Quality

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Claire Senft, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There has been, as I would expect, much usage of the quality used in many different contexts within this orginization. For your thoughtful consideration I am going to provide a definition of quality that I believe goes well beyond photography. This definition as filitered by my memory comes from what I had read. My memory, as is the rest of me is highly imperfect. I do not say that I am making an accurate quote. I do not say that what I read was an accurate quote of was said by the attribution given Here is the quote as filered thru my recollection. Genichi Taguchi: "Quality is the least overall cost to society."

    I find this to be a wonderful definition. I have thought about it often. Please give it your thoughtful consideration. A response would be well received.
     
  2. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,974
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    When I had my downtown studio with a few staff, my one receptionist/salesperson use to say when asked why the prices are so high: "well this is QUALITY photography". I used to cringe.

    I have no idea what the denotative description for quality is but the connotative one today is more like high craftsmanship, high value and usually high price.

    Although the one you quote is very good.


    Michael
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You're getting deep into Robert M. Pirsig-area here...

    Lila, not motorbikes.

    That book is the only serious attempt to define "quality" I've ever seen, but I still don't know what it means. Of course that itself could mean that the book was successful?
     
  4. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

    Messages:
    1,565
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Thunder Bay,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I once heard customer service defined as "giving the customer more than he/she expects". I suppose the same could apply to quality.
     
  5. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    13 Critchley
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Given that our world is an industrial place full of consumers (consumers in all regards, not just in a retail sense), this statement only makes sense if the the word "overall" is defined as being "from cradle to grave". If this is what Mr. Taguchi meant, then I have to agree completely.

    It's going to be tough to apply this sort of definition to something like art. When the word "quality" is applied to something as short lived as a retail relationship (for example a photographer who contracts to do a protrait), then I would have to say that doing "quality work" implies giving that customer exactly what they expected to receive for the price that they paid. This is a much different scenario from that which I think Mr. Taguchi was describing.

    my $0.02
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have thought much about the statement over a period of years. I find it to have a lot of applicability to many facets in life..including art.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2006
  7. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,842
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    Rotterdam, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Quality=the amount of attention paid to...
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,555
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd say that Quality is the characteristic of providing the greatest return on investment not only in-kind but also of non-like character as well- what we think of as quality not only performs better than similar objects/services directly in the object's/services' function (teakettle that boils faster, holds heat longer, requires less cleaning/maintenance), but also fulfills a non-tangible emotional function as well... the teakettle that we think of as Quality not only does its job well, but makes us feel good about how it does it. It makes us WANT to use it over another tea kettle.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    In far too many cases, inaction would have the least overall cost to society.

    In the case of my hometown, inaction has saved many historical buildings, including one building complex which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list. But as a definition of "quality", I feel it rather leaves something to be desired.

    Restating it as "maximum overall gain to the society" dosn't help either, as with that definition Bryggen would certainly have been demolished in the 1950's.

    The big problem of the Taguchi definition is in defining "cost". Combining "cost" with "to society" renders the whole intractable; there are simply too many undefinable quantities.
     
  10. donbga

    donbga Member

    Messages:
    2,084
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    Quality is someone with over 2600 posts that subscribes to APUG.
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    No thanks, that definition is far too loose! :tongue:
     
  12. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,555
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ole- you're right. That would mean that in about a month, Marko would qualify :smile: and that certain moderators who just keep their words to themselves much of the time would not.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Present company excluded, of course... :D
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Ah! Marko! No, wait... My verbal ability runs more along the lines of, well, the runs, so I won't attempt to quip a moving quote, but I would think that 'Quality' embodies at least these things: something that is better than it needs to be, something that is freely given, something that is both appropriate and useful, and something that is a product of great attention to detail and great care. These things need not be applied to things alone, but also to service, personal comportment, or an entire individuals lifetime.

    - Randy
     
  16. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Ole, relative to your remark about inactivity etc...boy are we in agreement.
     
  17. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Relative to Ole's concern about differences in opinion or reaching a consensus in defining costs is quite true. The definition will be different for each person. The rating given by an entity may cause discension and strong disagreements as far as others are concerned. However, there is plenty of arguments about Canon vs Nikon for example.

