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

Join our unique resource for Olympus Four Thirds E-System DSLR and Pen and OM-D Micro Four Thirds photographers. Show your images via our free e-group photo gallery. Please read the e-group.uk.net forum terms and conditions before posting for the first time. Above all, welcome!


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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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  #31  
Old 12th February 2008
Scapula Memory
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Re: Pants?

Fellas, maybe it is just time now to agree to disagree?

Go take some pictures!
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  #32  
Old 12th February 2008
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art frames art frames is offline
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Re: Pants?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scapula Memory View Post

Go take some pictures!
John

Absolutely, just arranging the pants on the radiator as we speak.

Peter
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  #33  
Old 12th February 2008
Hiding_Pup
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Re: Pants?

So glad you're finally on message
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  #34  
Old 13th February 2008
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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Re: Pants?

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Originally Posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
So glad you're finally on message
I think the message is, "Who are we to judge what is or isn't art, or to judge what makes a good photograph or what makes a bad photograph?"

When confronted by a photograph that ticks all the boxes (rules of composition, "correct" point of focus, "correct" exposure, excluding anything that doesn't relate to the subject or "add value" to the composition, etc.) it's easy to acknowledge it as being a "good picture."

But if the image doesn't tick all those boxes, is it automatically bad? Sure, if the photographer intended a different outcome and failed through sloppy technique or lack of attention to detail then it deserves to be condemed.

But what if the photographer intended that result, every part of the image carefully planned and conciously decided by him, achieving exactly the look that he wanted? Have any of us the right to dismiss it then? We can say we don't like it, of course. But to challenge it's value, as if we and we alone are entitled to decide its merits, is both arrogant and narrow minded.

If that's how we want it we are in danger of stifling our own creativity, guilty of practicing "photography by numbers," enslaved by the accepted convention on photographic rules. Sometimes we can learn more by studying in detail an image that we don't like, particularly if we know that it is the deliberate result of someone else's creative awareness, rather than studying one that we do like, which will achieve very little other than confirm what we think we already know.

Of course, Hiding Pup may simply be having a laugh but, from what I know of him I suspect that he carefully chose that image to challenge accepted wisdom and act as the catalyst for debate.

Consider this image I took this morning of my cat:-



The background (a backlit window) is totally washed out but I really like the high key effect. However, to prove my point by way of reverse arguement, it was purely serendipity. I used fill flash but overlooked the fact that the shutter speed on aperture priority exceeded the maximum sync speed by a good few stops. Luckily, the camera capped the shutter speed and seems to have adjusted the flash output so that my dear little Thimble was correctly exposed.

Now, as this picture was the output of a bungling fool totally lacking any photographic skill and failing to make any creative input, feel free to critisise it as severely as you wish. But had I visualised this effect and made concious decisions to achieve it, then I would have held the moral high ground, with my image beyond critisism and subject only to the legitimate discrimination of personal taste.

Zuiko

Last edited by Zuiko; 13th February 2008 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Punctuation
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  #35  
Old 13th February 2008
Hiding_Pup
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Re: Pants?

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Zuiko. I think it's a great cat shot regardless of whether the end-result was intended or not! Perhaps photography is like alchemy in that respect... Personally, I think lucky accidents are equally valid. Robert Capa didn't intend the lab to mess up the processing of his iconic pictures of Omaha Beach but that accident surely adds to rather than detracts from his shots:

http://img.nytstore.com/IMAGES/NSAPMP04_LARGE.JPG

I started participating in online photography forums about three years ago now, originally to seek advice on switching from film to digital. I've gotten a lot of help over the years and made a lot of new friends, too, but I do find the distinct lack of overlap between the types of image that garner praise in photography forums and the kinds of image that capture the attention (and wallets) of galleries, curators and fine art buyers.

I doubt, for example, that the work of one of my favourite contemporary photographers, Esko Mannikko, would do particularly well on the forum circuit:

http://www.artnet.com/artwork/424557...-untitled.html

http://www.artnet.com/artwork/424557...-untitled.html

But, yet, this guy's good enough to have been nominated for the incredibly prestigious Deutsche Borse Photography Prize this year.

And, while there's often talk about dreams of becoming professional and taking family portraits or wedding photos for a living but I've never heard anyone on a forum say that they'd like to make their money by being taken up by a gallery and selling limited editions of their prints for thousands at a time.

Can anyone shed any light at all on what's going on? why does there seem to be such an apparent split between the world of photography enthusiasts and the world of fine art photographers?
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  #36  
Old 13th February 2008
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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Re: Pants?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Zuiko. I think it's a great cat shot regardless of whether the end-result was intended or not! Perhaps photography is like alchemy in that respect... Personally, I think lucky accidents are equally valid. Robert Capa didn't intend the lab to mess up the processing of his iconic pictures of Omaha Beach but that accident surely adds to rather than detracts from his shots:

http://img.nytstore.com/IMAGES/NSAPMP04_LARGE.JPG

I started participating in online photography forums about three years ago now, originally to seek advice on switching from film to digital. I've gotten a lot of help over the years and made a lot of new friends, too, but I do find the distinct lack of overlap between the types of image that garner praise in photography forums and the kinds of image that capture the attention (and wallets) of galleries, curators and fine art buyers.

I doubt, for example, that the work of one of my favourite contemporary photographers, Esko Mannikko, would do particularly well on the forum circuit:

http://www.artnet.com/artwork/424557...-untitled.html

http://www.artnet.com/artwork/424557...-untitled.html

But, yet, this guy's good enough to have been nominated for the incredibly prestigious Deutsche Borse Photography Prize this year.

And, while there's often talk about dreams of becoming professional and taking family portraits or wedding photos for a living but I've never heard anyone on a forum say that they'd like to make their money by being taken up by a gallery and selling limited editions of their prints for thousands at a time.

Can anyone shed any light at all on what's going on? why does there seem to be such an apparent split between the world of photography enthusiasts and the world of fine art photographers?

I think that the answer is simple, but rather sad. The truth is that the majority of enthusiasts, consciously or not, tend to keep well within their comfort zone. Novices have a level they aspire to reach, which invariably is determined by what the amateur magazines and online forums chose to promote as examples of excellence. Some go on to reach that level and then......stagnate!

I'm no exception. I specialise in landscapes and have done so for many years, during which time I've developed a formular for producing results that are generally well received. Indeed I've been fortunate enough to enjoy a fair measure of success in being published. But since reaching that level some years ago, how have I progressed? The answer is very little. Sure, my style is becoming more polished and proficient all the time. But I'm not, in essence, doing anything different now to what I was doing ten years ago. I like it in my comfort zone.

As regards fine art, I'm not sure I even understand what it is. When did a photography magazine aimed at enthusiasts last publish a feature on fine art?
The truth is, in all probability I wouldn't recognise fine art if it marched up to me and slapped my face.

But maybe if I took a few risks and occasionally moved out of my zone I might learn new techniques, develope a new style, progress my skills, become more creative and in time move up a level or two. Maybe then I too could be regarded as a fine art photographer, selling my work to private buyers for thousands rather than to magazines for hundreds.

Maybe it is encumbent on us all, if we really wish to improve as photographers, to seek out unfamiliar styles of photography, including fine art, and make the effort to at least understand what the author was trying to achieve before condeming from a position of ignorance. If we still don't like it, fine, we all have different tastes and personal preferences. But at least we may have learnt something and experienced a little of the world outside our comfort zone. Over time this new awareness and ability to see beyond our own creative boundarys might distill into our consciousness and make us better photographers.
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