Why BAD Photographers THINK They're Good

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by E3BK, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. E3BK macrumors 68030

    E3BK

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    #1
    Found this on the mu-43.com forum today and thought I'd share here as well. Very interesting and it obviously applies to more than just photography. I basically have this anxiety about everything I do. lol.

    It's also why appreciate this forum's group of photogs - I think we are all very honest with each other in very respectful and constructive ways.


     
  2. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #2
    Great messages in there for all of us. Thanks for posting the link.
     
  3. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

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    #3
    Saw it yesterday and thought about posting it here, he's got quite an entertaining channel.
     
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #4
    Good stuff.

    Although I'm not sure a curve representing skill vs perceived skill works the same way in aesthetic judgment. But maybe so: I've seen some photographers (and painters and such) who became undeniably technically proficient, but their work was still not much more than pretty pictures suitable for maybe an airline magazine, which is fine, except they thought they were the next Ansel Adams.
     
  5. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

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    #5
    See, this is where it gets tricky. What's so good about Ansel Adams besides his technical proficiency? I can understand what you're saying, but subjectivity says aesthetic judgement is irrelevant.
     
  6. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #6
    I finally found the time to watch it. I liked it, thanks for the share!
     
  7. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #7
    Yeah. I had a room mate in college who had some Ansel Adams prints hanging around the crap apartment he and I and a few others shared and I loved them. They blew me away. This was the late 80s and Adams had a bit of a resurgence after he died but it really goes back to "what is art?". He was definitely technically excellent but whether someone is blown away is an entirely subjective thing. Art is as art does, I guess.

    And thanks for posting @E3BK - great video!
     
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #8
    My absolute favorite photographer is O. Winston Link-in fact enough so that I've been watching for an affordable original print from him.

    I don't think that anyone would doubt that he has probably been the most technically proficient individual when it comes to night time outdoor photography of outdoor or large indoor spaces.

    His photographs are always interesting, but ultimately the subject matter is what attracts me to it.
     
  9. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #9
    This, so much this...

    Technical prowess is a wonderful thing, but it can still be an uninteresting and not very engaging scene to want to spend time exploring.

    Minor Martin White would have to be my one of my favourite photographers, mainly for the way he played with light.

    My favourite quote of his is:
     
  10. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

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    #10
    Everybody sitting down?

    Okay, good...now don't freak out too much when I say this, but Ansel Adams isn't even in my top ten favourite photographers.

    I know. Shocking news, but calm down. Everything is going to be okay. :D
     
  11. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #11
    But... didn't he invent the selfie? ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  12. kenoh, Apr 13, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

    kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #12
    Enjoyed the video. I too have no perceived or expected ability. Frustration at my crap images with a total lack of "J'ne ce quoi?" however? masses of it! I spend my entire existence thinking I will be fired tomorrow.

    This video is in line with the phrase "a little knowledge is dangerous"

    As for art. I look at people perceived as "good" or "masters" and a lot of the time I don't get it. I watch Portrait Artist of the year on Sky Arts with my eldest daughter and I never choose the same one as the judges. They always choose one of the weird ones. I just don't get it. I hear people cooing over a piece or an installation and I think it is crap... - further I assume it is a failing on my part that I cannot "see it".

    As for the likes of Ansel, his work was amazing for the time. I think the excellence was related to the state of the art/technology back then. He shot film where he couldn't chimp and try again an almost infinite number of times, I read his book on 40 example photographs and IMHO he was a master of his time but today, he would be no more special than the hundreds of photographers we watch on YouTube. One story about climbing up to get Half Dome using a wet plate camera and he had 12 glasses, 12 exposures, 7 cracked on the climb up there, then a couple were ruined because he didn't have the lens fitted correctly etc. so then to get all the way up there and not be able to recover the image in post , so the pressure to get the shot was real so his skills back then were very strong. Now, we have such latitude in post that I think it is a completely different ball game now. Maybe I am wrong. I look at photographs from famous photographers, the likes of Helmut Newton, Ralph Gibson etc and their images are nice but not that special. Hell, Helmut Newton could be seen as a bit of a perv in some of his shots, but back then there was limited scope to compare it to so it was elevated to art. His images of the pool party for example are no better than photographic name dropping that anyone with a phone will now take and post with a nasty filter on instagram.

