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Author Topic: The 101 Cliches of Photography  (Read 125969 times)
amcinroy
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« Reply #100 on: September 24, 2007, 10:51:33 AM »
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It seems to me that part of the problem is that there is a desensitisation caused by viewing too much photography. Particularly viewing too much internet photography where many of the subtle technicalities are lost.  

Take landscape for instance. As forum users we see multitudes of colourful, deep landscapes of far off places we have no personal connection with.

Put large prints in front of a local who knows the area well but is not familiar with landscape photography and the reaction will be very different.

So to summarise, it's not the photographs that are the problem here. It's our own desensitisation that is causing us to lose our appreciation of good photography. As someone else pointed out, nearly everything has been done before. And if it hasn't then it soon will be.

Andy
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 10:57:17 AM by amcinroy » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #101 on: September 24, 2007, 02:24:31 PM »
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Andy, you have a good point there. I know that when I first got into the internet I was amazed at the pictures out there. I looked at all the leading photographers´ agents sites and at all their guys´ material. It took quite a long time, but I have to admit that I have become very much more hardened to taking new stuff aboard and being moved to comment.

That doesn´t indicate that great pictures are not being made or seen, just that, as you said, one has now seen so much that it´s hard to be enthused. It´s also like working with good  models: at first you get blown away at the great pics you can get with them, then the scenario changes and you just take them for granted.

(Later, when you retire, you realise too late what you had, what you should have done.)

Rob C
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Jen
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« Reply #102 on: September 09, 2009, 08:12:22 AM »
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I don't see why everyone is freaking out so much about the cliches, it's not like it's a terrible thing to take pictures of cliches, but YES, we want original photographs. The teacher isn't saying that cliches are always a bad thing, just that we have to know how to photograph them to make them unique. I for one, will never get sick of seeing photographs of beautiful sunsets, I love to photograph them myself, but it would be GREAT to find a NEW way to do it to make them even more fantastic. That's when everyone decides they want to see YOUR picture, instead of one of the other thousands of sunset photos. That's the point of learning these things, not to put you down, but to find new ways of creating something beautiful, shocking, original, and interesting.
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jashley
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« Reply #103 on: September 13, 2009, 08:54:18 PM »
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Here's your cure for Internet "desensitization".  Pick up the new Life National Parks mag (on sale now at most newstands).  Yes, I suppose you could say that most of the photos in it are cliches in some way, but I still had that "wow" or "ooo" response to many of them because they're just so darn good.  Especially the Carr Clifton ones--wonderful stuff.
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DanLehman
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« Reply #104 on: September 14, 2009, 11:24:10 PM »
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Quote from: Jen
...  it would be GREAT to find a NEW way to do it to make them even more fantastic. That's when everyone decides they want to see YOUR picture, instead of one of the other thousands of sunset photos. That's the point of learning these things, ...

No one has time to *learn* all those things -- even superfast net connection
and a , well, *photographic* memory will be overburdened trying to avoid
The Cliche' shooting.

Fortunately, Olympanasonikentaxon will have a camera made to suit:
a multi-terabyte memory card to hold --not YOUR shots (which will be few)--
all of the existing art, and a fast few processors to search images with the
click of the shutter,
exposure denied if a match is found (one can select resolution of matches
from "Beginner" to "Pro --just say 'no' to cliche's").

QED.

(Of course, one needs to keep updating the stored memory; but universal
Wi-Fi with all cameras interconnected will take care of that.)
((Partially funded by grants from unnamed government sources.))

On sale 2010-04-01.

--dl*
====
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 12:18:57 AM by DanLehman » Logged
LucyA
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« Reply #105 on: September 23, 2009, 09:17:02 PM »
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As I read through the replies in this thread I first appreciate the years of collective experience and the wonderful images members have captured. Through the eyes of someone newly interested and ever the optimist I then think to myself how cynical some of the comments are.

