Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: John Camp on June 22, 2013, 05:49:53 PM

Title: This needs to be read
Post by: John Camp on June 22, 2013, 05:49:53 PM
Here's an article that all landscape photographers should read. I'm not sure this is in exactly the right place on the forum, but it does touch some issues that have recently been discussed here.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/humanity-takes-millions-of-photos-every-day-why-are-most-so-forgettable/article12754086/
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: David Sutton on June 22, 2013, 07:03:33 PM
Hello John. As good a place as any to post.
I am reminded of the last time I visited an art exhibition. It was mostly painting, and most of the pictures were not very good. Quite forgettable  in fact. People forget that historically most art has not been very good. I don't think that matters too much. This was about people making an attempt to express something within, and without that step no-one will get better. All painters start somewhere.
Photography is just catching up with the other arts. While not necessarily disagreeing with him, I think the author frets too much. I should be sorry to see traditional story telling skills lost in the current digital wave, but I'd give it another 20 years before making up my mind on that one.
As for the "happy snappers". Clearly something else is going on here. To make any painting, good or bad, takes commitment, and pointing an iphone doesn't. But that is nothing new. 130  years ago they were called "camera fiends" The Photographic News in July 1891 reported that when Prince George of Greece was travelling to America, he was “pursued by 150 ladies, all armed with cameras, who persisted in photographing him, despite his protests and his attempts to cover his face". There was outrage expressed in parliament when Queen Victoria was snapped laughing. It seems those days have returned. To quote the 4th October 1910 issue of The Amateur Photographer: “Our moral character dwindles as our instruments get smaller”

Edit: forgot to say thank you for the link

Second edit:
I just saw this in today's newspaper:
"Fruit - the original easy-to-eat food - has become the latest pre- peeled, ready-sliced convenience food, as stores sell it in bright little packages for "time-hungry" consumers. It's not just tricky produce like pineapples or pomegranates either. Some Fruit World franchises are now making our days easier by selling pre-peeled mandarins - that's the fruit marketed as "easy-peel"."
This makes me want to lie down in a dark room. In the world of photography, I suppose George Eastman began this trend. Must remind myself : in all things, just because most of the rest of the world does it, doesn't mean I have to.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: wolfnowl on June 22, 2013, 07:33:24 PM
Well written.  I can't remember who said it, but the quote was, "Why is it that if you buy a violin you own a violin, but if you buy a camera you're a photographer?"  Tr truth today is quite simple, though, that most of the images made will never be seen, and of those shared, most will never be looked at more than once, and by far most of them will be viewed on a non-colour-calibrated, small screen.  When we stop trying to make it art and relegate it to the category of the children's drawings or macaroni art that we hang proudly on the fridge door, those are still making photographic art will be sought out.

Mike.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Paul Sumi on June 23, 2013, 04:00:53 AM
I can't speak to the merit of the thesis made by the author of the article without at least seeing the entries.  But I do find the title of the article to be mildly ridiculous: "Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable?"

Imagine a chef saying, "Humanity cooks millions of meals every day. Why are most so forgettable?"

Or,

A novelist, "Humanity writes millions of words every day. Why are most so forgettable?"   

In my case, at least, my reaction is, "is that a problem?"
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on June 23, 2013, 04:16:06 AM
The article is a little bit negative, but then the reality is, too.

In fact, the first thing that came to mind when reading the article was the famous Terence Donovan quotation:

The most difficult thing for the amateur is finding a reason to take a photograph.

It gets no more true than that. I find it to be my own current experience as well. When I was working as a photographer the work that I picked up was the raison d’être, purpose and justification of all the effort, time and money involved in its creation. Remove the business factor and there’s a huge void that screams to be filled. And it can’t be filled. The difference between shooting a photograph of a girl for ‘fun’ and doing it for reward is immeasurable. On the one hand there’s the buzz of the assignment, the need to outdo what one (or more importantly one’s predecessor) did before as well as the suppressed fear that something might have gone wrong unnoticed and that it will all turn to dust or, at best, a reshoot. It’s a helluva nervous high.

When a professional shoot is for self, then two things happen (to me): I get doubts about the marketability of the product; I worry about the financial investment if the first doubt proves correct. That was the main problem with stock, and why I preferred to use surplus material from commissioned shoots. The work was created on a high and so it was better and more successful in its secondary role as stock.

So there you are – remove the pro element and I’m where I find myself today: wandering about aimlessly with a cellpix machine or an expensive dslr, and in the end, it’s all the bloody same. Photography is, of itself, an amazing experience, but it can’t stand alone. Spend your life in it and it’s impossible to let go when your time is up, and you end up trying to continue doing what you used to do because you love it so, But that is impossible; desire is but a tiny part of the circle.

Photography needs real purpose. That has to come first and from it, given the ability, all else follows.

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: MarkL on June 23, 2013, 05:16:50 AM
I can't speak to the merit of the thesis made by the author of the article without at least seeing the entries.  But I do find the title of the article to be mildly ridiculous: "Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable?"

Imagine a chef saying, "Humanity cooks millions of meals every day. Why are most so forgettable?"

Or,

A novelist, "Humanity writes millions of words every day. Why are most so forgettable?"   

In my case, at least, my reaction is, "is that a problem?"

Maybe the internet and social media has just made the deluge of digital pictures more visible and means people compete for attention or maybe the difference is with the intent: most people won't think they are a chef because they cooked a meal but might think they are a photographer because they took an iphone picture with instagram.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Robert55 on June 23, 2013, 05:38:29 AM
What the guy you linked to does not explain, is whu an increase in volume should lead to a decrease in top quality
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on June 23, 2013, 09:19:25 AM
What the guy you linked to does not explain, is whu an increase in volume should lead to a decrease in top quality




Why?  Because digital allows the distancing of cost, which was always a consideration, even for the top pros: everyone has a budget.
So, take away that consideration, and what's to stop the machine gun opening up? Better a sniper.

