Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => Rantatorials => Topic started by: Diego Pigozzo on March 27, 2015, 08:50:58 am

Title: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Diego Pigozzo 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Telecaster 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-
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: stamper 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
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Hans Kruse 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: michael 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
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: kers on March 28, 2015, 09:22:44 am
Man Ray has made a bunch of very nice mistakes...
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Isaac 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?" (https://books.google.com/books?ei=71UQVcSABZHroASv_4CABw&id=b7NaAAAAYAAJ&dq=photo-editing+and+presentation&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%22Can+I+take+responsibility+for+what+it+is+saying%3F%22) … from time to time, one will receive new insights and learn new things when one engages with a medium. … Sometimes your pictures will closely correspond to your pre-visualized notion. Sometimes they will be vastly different.

(However, I think "This isn’t the way we see though." is an unnecessary and unsuccessful attempt at justification.)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: amolitor 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Hans Kruse 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 ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Iluvmycam 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Iluvmycam 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: jjj 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.

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Iluvmycam 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...“Never give up! Don’t listen to the haters. Don’t 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
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: jjj 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Hans Kruse 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Hans Kruse 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: jjj 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith 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...“Never give up! Don’t listen to the haters. Don’t 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.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Diego Pigozzo 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).

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Iluvmycam on March 30, 2015, 10:05:46 am
Now, if your an anal, tripod photog...you better have pretty perfect pix.

No excuse for producing garbage if your set up / staged / landscape photog.

Only excuse is for doc photog and maybe art photog looking for effect.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on March 30, 2015, 11:30:33 am
Now, if your an anal, tripod photog...you better have pretty perfect pix.

No excuse for producing garbage if your set up / staged / landscape photog.

Only excuse is for doc photog and maybe art photog looking for effect.
You are seriously caught  up in this anal thing.  Did you just discover the word and feel you must try it out as often as you can, or is this the only way you can express your distaste for landscape and/or tripod-based photographers? If so, I truly wonder why you are on this forum, where you are bound to encounter many, many landscape and tripod-based photographers.  The word "trolling" springs to mind. BTW, I hope your photography is better than your grammar.  The word "your" is the possessive case of "you".  The word you're actually looking for is "you're", a contraction of "you are".
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on March 30, 2015, 11:32:04 am
... BTW, I hope your photography is better than your grammar.  The word "your" is the possessive case of "you".  The word you're actually looking for is "you're", a contraction of "you are".

Then again, he is obviously not that anal about it ;D
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 30, 2015, 12:03:03 pm
Hi,

I would like this image a lot:

(http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Other/Technical/Failures/i-LpjZTwp/0/XL/20140612-_DSC6268-XL.jpg)

Would it not be extremely out of focus. It may work at really small size, but I cannot print it and put on the wall.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: telyt on March 30, 2015, 01:37:52 pm
I prefer something other than binary thinking, i.e., 'technical excellence is mandatory' (a proxy for perfection) vs. 'sharpness is a bourgeois concept'.  There's a time and a place for each.

Regarding the H C-B photo referenced above, it does nothing for me.  I get headaches looking at it.  I like many of his photos and I appreciate his influence on photography but he's not a deity.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on March 30, 2015, 03:36:53 pm
Well, I thought Michael's rantatorial was just perfect (oops!)  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: PeterAit on March 30, 2015, 04:05:25 pm
I could have written that rantatorial myself (although not as well as Michael did). A lot has been said about tis in previous posts, but I'll ad my 1.5 cents.

Evaluating the technical aspects of the photo is easy. Anyone with functioning eyeballs and half a brain can evaluate sharpness, DOF, dynamic range, and so on. Big deal. And, anyone with a credit card can upgrade to the latest umpteen megapixel camera, the latest ultra-sharp lens, and so on. But, to evaluate the esthetic value of a photo takes some skill, experience, and thought. A lot harder!
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 30, 2015, 04:50:39 pm
Hi,

The way I see it, I either like a photograph or I don't. If I don't like a photograph I don't care about how it adheres to rules of composition or best practices. But, some other person my find it to be an excellent image.

On the other hand, I really prefer to print images at decent size. A well executed image will enlarge very well. Lack of technical quality can be an artistic expression, but that doesn't mean that a sloppy execution will turn a bad picture into art. Robert Capa's images from the Normandy invasion illustrate this, here the lack of technical quality gives authencity but also emphases the sadness of all things happening that day.

The same kind of sadness can be felt in Paul Hansen's technically perfect imagery here:
(http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-1920/h--/q-95/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/5/15/1368606734100/Paul-Hansen-of-Gaza-City--001.jpg)
http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-1920/h--/q-95/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/5/15/1368606734100/Paul-Hansen-of-Gaza-City--001.jpg

Best regards
Erik


I could have written that rantatorial myself (although not as well as Michael did). A lot has been said about tis in previous posts, but I'll ad my 1.5 cents.

