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Author Topic: Eschewing Perfection  (Read 26687 times)

Diego Pigozzo

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Eschewing Perfection
« on: March 27, 2015, 08:50:58 AM »

I have to say that I partially disagree with the rantatorial's content (but I may misunderstand it completely).
While I agree that having technical perfection as the only (or the main) goal does not improve one's personal excellence, I think that including a photo's technical qualities in evaluating a photo may does.

What I mean is that sentencing beforehand "this shot would be better if it was more sharp/infocus/exposed/any-other-technical-quality" is totally friutless.
But asking oneself "could this shot be better if it was more sharp/infocus/exposed/any-other-technical-quality" may lead to an improvement of personal excellence because asking such question and trying to answer it require the understanding of what does and doesn't works (and why) in the shot.

So, in short, as I understand the meaning of the rantatorial, technical perfection as little if any place in improving one's personal excellence.
I disagree with this.

On the other hand, I do agree that looking for technical perfection alone (or mainly) doesn't improve one's personal excellence.
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Telecaster

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 04:35:15 PM »

One of my all-time favorite photos (depending on the day it's my #1 fav):

http://www.photoforager.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/william-klein12.jpg

-Dave-
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stamper

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 06:33:44 AM »

I agree with the thrust of what Michaels rant. In this thread

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=99001.0

and a couple of other threads I have been getting a bit of grief - I maybe paranoid - from members who I think are overly critical of posted images. Finding small imperfections without acknowledging the finer parts of the image. It is similar to listening to music. If you are trying to perfect a music system - which I have been trying to do in a modest manner - then you can end up listening to the sound of the music instead of enjoying the experience of the music.

This thread sums up Michael's rant nicely and is worth reading.

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=99063.msg810248#msg810248

Hans Kruse

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2015, 07:18:00 AM »

Although I do agree with Michaels opinions. But one thing for me was missing: Was the focus on the background intended or a mistake? It sounded to me as a mistake and that the mistake turned into a liking but still it was not intended, I presume. I'm not discouting that a mistake can be a good thing from time to time and can turn into new ways of seeing things.

michael

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2015, 09:16:30 AM »

Truth be told, it was a mistake.

A happy one in my view though. In fact a huge number of my and other people's best images have some form of "happy mistake" involved in their creation.

Michael
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kers

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2015, 09:22:44 AM »

Man Ray has made a bunch of very nice mistakes...
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Isaac

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2015, 12:00:50 PM »

Truth be told, it was a mistake.

Quote
The important question to ask is not, "Does the work say what I wanted it to say?" Instead ask, "Can I take responsibility for what it is saying?" Ö from time to time, one will receive new insights and learn new things when one engages with a medium. Ö Sometimes your pictures will closely correspond to your pre-visualized notion. Sometimes they will be vastly different.

(However, I think "This isnít the way we see though." is an unnecessary and unsuccessful attempt at justification.)
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amolitor

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2015, 01:11:44 PM »

This is certainly a case where the technical flaws save the picture, insofar as it is successful.

If it were shot straight, with great depth of field, it would be junk. Just a jumble of greys.

If you shot it portrait style, creating separation with shallow DoF, fuzzing out the background and leaving the women sharp, you lose the context and it becomes a totally uninteresting picture.

The women don't need to be sharp, a little softness is fine, even beneficial if you want to wander into the weeds of emotional response. The background, the context, does need to be sharp, to generate any interest her at all. And the two need to be separated, since tonality and texture are not doing it here.
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2015, 02:12:59 PM »

Although I think mistakes can be good in some way, in my opinion, it only works by contemplation. Admitting mistakes is a great thing and should not be underestimated. The key is to take it from a mistake to something new and be part of how you create and see things. Most mistakes are...just mistakes ;)

Iluvmycam

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2015, 03:05:13 PM »

One of my all-time favorite photos (depending on the day it's my #1 fav):

http://www.photoforager.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/william-klein12.jpg

-Dave-

Yes, mine too.

Here is the deal. Anyone that knows anything about photos knows that doc work has flaws. If the photo is 70% to 80% of what it could be it is still a success. Sometimes even 20%! That is, if the subject matter is iconic. If the subject matter is no good, not iconic or historic or sentimental and the quality is poor...it is garbage.
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Iluvmycam

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2015, 03:15:11 PM »


There has to be something in the subject that makes up for a technically sub par photo.

http://www.bulgergallery.com/dynamic/images/display/Mary_Ellen_Mark_Girl_Jumping_over_a_Wall_Central_Park_New_York_Cit_2125_41.jpg

If the subject matter is nothing, it is not iconic, historic or sentimental and the technical quality is poor...it is garbage.