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: John Camp on June 23, 2013, 10:58:21 AM
I thought one of the most striking things was the implied victory of technique over content. What the guy was saying is that they had lots of perfectly exposed and processed pretty pictures, but none that meant anything, especially in the context of literally hundreds of other pretty pictures. If there's nothing to distinguish them (like a story) then what's the point? It's the thing we've sort of argued here several times, especially after Mark writes one of his essays about high-end cameras. I mean, is photography really nothing more than the best possible technique?   There's a school of painting called "The Boston School" which has led to a proliferation of "atliers" in the US, in which people spend a fairly rigid four or five years drawing and then learning to paint, and I find their end-product product to be banal and generally unviewable. The problem is the same as in this kind of photography: a victory of technique over content. There are no ideas in the work, other than technique: in fact, technique IS their idea, and for me, that's simply not enough. I'm not against good technique, understand, but it's no where near sufficient on its own.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on June 23, 2013, 11:17:46 AM
Got to love this quote:

our jones for digital photography is – with rare exceptions – a form of neurotic masturbation, fuelled by an unstoppable sense of technological entitlement.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: prairiewing on June 23, 2013, 11:46:57 AM
I thought one of the most striking things was the implied victory of technique over content. What the guy was saying is that they had lots of perfectly exposed and processed pretty pictures, but none that meant anything, especially in the context of literally hundreds of other pretty pictures. If there's nothing to distinguish them (like a story) then what's the point? It's the thing we've sort of argued here several times, especially after Mark writes one of his essays about high-end cameras. I mean, is photography really nothing more than the best possible technique?   There's a school of painting called "The Boston School" which has led to a proliferation of "atliers" in the US, in which people spend a fairly rigid four or five years drawing and then learning to paint, and I find their end-product product to be banal and generally unviewable. The problem is the same as in this kind of photography: a victory of technique over content. There are no ideas in the work, other than technique: in fact, technique IS their idea, and for me, that's simply not enough. I'm not against good technique, understand, but it's no where near sufficient on its own.

The article was interesting but if that was his message then you stated it better in a single paragraph. 

I'm a little unclear about the requirements for the category they judged but if it was for photo essay--multiple photographs telling a story--that seems to be something that relatively few photographers have ever mastered and something there seems to be little market or call for today.  I think the essays he cited in Life and National Geographic were usually the result of good/great photographers working with good/great editors. 

Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Telecaster on June 23, 2013, 02:08:33 PM
This is just Sturgeon's Law in action. Over time the good stuff will survive and the dross will be forgotten. No need to fret about it. Same as it ever was...

-Dave-
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Paul Sumi on June 23, 2013, 04:27:12 PM
I can't remember who said it, but the quote was, "Why is it that if you buy a violin you own a violin, but if you buy a camera you're a photographer?"

Mike.

Not just true of photography.  Along those same lines, at least here in L.A., a number of people think that buying a car means they know how to drive.  
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: David Sutton on June 24, 2013, 12:24:29 AM
There's a school of painting called "The Boston School" which has led to a proliferation of "atliers" in the US, in which people spend a fairly rigid four or five years drawing and then learning to paint, and I find their end-product product to be banal and generally unviewable.

I agree, but the question I'd ask is whether this is anything new?
There are millions of photos being taken every hour with the modern equivalent of the brownie box camera. I don't see this as the victory of technique over content, because there is no technique. It's all in the camera's software (or later in the computer). How can it not be perfectly exposed and processed?
The thing is, human nature doesn't change just because of the introduction of new technology. To question why so many photos are forgettable is a bit silly really. To question why so much art is forgettable is a more interesting question, but one that ignores human nature and its fads and follies. Don't get me started on some of the art world's latest fads.  :)
There is some great photography being done. The difference now is that the the web is the first place most folks go to see it. The web is the new "art gallery", and it is a gallery swamped by a tsunami of images that in the past were safely hidden away in the family album. You have to shovel hard.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on June 24, 2013, 03:43:23 AM
I agree, but the question I'd ask is whether this is anything new?
There are millions of photos being taken every hour with the modern equivalent of the brownie box camera. I don't see this as the victory of technique over content, because there is no technique. It's all in the camera's software (or later in the computer). How can it not be perfectly exposed and processed?
The thing is, human nature doesn't change just because of the introduction of new technology. To question why so many photos are forgettable is a bit silly really. To question why so much art is forgettable is a more interesting question, but one that ignores human nature and its fads and follies. Don't get me started on some of the art world's latest fads.  :)
There is some great photography being done. The difference now is that the the web is the first place most folks go to see it. The web is the new "art gallery", and it is a gallery swamped by a tsunami of images that in the past were safely hidden away in the family album. You have to shovel hard.


Or take the advice: when in a hole, stop digging!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: barryfitzgerald on June 24, 2013, 07:16:55 AM
The article was good, but we've known this for some time. However it's far from limited to photography either.
We are not in the age of golden photography or golden anything else. We are in the age of the "Wannabe"  :P

Youtube is full of ho hum videos be they personal broadcasts with reviews or comments, or bands looking for a record label to notice them. Everyone is taking ultra shallow DOF videos in the desperate attempt to become the next in demand cinematographer that some Hollywood studio pays a bomb for.

I partly blame these reality shows (which are getting a bit tiresome and overdone) pluck average Joe/s from obscurity and throw them on TV with the promise of a record contract, or instant fame or some other job they walk into just for being on our screens. It's the next gimmick with people. Be honest in 10 years time do you think anyone will consider "Gangnam Style", to be one of the greatest songs ever done? I doubt it.

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width - Never did cut it for photography, video work, or writing songs or painting.

I think half the problem is the way we live in society. People are celebrated for being in the ultra elite or super wealthy. It's a ladder for some people to try to climb. Does Damien Hirst really deserve to be the richest most successful artist living and worth over £200 million? Or is he just talentless and reliant on gimmicks and shock tactics? I'd wager the last category myself.

Putting a bunch of sausages into an acrylic case with silicone isn't art. Neither is showing a dead carcass.
 
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on June 24, 2013, 09:37:25 AM
The article was good, but we've known this for some time. However it's far from limited to photography either.
We are not in the age of golden photography or golden anything else. We are in the age of the "Wannabe"  :P

Youtube is full of ho hum videos be they personal broadcasts with reviews or comments, or bands looking for a record label to notice them. Everyone is taking ultra shallow DOF videos in the desperate attempt to become the next in demand cinematographer that some Hollywood studio pays a bomb for.