Evaluating the technical aspects of the photo is easy. Anyone with functioning eyeballs and half a brain can evaluate sharpness, DOF, dynamic range, and so on. Big deal. And, anyone with a credit card can upgrade to the latest umpteen megapixel camera, the latest ultra-sharp lens, and so on. But, to evaluate the esthetic value of a photo takes some skill, experience, and thought. A lot harder!
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Telecaster on March 30, 2015, 09:16:59 pm
IMO some HCB photos are outstanding, others good & still others meh. Same with pretty much every other photographer of note. Bodies of work created by curious, explorative people tend to cover lots of ground.

I personally enjoy doing various kinds of photography, from precise tripod-based view camera work to handheld but careful shooting to freewheeling from-the-hip snapping. It's all good. At any particular time I typically favor one approach over the others, but that "one" changes from year to year and sometimes from month to month. All the approaches are worthwhile & meaningful to me.

-Dave-
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on March 31, 2015, 04:56:21 am
Perfection has but one flaw: it is apt to be dull.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on March 31, 2015, 07:01:55 am
Perfection has but one flaw: it is apt to be dull.
This sounds like an argument one would make to justify flawed work.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Hans Kruse on March 31, 2015, 07:29:04 am
Perfection has but one flaw: it is apt to be dull.

It can be and it can't be. You are mixing up things here.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on March 31, 2015, 07:42:05 am
ripgriffith,

Quote
This sounds like an argument one would make to justify flawed work.

I wouldn't know: the phrase was not coined by me.



Hans,

Quote
You are mixing up things here.

I have not mixed up anything. Refer above.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on March 31, 2015, 09:55:34 am
...I wouldn't know: the phrase was not coined by me...

Then why did you post it as yours, i.e., without a proper attribution?
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on March 31, 2015, 10:07:20 am
Then why did you post it as yours, i.e., without a proper attribution?
Not only without attribution, but apparently  without even understanding what it says.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on March 31, 2015, 03:03:50 pm
Slobodan,

Quote
Then why did you post it as yours, i.e., without a proper attribution?

I didn't post the phrase as my own - italicised text was intended to convey that. You inferred from non-provision of credit that I claimed it for myself, albeit understandably so.



ripgriffith,

Quote
Not only without attribution, but apparently  without even understanding what it says.

You'll never know.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on March 31, 2015, 03:07:57 pm
Slobodan,

I didn't post the phrase as my own - italicised text was intended to convey that....

Italicized text, by itself, is by no means a standard way of denoting quoting. Quotation marks are. Or you can start with "Someone once said..." or "I read somewhere..." if you do not know the origin of a quote.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: NancyP on March 31, 2015, 08:05:27 pm
Well, I tend to get caught up in finding reasons not to do things - I don't know enough, I need to read more, I don't have a preconceived image in mind, my portfolio is non-existent - and this tends to go on in all areas of my life. So my life-long motto is "the perfect is the enemy of the good". Phrased another way - Start doing "it". The sooner you make mistakes, the sooner you get better at "it". As to who came up with this idea, I can credit Ms. Ogg, of a cave in France some 15,000 years ago.  :D
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Otto Phocus on June 03, 2015, 11:49:50 am
One of the issues is that the technical properties of a photograph can be measured.  If it can be measured, it can be compared with other measurements.  That makes discussing...ok  arguing... about a photograph easier.

I can measure focus, tonal patterns, the physics of composition, lighting, exposure...... The list goes on

If I can measure it, I can re-create it using technology and technique.  My ability to use the technology and implement my technique can thereby be discussed argued.

This is why discussions arguments about techniques and technology are common on the Internets Tubes forums.  It is easy to understand and it is easy to cherry pick facts that support one's opinion and refute someone else's opinion.  ;)

What I can't measure is art.  Because art does not have a definition.. or to be more accurate, art does not have a universally agreed upon definition.  Every one has their own definition of what is and ain't art.

This is why I can't say that something is good or bad art or even if it is or ain't art.  I can say that I personally like or don't like this form of art.  I can also say that this particular example of art adheres to or differs from some "arbitrary standard".  But that does not indicate whether someone's art is good or bad or whether it is or is not even art.

Therefore any discussion argument about art can quickly devolve into a matter of opinions.  Naturally anyone's opinion that differs from *my* opinion, must be wrong, uneducated, or is unsophisticated. After all, if they were, they would naturally share *my* opinion.   ;D

Photographers like to proclaim that it is not the equipment but the photographer, but if you notice most of the postings on photographic forums involves equipment.  It is not the equipment but I will sure argue about minutia about lens parameters to my dying breath!!

Why?

Because discussing arguing about technology is easier than discussing arguing about artistic intent.

Something is art if and only if the person that created it, considers it art.  Whether anyone else considers it art is their opinion.  But the artist is not constrained by anyone's opinion but theirs.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Telecaster on June 03, 2015, 01:55:48 pm
Reality consists of everything that continues to exist even if you stop believing in it. (A paraphrase of something someone said or wrote sometime…dunno who.)