Now, here is a doc shot that the anal perfectionists wont go for.  It is too rough for anal standards.

http://dewallenrld.tumblr.com/image/111041717491

But what will the anal perfectionists produce in place of my shot....ZERO.

Number 1, they don't have the skills of a doc photog to shoot such pix up tight, in areas where photography is banned. Anal landscapers and LF guys go for perfection. I go for getting the shot and keeping the IQ doable. But by doable I'm talking about doable by doc standards, not LF, anal, studio standards.

In any case, I like perfection as much as the next guy. But perfection alone does not make the photo...the subject makes the photo. I see this all the time with the MP chasers. They think the only thing standing between them and museum pieces is more and more MP.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 11:52:36 PM by Iluvmycam »
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jjj

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2015, 04:27:51 PM »

I agree with the article and am a big fan of lo-fi photography and technical imperfection.
However I do not like the photo Michael uses to illustrate this, it simply looks like a mistake to me. Which as it turns out it is. Nothing wrong with that either, sometimes you make a mistake and find an alternative way of working, done that numerous times. But if you are going to make mistakes, make them look deliberate otherwise it simply looks like you didn't know what you were doing or you messed up.
If the focus had been on the two women with the rest slightly blurred instead of them, I think it would have been a strong shot. As it is I'd bin it, but if others like it then that's fine too. It's just a matter of taste at end of day.

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Iluvmycam

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2015, 04:46:25 PM »

Here is a little known masterpiece from Cartier-Bresson's 1952 book The Decisive Moment called 'Tehran 1950'.

http://blogsearchtest.tumblr.com/image/110263740956

Here are a few comments from a discussion on it...

"Looks pretty marginal to me. Do you want me to bow down to him?"

"I found it more obnoxious than anything else."

"What makes it so great? The crooked horizon? The poor composition?  The distracting background?  The blown out chandelier?  The blown out black-blob of a curtain?  The distracting bright triangle from the area beyond the curtain?  The poor use of bokeh to make it hard to tell the wall is a mosaic of mirrors? The pushed-too-far contrast to remove any details."

Let's look at these 'perfection' critics a little closer.

Here is a little background from the "Looks pretty marginal to me." critic.

http://freezingtime1.tumblr.com/image/114526874247

And something from the "What makes it so great?" critic. This guy must be a master photographer with his devastating critique of Bresson...right.

http://freezingtime1.tumblr.com/image/114526979642

When I tried to discuss this on that forum they banned me. It seems to be a common phenomena that online critics think they can always do it better than someone else. All my critics know more than me. The 2 critics above know better than Bresson. This is how the ego can distort reality.  

Photogs can be a jealous bunch. Lots of hatred within many of them. Our work defines us and is an extension of ourselves. But deep down inside many know their work will never amount to anything. Photogs as well as artists are stressed out trying to get attention for their work. All the while the market is polluted with so many images no one person could possibly look through them even part of them in a lifetime.

All this stress can put the photog / artist in a bad mood. When people are in a bad mood they may not think straight. When people do not think straight they can't be depended upon for right thinking. That is why online feedback can cause more harm than good.

Bottom line...ďNever give up! Donít listen to the haters. Donít try to be an artist unless you can work and live in isolation, without any thanks....bleak, but needed until you get to the much lauded place."

Scape Martinez
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 04:48:06 PM by Iluvmycam »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2015, 04:52:09 PM »

Mistakes happen. Dozen, hundreds, thousands. But the ability to recognize and see something else in a mistake is a sign of a true photographer. Such is the case in Michael's photo.

jjj

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2015, 04:52:49 PM »

But what will the anal landscapers and LF guys produce in place of my shot....ZERO. Number 1, they don't have the skills of a doc photog to shoot such pix up tight in areas where photography is banned. Anal landscapers and LF guys go for perfection. I go for getting the shot and keeping the IQ doable. But by doable it is doable by doc standards, not LF or anal standards.
It is dangerous to assume that just because someone likes doing high quality landscapes that they are incapable of some stealthy street shooting.
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2015, 04:58:40 PM »

Mistakes happen. Dozen, hundreds, thousands. But the ability to recognize and see something else in a mistake is a sign of a true photographer. Such is the case in Michael's photo.

