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Author Topic: 100 Yards  (Read 2880 times)
HamSammich
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« on: December 12, 2006, 02:37:03 AM »
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Part Tree.
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JRandallNichols
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2006, 07:53:56 PM »
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I imagine the reason you are not getting any replies is because you aren't asking any questions.  What do you want to know or discuss about these shots?  That's the whole point of this forum, to have a dialogue stimulated by what the photographer him/herself wants to know.  Your "Comments?" is like fishing without bait--or maybe without a hook.
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Randy
HamSammich
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2006, 09:41:05 PM »
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Hi Randy:

I suppose this being a critique forum, I was looking for a critique.

Asking for comments on specific shortcomings/virtues would seem counterproductive. I may not have the slightest idea what's wrong or right with a given shot-- and I wouldn't want to bias anyone else's view by steering them towards any single aspect of it. Hence the open-ended query.

In this, have I somehow breached protocol?

Marshall
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2006, 01:20:35 AM »
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You've presented a rather ordinary shot of a flower a few days past its freshness expiration date, selectively focused on nothing in particular, with a lot of blown-out highlights in the petals. There's really nothing here to catch the eye visually, or tell a story. As such, it doesn't really stand out from the millions of other flower macro photos out there. What is the purpose of this image? Art to hang on the wall? A background for a greeting card? A political statement? An advertisement for a florist? Or does this image have any intent? If we have no idea what your goal or purpose is, then it's a lot harder to judge whether or how well you've achieved it.

Some suggestions for shooting "mature" subjects (things that have already been photographed many times by many people, like flowers or Old Faithful in Yellowstone):

Try to find a different way to capture the subject. Find a different perspective, a vantage point most people don't shoot from.

Be contrarian. If everyone else shoots it when it is sunny, try shooting it in the rain. If everyone else shoots it in color, try B&W. Do something different than the crowd, but find a way to do it well.

Don't just shoot the subject, find an event to shoot in the vicinity of the subject. There's probably close to a billion photos of Old Faithful out there. But if you can get a shot of a bear eating a tourist during an eruption, or an eruption with a rainbow in the background, your photo will be more likely to be noticed.


Whatever you shoot, have some kind of goal or intention every time you release the shutter. If you aim at a target, you may hit it and you may miss, but if you aim at nothing, you're guaranteed to hit it every time.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 01:48:31 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

HamSammich
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2006, 03:14:13 AM »
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That's a fair critique. The image strikes you as trite. You explained why.

As for its "intent"--Sorry, it has none. I aimed (and always do) simply to capture (successfully or not) an interesting and well-crafted representation of an object.

I tried (and always try) to do so in a way that says something about form, light or feeling. Ideally, all three.

I'd like to know whether it succeeds--and if not, why not. That's it. Thanks for your thoughts in this regard.

Could you briefly expand, though, on a point of philosophy?

Tell me why intent should matter at all. I understand its commercial importance. But in pure art? Is it any more relevant here than, say, an artist's statement is to his exhibition or an author's foreword to her novel?

Regards,

Marshall
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 03:35:03 AM by HamSammich » Logged
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2006, 03:37:49 AM »
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Could you expand, though, on why intent should matter even in the slightest? I understand the relevance to commercial imagery. But in art art? Is it any more relevant in this regard than, say, an artist's statement is to the exhibition or an author's foreword to a novel?

An image is usually more effective if you have in mind some kind of mood or emotion or story that you intend the viewer to experience when seeing the image. It could be something like "wow, that's a cool pattern of shapes", or "that's disgusting" or "I want to go there and be at peace with nature for a while" or any of many other things. You may fail to communicate the intent you had in mind, but if you are thinking about an intent while shooting, you're more likely to engage the viewer with something than simply getting a "ho-hum, I'm moving on to the next" reaction. Let me give you some examples:


My intent with this image was to offer a "different" perspective of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO, something the viewer would have to look at a bit to figure out what he/she is seeing, but then say "oh, cool, I've never seen the Arch like that before".


My intent here was to capture a whimsically distorted image of a children's playground; taking something fairly ordinary and giving it a bit of a Dr Seuss interpretation.


My intent here was to explore the idea of remembering the past and learning from it, with a view to avoiding past mistakes. The image is of the building where I work, which was originally built by the Nazis as an officer's mess hall. The stonework has been left alone as a reminder of why we're here.

How well I succed at communicating my intent is open to interpretation, but having an intent when shooting this images made each one of them better.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 03:38:49 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

HamSammich
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 04:29:59 AM »
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Jonathan,

Sorry I was so unclear. That's what you get when you leave the object out of a sentence!

I understand having a clear goal as a path to better images. Even there, I suspect we disagree, but I get it.

Here's what I was trying to ask: Why should an artist's intent matter to the viewer?

Take your images (You're batting two-for-three, in my book   ): I only see what you've shown me, not what you intended to tell me.

I can, however, just by looking, try to infer a bit of your visual intent. The arch clearly looks different-- and quite nice, BTW. The wall very eloquently contrasts solidity with evanescence and becomes something of an elegy set in stone. Your Seussian scene, though, fails, to my eyes at least, in that there's not enough of the real in there to let me judge just what you're making un-real.

Then again, had I not known your stated intentions, I'd hardly be lost in evaluating those images. They work, or don't, in and of themselves. They suggest their own meanings, intended or not, true or not, and leave themselves open to each viewer's projections.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 06:26:00 AM »
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Here's what I was trying to ask: Why should an artist's intent matter to the viewer?

Take your images (You're batting two-for-three, in my book   ): I only see what you've shown me, not what you intended to tell me.

Which is what I meant by the last line of my previous post. If I attempt to communicate something via an image, or cause a specific emotional reaction to the image, that attempt may fail, or it may be successful. Now to answer your question: The artist's specific intent may be completely irrelevant to the viewer, but art that attempts to engage the viewer either emotionally or intellectually is more likely to do so than art that does not. Take this image for example:



There are many possible interpretations of this image: honoring those who have made great personal sacrifice in war, a commentary on the futility of war, a warrior of this generation saluting those of a previous generation, etc. While you may not have the exact reaction to this image I intended, it is still quite likely that you will get something out of it, even if it's not what I intended.
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