But, yeah, photo tech talk is easy 'cuz you're dealing with qualitative things that, usually, can be quantified. I mostly stay away from discussion of "art" or why this photo resonates with me, or provokes me, while that one doesn't. I don't know how to talk about that stuff in a meaningful way, and actually see little point in trying. Better IMO to just take photos, check out other peoples' photos, go see a gallery/museum/installation exhibit, etc. Invest in the intuitive aspect of doing those things and give the calculating brain a rest.  :)

-Dave-
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: jjj on June 03, 2015, 02:09:56 pm
One of the issues is that the technical properties of a photograph can be measured.  If it can be measured, it can be compared with other measurements.  That makes discussing...ok  arguing... about a photograph easier.

I can measure focus, tonal patterns, the physics of composition, lighting, exposure...... The list goes on

If I can measure it, I can re-create it using technology and technique.  My ability to use the technology and implement my technique can thereby be discussed argued.

This is why discussions arguments about techniques and technology are common on the Internets Tubes forums.  It is easy to understand and it is easy to cherry pick facts that support one's opinion and refute someone else's opinion.  ;)

What I can't measure is art.  Because art does not have a definition.. or to be more accurate, art does not have a universally agreed upon definition.  Every one has their own definition of what is and ain't art.

This is why I can't say that something is good or bad art or even if it is or ain't art.  I can say that I personally like or don't like this form of art.  I can also say that this particular example of art adheres to or differs from some "arbitrary standard".  But that does not indicate whether someone's art is good or bad or whether it is or is not even art.

Therefore any discussion argument about art can quickly devolve into a matter of opinions.  Naturally anyone's opinion that differs from *my* opinion, must be wrong, uneducated, or is unsophisticated. After all, if they were, they would naturally share *my* opinion.   ;D

Photographers like to proclaim that it is not the equipment but the photographer, but if you notice most of the postings on photographic forums involves equipment.  It is not the equipment but I will sure argue about minutia about lens parameters to my dying breath!!

Why?

Because discussing arguing about technology is easier than discussing arguing about artistic intent.

Something is art if and only if the person that created it, considers it art.  Whether anyone else considers it art is their opinion.  But the artist is not constrained by anyone's opinion but theirs.
Indeed.
Another thing to consider is that those who like to obsess over pixels are with very rare exceptions, not very good at creating interesting photos. Sharp, well exposed and using the rule of thirds really well, but normally quite dull.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 04, 2015, 06:23:20 am
I'm a bit puzzled by this rant from Michael. Is Michael now accepting the view of Ken Rockwell, who claimed several years ago that 'your camera doesn't matter'?

I remember Michael, at the time, strongly criticising that comment from Ken. Perhaps those were the days when Michael was very impressed with the performance of Phase One MFDBs.

I would agree that any true obsession can be a problem. There are quite a few people who have what is  referred to as an OCD (obsessive-complusive disorder), whether it be an obsession to clean the house every day, or an obsession with checking several times that the doors are locked when leaving the house.

An obsession with the technical perfection of cameras might not help one to take photos that are interesting to people who lack such an obsession, or who lack a fascination with sharp texture and detail in a photo. However, for the amateur, surely the best advice is to take photos which one likes, which one finds interesting and meaningful.

For some folks, that means taking a selfie. Their own face in front of every scene is what they like most. For other folks, that means using the sharpest lens with highest resolving sensor so that every grain of sand, or every wrinkle on every old face, is discernible.
For others, that means ignoring issues of sharpness and low noise, and having the goal of producing images that express what they consider to be a 'sharp concept' that they hope can be appreciated by as many people as possible.

Speaking for myself, I admit that I like sharpness and low noise in an image, excluding abstract photography which is another genre.
I don't consider I'm actually obsessed with technical perfection. If I was, I'd probably have bought an MFDB years ago.
However, I admit I just don't like noise and fuzziness in the parts of my compositions which I think are significant or relevant to the general concept.

As Alain Briot once wrote, 'every part of the composition is important'.

I'm also puzzled by Michael's comments on 'Street Kiss'. He claims a case can be made that 'the barred windows, and auto and the driver, are as much the main subject as are the women'. Really? If that's the case, then surely both the background and the women should be equally sharp.

Amolitor in reply #9 writes "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 here at all. And the two need to be separated, since tonality and texture are not doing it here."

Really? Is this a case of kidding oneself? Imagine a very large print on the wall. Would one claim, "that background is so lovely and sharp. Stuff those fuzzy women in the foreground"? Also, if one views this small image from an increasingly greater distance from one's monitor, does the image gradually become less appealing as the sharpness of the women and the background become equal?

Supposing the women were attractive models with lovely eyelashes and smooth skin. Would one have the same opinion about their not being in focus?
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: stamper on June 04, 2015, 06:30:21 am
Ray I hope you have your tin hat on or a bomb shelter in your backyard. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 04, 2015, 06:49:21 am
Stamper,
The true artist should be able to accept any criticism and learn from it.  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 04, 2015, 07:06:42 am
I would agree that any true obsession can be a problem. There are quite a few people who have what is  referred to as an OCD (obsessive-complusive disorder), whether it be an obsession to clean the house every day, or an obsession with checking several times that the doors are locked when leaving the house.
Please don't trivialize OCD; it isn't just a matter of cleaning the house every day or checking that the doors are locked.  OCD is a terrifying, frequently debilitating disorder that affects every aspect of one's life, and symptoms such as repetitive cleaning or locking or washing are futile, often frantic  attempts at controlling, or at least holding at bay the perceived very hostile world one lives in, with the view that if I do not do this, I will be completely, totally and horribly destroyed.  Please do not make light of this.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on June 04, 2015, 08:03:07 am
Otto Phocus,

Quote
Something is art if and only if the person that created it, considers it art.  Whether anyone else considers it art is their opinion.

