Dec 7, 2012
    #13
  14. Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >
    >In the absence of your own contributions, you would be better advised
    >to not keep going on like this.



    Many people who appreciate "good photography" (for some value of
    "good") are not themselves photographers. Their views are no less
    valid than those of people who are photographers. Indeed, you might
    even argue that their views have even greater validity because they
    don't bring with them their subjective opinions on photography.
     
    Anthony Polson, Dec 8, 2012
    #14
  15. Anthony Polson

    tony cooper Guest

    On Sat, 08 Dec 2012 09:38:51 +0000, Anthony Polson
    <> wrote:

    >Eric Stevens <> wrote:
    >>
    >>In the absence of your own contributions, you would be better advised
    >>to not keep going on like this.

    >
    >
    >Many people who appreciate "good photography" (for some value of
    >"good") are not themselves photographers. Their views are no less
    >valid than those of people who are photographers. Indeed, you might
    >even argue that their views have even greater validity because they
    >don't bring with them their subjective opinions on photography.


    I don't consider you to be a qualified critiquer of photography. A
    qualified critique of a photograph delineates what is good or what is
    bad about a photograph.

    All you do is brand all SI photographs as crap. There's no value in
    that to anyone.

    I agree that one need not be a good photographer, or even a
    photographer at all, to offer valid criticism about someone else's
    photograph. You've never offered valid criticism, though.




    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
     
    tony cooper, Dec 8, 2012
    #15
  16. Anthony Polson <> wrote:
    > Eric Stevens <> wrote:


    >>In the absence of your own contributions, you would be better advised
    >>to not keep going on like this.


    > Many people who appreciate "good photography" (for some value of
    > "good") are not themselves photographers. Their views are no less
    > valid than those of people who are photographers. Indeed, you might
    > even argue that their views have even greater validity because they
    > don't bring with them their subjective opinions on photography.


    How on earth do they manage to do that? Avoiding bringing one's
    subjective opinions to bear is normally considered to be somewhere
    between very hard to almost impossible, and if possible takes many
    years of pretty rigorous training.

    --
    Chris Malcolm
     
    Chris Malcolm, Dec 11, 2012
    #16
  17. Anthony Polson

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Tuesday, December 11, 2012 2:48:03 PM UTC, Chris Malcolm wrote:
    > Anthony Polson <> wrote:
    >
    > > Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >
    >
    >
    > >>In the absence of your own contributions, you would be better advised

    >
    > >>to not keep going on like this.

    >
    >
    >
    > > Many people who appreciate "good photography" (for some value of

    >
    > > "good") are not themselves photographers. Their views are no less

    >
    > > valid than those of people who are photographers. Indeed, you might

    >
    > > even argue that their views have even greater validity because they

    >
    > > don't bring with them their subjective opinions on photography.

    >
    >
    >
    > How on earth do they manage to do that? Avoiding bringing one's
    >
    > subjective opinions to bear is normally considered to be somewhere
    >
    > between very hard to almost impossible, and if possible takes many
    >
    > years of pretty rigorous training.



    I wonder if it's the same way peole judge painting, it's seem those willingto pay millions or even those that can,t seem to appriaciate art the galleries seem popular enough, but I doubt every art critic can paint or do scuplture but their views are well sought after.

    It's a difficult one.


    >
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    > Chris Malcolm
     
    Whisky-dave, Dec 11, 2012
    #17
  18. Anthony Polson

    Mayayana Guest

    "Chris Malcolm" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | > Many people who appreciate "good photography" (for some value of
    | > "good") are not themselves photographers. Their views are no less
    | > valid than those of people who are photographers. Indeed, you might
    | > even argue that their views have even greater validity because they
    | > don't bring with them their subjective opinions on photography.
    |
    | How on earth do they manage to do that? Avoiding bringing one's
    | subjective opinions to bear is normally considered to be somewhere
    | between very hard to almost impossible, and if possible takes many
    | years of pretty rigorous training.
    |

    Very interesting discussion.

    Personally I have a knack for graphics, layout,
    color, etc. but I'm often frustrated with photography,
    simply because I haven't spent enough time to really
    learn the tool so that I can attain my intention with it.

