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Author Topic: Church in Blizzard  (Read 7726 times)
shaunkeng
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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2007, 09:46:47 AM »
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Photography forums are typically dominated by discussions of gears and techniques. When it comes to critiques, it is no different. It would be nice if there are more discussions on interpretations.
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I agree Chris.

I think in a forum, criticism and debate including intent and interpretation should be welcome from all including the artist. I believe its the best way to learn.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2007, 12:15:21 PM »
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I agree Chris.

I think in a forum, criticism and debate including intent and interpretation should be welcome from all including the artist. I believe its the best way to learn.
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You may be correct, and may be for you.

The image, while apparently what you wanted ("I'm afraid people will think it needs to be "fixed" when I believe this is one case it shouldn't."), failed to give the message you wanted to give.  I offer the "fix" comments.

Explaining the image may actually hender the learning process.  With the explanation (not normally or usually available to viewers), the viewer may "get it."  But the photographer then thinks the image conveys his message as-is, but it doesn't.

But, given this is a forum and not your or my forum, we are all entitled to our opinions.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2007, 12:42:57 PM »
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Shaunkeng wrote:
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This is what I'm most afraid people won't get and the reason I posted the picture. I'm afraid people will think it needs to be "fixed" when I believe this is one case it shouldn't.
My guess is that most people will indeed not "get" your picture without prompting. I find it heartening that several posters here did "get it". By "get it" I mean simply to find some way of seeing this picture such that all the elements present in it work together. The default interpretation is that the artist is amateurish or incompetent and therefore unable to see the supposed incongruity between old church and modern buildings, traffic light, etc.

The most common way of dealing with the "get it" issue is to give the picture a title that provides some hint as to the necessary mindset. A title such as "Church in Blizzard" provides no such hint (and was therefore highly appropriate to start off this thread); but a title along the lines of "Looming presences" points the way. It's a form of cheating from one perspective, but for someone trying to live off his or her art, it beats the heck out of bad press from reviewers of questionable competence. A hinting title may not fend off all bad press, but it at least helps to force the reviewer to invent a more intelligent argument with which to express his or her malice. ;)
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shaunkeng
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« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2007, 07:57:31 AM »
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Shaunkeng wrote:

My guess is that most people will indeed not "get" your picture without prompting. I find it heartening that several posters here did "get it". By "get it" I mean simply to find some way of seeing this picture such that all the elements present in it work together. The default interpretation is that the artist is amateurish or incompetent and therefore unable to see the supposed incongruity between old church and modern buildings, traffic light, etc.

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Thank you for your comments Dale, I like the titling trick.

This picture was taken a couple of years ago and I just recently placed it on another site for rating because I was curious to the response since I liked the moody atmosphere of the image. Its been a very polarized response with those who like it slightly higher than those who don't. Also those who like it, very much liked it and those who didn't really disliking it. This prompted me to put the picture here for hopes of getting better feedback beyond simple ratings. I now have a very good idea why that is and therefore appreciate all the comments received.

Shaun
« Last Edit: January 07, 2007, 07:59:13 AM by shaunkeng » Logged
Chris_T
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« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2007, 08:52:04 AM »
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I agree Chris.

I think in a forum, criticism and debate including intent and interpretation should be welcome from all including the artist. I believe its the best way to learn.
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When I ask for critique of my work, I always do the following:

- Know the critics' background and gauge their comments accordingly. Kind of difficult to do in online forums like this. Browsing through a critic's posting history can help, but rather tedious. A much better way is for a critic to provide some background info about himself.

- Depending on the image/situation, I sometimes disclose the intent of my image, and sometimes do not. In either case, I specifically ask the critics what do *they* think my image is conveying, and how well is the objective achieved.

- If they offer suggestions for technical changes, I will ask them why such changes can improve either their interpretation or my intent.

In summary, I bear the responsibility of asking for the kind of critique I want. I also try to hold the critics responsible to substantiate their comments and suggestions. They don't need to agree with me, or be "correct". But I have found such dialog a tremendous help for me. Comments like, "I like/dislike it." "Crop more/less." "More/less contrast." without correlation to an image's intent or interpretation are irrelevant and better ignored.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2007, 09:00:06 AM »
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Thank you for your comments Dale, I like the titling trick.