Please demonstrate how considering something they created to be art is anything other than that person's opinion.

Quote
...the artist is not constrained by anyone's opinion but theirs.

Neither is the opinion of others constrained by that of an artist.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Otto Phocus on June 04, 2015, 08:04:04 am
You are right on both counts.  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: stamper on June 04, 2015, 08:11:11 am
Stamper,
The true artist should be able to accept any criticism and learn from it.  ;)


Hopefully you will accept any response that comes your way. It was a wide ranging post by yourself that was akin to a shotgun being aimed at a few people and the blast catching them all?  ;) :)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 04, 2015, 09:05:41 am
Please don't trivialize OCD; it isn't just a matter of cleaning the house every day or checking that the doors are locked.  OCD is a terrifying, frequently debilitating disorder that affects every aspect of one's life, and symptoms such as repetitive cleaning or locking or washing are futile, often frantic  attempts at controlling, or at least holding at bay the perceived very hostile world one lives in, with the view that if I do not do this, I will be completely, totally and horribly destroyed.  Please do not make light of this.

But surely, the solution is to make light of it. Anyone who has OCD must convince himself that his concerns are in reality, trivial, and not to be taken seriously.

But I fear we're straying off the topic here.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 04, 2015, 09:12:49 am
Hopefully you will accept any response that comes your way. It was a wide ranging post by yourself that was akin to a shotgun being aimed at a few people and the blast catching them all?  ;) :)

Of course I can accept any response for what it is, trivial, prejudiced, misinformed, misunderstood, or enlightened and perceptive, in which case I might learn something.  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 04, 2015, 09:19:12 am
But surely, the solution is to make light of it. Anyone who has OCD must convince himself that his concerns are in reality, trivial, and not to be taken seriously.

But I fear we're straying off the topic here.
No reputable psychologist, myself included, would ever suggest such a thing.  And yes, we are off topic.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 04, 2015, 09:43:17 am
No reputable psychologist, myself included, would ever suggest such a thing.  And yes, we are off topic.

Really! You believe that any consensus of opinion on any matter must be  the truth? Are you also an AGW alarmist?

I try to accept only views that make sense, in the light of all available evidence, without prejudice or bias.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Manoli on June 04, 2015, 09:46:48 am
But surely, the solution is to make light of it.

Off topic or not, one should make neither light nor fun of the misfortune of others.
A quite repugnant attitude.


Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 04, 2015, 10:03:52 am
Off topic or not, one should make neither light nor fun of the misfortune of others.
A quite repugnant attitude.

Indeed! If only we could somehow remove the humor gene from humans, all would be right with the world! Except we wouldn't be humans anymore.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 04, 2015, 10:35:51 am
Really! You believe that any consensus of opinion on any matter must be  the truth? Are you also an AGW alarmist?

I try to accept only views that make sense, in the light of all available evidence, without prejudice or bias.
Yes, I believe the consensus of opinion of my psychological and psychiatric colleagues, based on significant peer-reviewed tests and studies, has provided the best possible pathways to helping our clients/patients.  It's called science.  And I don't even know what an AGW Alarmist is.  BTW, "all available evidence" is that you don't treat lightly such illnesses as OCD. You apparently do not know whereof you speak.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 04, 2015, 10:57:30 am
Time to get off that high horse, Rip.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: amolitor on June 04, 2015, 12:06:46 pm
"OCD" means at least two things. It refers to people who are somewhat more than normally picking and detail oriented, often only within a specific domain, as well as to people who have an actual damaging syndrome.

The former group, much larger than the latter, and usually who we're talking about, may well benefit from a little light mockery. It appears to be human to get lost in details, and to too-highly prioritize certain minutiae.

As for the latter, as with all things in Science, there is always a current best state of knowledge, but only the naive and foolish think that the current state of knowledge is ultimate truth.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: NancyP on June 04, 2015, 12:17:53 pm
OT: OCD is often successfully treated with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and drugs, usually selective serotonin uptake inhibitors.

On topic: It is easy to over-think the technical aspects of a photo, especially for amateurs who may still be on the steeper slopes of the learning curve. But the most important thing an amateur can do when evaluating their own photos after a shoot is to notice their gut reaction to the photo, not just ask, is it perfectly sharp, perfectly exposed, etc.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Otto Phocus on June 04, 2015, 12:20:52 pm
So what was the topic of this thread again?  ???

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 04, 2015, 12:44:59 pm
So what was the topic of this thread again?  ???

Obsessing over perfection.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 04, 2015, 08:38:51 pm
It is easy to over-think the technical aspects of a photo, especially for amateurs who may still be on the steeper slopes of the learning curve. But the most important thing an amateur can do when evaluating their own photos after a shoot is to notice their gut reaction to the photo, not just ask, is it perfectly sharp, perfectly exposed, etc.