As you know I agree, but most often I think the case is that you see something in a photo flawed by a mistake that inspires you to an idea to do another photo and that is the masterpiece. And this is the true photographer that does that.

Hans Kruse

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2015, 05:00:39 PM »

It is dangerous to assume that just because someone likes doing high quality landscapes that they are incapable of some stealthy street shooting.

So true and so often people that are good at one thing are viewed as incapable of other things. Strange that people are often viewed as almost binary in terms of talent. I find that often talented people are talented in many different things. Sometimes not even in the same field.

jjj

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2015, 05:11:51 PM »

So true and so often people that are good at one thing are viewed as incapable of other things. Strange that people are often viewed as almost binary in terms of talent. I find that often talented people are talented in many different things. Sometimes not even in the same field.
A poster here was exceptionally rude and nasty to me a while back, simply because I said I could do more than one genre of shooting. My view is that those who do not believe people can be good at more than one thing are not particularly good at even a single thing, hence why they go on the attack.
The sheer vitriol I've seen on some other websites towards photographers who are talented by those with none to display is quite sad.
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ripgriffith

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 04:44:38 AM »

Here is a little known masterpiece from Cartier-Bresson's 1952 book The Decisive Moment called 'Tehran 1950'.

http://blogsearchtest.tumblr.com/image/110263740956

Here are a few comments from a discussion on it...

"Looks pretty marginal to me. Do you want me to bow down to him?"

"I found it more obnoxious than anything else."

"What makes it so great? The crooked horizon? The poor composition?  The distracting background?  The blown out chandelier?  The blown out black-blob of a curtain?  The distracting bright triangle from the area beyond the curtain?  The poor use of bokeh to make it hard to tell the wall is a mosaic of mirrors? The pushed-too-far contrast to remove any details."

Let's look at these 'perfection' critics a little closer.

Here is a little background from the "Looks pretty marginal to me." critic.

http://freezingtime1.tumblr.com/image/114526874247

And something from the "What makes it so great?" critic. This guy must be a master photographer with his devastating critique of Bresson...right.

http://freezingtime1.tumblr.com/image/114526979642

When I tried to discuss this on that forum they banned me. It seems to be a common phenomena that online critics think they can always do it better than someone else. All my critics know more than me. The 2 critics above know better than Bresson. This is how the ego can distort reality.  

Photogs can be a jealous bunch. Lots of hatred within many of them. Our work defines us and is an extension of ourselves. But deep down inside many know their work will never amount to anything. Photogs as well as artists are stressed out trying to get attention for their work. All the while the market is polluted with so many images no one person could possibly look through them even part of them in a lifetime.

All this stress can put the photog / artist in a bad mood. When people are in a bad mood they may not think straight. When people do not think straight they can't be depended upon for right thinking. That is why online feedback can cause more harm than good.

Bottom line...ďNever give up! Donít listen to the haters. Donít try to be an artist unless you can work and live in isolation, without any thanks....bleak, but needed until you get to the much lauded place."

Scape Martinez

I'll just dive right in:  this picture is a piece of crap!  HCB is not a photo-god whose every work becomes divine just because he did it.  Has he contributed much to the world of photography?  Undeniably yes, more than most, perhaps, but far too many photographers treat his works, and his utterances, as sacred script.  I personally have been highly influenced by his photographic work over the more than 60 years that I've been shooting, but I find his comments about his work to be filled with  the hot air of uncritical self-adulation.
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: Eschewing Perfection
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2015, 04:48:59 AM »

I'll just dive right in:  this picture is a piece of crap!  HCB is not a photo-god whose every work becomes divine just because he did it.  Has he contributed much to the world of photography?  Undeniably yes, more than most, perhaps, but far too many photographers treat his works, and his utterances, as sacred script.  I personally have been highly influenced by his photographic work over the more than 60 years that I've been shooting, but I find his comments about his work to be filled with  the hot air of uncritical self-adulation.

While I agree with you on the almost-divine consideration of HBC, I don't know if this photo is good or not.
I only know that I don't like HBC's photo (while I like much more Doisneau's ones).

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