In addition to an image's title/caption, there are other ways to convey the intent. When I put on an exhibit or an online gallery, I rely upon a group of similar or related images to emphasis the intent or to tell a more complete story.

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This picture was taken a couple of years ago and I just recently placed it on another site for rating because I was curious to the response since I liked the moody atmosphere of the image. Its been a very polarized response with those who like it slightly higher than those who don't. Also those who like it, very much liked it and those who didn't really disliking it. This prompted me to put the picture here for hopes of getting better feedback beyond simple ratings. I now have a very good idea why that is and therefore appreciate all the comments received.

Did you know your critics' backgrounds? Are there any correlation between their backgrounds and their comments?
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Pete JF
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« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2007, 03:16:13 AM »
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Nice little grab shot.

Im with the "don't do a thing crowd"

Resist the temptation to start shaving this thing. You're in a city in a storm and everything in that image speaks to it. The trees on the right being slightly distorted add a sort of panicky element to the storm scene reinforced by the swinging traffic light. Cars that seem to be stuck, couple of people for scale and mood, the nice spotlight over the back of the church...even the way the tip of the steeple is cut off...it brings the eye into the scene.

As Ken said...it's not about the church itself.

Photoshop's presence in the world is both a blessing and a curse. You have to know when to just say no, when to hang up the clone stamp. Damn!! Already to many dolled up images in the world. Let's try to chalk one up for spontaneous action here, the imperfect hand of man and the charm and expression that comes from it is being slicked up at a great rate by the softwares of the world...I'm guilty of it and always trying like hell to find the line that says...this is done.

If the image this thread was born on were my work, the only thing i would be intent on would be delivering a solid black and white print.

This guy's thread has been sidetracked with some semantiquated, sophomoric argument. Sorry, but I have to speak on that...rant is more like it.

Please, Shaukeng,  don't fall into the trap of a "meaningbound" name. As you called it, "the name trick". Your image speaks for itself. Yes, you won't be there, standing next to your image explaining it's meaning to everyone who stumbles over for a squint. Thank god, you've got better things to do, right? If they don't get it then let 'em stumble over to the next picture on the wall and see if that will get their jollies all turbulated. Like, a photo of a rock in a stream with some blurred water rushing by it and a perfectly placed tree branch taking up the right side with all the moss photoshopped off of the rock. Oh Yeah...beams of light..beams of light. Then, they can go home saying.."how'd they get that water to look like that, honey?" Or, what was that picture called???..was it..."H2O's Revenge?"

You caint touch all of the people all of the time. There are way to many images floating around with pretentious names that are designed to hold a hand or hoist a pretty picture into meaning something way to deep. When I see that sort of stuff I usually want to either puke or throw up.

As for the critique semantics and rules discussions being tossed around here...so the guy wanted to hear some opinions...and, he disagrees with some of them and explains why. IMO, what he feels about things is backed up in the image. I believe he's correct and commend him for saying so. It's not the artist's role to be quiet during a crit, it's the artists role to say what he meant and to honor each opion with a yay or a nay or a that could be and "I'll think about that".....This happens in crits all the time. I don't think I've ever participated in a crit where it didn't happen...and if it didn't happen it was usually a pretty boring evening.  

You have to be very careful when you start to listen to what the viewers of your images have to say...especially when they are photgraphers (painters, sculptures) themselves. If you start listening to your audience's criticisms, responses, feelings and opinions on this or that and everything..you run the risk of compromising your vision, that is, if you feel that you have a vision...having those little voices in your head saying...move to the right...look up higher...get rid of that tree, make the verticals vertical, lose the people, give it a name so they'll know what you are trying to SAY, like..."Heavy Metal Hymn", get rid of everything and have some BEAMS OF LIGHT!!!

(If you have a point and shoot in your hand then the tool will lead you to a process...if you have a view camera out in the snow storm then by all means, make the verticals vertical. Photoshop does a half assed job at turning a point and shoot image into a view camera image with extreme movements. You introduce lots of interpolation and you have to start correcting for the stuff that gets squashed while you get those verts verting. It can get to be a mess if you have lots to do)

The good things, the compliments, the oohs and the ahhs can disrupt a body's artistic flow...those things can corrupt. It's very easy to start listening to those nice words and trying to repeat the moves you made that got you to those sweet little moments,  easy to lose your edge in these showers and it cuts both ways...
   