    Playing with fire now, the famous image from Bresson of the guy jumping over the puddle, let's be honest, Bresson was there waiting to get a picture of the guy falling in and got lucky or the image of the family eating lunch on the riverbank? who cares!?!? ten a penny on instagram now.

    I once asked a photographer why in the 19th century, no one smiled in a portrait. We settled on a belief (maybe wrong) that as photographs were so rare and so expensive back then, then the process of being photographed was a serious affair and so everyone was so serious. I think this is the core. as we have progressed through history, the bar has been raised massively in terms of what constitutes an amazing image.

    Don't know, controversial comments here? am I am idiot, don't know, probably.... whimsical moment of musing over, back to work.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2018 ---
    lol... didn't expect him to be... you are a portrait guy. Who is on your list out of interest?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2018 ---
    You know that expression right? you recognise it? that is the "Ah NO! I didnt mean to press the shutter button!" face.
     
  13. The Bad Guy, Apr 13, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

    The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

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    #13
    Newton and Bresson >>> Adams

    Edit: Actually, to add further to the subjective nature of where this is going. Helmut Newton is probably my #1 :D
     
  14. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #14

    Was I too verbose? I had someone complain to the mods about me being too terse a couple months ago... cant please anyone! lol...
     
  15. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

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    #15
    No no, not at all. I just cut it down for ease of scrolling. I'm not always the bad guy. ;)
     
  16. Mark0 macrumors 6502

    Mark0

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    #16
    I’m also of the same opinion. I don’t doubt his technical or artistic ability (or his darkroom vision) but I don’t feel drawn to his work. I’m certain it was groundbreaking during the time and that he is a photographic master. I guess I just don’t feel his work appeals to me very much.
     
  17. Strider64 macrumors 6502a

    Strider64

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    #17
    I have watch the video and here's my take on the video. The first few minutes of the video remind me of this scene from Dead Poets Society :

    I love photography, but at the same time my photography pales to people who have real talent and skill. I'm an average photographer (even if that), but that doesn't stop me from taking taking pictures. I try different techniques and I'm always learning for if you think you know it all then you are definitely doing something wrong.

    What I notice is I post most of my photography on Flickr and I don't decipher from great shots (if have I have) to the bad shots (which I know I have plenty of). Then I go to develop my website and I have a developer's block just like a writer who runs into a writer's block. I want to post my best work on that website, but I only want to show my best work. I don't want to link visitors to my Flickr account for I know I have lot of bad work (or what I consider bad work). I went to college for graphics design and know the value of getting a good critique of your work can do for you. However, I have found out the hard way that can't be done on the Internet for there is always someone who is just being a troll or thinks they are the greatest photographer on earth that loves nothing better to knockdown's someone work without any merit to the critique. I mean does the comment "That picture sucks for everything is wrong with it " or my favorite "It Sucks" help you and you have to weed through tons (or scroll down to the bottom) of these comments to get to a constructive critique of your work. In the meantime someone just reading the thread has quickly formed a opinion of your work and it isn't a positive one. That is why I marvel at really great photographer for he/she knows what to post on their own website. One of my favorite photographers Rebekka G -> https://www.flickr.com/photos/rebba/ work is just great in my opinion be it landscapes or portrait photography. Sure there might (and I say might) be a clunker or two in her work, but 99 percent of her work is just beautiful in my opinion and I'm sure few will disagree for everyone views are subjective to their viewpoint.

    I agree with what the guy says about trying to better yourself by improving your photography skills, but there is no way to improve natural born talent. You either have or you don't. Not everyone is born to be a great photographer just like not every one was born to be a great doctor, engineer, athlete, etc....
     
  18. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #18
    I can't agree with the part that there are some that can't improve themselves, because they are so good already. The really good photographers that I know are always analysing their works to improve and evolve them, regardless of the greater majority of them being naturals at this game.