I partly blame these reality shows (which are getting a bit tiresome and overdone) pluck average Joe/s from obscurity and throw them on TV with the promise of a record contract, or instant fame or some other job they walk into just for being on our screens. It's the next gimmick with people. Be honest in 10 years time do you think anyone will consider "Gangnam Style", to be one of the greatest songs ever done? I doubt it.

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width - Never did cut it for photography, video work, or writing songs or painting.

I think half the problem is the way we live in society. People are celebrated for being in the ultra elite or super wealthy. It's a ladder for some people to try to climb. Does Damien Hirst really deserve to be the richest most successful artist living and worth over £200 million? Or is he just talentless and reliant on gimmicks and shock tactics? I'd wager the last category myself.

Putting a bunch of sausages into an acrylic case with silicone isn't art. Neither is showing a dead carcass.
 

Really enjoyed reading the above post on this subject.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 24, 2013, 12:37:26 PM
I can't speak to the merit of the thesis made by the author of the article without at least seeing the entries.

Past winners. (http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival/competitions/photo/)

I'm a little unclear about the requirements for the category they judged...

Regulations (pdf) (http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival/competitions/photo/2013/2013-photo-competition-regulations.pdf)
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 24, 2013, 01:11:52 PM
Tendentious writing with the reek of snobbery.


Quote
Why are most of them so forgettable?

Most of them were created as ephemeral amusements, so it's really not hard to understand why they are forgettable.

Quote
One of his most memorable photo essays is an ongoing series of pictures taken from the front porch of his house: his kids playing on a toboggan in a blizzard, his wife’s belly, the dog. They mean something to him...

aka Family snapshots.

Quote
But when “everybody with a phone thinks they’re a photographer,”...

Everybody with a phone doesn't think they're a photographer -- they think they have a source of amusement that they can share with their acquaintances.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 24, 2013, 01:17:23 PM
Does Damien Hirst really deserve to be the richest most successful artist living and worth over £200 million? Or is he just talentless and reliant on gimmicks and shock tactics?

Sour grapes.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: David Sutton on June 24, 2013, 04:38:26 PM

Or take the advice: when in a hole, stop digging!

;-)

Rob C
Is there an app for that Rob?
;-)
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Robert55 on June 24, 2013, 05:30:46 PM
like the guy from the article, you also do not explain why an increase in volume would lead to a decrease in the top quality
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: barryfitzgerald on June 24, 2013, 08:37:02 PM
No not sour grapes.
Seriously try to call any of that art and I'll laugh you off the forum!
I don't envy someone with no talent. It's a sign of how ridiculous our society can be, and for some reason we accept it.

Shock tactics doesn't = good. I could for example take photos of excrement in various forms in a toilet, in the street, from humans and other creatures. And I could hold an exhibition with gallery prints of these. It would certainly be unique, and novel. It would also be in poor taste.
I could not in honestly say that would make me a great photographer, even if some rich fool sponsored me to continue taking such pictures.

Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 24, 2013, 08:57:55 PM
and I'll laugh you off the forum!

Please proceed.

And I could hold an exhibition with gallery prints of these. It would certainly be unique, and novel.

I haven't checked for photos, but probably not (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/manzoni-artists-shit-t07667) unique or novel.

I could not in honestly say that would make me a great photographer...

It would make you a shit photographer.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on June 25, 2013, 03:30:04 AM
Please proceed.

I haven't checked for photos, but probably not (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/manzoni-artists-shit-t07667) unique or novel.

It would make you a shit photographer.


Well, we've already had 'art' from elephant crap. Not to mention the ten-thousand-quid pile of Tate bricks.

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: barryfitzgerald on June 25, 2013, 03:58:40 AM
Please proceed.


http://www.damienhirst.com/11-sausages

Ok explain how this is "art"

Or this
http://www.damienhirst.com/mother-and-child-divided-ex

http://www.damienhirst.com/togetherness

I also wondering why this is worth £50,000
https://www.othercriteria.com/search/?s=hirst%20spin%20rugs&p=Beautiful_abstract_landscape_rug

Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 25, 2013, 11:10:07 AM
Ok explain how this is "art"

What do you mean by "art" ?

I also wondering why this is worth £50,000

Basic economics - it's worth what someone will pay.

Has anyone actually paid £50,000 ?
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: fike on June 25, 2013, 12:33:13 PM
I was initially very receptive to the tenor of the article. It validated my sense of creative superiority as a person who condescends to create art. I print. I craft my work.  Blah, blah, blah, blah. But on further examination I felt like the article was written by a grouchy crank.

* More people making more photos will mean more bad photos are made.  It also means that more great photography will be made too.  Unfortunately it also means you have wade through lots more junk to find the good stuff.   The average remains pretty close to the same.  

* The Banff people have their aesthetic that they desire, but they didn't find enough submissions this year so they decided to pout. I wasn't impressed by that petulant gesture.  

* When critiquing quality of work, we need to try to separate our economic interests as working photographers from our critical and aesthetic judgements.  Lots of working pros suck.  Lots of amateurs are awesome. We are living in a renaissance of creative expression where everyone who creates quality can have an audience.  How is that not great for humanity!?

* The digital masturbation quote was clever, but we shouldn't be tempted to accept wittiness as a proxy for a quality of truth.  Since when has an artist being egocentric been an obstacle to creative greatness.  
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: OldRoy on June 27, 2013, 04:46:30 AM
Interesting how often the "but is it art?" discussion recurs, given that these arguments are so hoary, at least in relation to "fine" art more so than to photography. A few thoughts stimulated by reading the thread.

The word "banal" - when applied to photography - is a slippery concept. There are quite a few enormously (commercially) successful photographers whose work, to me at least, is profoundly banal in the main, even if occasionally successful in a non-banal way. Egglestone for one example amongst numerous others.

Damien Hirst's been brought up as an example of "art" that isn't. Of course the same objections initially arose over the work of the great Marcel Duchamp who subsequently became recognised as a 20th century master and who almost single-handedly conceived the notion of "conceptual art". Unfortunately the wearisome attempts of contemporary artists to recapitulate these ideas has led them into a wasteland. Hirst's work, initially anyway, at least had the virtue of a sharp intelligence. The same cannot be said for many of his British contemporaries such as the abysmally talentless dipsomaniac, Tracy Emin.