Granted some shots may become seemingly repetitive, we have all seen a sunrise/baby/leaves/pregnant woman but the magic comes from the emotions that good photography can invoke and that can never become cliche.

It doesnt matter what the subject matter is, a good photographer will capture the wonder of it and make it amazing. To me this is the definition of an original work, even if it is a sunrise.
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Rob C
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« Reply #106 on: September 24, 2009, 12:31:41 PM »
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Quote from: LucyA
Through the eyes of someone newly interested and ever the optimist I then think to myself how cynical some of the comments are.




And that, Lucy, is why: your newness, for want of a better word.

By the time you recognize the cliché, it has been around for a very long time before your becoming aware of it. This isn't a phenomenon peculiar to you: we all share in its joy. If you want to think of it within a time-scale, consider that some of the stuff first exposed to the light of day back at the end of the 1800s has undergone many reincarnations over the decades. This doesn't just apply to photography, think of teenagers: each new set thinks it has discovered the opposite sex for the first time ever, perhaps that generation has within its experience, but it forgets the reason for its own existence and that of all the generations of mankind before it...

Cynicism has nothing to do with it; boredom everything.

Rob C
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stamper
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« Reply #107 on: September 26, 2009, 03:35:45 AM »
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A few years ago I was taking a picture of part of a steam engine in an open air museum when I heard a voice saying "what are you seeing, what are you seeing?" It was a guy older than me, only just. We got talking and it became apparent that he was out every day taking images and he had run out of things to photograph. My reply was that he was suffering from "burn out" Methinks ROB - no disrespect - that you may be as well? The more one does and the more we learn then the more fussy we get and then ultimately the less we get? Then we start photographing once again what we did with better equipment and more experience behind us and hopefully we will get better images. I am now going to look at images I took of sunsets from Calton hill Edinburgh from yesterday. I have taken these shots before but hopefully they will be better than the previous ones and thus likely to be less clichéd? It is a roundabout!
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michelson
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« Reply #108 on: October 12, 2009, 02:45:55 AM »
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I stopped reading around page five, pardon if my view duplicates any previous.

As a new photographer, (and a life-long creative person) I find that a list of cliches is only imperative for those are seeking to attempt to define themselves with something new, potentially even for the sake of something new. Sure, you can bang your head and heart on the subject all day, but in the end: What are you conveying with this "new" thing?

It's my firm belief, that if there was a definition for art, it may possibly be:
"The conveyance of emotion through a medium which in itself, conveys no emotion, artificially created for such purpose."

Hey, someone may have come up with that before, and on different grounds it may be proven correct or incorrect: but that's not the point. That's my belief, and I don't have to study other people's previous (re: historical) thoughts to come to it.

Cliche's: To whom?

Sunsets, skylines, black and white nudes.... That HAS been done, I don't disagree. But my sunset may be something new to me. At that moment the shot was taken, there was a beautiful picture that I was a part of creating: and someone else may agree. It may be new to them too! The arts are and always will be subjective. What is an an eyesore to one person, is fine art to another. What is cliche to one, is a beautiful rendition of their own inner thoughts to another.

The mentioned sunset could have been my first sunset picture ever, and potentially my last, but lumping a print of it into the cliche bin for the sake of the fact it's not "new" "avante garde" "contemporary" or even novel smacks of the kind of mindset that you're exactly trying to avoid.

Let me illustrate that point with a simple logic statement:
It is believed that good art breaks the rules of art. It is also believed that images that are cliche are not art.


In the sense of what is, and is not: I refuse to cave into idea that "this shouldn't be done", especially on the grounds that it has been done before. How shall one grow as a photographer, or artist in general, if they can not find out for themselves the path? People in this thread talk about wanting to find new and next best thing, but that's a near impossible task if what is considered a cliche can't be explored.

You may see cliche junk, and dump it in the rubbish bin. But I say every image, is and will always be, a paving stone on the way.