    Photography, like anything else can be learnt, the design and principles behind a captivating image can be learnt by anyone, especially those that are able to break it down into bite sized chunks, or have it broken down for them, so they can build on their basic skillset. I have a 76 year old lady in one of my Mindful Photography groups who is blowing my mind with her advances over the last 9 weeks, from never having picked up a camera in her life, to her now thinking about her use of an aperture and composition to add interest to her imagery or to isolate her subject. The whole of this last term focused upon learning to use a camera and exploring the aperture. Next term we are moving on to playing with shutter speeds and what that can achieve in regards to image captures and expression through a photographic image.

    The thing with Minor Martin White is that he was extremely heavily influenced by Stieglitz, in the thought and movement that a photo is not just a photo, it can represent something else, and is not just the sum total of the subject of it. So when he says to "go photograph things better," there is a lot more behind what he's saying than just taking it literally.
     
  19. Strider64 macrumors 6502a

    Strider64

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    #19
    I not saying you can't become a good photographer, but to become a great photographer you need to have talent. If you don't have the talent no matter how good of technique is majority of your photographs are going to be just good not great. Sure you have a good bunch that will probably be jaw dropping inspiring. I agree the really good photographers will always improve their skills in order to get that better picture. I probably wasn't making myself clear. You still need to have natural talent in order to have a ton of jaw dropping photographs. When I was growing up I lived next door to a kid that always drawing and painting. One day as I was walking past his parents house I know he had painted a mural on the garage door. It was simply amazing and if we had smartphones back then I definitely would had taken a picture of it. The High School that he went too they granted him permission to draw a mural on a wall when you walk into the front of the building. It was also beautiful and after all these years I wonder if it's still on the wall of the high school. I'm sure he had taken art classes in school, but most of it was pure talent and being 16 or 17 at the time made it even more impressive. Take a poor photographer and he or she improves in technical skills he or she becomes a good photographer. Take a person who has natural talent and improve on technical skills then he or she becomes a great photographer. In my opinion if you don't have natural talent up can become a good photographer (make a good living if you wish to do so), but you'll never make it over the next hurdle no matter how hard you improve your skills.
     
  20. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #20
    Everyone's top 10 is probably different :). Interestingly, ole' Ansel isn't in my top 10 now either, but he was amazing to me back in the day. I guess the point is that there are gazillions of technically proficient people out there and while that is moderately interesting, I'm not sure there is any higher number of photographers today who are mind blowing than there were 30 years ago, just a higher number of technically proficient ones, all taking photographs of Antelope Canyon or some such.

    My favorites right now, for a variety of reasons, are (in no particular order):

    Fazal Sheikh
    Julia Margaret Cameron
    Wayne Levin
    Edward Westin
    Gary Pullar
    Chema Madoz
    Ryan McGinley
    Michael O'neil
    Chris Packham (!)
    David Tipling

    Me, I'm still aiming for some level of technical proficiency. Then maybe I'll go to Antelope Canyon :)
     
  21. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #21
    This is an interesting discourse. I don't see it that way at all. I know of two fine-art photographer friends (no names mentioned) in Europe that have made it big and neither of them was a "natural." They both chipped away slowly and methodically at making themselves better photographers, through technique and creativity improvements over many years. Now, they are extremely successful and well known! Both have admitted that they were mediocre at best when they first started and did not have inbuilt eyes for a good image or technique initially (in discussions with me.)
     
  22. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #22
    Go to Antelope Canyon now! Today! The place is so stunning you cannot take a bad picture.

    I am going to enjoy looking at these top 10 lists....
     
  23. someoldguy macrumors 68000

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    #23
    No ... wait until May or June so you get the light shafts in Upper Antelope.....
     
  24. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #24
    Go then aswell! Lol
     
  25. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #25

    Hmm first two are too samey for me.
    Wayne, Chris Packham and David tipling have some wonderful wildlife shots! Wow. Especially Wayne Levin. Need to look at those more.

    Edward Westin is another I don't quite understand the draw.

    Chema madoz is awesome work! Wow! I love that absract surreal style. Brilliant work need to spend more time looking at these images.

    Nice list great to discover new inspiration. Thanks!
     

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