Personally I tend to look for the presence of craft before calling anything "art" unless there's something really original that demands to be recognised. In which case I may or may not like it.

A few years ago a Czech friend exhibited a "piece" (as we must now call art exhibits) which featured a computer screen displaying successive snapshots sourced from friends' troves of digital images. After a few seconds display each was deleted and replaced by the word "deleted". I liked that.

Roy


Title: This needs to be read --- if you are a curmudgeon seeking validation
Post by: BJL on June 27, 2013, 10:49:10 AM
I was initially very receptive to the tenor of the article. It validated my sense of creative superiority as a person who condescends to create art. I print. I craft my work.  Blah, blah, blah, blah. But on further examination I felt like the article was written by a grouchy crank.
I agree. The article is long on clichéd criticism and opinions of the curmudgeonly "these yung'uns get it too easy, they don't suffer for their art like we had to" variety, while offering very little in the way of evidence or arguments. "Many more bad snapshots" does not imply "less good photos" If that were so, the invention of the Kodak Brownie would have been a disaster for photographic art.

The starting point is a competition that received so few entries (147) that the entry fees (CD$10 each) came to less than half the prize money (CD$3000), suggesting that the entries were far fewer than expected or than in previous years. So it could mostly be that this particular contest failed to generate much interest.
Title: Re: This needs to be read --- if you are a curmudgeon seeking validation
Post by: Isaac on June 27, 2013, 10:56:12 AM
The starting point is a competition that received so few entries (147)...

The Globe and Mail story states a different number than the Media Release:

Previously:
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 27, 2013, 04:23:33 PM
I thought one of the most striking things was the implied victory of technique over content. What the guy was saying is that they had lots of perfectly exposed and processed pretty pictures, but none that meant anything, especially in the context of literally hundreds of other pretty pictures.

Does "what the guy was saying" take on a different complexion once we know they “are working to better define (http://www.banffcentre.ca/media-release/1137/2013-banff-mountain-photography-competition/) the competition’s guidelines for future years” ?
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 28, 2013, 01:48:51 PM
If there's nothing to distinguish them (like a story) then what's the point?

Maybe the storytellers have moved to video -- "... five photographers who have chosen different approaches to documenting their subjects, appropriating film and multimedia (http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/report/2139690/storyville-photographers-move-beyond-the-still-image) into their image-making repertoire to develop a more narrative-led approach"
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: barryfitzgerald on June 28, 2013, 03:57:52 PM
Maybe the storytellers have moved to video -- "... five photographers who have chosen different approaches to documenting their subjects, appropriating film and multimedia (http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/report/2139690/storyville-photographers-move-beyond-the-still-image) into their image-making repertoire to develop a more narrative-led approach"

Hard to say on this. The accessibility to video is much bigger since the internet arrived no question/
On the other hand video has been around quite a long time too (just more people have access to be able to make it now)

Pretty much the same as stills photography, more people around and doing it. So both are the same in that regard.
On the other hand...

Photography didn't replacing painting/sketching/art type activities
And video doesn't replace the still image either.

Reminds me of that Dan Chung interview, and what does Dan do? Puts up a decent enough video with the usual expected somewhat corny sentimental soundtrack. So what's new? Nothing
I don't know about the PJ market, I don't see video replacing stills there either. They are different mediums and have unique approaches. The impact of a single image, one brief moment in time can never be reproduced with a video.
We don't need to start quoting Mark Twain I hope  :P

"The reports of my death ..." ;D
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 28, 2013, 04:28:39 PM
Remember the context is a competition which required "a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story" where the judges decided "none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories."

Given that context, video might be an attractive medium for photographers who would otherwise be interested in creating the kind-of photo essays the judges wanted.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: barryfitzgerald on June 28, 2013, 05:08:52 PM
Video might be appealing in that regard. However how can we determine the competence or understanding of the judges?
Maybe there were some good photos there.

Judging art is like measuring poetry  ::)
(plays well known scene from dead poets society)

I mean can Simon Cowell actually sing? I've yet to see him grab a microphone.
I'm suspicious of armchair judges.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on June 29, 2013, 06:22:47 PM
However how can we determine the competence or understanding of the judges?

Not by generalizing about movies and tv shows.

Judging art is like measuring poetry

That reminds me - What do you mean by "art" ?
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: barryfitzgerald on June 30, 2013, 05:45:40 AM
Art is creative
Putting sausages in a frame isn't creative sorry it's just not!
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on June 30, 2013, 04:59:56 PM
without seeing the entries it's hard to say, this could be nothing more than three judges caught up in some agenda other than judging the merits of the work itself.  Seems that out of 500 entries, if it was a respectable competition, a few were not only well done but visually quite compelling and worthy of consideration.

While many good points have been made in this thread, we seem to get caught up in the fact that just because there are so many more images taken doesn't mean some aren't done well.  And as photographers who see many nice images of iconic locations or conditions, we forget that the public in general isn't really exposed to these images on a regular basis if at all.  It's difficult to be objective when judging if these concepts are ingrained in your personal thinking.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: tom b on June 30, 2013, 06:41:55 PM
Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable?

Why is this article so forgettable? Just one more crappy rave on the web.

Cheers,
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 01, 2013, 01:03:35 PM
Art is creative
Putting sausages in a frame isn't creative sorry it's just not!

Seems like "[p]utting sausages in a frame" is beyond what already existed and beyond what you had previously imagined. If that isn't what you mean by "creative" what do you mean?
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: fike on July 01, 2013, 01:26:52 PM
Seems like "[p]utting sausages in a frame" is beyond what already existed and beyond what you had previously imagined. If that isn't what you mean by "creative" what do you mean?

I think we are talking about aesthetics instead of creativity.  Art needn't be pretty, uplifting, or pleasing in any way to be creative.  It is in these back alleyways of artistic and creative expression that we challenge ourselves and our society.  This normally isn't what we are trying to do in landscape photography, but excellent journalism can be art, it can be creative, and it can definitely be challenging. 