Nancy,
My impression of people who are 'not into photography' is that issues such as sharpness and an ideal exposure do not generally concern them. They have a gut reaction as to whether or not they like the photo.

The person who has some sort of passion for photography is the one likely to be more interested in the technical qualities of the photo, but not only interested in the technical qualities. The circumstances where I find myself only interested in sharpness, noise or correct exposure etc, are those circumstances when I'm taking test shots, sometimes of resolution charts or brick walls, for the purpose of fine tuning the autofocus of the lens, or to determine which camera/lens combination produces the sharpest result, or which camera has the best dynamic range, and so on.

Generally, I take a photo of something that interests me, or grabs my attention, as I imagine most photographers do. Issues such as sharpness and correct exposure are only of concern if they either detract from the appeal of the final result, or enhance the appeal. For example, if a pattern of clouds were a major attraction of a particular scene, it would be only sensible to ensure that one didn't overexpose the shot. A blown sky would detract from the appeal of the shot.

If the main attraction in a scene is a colourful bird sitting on a branch, I imagine in most circumstances one would prefer to get the bird in focus and sufficiently sharp to appreciate its fine plumage; in fact, the more detail in the plumage the better. Sharpness in these circumstances enhances the result.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: amolitor on June 04, 2015, 08:47:34 pm
My go to anecdote:

I have had a number of contact prints from 4x5 negatives on my wall for years. They are gloriously sharp. The tonal butteriness is everything you might expect.

The number of times someone has commented on any of these characteristics is zero.


Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 05, 2015, 03:10:48 am
My go to anecdote:

I have had a number of contact prints from 4x5 negatives on my wall for years. They are gloriously sharp. The tonal butteriness is everything you might expect.

The number of times someone has commented on any of these characteristics is zero.



Invite more people over  ;D
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: NancyP on June 05, 2015, 10:49:38 am
I was just speaking for myself, as an amateur. I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about technical issues, because I am still on the steeper portion of the learning curve, but sometimes I like a not-absolutely-technically-perfect photo better than similar technically superior photos, for subject position or behavior (wildlife). I just enjoy what I get, and plan better the next time.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Isaac on June 05, 2015, 12:18:49 pm
But the most important thing an amateur can do when evaluating their own photos after a shoot is to notice their gut reaction to the photo, not just ask, is it perfectly sharp, perfectly exposed, etc.

Ask - What do you want people to feel when they look at the photo?

Ask - What do you want them to see?

Ask - Does the focus and exposure and … add-to or detract from that?



Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 05, 2015, 01:10:13 pm
Ask - What do you want people to feel when they look at the photo?

Ask - What do you want them to see?

Ask - Does the focus and exposure and … add-to or detract from that?




+1
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 05, 2015, 07:39:45 pm
I have had a number of contact prints from 4x5 negatives on my wall for years. They are gloriously sharp. The tonal butteriness is everything you might expect.

The number of times someone has commented on any of these characteristics is zero.

Andrew,
That's quite understandable. To fully appreciate exceptionally fine detail on a print of approximately postcard size would require the use of a magnifying glass. One might consider that any visitor to your house, who were to carry a magnifying glass to view your contact prints, would be at least slightly obsessive.  ;D

The impressive thing about sharpness is when the print is really large and more detail becomes apparent when the print is viewed from a progressively closer distance. It's impressive because this is how we perceive reality.

In reality, the closer we get to any object, the more detail we perceive, assuming normal eyesight or compensating spectacles. Photographs have the reputation of accurately portraying reality. That's their allure. If I walk up close to a large print, which looks impressive from a distance, and discover that normal objects and textures in the foreground, such as tree bark, leaves and grass are all a blur, I'm not impressed. The allure of the photo is diminished. The illusion that the camera has captured what we see, albeit in a 2-dimensional form, is shattered.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: amolitor on June 05, 2015, 08:09:58 pm
The point, though, is that really only photographers give a damn about how sharp a print looks.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Isaac on June 05, 2015, 11:04:54 pm
The point, though, is that really only photographers give a damn about how sharp a print looks.

That may be the point you wish to make, but let the non-photographers choose -- present both an unsharp print and an appropriately sharp print and ask which they prefer.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 12:01:13 am
The point, though, is that really only photographers give a damn about how sharp a print looks.


So, do you reckon that 4k video doesn't stand a chance of ever catching on, and especially not 8k?  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: stamper on June 06, 2015, 03:11:27 am
Andrew,
That's quite understandable. To fully appreciate exceptionally fine detail on a print of approximately postcard size would require the use of a magnifying glass. One might consider that any visitor to your house, who were to carry a magnifying glass to view your contact prints, would be at least slightly obsessive.  ;D

The impressive thing about sharpness is when the print is really large and more detail becomes apparent when the print is viewed from a progressively closer distance. It's impressive because this is how we perceive reality.

