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Author Topic: My recent brush with critique of my photo  (Read 4559 times)
John R
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« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2010, 06:07:48 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
John, I certainly can't disagree about that. All I have to do is walk down the street and look into the display windows of the local pros to see cliches about weddings etc., that are as blatant as most landscape cliches.



Depends on what you look at every day. In the evening I tend to settle into an easy chair with a perfect Manhattan and a book of photographs by Walker Evans, Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Steve McCurry... etc."



No. Just that the particular people photographs you're looking at are not that interesting.



I have no problem believing that. Walker Evans was not a generic "professional photographer." He was an artist.



John, Somehow I missed Slobodan's critique in this thread. Maybe he deleted it?
No, it's not on this thread, it's in the original thread with Shutterpup's photo. I referenced it because that is what we were really talking about in the first place: critiquing. I am not here to be argumentative, just to make my point. The photographer I mentioned is also an artist and has many honours from Canada and around the world. Look him up; his name is Freeman Patterson. But it is silly to suggest that others are not artists, just because you or I don't like certain photos or photographers' style of work. I don't think suggesting that Walker Evan's is an "artist" and implying that those who do not photograph mainly people, or utter advice like "so what," are somehow less of an artist if they don't utilize Mr. Evan's methods. It is not helpful, particularly on a site where many people are at different levels. If the point is that when we discuss an image and it is flat and mundane and the subject matter presented is uninteresting, and we want to express that to someone learning or wishing a critique, then we can do so in many ways and without claiming that your way or genre of photography is superior. Because it sure comes across that way.

JMR
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 07:54:05 PM by John R » Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2010, 07:37:19 PM »
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John R,

IMHO, Russ has made a substantial number of valuable and insightful posts on LL and I have come to respect his viewpoint a lot.

However, I am 100% with you in your comments on this thread. I thank you for presenting such a clear and eloquent case for a broader view.

Eric

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RSL
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« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2010, 08:47:11 PM »
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Okay. Let's cut to the chase. I didn't say I don't like landscape photography. I said I prefer street photography. That's not the same thing.

The point Walker was making was that the student's sunset was a cliche. I'll go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of landscape photographs are cliches. I'll also throw in the vast majority of wedding photographs and the vast majority of portraits by "professional photographers." But what else would you expect? The photographs that sell well in most galleries are landscape cliches bought by "designers." That's because those are the photographs people understand. They're pretty. The photographs that make a professional wedding photographer's reputation are cliches -- because those cliches are what most brides and their mothers understand. Heaven forfend that your daughter should look different from other brides. The portraits that make a professional photographer's reputation are cliches -- images that the portraitees want people to associate with them. As I said in another thread: how many people  out there would hang Gene Smith's picture of the insane Haitian woman on their wall? And yet, that picture is an astonishing work of art -- clearly not a cliche.

Certainly there's a place for cliches -- since there's a market for cliches. But it's a mistake to confuse a cliche with a work of art.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2010, 10:02:11 PM »
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In one corner:

Quote from: Rob C
...I have no doubts that the human element is the only one worth the time.
And in the other corner:  

Quote
... Whether people, nature, landscape, or whatever genre one cares to name, it is what is conveyed that counts. This is true of all art, including landscape paintings. Landscapes can have a character or texture, or be a metaphor, just like any face. If a photo of any genre moves viewers, that is what counts... (John R)
While I align 100% with John, Rob's and Russ' view has a much longer history on their side: landscape is much, much younger genre than people. Landscape as art is mainly a 19th century creation. Before that, e.g., in 12th century, nature was viewed, due to the prevailing religious views, as sinful at worst, or hard work and dangerous at best.

Which goes to say that Rob and Russ must be Renaissance men  
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Slobodan

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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2010, 12:01:16 AM »
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fwiw, in western art, landscapes became an accepted art form in the 16th century. In eastern art it was about 800 years earlier.

Now with billions of consumers, most anything is considered art.
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RSL
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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2010, 10:20:39 AM »
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One thing I forgot to mention on the subject of portraiture is the difference between formal portraiture and informal portraiture. As an example of the latter, check Cartier-Bresson's portrait of Ezra Pound. According to Henri's recollection he went to shoot Pound and the two of them sat there without saying a word to each other for about twenty minutes. During that period Henri shot a picture that fits Pound and his poetry exactly. It's truly fine art. Based on that picture and some of Henri's other informal portraits: Camus, Sartre, the Curies, etc. I'd be tempted to say that Henri's kind of informal portraiture is far more revealing than formal portraiture -- and it usually is. But then there's Karsh, who shoots holes in that idea as a general theory.
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RSL
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2010, 10:43:47 AM »
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Quote from: John R
I think Slobodan's critique was on the money.

John, I finally got time to go back to the other thread and read Slobodan's comments and critique. I agree absolutely not only with the critique but with what he called his "humble opinion." For those who might have missed those comments, here they are again:

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
This sounds (to me at least) as if you are blaming us for not having the answer how you could have made it a spectacular photograph? It also sounds like you are presupposing there are "secret recipes of spectacular photography", but we just do not know them that well.

