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Author Topic: "washingwell" New Orleans  (Read 7430 times)

michael ellis

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"washingwell" New Orleans
« on: December 01, 2016, 07:20:23 am »

Probably not the final state. Processed on my laptop. Any comments?

Michael Ellis
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Otto Phocus

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2016, 09:09:44 am »

Could you explain what you were going after with this shot?  What was your artistic intention.  It is kinda hard to offer useful critique unless we understand what your intentions were.
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michael ellis

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 09:54:21 am »

Hi Otto-

I just liked the signage, no real social commentary or anything. I mostly shoot what I like and don't have any real agenda/artistic intentions besides making technically sound photographs which please me. Over the years I have found I do have favorite subjects like architectural details and nature and will probably have a coherent set of work at some point in the future. Thanks for taking a look.

Michael
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N80

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 11:32:43 am »

To me, this one looks a bit documentary. That's not necessarily a criticism because that might be what you are going for. The image, however, has some meaning for me because I'm pretty sure that is the laundry that my uncle used for decades. He lived on Dumaine Street.
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George

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 11:50:01 am »

I'm with you, George. I'm starting to see way too many tourist shots on LuLa -- the kind of thing that says nothing more than "I was there." It's discouraging. For a while there I was seeing more than the usual number of photographs that I'd be willing to call art.

N80

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 11:58:16 am »

I'm with you, George. I'm starting to see way too many tourist shots on LuLa -- the kind of thing that says nothing more than "I was there." It's discouraging. For a while there I was seeing more than the usual number of photographs that I'd be willing to call art.

I'm guilty of that myself. Posted a New Orleans street scene here that I thought was interesting but it was panned here, or elicited indifference (which is worse than criticism!). My wife concurred that the picture was uninteresting to her as well. But, that's part of the reason I post images here. Sometimes we see things in our images that just aren't that meaningful to anyone else. And that's good to know.
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George

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Otto Phocus

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 01:07:31 pm »

The photograph looks a bit flat.  But that could be because the scene itself was flat.  Was it a flat scene?

To me there are three parts of this photograph that I find interesting.  So interesting that if I were there, I would shoot them as separate photographs.

The street drain has a nice pattern and tone that combined with the cracked curb provides an interesting composition in my opinion.
I also like the lighting on the door and I am most intrigued by the bends and weathering of the balcony railing.  Each one of these I feel would make a good photograph.  Unfortunately, the one portion of the photograph that I don't find interesting is the signs.  Some of them are difficult to read.

However, if the shop has a personal connection to you, then the signs are probably the most important aspect of this composition.

That's why I asked my question.  Technically, the quality of your photograph is pretty evident (assuming that you were stuck with a flat scene), but in order to critique the artistic or symbolic quality of the photograph, I need to know what was important to you.   Because what is important to you may not be what is important to me and what is important to you is really all that matters.  ;D
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RSL

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2016, 02:14:05 pm »

Hi Otto, Have you considered that maybe what's "important" to the author of a photograph and what's "important" to a viewer of the photograph may not be what's important at all?

I have loads of pictures of stuff important to me that I've made over the years, but I don't post them for general consumption. I stick by what I said in my article on street photography that you can find at https://luminous-landscape.com/on-street-photography/:

"I sometimes see howlers people post on the web as street photography, and I try not to laugh because Iíve shot my share of flubs like these too. Iím sure Iím far from the only one who reacts that way. Fact is that even when you get good at street photography, youíll shoot bags and bags of bloopers, a smaller number of not too bad shots, and the rare picture you should be willing to show. Beyond that, thereís the kind of picture upon which youíd be willing to hang your reputation. If you can average one of those a year youíre getting pretty good."

In that article I'm talking about street  photography, but the principle extends to any kind of art -- if art is what you're trying to produce.

I'm probably inviting the kind of opprobrium directed at those who criticize things other people don't agree should be criticized, but more and more I look at "User Critiques" on LuLa and see what I call "tourist pictures": the kind of pictures that simply say "I was there." I'm not sure that really falls properly under the general heading "The Art of Photography."

And I want to apologize to Michael Ellis. I don't mean to pick on you specifically, Michael. What I'm talking about is a general problem that seems to be growing.

N80

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 02:35:38 pm »

I think this just brings us back around to the purpose of a critique forum. I don't think such a forum should be restricted to those once a year or once in a lifetime photos. Beginners need criticism as much or more than pros. So I don't think that the presence of more mediocre photos is a problem; it should be an opportunity for the seasoned veterans to help someone improve. It is also valid, I think, for people to say "I don't like it and here's why". We just have to remind those who post here to be thick skinned and open to opinion and advice.