The aesthetic of the Banff stuff seems to be one that tries to romanticize the mountain culture through adventure photos and cliched representations of "struggling" native peoples. This might be pleasing to them, but it can certainly become pretty formulaic.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: R. Morris on July 01, 2013, 10:36:07 PM
Having spent some years interning at the Banff Centre in a field other than photography, I would posit that the article represents no more than it contains.
A bunch of photos were submitted, they were all quite pedantic in nature, and none were worthy of the notice receipt of the prize would result in.

Banff is easy to put down, usually by people who have never been.
The bottom line is that the Banff Centre holds their standards high, and they speak a language that honors all art, regardless of the medium, or the origin of the artist.

In other words, the current crop of the very best mountain photographers are lousy at making pictures that mean anything.

It's not complicated.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 02, 2013, 11:27:37 AM
It's not complicated.

When the article talks about more than 500 entries (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/humanity-takes-millions-of-photos-every-day-why-are-most-so-forgettable/article12754086/) but the media release tells us one hundred and forty-seven photo essays (http://www.banffcentre.ca/media-release/1137/2013-banff-mountain-photography-competition/) were submitted -- it's not simple.
Title: This needs to be read: it is a different contest since 2011
Post by: BJL on July 02, 2013, 11:29:55 AM
In other words, the current crop of the very best mountain photographers are lousy at making pictures that mean anything.
You are ignoring the facts noted by Isaac that
(1) the rules changed just a couple of years ago, to require "photo essays" rather than single photos
(2) that change caused a dramatic reduction in the number of entries
(3) the judges acknowledged that some of the individual photos were excellent, and that their problem was solely with the "story telling" aspect, which is a new requirement since just 2011.

With those changes, it is futile to use this as basis for comparing "the current crop of the very best mountain photographers" to previous generations of such photographers.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: R. Morris on July 02, 2013, 12:34:45 PM
For those inclined, a quick note to the Festival expressing displeasure, and requesting clarification on the numbers might be in order.

I'm more than comfortable with the concept that when the rules change, if you want to place or win, you follow the new rules.

Within the confines of the rules, there were no photographers or entries of note this year.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: NancyP on July 02, 2013, 06:05:48 PM
This should be the golden age of the photo essay.

E-books, custom-print physical books, websites - all readily accessible to those who want to try their hand at the essay form. No longer is the essay an art restricted to a few photojournalists and a few student photographers working on school assignments.

I think that many photographers are looking for the one photo to print and hang. Most competitions are not portfolio or essay competitions but are single-shot competitions. Perhaps there is a certain lack of confidence, or a lack of attention span, or what?
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on July 03, 2013, 04:11:56 AM
Maybe photography, on its own, without word journalism attached, can't do meaningful essay.

It's been very popular to lionise the Life/Magnum ethic as the bee's knees, but that's only one way of looking at pictures, and a remove from the concept of visual art as a strong image per se.

Let's face it: the essay mags all died. There was a reason. Attempting to turn back the clock today is pretty useless: there's no commercial outlet for the product, and why would photographers want to waste their time chasing dead dreams? Far better to attempt the great single image - you could get lucky, find a Klondike. Perhaps the new rules defeat the whole idea of contemporary photography.

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: RFPhotography on July 03, 2013, 08:58:20 AM
Having spent some years interning at the Banff Centre in a field other than photography, I would posit that the article represents no more than it contains.
A bunch of photos were submitted, they were all quite pedantic in nature, and none were worthy of the notice receipt of the prize would result in.

Banff is easy to put down, usually by people who have never been.
The bottom line is that the Banff Centre holds their standards high, and they speak a language that honors all art, regardless of the medium, or the origin of the artist.

In other words, the current crop of the very best mountain photographers are lousy at making pictures that mean anything.

It's not complicated.

Blair, with respect, your thoughts may be clouded by loyalty to the Centre.

I've been to Banff.  Many times.  It is an utterly banal, soulless, tourist trap of a town.  It's laudable that the Centre is trying to stand out in the mountain of shit that is Banff.  But the Globe essay is an exercise in curmudgeonly elitism.

If entrants didn't adhere to a set of revised rules, that's one thing.  And if so then not awarding a winner is the right decision.  But to suggest that not adhering to the rules means that all the entries were as banal and soulless as the town is a bit of a stretch.

The article itself is interesting and does raise some valid points.  I think it is true that, for many, technique means more than content.  Technique is important but it shouldn't be all there is.  More people seem to be trying to Photoshop their way to a good photo.  Or maybe it should be more people seem to be trying to Instagram filter their way to a good photo.  Or Topaz their way to a good photo.  Or OnOne their way to a good photo.  Or Nik their way to a good photo.  Or.... The old adage still applies - GIGO. 
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: NancyP on July 03, 2013, 10:54:01 AM
Rob C, the National Geographic magazine is still going strong. Lots of "coffee table books" are still being sold. But yes, television has taken over the multiple image format for most people.
Title: agreed: digital media are great for photo essays
Post by: BJL on July 03, 2013, 11:41:48 AM
This should be the golden age of the photo essay.

E-books, custom-print physical books, websites - all readily accessible to those who want to try their hand at the essay form.
I agree: for amateurs at least, everything from Facebook posts and photo blogs upward encourage the short photo essay form. For example, I find that my photo blog posts that generate the most interest are usually ones based on a short, thematically connected selection of images.

That this one contest attracted only 147 entries (maybe with a total of over 500 images, with each entry being a multiple image essay) is a minor mystery: maybe it is just that many of the people who traditionally entered this contest are oriented to single images, not essays, while not many "nature photo essayists" found out about it. (Maybe they should advertise the contest on Facebook!)


Going from this incident to "the sky is falling and it's all digital's fault" seems a bit of a leap.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on July 03, 2013, 12:46:41 PM
Rob C, the National Geographic magazine is still going strong. Lots of "coffee table books" are still being sold. But yes, television has taken over the multiple image format for most people.


Nancy, I haven't seen a Nat Geog in years, so I won't attempt to make a guess at its content/format today. However, it's not going to be able to provide a home for the number of shooters who'd like to get under is roof!