In my humble opinion, there are no "recipes", especially not deliverable in a few forum postings. There are however, tools and ingredients (that one can learn over time), but how well you mix them into your own recipe depends either on your talent or on years of honing whatever skills you were born with. You know, "nature vs. nurture" debate.

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
Now, this is something I consider extremely important when shooting: a feeling for the place and moment. You got that. The next step would be to align what is in your head (or heart) with what is in the final photograph. And, in the case of your photograph, this is where I sense the disconnect between the intention and the result: the photo seems too "busy" to be able to communicate "calmness". Too many things going around, trees, branches, stumps, bushes, surfaces, etc. Perhaps finding an angle that would concentrate on just a few elements of the scene against the monochromatic color of the sky and its reflection would better suit the calmness theme.

Now that's serious, constructive criticism. Bravo Slobodan!
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Rob C
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« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2010, 04:17:09 PM »
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Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
Which goes to say that Rob and Russ must be Renaissance men  



Can't speak for Russ, of course, but you are pretty on the money with me: I have always tended to be a sort of Renaissance guy, never more so than when I was doing calendars. The last thing I could make myself do was hand out any parts of the projects that I imagined I could handle by myself. I just felt I had to do it all on my own...

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2010, 01:45:43 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
... Walker Evans... looked at his student's picture of a sunset and said, "It's a beautiful sunset. So what?"...
I am afraid that it the future most people might say about any photogaph: "It's a beautiful photo. So what?". With increased abundance typically comes decreased significance... "dime a dozen"... sigh.
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Slobodan

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pegelli
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« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2010, 08:44:41 AM »
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Back to the OP, if you want more meaningful critiques maybe post a bit more than just a single picture. Tell us what you want to achieve, what you felt, what you like and don't like about it. If you take that effort others will respond to that and you get a much deeper discussion.

Don't get me wrong, but most pictures here are "technically competent and pretty pictures", but if you want to learn something more to achieve your own vision you have to put in some more effort yourself first.

Just my 5 cents.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2010, 08:48:07 AM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2010, 10:05:17 AM »
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Quote from: pegelli
Back to the OP, if you want more meaningful critiques maybe post a bit more than just a single picture. Tell us what you want to achieve, what you felt, what you like and don't like about it. If you take that effort others will respond to that and you get a much deeper discussion.

Don't get me wrong, but most pictures here are "technically competent and pretty pictures", but if you want to learn something more to achieve your own vision you have to put in some more effort yourself first.

Just my 5 cents.

Having done it the way you're describing, and not gotten much feedback, I took the other tack. My mistake obviously. Maybe I need to state flat out that I want a deeper level discussion. I'll certainly try that next time.

Thanks for your 5 cents.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2010, 10:53:05 AM »
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Quote from: shutterpup
Having done it the way you're describing, and not gotten much feedback, I took the other tack. My mistake obviously. Maybe I need to state flat out that I want a deeper level discussion. I'll certainly try that next time.

Thanks for your 5 cents.

What's wrong with the interactive "drill down" approach?  You did get useful information from it.
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shutterpup
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« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2010, 11:38:35 AM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
What's wrong with the interactive "drill down" approach?  You did get useful information from it.


And there I thought you thought that my approach was not effective here:) Seriously, I have gotten very useful feedback on both of my threads. The discussion has been good and I have been given much to consider. The interactive approach, whether between me and other members or between other members themselves, has generated a lot of thoughtful dialogue.

Dark Penguin, I never can quite "read" you here. You are an elusive bird.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2010, 02:50:48 PM »
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Quote from: shutterpup
And there I thought you thought that my approach was not effective here:) Seriously, I have gotten very useful feedback on both of my threads. The discussion has been good and I have been given much to consider. The interactive approach, whether between me and other members or between other members themselves, has generated a lot of thoughtful dialogue.

Dark Penguin, I never can quite "read" you here. You are an elusive bird.
Shutterpup,

Somehow you have managed to generate a lot of valuable discussion in both your threads. Yes, it took a bit of nudging, but you encouraged a number of folks to think about things and offer useful insights.


As for the elusive Dark Penguin, I think his posts served well to throw you off balance in a good way: whenever you seemed to think you had a final answer on some point, he nudged you in a new direction. Perhaps part of his message is that you shouldn't get too comfortable in any of your conclusions in this business: Keep an open mind! Or perhaps that isn't his message at all.  

Eric

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shutterpup
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« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2010, 03:17:34 PM »
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Quote from: Eric Myrvaagnes
Shutterpup,

Somehow you have managed to generate a lot of valuable discussion in both your threads. Yes, it took a bit of nudging, but you encouraged a number of folks to think about things and offer useful insights.


As for the elusive Dark Penguin, I think his posts served well to throw you off balance in a good way: whenever you seemed to think you had a final answer on some point, he nudged you in a new direction. Perhaps part of his message is that you shouldn't get too comfortable in any of your conclusions in this business: Keep an open mind! Or perhaps that isn't his message at all.  

Eric

As I said before, his position is elusive.

I have grown through the discussions here. What more could I ask?
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