I understand that in the fine art world, there are topics and areas of importance because there is money on the line. But, you have to consider this: Since your judgement is subjective, and you believe that an image you see is cliche because in the early 70's it was overdone in the fine art scenes and thus disregard it,  does that mean that someone who has not studied the arts as much as you will actually have a better understanding of the image? That they can step into an image as it truely is, gain the (un)intended emotional response, without the pomp and weight of the inner circles of fine art? To experience an image as it really is, and not just what it isn't? But I digress, that's another topic for another day...

To circle back to my original statement, that the creation of something new, for newness sake is not art. That's marketing. Art could potentially be conveyed, through this new thing, but in itself the "new" should not be the focus; instead of what's conveyed. Attempting to define cliches is counterproductive, because in eventuality this "rule" will be circled back upon and broken, thus creating "fine" art. That is a trend, and trends are not artistic, it's marketing.
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RSL
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« Reply #109 on: October 12, 2009, 12:44:40 PM »
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Quote from: michelson
In the sense of what is, and is not: I refuse to cave into idea that "this shouldn't be done", especially on the grounds that it has been done before.

No one's saying, "this shouldn't be done." What they're saying is that if you do it, it'll be a cliche. It's pretty obvious that the world's full of people who don't care a whit whether or not what they're doing is a cliche.
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Rob C
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« Reply #110 on: October 15, 2009, 02:30:24 PM »
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Quote from: stamper
A few years ago I was taking a picture of part of a steam engine in an open air museum when I heard a voice saying "what are you seeing, what are you seeing?" It was a guy older than me, only just. We got talking and it became apparent that he was out every day taking images and he had run out of things to photograph. My reply was that he was suffering from "burn out" Methinks ROB - no disrespect - that you may be as well? The more one does and the more we learn then the more fussy we get and then ultimately the less we get? Then we start photographing once again what we did with better equipment and more experience behind us and hopefully we will get better images. I am now going to look at images I took of sunsets from Calton hill Edinburgh from yesterday. I have taken these shots before but hopefully they will be better than the previous ones and thus likely to be less clichéd? It is a roundabout!





Stamper

Well, you may well be on the money with the burnout idea; perhaps burnout is actually another word for the same thing as boredom within this context. And how could one not be bored when seeing the same thing over and over and yet over again?

That one version of #37 might be better executed than another version of #37 doesn't change #37 into something else - just another iteration of the same old thing, whatever that might be.

This is touching onto another thread next door about creativity and its relationship with art and/or technique and whether creativity is the same thing as pressing the button - reportage by another name, but not implying anything negative about reportage. In other words, is the act of taking a shot enough to list itself as creativity? I thought not. I was pretty much in a minority of one, largely, I think, because it can be a worrying thought to imagine that one has spent years doing something less 'honourable' than one might have imagined! Strip of us of our self-esteem and what's left?

So, is a new version of a cliché art? Is it a creative act? I think it remains just a cliché.

Rob C
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #111 on: October 15, 2009, 03:50:00 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
So, is a new version of a cliché art? Is it a creative act? I think it remains just a cliché.

Rob C

This isn't photography but what can be more cliche than boy meets girl, but belong to feuding families?  Everyone seems to try to re-make Romeo & Juliet, but IMO Westside Story is a terrific, non-cliche, retelling.   Is it art?  I guess it depends on your point of view.

Paul
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Rob C
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« Reply #112 on: October 16, 2009, 05:46:10 AM »
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Quote from: PaulS
This isn't photography but what can be more cliche than boy meets girl, but belong to feuding families?  Everyone seems to try to re-make Romeo & Juliet, but IMO Westside Story is a terrific, non-cliche, retelling.   Is it art?  I guess it depends on your point of view.

Paul



No, it doesn't have to be cliché because it takes the interaction of people to make it exist. It doesn't just sit there waiting for you like the Golden Gate and the fog.

Art? Performance art.

Rob C
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #113 on: October 16, 2009, 09:26:54 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
No, it doesn't have to be cliché because it takes the interaction of people to make it exist. It doesn't just sit there waiting for you like the Golden Gate and the fog.

