Olympus UK E-System User Group
Olympus UK E-System User Group

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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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  #1  
Old 9th December 2008
shirley shirley is offline
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Pictures at an exhibition

Taken at the Olympus Exhibition in Nottingham.

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  #2  
Old 11th December 2008
Makonde
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Re: Pictures at an exhibition

To prompt feedback: how do you think this went, Shirley? How did you approach the subject and what were the considerations in conveying this image of a fellow amid Nottingham decor peering at photos? How do you rate it yourself?

For what it may be worth, my view of this one in the 'perfection' forum is that apart from curiosity about the two photos on the left, which are reminiscent (at this range) of LS Lowry paintings, it does not engage my interest enough. The decor is airport-lounge dull; the photos are not distinct enough to be interesting themselves; the back of the fellow is not interesting and he is plonked in the middle; the overall tone of yellow-beige is not attractive in this context. But I am probably wrong.

I hope you don't mind honest feedback (you know I am a fan of your work). Tastes differ greatly. - Running the current photo challenge here has been an eye-opener into how much they differ, as votes come in !
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Old 11th December 2008
Ellie Ellie is offline
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Re: Pictures at an exhibition

Sorry but I feel a bit the same as Makonde, it doesn't really do anything for me either. Apart from waiting for somebody to be in a different position I couldn't think of any improvements. Other than that it's technically good.

It's in the "Perfection" folder and I couldn't work out if the picture itself was for critique or for information.
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  #4  
Old 11th December 2008
shirley shirley is offline
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Re: Pictures at an exhibition

Hi Makonde and Ellie,
Please dont worry about critiquing a picture in the critiquing section, thats what it is there for. I am not looking for a pat on the back I am looking for constructive criticism, which I know I will get from the members of this forum.

I understand entirely where you are coming from, I feel exactly the same. The reason I posted it is that somebody suggested it is a good pic, I personally dont think so, its competent but nothing more. I wondered if I was missing something so thats why I posted it.

I agree that our views are often so different, it would be a boring world if we all saw things in the same way! I would be interested to hear anybody else's opinion, even if (and indeed especially if) its blunt and to the point - dont beat around the bush with me- I'm a 'what you see is what you get' kind of person.
Thanks again
Shirley
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  #5  
Old 11th December 2008
Makonde
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Re: Pictures at an exhibition

I've read a few things on the internet about judging photos and I think that, like judging ballroom dancing competitions, the accumulation of rules and procedures gets in the way rather than helping to appreciate 'a good photograph.'

I prefer to call it 'a good image,' for both hobbyists and professionals sometimes get so absorbed in the technique and equipment of taking a photograph that it is those aspects that often dominate - or cloud - their judgment.

Photography is an act of communication. The photographer sees - or thinks s/he sees - an image and tries to transmit it. The artifice comes in how that is done, and here technique and equipment play their part: but also, the artfulness of the photographer plays a vital part. This artfulness consists in the timing, the lighting and angle choices (if there are choices), the composition, the selection of theme, and any emphasis given by the manner of shooting it.

The subject, theme and interpretation or treatment are key. You can have a photo that is technically wonderful, visually pleasing, but as boring as Hell. Or one that has a lot of technical imperfections but is arresting or appealing. This is, I think, where tastes come into it. You can take a photo that means a lot to you, but whether it means the same - or anything at all - to a viewer depends on the viewer's own experiences and their associated emotions. Photos on themes that people can more readily identify with, themes that we all experience, stand a better chance of 'speaking' to more viewers.

Threshold for stimulation also plays a part. One sees so many photos of sunset / sunrise, bird in tree, bug on flower, depth-of-field macro, attractive young woman in come-hither pose, lake with stones in foreground and mountains in background, moving waterfalls represented as silk, that one's senses are bored and the threshold is very high before being stirred by a new one. A picture of a Ferrari bores me just as much as one of a Fiesta. So what's new or special, or especially brilliant, about it? If the viewer is a fellow enthusiast for a subject they might like a photo, but does that make it a good, rather than just competent, image?

For me, the communication gap between photographer and viewer means that when asked for a real opinion on a photo, I like to know what the photographer 'saw' and wanted to convey, as well as how they approached it. I know that others prefer simply to put a photo in front of viewers and say: "What about that one, then?" To me, this is a scattergun approach. I am never surprised when, following someone's critical remarks on such a photo, the photographer then gets into a defensive position and starts justifying the what, why and how. It would in my view be better for the what, why and how to be introduced when the photo is put before the viewer and comment sought.