What I have observed in this forum for the short time I have been active here is a small group of regulars who tend to critique each other's work fairly positively. This is an observation, not a complaint. A lot of good stuff gets posted here. I have also observed general civility and kindness, which is great.

Critique forums are tough. I wish there was some type of "Read Me" dialog box for each new post that makes it clear that feedback might be negative and might even, on occasion, seem brutal and that the poster should be open minded and willing to accept and use all criticism.

As one who frequents this critique forum fairly often, I feel guilty when I open a post, look at an image that does not move me at all and then move on without commenting. It is a matter of being lazy and not wanting to hurt someone's feelings. But at the least I think I should say, "It doesn't do anything for me".  Better yet, I should take the time to provide useful critique. As we are all aware, that is fairly hard, especially if the image is mediocre. It takes talent, tact and a good eye to help with mediocrity.

I think it is important to remember that some good stuff is often misinterpreted by critics. Even good ones and in large numbers.

It would also be nice if those who post for critique would mention where they are in their pursuit. Critique for a seasoned amateur will be different than for a beginner.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 02:38:56 pm by N80 »
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George

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 02:48:15 pm »

It would also be nice if those who post for critique would mention where they are in their pursuit. Critique for a seasoned amateur will be different than for a beginner.

That would be a splendid idea.

Otto Phocus

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 06:34:49 am »

It would also be nice if those who post for critique would mention where they are in their pursuit. Critique for a seasoned amateur will be different than for a beginner.

Except for what exactly is a "seasoned amateur"?  At what point does one stop being a beginner and become promoted to "seasoned amateur"?  To me the terms are meaningless.

I judge a person's critique on what they write and how they write it.  Even people who have never taken a photograph in their life, can offer useful critiques.

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I shoot with a Camera Obscura with an optical device attached that refracts and transmits light.

N80

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2016, 08:03:30 am »

Except for what exactly is a "seasoned amateur"?  At what point does one stop being a beginner and become promoted to "seasoned amateur"?  To me the terms are meaningless.

I judge a person's critique on what they write and how they write it.  Even people who have never taken a photograph in their life, can offer useful critiques.

I'm talking about the person who posted the image for critique, not the critic.
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George

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2016, 08:06:10 am »

Before the last overhaul of the LuLa software it was possible to include a bit of your background in your profile. Can't do that any longer, and it's a shame because it would help to know how experienced the poster is. Of course it's always possible to puff yourself up in that kind of background summary, but usually the photographs themselves make clear what the truth is.

Maybe I'm wrong, but to me the title "The Art of Photography" at least implies that those "users" asking for a critique are trying for more than tourist pictures. On the other hand I see plenty of cases where people post tourist pictures and the "critique" devolves into "I remember that place. I was there in. . ." So maybe that's what we mean by "critique."

Rob C

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2016, 08:37:44 am »

But there's an underlying problem with photography, should one be expecting clear reasoning for motivation: I don't believe that many of us really know why we shoot something when we do; I think it's all about flying by the seat of our pants and recognizing the possibility of something lurking within the frame that caught our eye.

Needless to say, this has become far more bearable in the digital age, if only for the fact that once we have a card... But personally speaking, I feel obliged to say, yet again, that Terence Donovan was right: the most difficult part of photography for the amateur is having a reason to make/take (use the one that brings comfort) a photograph. Having spent my working life doing it for clients, it was far easier a task. One simply did one's best to catch what the client thought he was after. Sure, technique develops quickly, or you die, but that is of little help in the amateur condition. You can be as skilled as you like, but if your heart and mind remain empty, you are sunk. And that's why I recognize the amateur's dilemma so clearly: out to pasture, I find myself right slap bang in the middle of it myself now. Knowing how to do something well is of little help when you don't really know what it is you want to do, other than knowing that you don't want to stop doing what you could do well.

Russ is right about 'tourist shots' of course, but Russ has (as have I) also been around cameras for most of his long life. The problem with long memory is that one increasingly becomes aware that there ain't much new under that old Sun. Trust me, knowing that what you are doing has been done to death, and better than you can do it too, is a bit daunting, not to say discouraging.

Perhaps we should just celebrate the innocence of the neophyte. Maybe he/she's the hope for the industry.