    As a result, I really can't say much of value about
    technique. Therefore I don't bring much in the way of
    subjective photography opinions to the viewing. I also
    discern different ways to value a photograph. Sometimes
    the content is the whole point. But for me the main or
    "best" purpose is Art. National Geographic photos are
    consistently very good.... and boring in ever aspect
    except their accuracy. With the cathedral photo I hardly
    care at all about the photo quality. Seeing a cathedral
    like that provokes two feelings in me:

    1) Inspiration that people have done such amazing work.
    2) Shame that I haven't.

    I value the image for that inspiration and comeuppance.
    So in that case the content is important. But in that case
    I'm viewing a photo of Art, which complicates the issue. :)

    So I guess I'm saying that while quality of technique can
    be important, and content can be important, appreciating
    Art does not require expertise or beautiful subjects, but only
    openness. If it were otherwise there would be very
    few people in art museums. Though appreciation, I think, can
    be enriched when one knows something of the artist, the
    subject, the technique, etc.

    Rob's recent post led me to the discovery of shorpy.com
    where I discovered this pictutre of Abraham Lincoln that
    I've been looking at all week:

    http://www.shorpy.com/Abraham-Lincoln-1865

    His expression is moving to me. There's an equanimity and
    a transcendent, unqqualified sense of humor that comes
    through. That kind of communication is the only measure
    I have of a *great* photograph.

    Recently I saw an Ansel Adams show that was made up
    of images that emphasised abstract light play on beaches,
    etc. I found the exhibit forgettable. But a couple of years
    ago I saw an exhibit
    that showed a number of his National Park photos, as well
    as people photos from another period. Most of the photos
    were moving to me. They spoke truths worth encountering.
    The curator seemed to have had a sense for recognizing that,
    while the curator of the other show didn't. None of the actual
    subjects mattered to me. What mattered was only the quality
    of mind coming through the image.

    How am I qualified to make these judgements? I guess
    just because I'm human and in the final analysis have to
    trust my own judgement. Some things are self-evident.

    In Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, one can see a
    distinct difference from Western arranging. The former
    expresses space through form. The latter expresses form
    without awareness of space. Two very different things.
    Both can be very beautiful, but I've never seen a profound
    flower arrangement in Western style. It comes from a
    point of view that merely wants to wow the senses.

    In practicing the Ikebana technique the idea is to let
    go of intention and "let Art happen" as the flowers are
    placed. It's recommended that one practice by working
    with "bad" branches and flowers, as it's easy to make
    an interesting arrangement with, say, a gnarly branch
    of apple blossoms; not so easy with any old stick from
    the yard. But both are usable.

    ....Just a few thoughts. This is such a wide-ranging
    topic with so many possible views.
     
    Mayayana, Dec 11, 2012
    #18
  19. Anthony Polson

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Tuesday, December 11, 2012 9:18:33 PM UTC, Eric Stevens wrote:
    > On Tue, 11 Dec 2012 11:55:06 -0500, "Mayayana"
    >
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > >"Chris Malcolm" <> wrote in message

    >
    > >news:...

    >
    > >| > Many people who appreciate "good photography" (for some value of

    >
    > >| > "good") are not themselves photographers. Their views are no less

    >
    > >| > valid than those of people who are photographers. Indeed, you might

    >
    > >| > even argue that their views have even greater validity because they

    >
    > >| > don't bring with them their subjective opinions on photography.

    >
    > >|

    >
    > >| How on earth do they manage to do that? Avoiding bringing one's

    >
    > >| subjective opinions to bear is normally considered to be somewhere

    >
    > >| between very hard to almost impossible, and if possible takes many

    >
    > >| years of pretty rigorous training.

    >
    > >|

    >
    > >

    >
    > > Very interesting discussion.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > Personally I have a knack for graphics, layout,

    >
    > >color, etc. but I'm often frustrated with photography,

    >
    > >simply because I haven't spent enough time to really

    >
    > >learn the tool so that I can attain my intention with it.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > As a result, I really can't say much of value about

    >
    > >technique. Therefore I don't bring much in the way of

    >
    > >subjective photography opinions to the viewing. I also

    >
    > >discern different ways to value a photograph. Sometimes

    >
    > >the content is the whole point. But for me the main or

    >
    > >"best" purpose is Art. National Geographic photos are

    >
    > >consistently very good.... and boring in ever aspect

    >
    > >except their accuracy. With the cathedral photo I hardly

    >
    > >care at all about the photo quality. Seeing a cathedral

    >
    > >like that provokes two feelings in me:

    >
    > >

    >
    > >1) Inspiration that people have done such amazing work.