In reality, the closer we get to any object, the more detail we perceive, assuming normal eyesight or compensating spectacles. Photographs have the reputation of accurately portraying reality. That's their allure. If I walk up close to a large print, which looks impressive from a distance, and discover that normal objects and textures in the foreground, such as tree bark, leaves and grass are all a blur, I'm not impressed. The allure of the photo is diminished. The illusion that the camera has captured what we see, albeit in a 2-dimensional form, is shattered.

I think the vast majority of photographers would disagree with that. Some complain that an image doesn't relate to reality when they see an image and others boast that an image doesn't relate to reality because they have processed the image to suit there "vision"
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on June 06, 2015, 04:13:59 am
Isaac,

Quote
Ask - What do you want people to feel when they look at the photo?

Ask - What do you want them to see?

If people do not feel what you intend for them to feel; if they do not see what you intend for them to see, what should one conclude?
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 06, 2015, 05:29:29 am
Isaac,

If people do not feel what you intend for them to feel; if they do not see what you intend for them to see, what should one conclude?
Perhaps they're bringing something to the viewing experience you're not in charge of.  Hope might be a better word than intend.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 05:47:58 am
I think the vast majority of photographers would disagree with that. Some complain that an image doesn't relate to reality when they see an image and others boast that an image doesn't relate to reality because they have processed the image to suit there "vision"

I think you've misunderstood my statement, even after you highlighted it.  ;)

The key word is 'reputation'. I don't see how anyone could sensibly argue that photographs don't have the reputation, or expectation, of accurately portraying reality.

If this were not true, there would be no reason for certain photographic exhibitions to exclude Photoshop manipulation, outside of normal processing, and there could be no confidence in the veracity of forensic or journalistic style photos, even though such photos had not been manipulated in Photoshop.

Of course there are many examples of the camera producing 'trompe l'oeil' effects, but those tend to be characteristics of human vision rather than characteristics of the photographic process, and such effects can also be created with a pencil or brush.

There are also examples of the photographer deliberately using camera settings in order not to represent what the eye sees, for artistic effect.  Some obvious examples are, using a wide aperture to create a shallow DoF, a slow shutter speed to create a silky smooth waterfall, and an ultra fast shutter speed to freeze a bullet as it leaves the barrel.

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: stamper on June 06, 2015, 05:54:28 am
Ray, you don't address the word .....accurately. That is the one word that most photographers would disagree with. There are dozens of threads on here alone disputing the fact that photography is mostly not an accurate representation of reality.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 06:33:51 am
Okay! I'll address it. Accurate, like so many ordinary, non-scientific words, is a relative term. Its meaning varies according to context, like 'hot' or 'cold'.

Within the context of the history of image making, the camera is generally, or can be, extraordinarily accurate in its portrayal of what the eye sees. With a telephoto lens attached, it can vastly exceed what the unaided eye can see.

What's the problem?  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: stamper on June 06, 2015, 07:01:20 am
Ray you are now dancing on the head of a pin. Difficult for someone your age? ;) :)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 07:49:13 am
Doesn't feel like it. Feels like I'm on solid ground.  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on June 06, 2015, 07:51:44 am
Okay! I'll address it. Accurate, like so many ordinary, non-scientific words, is a relative term.

Sorry to interfere, but Accurate has a precise meaning in science, as does the word Precise.

A number may be very precise, e.g. 3.00153001, but it not very accurate if we meant it to represent the mathematical constant 'pi', or even the number 3 exactly. There are even specific controls (https://reference.wolfram.com/language/guide/PrecisionAndAccuracyControl.html) for them in scientific programming languages, like Wolfram's Mathematica.

Maybe you intended to say something like, many words that are used outside of a more scientific context, may inaccurately describe what they intend to describe.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 08:20:25 am
Hi Bart,
Did you miss my reference to context? Degrees of accuracy will vary according to the context within which the word is used. In certain branches of science, great accuracy is required. An example would be the design and construction of a digital camera sensor.

Certain styles of painting, in the photographic style, attempt to achieve great accuracy with regard to perspective and detail. The word accurate in this context is appropriate only in relation to the less accurate representations of earlier or other cruder art forms.

There are degrees of accuracy, just as there are degrees of heat, or temperature.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Manoli on June 06, 2015, 08:46:43 am
In certain branches of science, great accuracy is required. An example would be the design and construction of a digital camera sensor.

There are degrees of accuracy, just as there are degrees of heat, or temperature.

In that context, the word you're looking for is 'precision' not accuracy.
You need to differentiate between the definition and usage of accurate , exact and precise.

You may aim a gun accurately but you would manufacture a sensor with precision.

There are no degrees of accuracy, there are degrees of error - entirely different and in turn different from degrees of heat and temperature.

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on June 06, 2015, 08:52:27 am
There are degrees of accuracy, just as there are degrees of heat, or temperature.

Something can be accurate, or more accurate, or inaccurate (3.14 is an accurate approximation of 'pi', 3.1415 is more accurate, 3.1416 is even more accurate, 3 is less accurate, due to differing precision. Then 10 is even so much less accurate that it rather deserves the term approximate (if even that), unless you are describing the number 'ten', and not 'pi'.