Rob

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2016, 08:44:16 am »

Except for what exactly is a "seasoned amateur"?  At what point does one stop being a beginner and become promoted to "seasoned amateur"?...

Sophism  ;)

Otto Phocus

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2016, 09:16:57 am »

I'm talking about the person who posted the image for critique, not the critic.

Good point.  I misread your comment.  But I am still not sure I understand what a "seasoned amateur" is or how that would affect critiques.

To me, it does not matter how much experience someone has, but what they were intending in their art.

But that's just my opinion.   :)
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RSL

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2016, 10:05:40 am »

I'd certainly agree, Rob, that if you know, in a logical sense, why you're shooting something the result probably isn't going to give a viewer the kind of experience I expect art to give me.

I keep coming back to HCB: "It's always luck. You have to be receptive, that's all." The winning image is there, and then in a flash, it's gone. Your shot on "Brexit" of the woman with, I'd assume, her doctor with his finger on his lip as he ponders a result, is a classic example. How long did he have his finger in that position? I'd be willing to bet it was less than three seconds. It was a snapshot. You're hit with the scene. You raise the camera and shoot. And sometimes, as HCB said, you feel as if you've really gotten something. In my own experience it turns out more often than not that I was wrong. I hadn't really gotten something. But if what you've gotten is the bug, you press on and look for the next opportunity.

Regarding having a long memory, which both of us have: yes, I'm pretty familiar with the stuff that's been done over and over and over. A lot of it gets done over because young people don't take the time and the trouble to familiarize themselves with what's already been done. Many don't have the time to do that. But sometimes that's a bonus. They try something they don't know has been done over and over, and, suddenly what appears is something new.

Never be discouraged! Every day is a new day.

N80

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 11:43:39 am »

Good point.  I misread your comment.  But I am still not sure I understand what a "seasoned amateur" is or how that would affect critiques.

I am a seasoned amateur. If you comment that a different perspective might help an image, or that a different fstop would be better or that output sharpening was overdone I would know what you mean.

Someone with his first ever camera might not benefit from such comments. Someone with their first camera might be proud that they simply got the exposure right or chose the right fstop and will not understand or benefit from a detailed analysis of composition or tonal range.

So the difference seems pretty straight forward to me.

Quote
To me, it does not matter how much experience someone has, but what they were intending in their art.

But that's just my opinion.   :)

I think we will have to agree to disagree here. Yes, someone who has an artistic vision but who does not understand the mechanics and technology of photography might be able to produce "art". But the chances are far less than for someone who understands the mechanics and technology of photography AND has a clear artistic vision. And I believe we would or should critique those two examples differently.

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George

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michael ellis

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 11:13:04 pm »

To me, this one looks a bit documentary. That's not necessarily a criticism because that might be what you are going for. The image, however, has some meaning for me because I'm pretty sure that is the laundry that my uncle used for decades. He lived on Dumaine Street.

Hi N80-

I was just trying to make a photo that was satisfying to me. I liked the signs and the scene. The signs actually look happy to me. I can't say why though. I find it pleasing that someone with an actual connection to the scene had a look at it. Thank you for your comment. While I was walking around the French Quarter I was constantly telling myself "you aren't here to document the French Quarter" although that did happen just because I was there making photographs.

Michael
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michael ellis

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Re: "washingwell" New Orleans
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2016, 11:22:05 pm »

The photograph looks a bit flat.  But that could be because the scene itself was flat.  Was it a flat scene?

To me there are three parts of this photograph that I find interesting.  So interesting that if I were there, I would shoot them as separate photographs.

The street drain has a nice pattern and tone that combined with the cracked curb provides an interesting composition in my opinion.
I also like the lighting on the door and I am most intrigued by the bends and weathering of the balcony railing.  Each one of these I feel would make a good photograph.  Unfortunately, the one portion of the photograph that I don't find interesting is the signs.  Some of them are difficult to read.

However, if the shop has a personal connection to you, then the signs are probably the most important aspect of this composition.

That's why I asked my question.  Technically, the quality of your photograph is pretty evident (assuming that you were stuck with a flat scene), but in order to critique the artistic or symbolic quality of the photograph, I need to know what was important to you.   Because what is important to you may not be what is important to me and what is important to you is really all that matters.  ;D

Hi Otto-

It was quite overcast that morning. As I said in my reply to N80, the signs looked happy to me. I often see things in the photos I make after I look at them on the computer that I want to zero in on. Unfortunately many times I am not able to return due to traveling and limited time. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the time you have invested.

Michael
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