Taken to the extreme, then, any photograph of any inanimate object is automatically a cliche?

Paul
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Rob C
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« Reply #114 on: October 16, 2009, 10:48:47 AM »
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Quote from: PaulS
Taken to the extreme, then, any photograph of any inanimate object is automatically a cliche?

Paul




Absolutely not, povided that the photographer has had sufficient input to assemble the inanimate object(s) and light them. We are crossing into another topic which has been recently exhausted - or I have by it - but cutting to the chase, it all depends on how original your work is and whether you have put in added value beyond the obvious ones of view point, lens, focus, aperture and shutter speed. In my view (a recent one) these simply signify technique and however good, perhaps do not go beyond reportage. It's that extra, bothersome bit called creativity that's the problem, that separates the original from the cliché.

But, cliché or not, there is  no reason not to do it if you find satisfaction therein; it all ends up as an internal war anyway, which you have to wage by your own rules.

Rob C
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #115 on: October 16, 2009, 10:53:41 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
But, cliché or not, there is  no reason not to do it if you find satisfaction therein; it all ends up as an internal war anyway, which you have to wage by your own rules.

Rob C

Definitely agree!

Paul
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EduPerez
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« Reply #116 on: October 17, 2009, 04:11:32 PM »
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Do you really think clichés exist? Are there subjects that have been so badly overused, that absolutely nothing new can be said about them? I do not think so: perhaps I am being too naïve, or perhaps I have not seen enough photographs to be desensitized; but I still see new (at least for me) approaches to old subjects.

I'll take Jonathan Wienke's comment as and example: "Spiderwebs, with dew on them. 5 bonus points if the spider is in the middle... ". When I read that, I immediately remembered this photo I had seen some days before: http://1x.com/v2/#/photos/latest-additions/27939/. It is a spiderweb, it has dew, and the spider is in the center... but I could never classify that photography as a cliché.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #117 on: October 17, 2009, 06:26:31 PM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
Do you really think clichés exist? Are there subjects that have been so badly overused, that absolutely nothing new can be said about them? I do not think so: perhaps I am being too naïve, or perhaps I have not seen enough photographs to be desensitized; but I still see new (at least for me) approaches to old subjects.

I'll take Jonathan Wienke's comment as and example: "Spiderwebs, with dew on them. 5 bonus points if the spider is in the middle... ". When I read that, I immediately remembered this photo I had seen some days before: http://1x.com/v2/#/photos/latest-additions/27939/. It is a spiderweb, it has dew, and the spider is in the center... but I could never classify that photography as a cliché.

You're right. That one is not a cliché.
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Rob C
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« Reply #118 on: October 18, 2009, 10:30:34 AM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
Do you really think clichés exist? Are there subjects that have been so badly overused, that absolutely nothing new can be said about them? I do not think so: perhaps I am being too naïve, or perhaps I have not seen enough photographs to be desensitized; but I still see new (at least for me) approaches to old subjects.

I'll take Jonathan Wienke's comment as and example: "Spiderwebs, with dew on them. 5 bonus points if the spider is in the middle... ". When I read that, I immediately remembered this photo I had seen some days before: http://1x.com/v2/#/photos/latest-additions/27939/. It is a spiderweb, it has dew, and the spider is in the center... but I could never classify that photography as a cliché.





1.  There is ever the danger of confusing cliché with genre.

2.  I would like to thank you for the link to that site: I didn't know it existed and there are some very interesting images there, muchas gracias.

Rob C
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EduPerez
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« Reply #119 on: October 19, 2009, 02:56:42 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
1.  There is ever the danger of confusing cliché with genre.
Could you elaborate more on that, please?

Quote from: Rob C
2.  I would like to thank you for the link to that site: I didn't know it existed and there are some very interesting images there, muchas gracias.
De nada... it is one of my favourite places to spend some time.
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