    >
    >
    >
    > That's how I feel. A mixture of amazement and awe. Bugger the
    >
    > composition. :)


    That is amazement and awe for the desnger and contruction of the building rather than the photographer, unless that what was the photographer intended :)

    >
    >
    >
    > >2) Shame that I haven't.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > I value the image for that inspiration and comeuppance.

    >
    > >So in that case the content is important. But in that case

    >
    > >I'm viewing a photo of Art, which complicates the issue. :)

    >
    > >

    >
    > > So I guess I'm saying that while quality of technique can

    >
    > >be important, and content can be important, appreciating

    >
    > >Art does not require expertise or beautiful subjects, but only

    >
    > >openness. If it were otherwise there would be very

    >
    > >few people in art museums. Though appreciation, I think, can

    >
    > >be enriched when one knows something of the artist, the

    >
    > >subject, the technique, etc.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > Rob's recent post led me to the discovery of shorpy.com

    >
    > >where I discovered this pictutre of Abraham Lincoln that

    >
    > >I've been looking at all week:

    >
    > >

    >
    > >http://www.shorpy.com/Abraham-Lincoln-1865

    >
    > >

    >
    > > His expression is moving to me. There's an equanimity and

    >
    > >a transcendent, unqqualified sense of humor that comes

    >
    > >through. That kind of communication is the only measure

    >
    > >I have of a *great* photograph.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > Recently I saw an Ansel Adams show that was made up

    >
    > >of images that emphasised abstract light play on beaches,

    >
    > >etc. I found the exhibit forgettable. But a couple of years

    >
    > >ago I saw an exhibit

    >
    > >that showed a number of his National Park photos, as well

    >
    > >as people photos from another period. Most of the photos

    >
    > >were moving to me. They spoke truths worth encountering.

    >
    > >The curator seemed to have had a sense for recognizing that,

    >
    > >while the curator of the other show didn't. None of the actual

    >
    > >subjects mattered to me. What mattered was only the quality

    >
    > >of mind coming through the image.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > How am I qualified to make these judgements? I guess

    >
    > >just because I'm human and in the final analysis have to

    >
    > >trust my own judgement. Some things are self-evident.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > In Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, one can see a

    >
    > >distinct difference from Western arranging. The former

    >
    > >expresses space through form. The latter expresses form

    >
    > >without awareness of space. Two very different things.

    >
    > >Both can be very beautiful, but I've never seen a profound

    >
    > >flower arrangement in Western style. It comes from a

    >
    > >point of view that merely wants to wow the senses.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > In practicing the Ikebana technique the idea is to let

    >
    > >go of intention and "let Art happen" as the flowers are

    >
    > >placed. It's recommended that one practice by working

    >
    > >with "bad" branches and flowers, as it's easy to make

    >
    > >an interesting arrangement with, say, a gnarly branch

    >
    > >of apple blossoms; not so easy with any old stick from

    >
    > >the yard. But both are usable.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > ....Just a few thoughts. This is such a wide-ranging

    >
    > >topic with so many possible views.

    >
    > >

    >
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    >
    >
    > Eric Stevens
     
    Whisky-dave, Dec 12, 2012
    #19
  20. Anthony Polson

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:30:03 PM UTC, Eric Stevens wrote:
    > On Wed, 12 Dec 2012 03:44:57 -0800 (PST), Whisky-dave
    >
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > >With the cathedral photo I hardly

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> >care at all about the photo quality. Seeing a cathedral

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> >like that provokes two feelings in me:

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> >

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> >1) Inspiration that people have done such amazing work.

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> That's how I feel. A mixture of amazement and awe. Bugger the

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> composition. :)

    >
    > >

    >
    > >That is amazement and awe for the desnger and contruction of the building rather than the photographer, unless that what was the photographer intended :)

    >
    >
    >
    > Photographers don't always achieve what they intended.


    Then it can;t be a good photo, isn;t that the point of photography to record an image so that someone else gets to see it. Generally speaking that is.

    >On the other
    >
    > hand, maybe it was the photographer's intention to give rise to the
    >
    > viewer tha\e awe and amazement he felt on first viewing that part of
    >
    > the building. We are not likely to know.


    Then it is a good photograph if it does the intended job surely.

    >
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    >
    >
    > Eric Stevens
     
    Whisky-dave, Dec 13, 2012
    #20
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