Lastly, we know - as Shirley knew - when an image is not quite right or could be better. We are our own best critics, and our worst. But it is fascinating to have others' perspectives on a photo particularly if one has explained what one was trying to do and how, and the commentators can suggest other approaches or improvements that are worth considering as well as feedback on whether the image speaks to them or not.

So this is a plea for colleagues to post some brief introduction and commentary of their own when introducing a photo on which they seek feedback in this 'perfection' section or in Foto Fair.
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  #6  
Old 11th December 2008
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Re: Pictures at an exhibition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Makonde View Post
I've read a few things on the internet about judging photos and I think that, like judging ballroom dancing competitions, the accumulation of rules and procedures gets in the way rather than helping to appreciate 'a good photograph.'

I prefer to call it 'a good image,' for both hobbyists and professionals sometimes get so absorbed in the technique and equipment of taking a photograph that it is those aspects that often dominate - or cloud - their judgment.

Photography is an act of communication. The photographer sees - or thinks s/he sees - an image and tries to transmit it. The artifice comes in how that is done, and here technique and equipment play their part: but also, the artfulness of the photographer plays a vital part. This artfulness consists in the timing, the lighting and angle choices (if there are choices), the composition, the selection of theme, and any emphasis given by the manner of shooting it.

The subject, theme and interpretation or treatment are key. You can have a photo that is technically wonderful, visually pleasing, but as boring as Hell. Or one that has a lot of technical imperfections but is arresting or appealing. This is, I think, where tastes come into it. You can take a photo that means a lot to you, but whether it means the same - or anything at all - to a viewer depends on the viewer's own experiences and their associated emotions. Photos on themes that people can more readily identify with, themes that we all experience, stand a better chance of 'speaking' to more viewers.

Threshold for stimulation also plays a part. One sees so many photos of sunset / sunrise, bird in tree, bug on flower, depth-of-field macro, attractive young woman in come-hither pose, lake with stones in foreground and mountains in background, moving waterfalls represented as silk, that one's senses are bored and the threshold is very high before being stirred by a new one. A picture of a Ferrari bores me just as much as one of a Fiesta. So what's new or special, or especially brilliant, about it? If the viewer is a fellow enthusiast for a subject they might like a photo, but does that make it a good, rather than just competent, image?

For me, the communication gap between photographer and viewer means that when asked for a real opinion on a photo, I like to know what the photographer 'saw' and wanted to convey, as well as how they approached it. I know that others prefer simply to put a photo in front of viewers and say: "What about that one, then?" To me, this is a scattergun approach. I am never surprised when, following someone's critical remarks on such a photo, the photographer then gets into a defensive position and starts justifying the what, why and how. It would in my view be better for the what, why and how to be introduced when the photo is put before the viewer and comment sought.

Lastly, we know - as Shirley knew - when an image is not quite right or could be better. We are our own best critics, and our worst. But it is fascinating to have others' perspectives on a photo particularly if one has explained what one was trying to do and how, and the commentators can suggest other approaches or improvements that are worth considering as well as feedback on whether the image speaks to them or not.

So this is a plea for colleagues to post some brief introduction and commentary of their own when introducing a photo on which they seek feedback in this 'perfection' section or in Foto Fair.
There are very few times when I feel that I should print off a set of comments and keep them as a reminder of some very good points that have been made.

There is another aspect to the original picture that I would appreciate some comments on. There has been a lot said about the UKPSG Exhibition on other forums and it would be nice to have the views of a contributer and attendee.

As for comment on this image, because I felt that I knew something of the "story" associated with the picture, I looked at it differently and as such this would have "coloured" my judgement. Therefore having the "story" is not always a good thing. Like all judgments, comments, call it what you will, they are mostly made at a specific point in time and often these views will change.

I like the image, it is different and it has an interesting "story" that may yet be revealed...

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  #7  
Old 11th December 2008
Rod Souter
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Re: Pictures at an exhibition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
There has been a lot said about the UKPSG Exhibition on other forums and it would be nice to have the views of a contributor and attendee.
I was impressed by the breadth of subjects and inspired by the images to attempt to improve my photography.
Unfortunately I seem to suffer from the photographic equivalent of tone deafness.

One aspect that I liked was the anonymity of the pictures, unlike some who have complained bitterly on other forums.


Rod
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