BTW, degrees of heat can be expressed in Celsius, or Kelvin, or Fahrenheit, or ..., either precisely or not.

Things like Hot or Cold are relative terms, everything is hot compared to absolute zero (0 Kelvin), although there is some scientific research that suggests that under some specific circumstances it is theoretically possible to reach ever colder temperatures.

The words 'accurate' and 'precise' are different beasts.  

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 06, 2015, 10:27:41 am
... If people do not feel what you intend for them to feel; if they do not see what you intend for them to see, what should one conclude?

That there is a mismatch between intention and perception. A failure, in other words. Well, at least in the same time period. You still have a chance that future generations will see it.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 06, 2015, 10:32:29 am
... There are dozens of threads on here alone disputing the fact that photography is mostly not an accurate representation of reality.

The prevalence of such threads does not constitute a proof that they are correct, just that people with limited mental capacities are usually more aggressive in asserting their point of view ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 06, 2015, 10:33:22 am
Ray you are now dancing on the head of a pin. Difficult for someone your age? ;) :)
Foxtrot or jitterbug?
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 06, 2015, 10:37:50 am
There was a similar discussion, so the story goes, between a photographer and Picasso, the photographer maintaining, as does Ray, that there is accuracy in photography.  Picasso asked to see a picture of the photographers wife, and doing so, declared that she was, indeed, a very small person.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 06, 2015, 10:41:40 am
A number may be very precise, e.g. 3.00153001, but it not very accurate if we meant it to represent the mathematical constant 'pi'
Oops,Bart, really really really not accurate if meaning to represent pi, which is, in the short version: 3.14159265xxxxxxxxxxxx ad infinitum, ad absurdum.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: ripgriffith on June 06, 2015, 10:44:08 am
I have now reached boredom overload, precisely and accurate the point at which I leave this thread.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 11:14:34 am
In that context, the word you're looking for is 'precision' not accuracy.
You need to differentiate between the definition and usage of accurate , exact and precise.

You may aim a gun accurately but you would manufacture a sensor with precision.

There are no degrees of accuracy, there are degrees of error - entirely different and in turn different from degrees of heat and temperature.

The words accurate and precise are synonyms. However, I prefer the word accurate within the context of photography because the etymology of 'accurate' is from the Latin 'accuratus' which means 'done with care'. When I take photos and process them, I do so with care.

The etymology of 'precise' is from the Latin 'praecis' meaning 'to cut short'. I try to avoid cutting my photos short.

If there are no degrees of accuracy, then there is only one state of perfect accuracy, which is of course a nonsense. All degrees of error are in relation to a particular standard of accuracy, and those standards of accuracy vary according to the circumstances or the context.

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 11:33:50 am
I have now reached boredom overload, precisely and accurate the point at which I leave this thread.

What a pity! I was hoping you could tell me the origin of the quote, 'Only boring people get bored'.  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 11:47:39 am
Something can be accurate, or more accurate, or inaccurate (3.14 is an accurate approximation of 'pi', 3.1415 is more accurate, 3.1416 is even more accurate, 3 is less accurate, due to differing precision. Then 10 is even so much less accurate that it rather deserves the term approximate (if even that), unless you are describing the number 'ten', and not 'pi'.

Agreed!

Quote
BTW, degrees of heat can be expressed in Celsius, or Kelvin, or Fahrenheit, or ..., either precisely or not.

What might be considered as precise for one purpose could be considered imprecise for a different purpose which requires higher standards.

Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on June 06, 2015, 11:55:42 am
The words accurate and precise are synonyms.

Not in science.

What might be considered as precise for one purpose could be considered imprecise for a different purpose which requires higher standards.

Agreed.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Manoli on June 06, 2015, 12:03:34 pm
A synonym is a word that evokes a, not necessarily identical definition, but rather a quality, idea, notion as invoked by another. I understand your preference for accurate in the context of photography, but not 'in the construction and design of a digital sensor ‘

There are degrees of accuracy as there are degrees of truth. Non scientific (or precise) measurements. A concept more often used in law courts rather than science labs. These degrees are somewhat different, both in meaning and context, to those you originally alluded to. More idiomatic than literal.

Love and affection to one and all,
I’m now off to watch the European Champions League Final, far more interesting …


The words accurate and precise are synonyms. However, I prefer the word accurate within the context of photography because the etymology of 'accurate' is from the Latin 'accuratus' which means 'done with care'. When I take photos and process them, I do so with care.

The etymology of 'precise' is from the Latin 'praecis' meaning 'to cut short'. I try to avoid cutting my photos short.

If there are no degrees of accuracy, then there is only one state of perfect accuracy, which is of course a nonsense. All degrees of error are in relation to a particular standard of accuracy, and those standards of accuracy vary according to the circumstances or the context.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on June 06, 2015, 12:05:47 pm
Slobodan,

Quote
...there is a mismatch between intention and perception. A failure, in other words.

A failure on whose part?
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on June 06, 2015, 01:19:03 pm
Isaac,

Quote
Should one conclude?

How should Nancy evaluate success from the questions you suggest she asks?
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Isaac on June 06, 2015, 01:33:23 pm
How should Nancy evaluate success from the questions you suggest she asks?