    Example: Metal, dependandable, reliable, easy to maintain, low manufacturing cos:t name AK47. Cost to society, my opinion, Extremely high which means low quality but perhaps, far better cigarettes.
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Or in the other direction, but the same kind of "tool": A Holland and Holland bespoke shotgun. The "Royal over-and-under" (cal. 12) costs a mere £60,375.-, and is undoubtedly a "quality gun". Cost to society is virtually nil (except perhaps from accruing the necessary funds)...

    Nor do I believe, after seeing (and firing some) Soviet equivalens that the AK47 is especially "low quality". A Kalashnikov is an incredibly crude intrument that is desinged to keep working, no matter what. Rather like a FED camera, in fact...
     
  19. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Ole, it was not my intention, in fact the opposite was my intention, as far as the "quality" of an AK47 is relative to its intended purpose. It is superb in that evaluation. I only rate it low in quality because I believe it to be of great expense to society relative to the way it is used and what it is designed to accomplish.
     
  20. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

    Messages:
    2,410
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

    Defining quality by value is great for commercial photography if you can define aesthetics and fit-for-purpose well enough. But it runs into definition problems when you try to apply it to art or illustrative photography.

    "Quality is the least overall cost to society." is bandied around a lot in business currently because it addresses the 'higher quality by skilled craft and good materials at any cost to the environment' issues. So depending on your perspective, the new Ford Hybrid SUV might be seen as prividing better value and hence quality than a regular SUV.

    And perhaps, you can apply the def to art. That is if the art in question is in fact contributing to society.
     
  21. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I understood that, and that's why I mentioned the Kalashnikov. In many ways the quality is abysmally far beneath that of a western equivalent, yet the very crudeness and simplicity combine into something that is surprisingly well-designed and reliable - when it works at all. Rather like a FED...

    Mentioning "the cost to society" only makes me think "which society?" The Kalashnikov has had a far greater impact on Soviet (and thus contemporary Russian, or European for that matter) society than the AK47 has ever had on the US society. The Nuclear missiles were a powerful deterrent throughout the "cold war", but most of Europe were far more aware of the threat of one million Soviet soldiers with Kalashnikovs.

    The question we're falling into here is that of "intended usage", which is a slippery slope indeed. FOr a more peaceful example, the otherwise exellent Jim Galli is using Petzval Portrait lenses far beyond their design criteria: A 14" Petzval lens was intended for "cabinet card" size, slightly less than 4x6". Using the same lens on 8x10" gives the "characteristic swirly bokeh" which is now seen as "quality". But within the design limitations, a Petzval lens is sharp all over! Max Petzval would have been depressed... So where's the quality there?
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,066
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Not really anything to do with this other than the title Quality... But I thought I'd mention it anyway.

    A few years ago, a company in a town near me set up to make and sell pine furniture. In 10' high letters painted on the roof in plain view of anyone passing by were the words 'QUALTY PINE FURNITURE' (i.e spelled wrong!).


    Steve.
     
  23. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I do not know how the quotation was intended to be used. I am not by any means claiming to be using the concept the same as others relative to that quotation. As far as art is concerned consider this example.

    Photos of flowers extremely done, brings pleasure to those that see it. Just superb.

    Photos that are extremely well done involving sexual activity between people that is very effective in stirring eroticism in some, outrage and disgust in others and leads to irresponsible activity for some people leading to disease or harm to others.

    Photographer Robert Marplethorpe has done both. I would when comparing the two because of the negative aspects of the second example rate them as having higher cost to society and therefore lower quality. I am not saying that such photos should not be made. Boy am I ever not saying that!
     
  24. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Ole I gave it high quality in accomplishing those goals it was designed for. I gave it low quality because of HOW it is used, has in my opinion, been quite costly to society. The society I am referring to is..everybody!
     
  25. eddym

    eddym Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How close is Marko getting..?? :wink:
     
  26. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I do not know eddym but Marko is way ahead of you and that is with a babysitter slowing him down.