"Great Photographers on the Internet" (satire)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Acsom, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Acsom macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2009
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
  3. Acsom thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2009
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I understand the premise, don't get me wrong. I'm just less than impressed by the supposed satire.
  5. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Quite funny - I liked the "doesn't this guy know anything about colour balance" one.
  6. PeteB macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2008
    Pretty funny. I see this kind of "I know everything" type critique quite a lot.
  7. Acsom thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2009
    Maybe you have to be a follower of the blog; TOP is dedicated to photography as an art, and often explores the challenges presented by the regression toward the mean, which raises many but lowers those who have striking individual vision. I understood it that way.
  8. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
  9. apearlman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2007
    Red Hook, NY
    Funny and true

    I think this is a terrific satire. For those of us who read lots of photo discussion forums, those comments are very familiar... and I may have even made some of them myself.

    Worth remembering as we examine photos -- our own or others'... art is not always obvious.
  10. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas
    While reading this I had a thought - these photos are from the "masters" of photography, those who pushed the envelope in their time, and the photos are instantly recognizable and heralded.

    However, imagine if someone posted on here and said "first dslr photos, c&c needed" but posted something almost exactly like these photos. We would tear the poster apart with many of these same comments.
  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    The article is just silly. It's easy to criticize, it's hard to actually produce work that is recognized.

    With digital equipment, photography has become much easier. Try shooting with a large format camera and see how you'll do.

    The masters consistently produce memorable photos.
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I didn't find it that funny. It had potential, though.
  13. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    I think the website needed to have a slightly better format plus I really didn't like the use of the ads... :eek:

  14. kallisti macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I see the humor in this. All too often people get fixated on the "rules" of photography and in the process miss the forest for the trees. However, I'm not sure that most reasonable persons would actually post these criticisms when faced with these specific images.

    As a disclaimer, I have to say that while I like *most* of the images in this satire, I don't like all of them. I don't really care who shot them or what gear they used, a couple of them just don't do anything for me personally. Oh well.

    Images are either compelling or they aren't compelling. Most images immediately evoke a response in the viewer--you either like it or you don't. This has nothing to do with whether the photographer followed the "rules" or not. An image either does something for you or it doesn't.

    Having said that, the "rules" exist for a reason. Most of the time by following them you will end up with a more compelling image. There are obviously exceptions however (the exception that proves the rule?). The reason these exceptions are "good" is that for some images breaking the rules actually produces something that is more interesting visually. This is rare, but it is magical when it happens.

    In all of these examples, you will note that the composition is phenomenal. "Peripheral" elements which can often ruin an image by being distracting instead enhance the message for several of these images. Pulling this off successfully is a major accomplishment. Usually, "simple" is better for an image. Creating a complex image with multiple elements that enhance rather than detract from the overall impact is extremely hard to do.

    Similarly, knowing when an image will be made stronger by lack of highlight/shadow detail or using an "inappropriate" white balance is also extremely difficult. Most of the time, these "defects" will indeed ruin an image. In specific instances however they can actually add to the impact.

    The bottom line involves an understanding of what *exactly* one is trying to achieve with an image. Most of the time the "rules" are spot on. Sometimes they aren't. It isn't about following the rules. It's about creating images that are compelling to the viewer. Sometimes that means ignoring accepted technique because the specific image you want to create would be weaker by adhering to generally accepted principles.

    However, I would imagine that all of the photographer's whose work was "critiqued" were fully aware of the "rules" of photography when they created their images. It wasn't ignorance which prompted them to ignore some of the rules but rather it was an understanding that for the specific image they wished to create they needed to step outside of what is generally accepted as good technique. And in these specific examples, they were right. But to extrapolate from this that *most* images produced by *most* photographers would be better by ignoring accepted practice is silly.

    I didn't fully gain an appreciation for Picasso until I viewed an exhibit of his early work. Picasso was fully capable of painting in a "traditional" manner. His early works show that he was quite skilled in painting/drawing in a more conservative mode. At some point he simply realized that he couldn't convey the message he wished to convey using traditional forms. His cubism isn't a reflection of lack of skill--it is a reflection of the inability of accepted "realistic" techniques to describe his vision of his subjects.

    Obviously, not all photographers wish to produce "art." And not all images need to be artistic. But the images used for satire in this thread clearly were created with artistic considerations in mind. The rules should only be broken when the image created is stronger as a result. It takes a real gift to be able to achieve this. *Most* photographers (and I include myself in this category) lack the vision to be able to pull this off successfully. Everyone can be a photographer these days, but not everyone can be an artist. If you really know what you are doing, the rules no longer apply (or more accurately, you have an understanding of when the rules shouldn't apply).

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