I'm glad that lots of coffee table books sell - most of what I seem to find advertised on the web are not really landscape - there's lots of semi-porn or, worse, the real deal. A few travel books still exist, but the chances of getting someone to publish one's work are remote. I haven't come across anything that's particularly 'documentary' in style for quite a while, but that might be because the town's book shop had to close its doors...

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: David Mantripp on July 03, 2013, 02:06:11 PM
Maybe photography, on its own, without word journalism attached, can't do meaningful essay.

It's been very popular to lionise the Life/Magnum ethic as the bee's knees, but that's only one way of looking at pictures, and a remove from the concept of visual art as a strong image per se.

Let's face it: the essay mags all died. There was a reason. Attempting to turn back the clock today is pretty useless: there's no commercial outlet for the product, and why would photographers want to waste their time chasing dead dreams? Far better to attempt the great single image - you could get lucky, find a Klondike. Perhaps the new rules defeat the whole idea of contemporary photography.

Rob C

Um, there are scores of photographers out there doing fantastic storytelling, regardless of the commercial viability Here's a random example (http://www.kagecollective.com/). The straight landscape style is certainly struggling under a flood of Photoshop and GAS- driven mediocrity, especially in the parallel universe of competition photography, but I see no drop in creativity, and also not that much of the correlation you're implying between (photographic) dreams and money. 

And "essay mags" haven't died, they involved. Try this for example: www.theinspiredeye.net/ (http://www.theinspiredeye.net/).

I don't see much of a push there towards the "hero" great single image. Of course, there are people who's aim is just to win whatever competition, including photography. But that doesn't define photography. Perhaps you should spend a little less time on this forum, and a little more refreshing your apparently jaded palette? There's endless amounts of inspiring photography to be found.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on July 03, 2013, 03:28:30 PM
And "essay mags" haven't died, they involved. Try this for example: www.theinspiredeye.net/ (http://www.theinspiredeye.net/).




Involved - evolved - who knows; all I can say is that I don't take any great positive message from the content of your link. I certainly don't see any commercial outlet there for anyone hoping to earn his keep out of photography - unless they start another similar 'web mag'... Of course if you are just talking about shooting stuff and airing it, that's something quite else. You can do that yourself.

Not a substitute for Life, I'm afraid.

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: R. Morris on July 04, 2013, 12:36:25 AM
Blair, with respect, your thoughts may be clouded by loyalty to the Centre.


No doubt you are completely correct Bob, I did live there and attend the Centre for a couple of years, and the imprint remains.

I wasn't referring to the town of Banff directly in my post (using the terminology "Banff" only to refer to the "old days" at the Centre), and although I'd not go as far as you with negative feelings towards the townsite proper, it's a tourist town as all tourist towns are.......tacky, expensive, crowded, etc.

There's definitely magic in Banff to be found, but it's around the edges, not anywhere near the shops of Banff Avenue.....a place usually avoided by us folks "up the hill" like the plague.
When you live there, the tourists become invisible and there is a small town underneath. And in winter, when the tourists leave, it's just another mountain ski town.

......and the photo opportunities are some of the finest in the world.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 04, 2013, 03:10:13 AM
But yes, television has taken over the multiple image format for most people.

"...in the last quarter of 2011, the birth of iPhones alone (at the rate of 4.37 per second) exceeded the birth of human babies on this planet (which came in at a rate of 4.2 births per second)."

p19 The Age of the Image (http://books.google.com/books?id=jD1ZRjx2VcgC&lpg=PP1&dq=the%20age%20of%20the%20image&pg=PA155#v=snippet&q=%22the%20birth%20of%20iPhones%20alone%22&f=false): Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, Stephen Apkon, 2013.


"Pick up any of the newspapers or magazines you currently read and you will find an online version, and that version will undoubtedly offer a rich array of video content. The journalists who survive will be those who adapt to this powerful storytelling medium."

p156 The Age of the Image (http://books.google.com/books?id=jD1ZRjx2VcgC&lpg=PP1&dq=the%20age%20of%20the%20image&pg=PA155#v=snippet&q=%22those%20who%20adapt%20to%20this%20powerful%20storytelling%20medium%22&f=false): Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, Stephen Apkon, 2013.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: RFPhotography on July 04, 2013, 09:15:21 AM


......and the photo opportunities are some of the finest in the world.


Absolutely no argument there.  ;D

I actually saw one of the most stunning scenes ever while playing Banff Springs.  It was a cold, wet and sometimes snowy July day.  Standing on the tee waiting to play and heard this roar behind us.  Turned around to see a meltwater fall coming down off the mountain.  It fell through a layer of low-hanging clouds before disappearing behind the trees.  There was a hint of sunlight peeking through the clouds as well as the weather was just starting to clear up.  Who knows how long it would last or if it would be back in the same way the next year?  Had no camera with me.  ::)
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on July 07, 2013, 10:55:30 PM
To my own embarrassment, my shooting of 25 years did not improve until I starting working as a corporate photographer on products and events some 12 years ago.  My feedback went from family and friends whom outright lied to me: "Oh. That's nice, Pete." To honest directors and managers whom would comment:  "What is this?", "What are you trying to convey?" and "Shoot it again!"  While my friends were trying to be nice, my co-workers and clients had their jobs on the line, and I damn well better listen if I wanted to keep mine, and get paid.

I stopped shooting things because for the sake of awards and a prints on the wall, and shot to document or describe an event or thing.  Some of the shots in my early days that hit the reject pile for not being artsy, actually wound up being the best received.  I was amazed when I used Face Book for this, not for the narcissism, but to see what others liked vs. what I thought was the winner.  The shots that described emotion, especially when folks were not aware of the camera, was the hammer that rings peoples bells.  For those of you whom crave the feedback, consider the quality of that feedback.  Is it honest and genuine? 