Please, no offense to anyone here...I might be a couple of notches higher on my horse than I expected.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 03:34:28 AM by Pete JF » Logged
howiesmith
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« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2007, 09:21:15 AM »
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I had a couple additional thoughts.  First, a photographer shouldn't think everyone will "get it."  The audience for a print will not be everyone.  I wa watching a Budwieser ad on TV.  I thought it was aweful and did nothing to move me to buy a beer, let alone a Bud.  Then I thought that I was not the audience.  The ad may have been much more popular with the 20-something black person than the 60-something white man.

Second, the photographer can try all the comments he wants.  If he likes the effect of a comment, take it.  If not, toss it away and keep the original.  The photographer does not have to imagine the effects - just try it.

For the print at hand.  I am not a dark, cold gothic sort, so why would I like the image, and why should the photographer expect me to or care if I don't?  Why should he photographer enter the critique process with a closed mind that the image doesn't need any "fixing?"  He can try straighten the building, getting rid of the tree limbs and flag, etc.  If he doesn't like the straight church, just go back to the original.
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shaunkeng
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« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2007, 03:17:18 PM »
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For the print at hand.  I am not a dark, cold gothic sort, so why would I like the image, and why should the photographer expect me to or care if I don't?  Why should he photographer enter the critique process with a closed mind that the image doesn't need any "fixing?"  He can try straighten the building, getting rid of the tree limbs and flag, etc.  If he doesn't like the straight church, just go back to the original.
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I'm definitely not closed minded. I believe I stated I had an internal discussion of whether or not to fix the image. Obviously, I believe more so that the image should stay as is and I gave reasons for this, my intent was to hear good reasons why to fix it. You gave contrary reasons, does that mean you are closed minded about what I and others have to say? I don't believe so but you are using that logic with me. I had an opinion and I believe I had the right to express that so that others can use that to shape their comments to me one way or the other. If I hear compelling reasons from experienced voices as to why something should be changed then I'll definitely consider that. That is the reason I placed the image for comments in the first place. I think everyone has given very good reasons one way or the other and as stated before I really do appreciate them since its given me what I was looking for going forward. The only thing I take issue with is someone telling me my opinion shouldn't be expressed. On that we'll agree to disagree.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2007, 04:37:42 PM »
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... You gave contrary reasons, does that mean you are closed minded about what I and others have to say? I don't believe so but you are using that logic with me. I had an opinion and I believe I had the right to express that so that others can use that to shape their comments to me one way or the other. ...

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I never offered any opinion of your image nor did I ever say anything should be fixed, or left as-is.  

Nor did I ever tell you not to express an opinion.  I said I don't think photographers should offer explantions of a print (and that includes you), but I never said not to express your explanation.  You can express your opinions just as I can express mine.

I am not "using that logic" with you.  Didn't you write you were "afraid people [would] think it needs to be 'fixed' when [you] believe this is one case it shouldn't."  I interpretted that to mean you think the print is perfect as-is. So my question about what type of comment did you want stands.

So, as you suggest, let's just disagree, but at least understand correctly what we disagree about.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 04:39:58 PM by howiesmith » Logged
Pete JF
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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2007, 01:26:48 AM »
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http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/...n-internet.html
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 01:33:12 AM by Pete JF » Logged
Ken Tanaka
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« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2007, 11:25:59 AM »
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http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/...n-internet.html
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Thanks for posting that, Pete!  That's exactly the piece that came to my mind in looking at this image.  It gave me just as hard of a laugh today as it did last summer when Mike first posted it at TOP.
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Best Regards,
- Ken Tanaka -

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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2007, 07:21:30 PM »
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Well, this certainly is one of the most interesting shots I've seen in this forum for a while!

I'm mostly with the "don't change a bit" crowd, but I also think that getting rid of the left third or so might strengthen the image.

I like the play of the lights next to the looming facade, and the office lights on the skyscraper between the cathedral's towers remind me of an electric arc. Spiffy!
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