Anyway she likes ;-)

For example, if PP seems more enjoyable she may choose to consider asking those questions "a success".
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 06, 2015, 02:23:25 pm
... A failure on whose part?

The artist's, if his goal was to communicate with his contemporaries.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Ray on June 06, 2015, 10:16:21 pm
Not in science.


Bart,
That's one example of the context having a significant effect on the meaning of words. This little digression about the meaning of accuracy resulted from Stamper's questioning my statement, "Photographs have the reputation of accurately portraying reality".

I believe that's a generally true statement and that the word 'accurate' is appropriate to express the meaning that the photograph has the reputation of delivering a degree of conformity, correctness and consistency when compared with the original scene.

In this context I would prefer not to use the word 'precise' because in practice there are so many aspects of the final image which, in my opinion, do not precisely match the original scene. There is often no precise match of colour, hue and contrast; no precise match of all the fine detail on a textured surface, even with the best lenses; a frequent introduction of visible effects that didn't exist in the original scene, such as noise and lens distortions; and perhaps most significant of all, no precise representation of 3-dimensionality.

Such imprecisions are often ignored, unless they are glaringly obvious, and the over all impression of most viewers, most of the time I would suggest, is that the photograph represents an 'accurate' portrayal of reality, despite the flaws that may be apparent to the more fastidious amongst us.  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Alan Klein on June 06, 2015, 11:29:06 pm
Being in focus can't hurt.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: jjj on June 07, 2015, 08:49:09 am
Being in focus can't hurt.
Not a fan of nice bokeh then Alan?  ;)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: kencameron on August 30, 2015, 08:33:56 pm
Briefly revisiting Lula after an absence (in MOOC heaven), I can't resist the temptation to probably vainly tap this sleeping thread on its shoulder. Michael's image is interesting because the women are out of focus and the background is sharp. That makes it technically good. The technical characteristics are being used to say something. We get the out of focus/soft/tender/fleshy/kissy human element set against the sharply focussed/ornate/metallic iron work of cuban (architectural) history. Or something like that. I am trying to point to what seems to me an obvious and essential mode of response that would be commonplace in analysis of a painting. I suspect Amolitor was making something like the same point, albeit in a curiously tentative tone, when he talked about the weeds of emotional response. Why would emotional response be described (even ironically maybe) as a weed? Surely it is at the heart of any work of art. This kind of response seems to be alien to some photographers, perhaps because they are wedded to notions of representational accuracy associated with the technical quality of their equipment and their prowess in using it. Good luck to them, I admire and enjoy much work based on those premises, but surely it can be accepted by now that photographs can work in different ways and that in art perfection is ultimately about expressing something rather than about sharp edges.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: GrahamBy on September 02, 2015, 06:09:08 am
art perfection is ultimately about expressing something rather than about sharp edges.

 :) I've seen one of my favourite photographers shooting through the bottom of a spherical fish-bowl... when she doesn't have black muslin over the lens. For her images, which are all about imagination, dreams, references to paintings... it works.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on September 02, 2015, 08:20:04 am
Ken,

Quote
Surely [emotional response] is at the heart of any work of art. This kind of response seems to be alien to some photographers, perhaps because they are wedded to notions of representational accuracy associated with the technical quality of their equipment and their prowess in using it. Good luck to them, I admire and enjoy much work based on those premises, but surely it can be accepted by now that photographs can work in different ways and that in art perfection is ultimately about expressing something rather than about sharp edges.

Perhaps the subject of the artwork contains sharp edges.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: Rob C on September 02, 2015, 03:59:44 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-


I come late to this thread, for historical reasons.

The Klein shot is not a good example of 'honest' street: he shows contact sheets with that shot followed by the kids grinning their butts off.

His story is that he asked them to mug for the camera, and as a very accomplished snapper, he got exactly what he desired to get.

He goes on to explain that, for him, it is a sort of double self-portrait, for he is both the 'aggressive' kid as well as the 'angelic' one, together repesenting both sides of his own identity and spiritual make-up.

(I've just heard an ad telling me that one can get Viagra pills for under four bucks a pop. That's over KLEB-AM in Louisiana. I had no idea they cost so much! On a regular basis, they make boats seem affordable.)

Rob C

P.S.

I should have mentioned that I didn't even notice the difference in focus of the b/ground vis-ŕ-vis the two ladies in the 'kiss' shot. It simply didn't occur to me to look: it was bleedin' obvious where the interest lies. That's the essence of any shot that works.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: MattBurt on September 02, 2015, 04:31:22 pm
I have this shirt.
(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTYwMFgxMjAw/z/D14AAOSweW5VC3yO/$_57.JPG)
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: GrahamBy on September 03, 2015, 04:32:02 am
Ken,

Perhaps the subject of the artwork contains sharp edges.

Possibly, but not always.
Title: Re: Eschewing Perfection
Post by: AreBee on September 03, 2015, 07:14:05 am
Graham,

Quote
Possibly, but not always.

If the subject of the artwork contains no sharp edges, then sharp edges cannot be expressed.