The other thing I learned was that photography is a recording tool that places a viewer in that moment.  When you consider the audiences perspective...  like shooting a rock band, not in the pit with a wide lens as most do, but ten rows back, including heads, hands and arms of the spectators -they're a part of the event, too.  It was a hard lesson to learn, and a new habit I needed to adopt if I wanted to eat.  :)

In short, I stopped shooting for me, and started shooting for... you.



yes, if you are in this to make a living, you often are forced to shoot to satisfy someone other than yourself.  Many of us have experienced that throughout our careers.  But many of us continue to also shoot for ourselves ... they are not mutually exclusive.  Without that, it's just a job, and while it  may be financially rewarding, it may not be fulfilling.  There are certainly some that shoot what they love the most and have managed to figure out how to make that pay.  Many shoot for themselves, and choose to do something else for financial support ... there are many talented and outstanding photographers who are not professionals.  And it seems for some reason we forget the appeal that made us get into photography, and can't understand why so many try to do what we do.  Nothing has changed other than the cost of entry and of learning has dropped dramatically so many more can afford to try their hand at it.

If you are only shooting for others, and really only care about what those you shoot for think that's fine. But just because you are making them happy doesn't mean anything at all about the quality of your work other than to them.  sure it's important, but this feedback is of pretty limited value. And if that's all you care about, then it  doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, and I'm not sure why you bother showing your friends the work anyway (maybe you don't anymore).  but if you are shooting to try and be a better photographer and shooting work you love as well, then it's pretty easy to tell when your friends are just being "nice" ... you call it lying which is pretty disrespectful, and when they are sincere.  Certainly judging the impact and appeal of your work to a group such as this has some value.  As far as competition, each to their own.  Some competitions are judged by talented and skilled people, ones without any agenda other than the merits of each image they see.  Others not so much (as is the case of this "competition" which turns out not to be a photography competition anyway so the entire premise of the authors article really doesn't apply and just exposes his own personal opinion and agenda). As an example, I see the work that Josh Holku does, and it's obvious to me he's extremely talented and has a great eye ... I really like what he does.  I also notice he's won many awards from a couple of groups.  To me this means those groups are judging the work in the way I appreciate. It doesn't make them right or wrong, but if that's the type of work a person does, entering a competition like that would have some value and decent feedback.

I was a portrait photographer for many years and while it payed the bills, I really lost passion for it.  Now that I've retired, I can do what I love, which is landscape work, and am constantly trying to improve both my craft and my eye. I actually enjoy photography immensely now, and since I no longer need it to support myself and my family I can shoot just for myself (that doesn't mean I no longer earn income with it).  I think that plus freedom from the restrictions of film have made the past several years my most enjoyable since I became a professional photographer back in 1975.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 08, 2013, 06:02:55 PM
... So when a small group of judges write about their frustration in not finding any "winners" in their contest?  I do understand what they're coming from. ...  It's a fairly good guess that such attitudes were reflected in their shots, lacking anything of merit and attention to detail, and that's why the issue.

No -- "Our jury gazed upon any number of beautiful images: astonishing pictures of the aurora borealis, climbers in Peru, mountains in China, of bears and bobcats and birds both here and abroad. We saw technically brilliant photographs, superbly (or, more often, overly) Photoshopped. But none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories."
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: RFPhotography on July 08, 2013, 07:12:08 PM
But none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories."

And therein lies the problem.  This notion that every picture has to tell a story is utter nonsense.  It's a contrivance dreamed up by effete art snobs to try and justify having an interest in a piece.  Because, of course, being the cognoscenti, they couldn't just like something that didn't tell a story, that didn't have some meaning.  That would be unfathomable.  What a pantload.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on July 09, 2013, 02:29:40 PM
My point was that I didn't get proper feedback and learn from my mistakes until I started working professionally.  What I learned on the job I applied in my technique.  I think feedback is important, as long as it's genuine and from folks whom are in the know and have good reason for their honesty.  It's encouraging to have managers, directors and designers to be open and direct in their feedback.  Not many folks would have the patience or skin to remain in a room of several folks giving direction/input.  Nor spending all day shooting 1000 images, and then the next working 8 hours just to get one.   I find it satisfying in solving their problems and their repeat business is the best of compliments.

It's not about the business, or having a room full of expensive gear.  The best part of the job was having the access to these folks' feedback, and knowing that my work matters.  So when a small group of judges write about their frustration in not finding any "winners" in their contest?  I do understand what they're coming from.  Case in point:  I was in Baltimore harbor, shooting boats, and I can't tell you how many other photographers were rolling through and blindly shooting click-click-click-click... hardly taking pause to even bother with the subject matter.  Things like too many people in the way (including them being in my way), waiting for the wind to get a flag going, or waiting for the right moment when a passing boat would frame correctly in it's surroundings, didn't seem to bother them.  Stuff that was not much different when I was shooting product on table, or a location set.  It's a fairly good guess that such attitudes were reflected in their shots, lacking anything of merit and attention to detail, and that's why the issue.

-Keep shooting

the point I was trying to make is this feedback that you found valuable because it help you solve their problems to me seems very limited in scope (and by that i don't mean not valuable or unimportant, certainly it was that).  And the feedback you so distrusted from "non experts" may have been far more valuable than you realize had you interpreted and listened to what they say.  "Oh that's nice" often is easily interpreted as "gee, that's not really that cool but what do you say to a friend".  Feedback from all sources is important, including the raw instinctual feedback from those untrained.

The last line of your post was really what pushed me to respond, because I'm just the opposite.  For 35 years I mainly shot for "you" meaning the customer or critic.  I made them happy, made money, but quickly wasn't much fun.  Now I shoot pretty much for myself, and life is much better.  Fortunately there are some who have similar tastes to mine and enjoy what I shoot.  

I like the line in the signature of Bob's post right above this one.  (and I agree whole heartedly with his post as well).
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 09, 2013, 03:33:09 PM
This notion that every picture has to tell a story...

Huff and puff.

No, not "every picture" - saying "every picture" is "utter nonsense".

Just pictures that are to be accepted according to the stated competition rules.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on July 09, 2013, 05:39:05 PM
Just pictures that are to be accepted according to the stated competition rules.

I think that sort of is the crux of the issue ... it really wasn't a standard competition in the sense most photographers are used to but the article and most of it's criticism seems to be directed at ideas as though it was a standard one.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: RFPhotography on July 09, 2013, 05:47:03 PM
Huff and puff.

No, not "every picture" - saying "every picture" is "utter nonsense".

Just pictures that are to be accepted according to the stated competition rules.

The idea that a photo has to tell a story period, is utter nonsense.  The organisers of the competition are idiots.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 09, 2013, 06:53:20 PM
... but the article and most of it's criticism seems to be directed at ideas as though it was a standard one.

I have no sympathy for that tendentious snobbish article.

Nor do I have sympathy for the antagonistic buffoonery.


Feedback from all sources is important, including the raw instinctual feedback from those untrained.

I think the point was: that in one case the quality of the work actually would have an impact on the people giving feedback, they had skin in the game; but in the other case the quality of the work would have no impact on the people giving the feedback, words are cheap.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Rob C on July 10, 2013, 02:32:44 PM
The world is full of folks doing things they don't want to, but feel they have to, and are miserable for it.  Truth is, I've met and worked with folks who were happy as security guards, janitors and everything else under the sun considered boring and mundane.  They were generally happy, with great attitudes and easy to get along with.  Likewise, I've met some unhappy photographers whom hated the job for all kinds of reasons, and despite the common interest, I found them to be unpleasant as person and avoided them like a plague.  I enjoy photography, whether I'm getting paid or not, and I'd rather hold a camera, than a broom, a pen, or a steering wheel.  My motto is simple.  -Keep Shooting.


I think you are right, and I've met several people in photo-related occupations who generate a feeling of discontent both with themselves and those with whom they interact.

It probably isn't a universal thing with them, because different minds react differently to the same people - just look at some of the folks who, in the face of probability, manage to get wed! - but I have this suspicion that it isn't so much the actors as their play: it's not the easiest of jobs in which to do well nor even to survive; pressure and competition is usually pretty fierce and not many people you meet professionally can be trusted to refrain from slipping in the little stiletto if it suits their ends. There used to be this 'joke' that fashion photographers held hands just to prevent themselves from picking each other's pockets... not always far from reality, I'm afraid.

That's always been the downside of the 'arty' occupations: competition and the difficulty in showing yourself superior to that competition, which when push comes to shove, revolves around opinion and not much else. How do you measure the value of that, other than by money? And those paying could be mistaken - how do they (and the photographer) know that they are not?

Rob C
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on July 10, 2013, 02:46:39 PM

Like it or not, and whether intentional or not, you always shoot for others. 

Very few statements regarding something absolute hold up.  I do not always shoot for others and I think there are plenty of photographers who do not always shoot for others..  Yes sometimes I do.  There are some images I take because I know others will like them.  However, just as often I shoot just for the pleasure of shooting, without care as to the opinion of anyone else.  That doesn't mean I don't show that image to others and see if they like it, but it certainly isn't the reason I shot it.  And that doesn't mean others don't like it and buy it.

As I mentioned earlier, those making a living at photography often are forced shoot for others. For those which it is just a job perhaps they only shoot for others.  But I do not believe the two are mutually exclusive, and those who find time to shoot for themselves have opportunity to better themselves.

As far as feedback, if one is trying to improve then the feedback must be from sources that are widely varied, and then the feedback must be taken in context of the skill, opinions, and agenda's of those providing the criticism.  I believe if you are trying to sell images for people to hang on their wall, the opinions of an uneducated public is pretty valuable.  If you are shooting commercial stuff, I would guess the art director and agencies obtain that feedback, so you job is to give them what they want.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on July 10, 2013, 02:48:19 PM
but in the other case the quality of the work would have no impact on the people giving the feedback, words are cheap.

I'm not sure that means such feedback never has value, and it's pretty easy to tell when the feedback is sincere and when it's just being nice.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Isaac on July 10, 2013, 02:58:31 PM
I'm not sure that means such feedback never has value, and it's pretty easy to tell when the feedback is sincere and when it's just being nice.

Perhaps.

otoh that sincere feedback may not be an accurate indication of what someone would prefer if they actually had to choose and to pay for their choice and live with their choice.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: RFPhotography on July 10, 2013, 05:44:49 PM


Like it or not, and whether intentional or not, you always shoot for others.

Don't agree.  As Wayne said, sometimes I do, but not always.  When shooting for a client, yes.  When out shooting otherwise, no.  And I don't think that participating on websites or social media necessarily means that I'm shooting for others.  It's also a method of gaining exposure to an audience for the purposes of, perhaps, selling prints to buyers.  Or selling images as stock.  But that doesn't mean I'm shooting for someone else.  When not shooting for clients, I shoot what I want in the manner I want. If someone likes it and wants to buy prints to hang on their wall, great.  Or if someone wants to license as stock, terrific.  If not, so be it.  But I'm not necessarily going to change the way I shoot nor change the subject matter to serve that end.  The end doesn't justify or direct the means.

I'd go further and say that, in opposition to your position, shooting for others is not the sine qua non for many photographers.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: Wayne Fox on July 10, 2013, 07:59:41 PM
Perhaps.

otoh that sincere feedback may not be an accurate indication of what someone would prefer if they actually had to choose and to pay for their choice and live with their choice.
Agreed.  Being  sincere and honest as opposed to being "nice"  only means it might be worth listening to.  And while they may choose not to pay for it, it might be they aren't in a financial position to do so but would if they could, and their opinion might reflect how others who are in a such a position may react as well, and in turn choose to purchase it.
Title: Re: This needs to be read
Post by: stevesanacore on July 30, 2013, 09:46:34 AM

I can't help feel that the author of the original article was another sour photographer jealous and sick of seeing non-seasoned professionals shooting technically good photos. I know quite a few older photographers who have almost given up in their profession because of the deluge of photographers as a result of high quality digital cameras. It's a silly and non-productive state of mind. In my opinion a great photograph will always be a great photograph and it doesn't matter if it was from an iPhone or 8x10 view camera. Just because the amount of crappy snap shots has grown exponentially since the arrival of the digital camera doesn't mean you have to look at them.

The other issue was the ability to tell a story with multiple photos. That is a different skill set that many great photographers don't have or need for their type of work. Although the contest seemed to be looking for that style, it seems that the negativity was a broad stroke on everyone with a digital camera.

I couldn't care less about the millions of people out there snapping photos with their phones every day. Some will discover they have talent. Good for them.