What to photograph? How to photograph it?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Curt, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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  2. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Sounds like he's had a profoundly negative experience with a camera club :smile:
     
  3. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Just a single quote:

    "And individualist in a club may have enjoyable battles, but he is not llikely to win anyone over to their viewpoint."

    Now, we might start with misspellings (including turning "An" into "And". But the confusion between singular and plural is even more striking.

    Admittedly, it's just "the Web" but illiteracy is not excusable if you want to be taken seriously.

    What a crock....
     
  4. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Uhhh...what is the point of the article again? I guess I missed it!
     
  5. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    It reads like some frustrated knob who needed to express some sort of photographic existentiallist manifesto. After a quick read, I chalked his commentary up to the seemingly infinite drivel and blather that permeates the web.

    As for his commentary about clubs, I agree it sounds like he has been "snake-bit". Perhaps he is SO needy, that it profoundly scarred him for life (oh my!).

    However, if I reflect back on past clubs in various fields of endeavours, what he states has usually existed, to some extent, in all of them. All have some princes/princesses (in a positive sense), and they all have their share of knobs. Half the fun is figuring out how and where to pigeon hole everyone.

    For me, the main thing is just to focus on what works for oneself in that field of endeavour, and to glean and share what one can from the group exchange. If, a group ultimately morphs into something dysfunctional, one can either adopt a "battered spouse syndrome" and hang in there for the tidbits, or one can conclude that "it is time for you to leave Grasshopper!".

    As someone said, there always more fish (i.e. other groups) in the sea. And life is too short to spend time with knobs.
     
  6. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Oddly enough, although I readily acknowledge that Vestal is not the world's greatest writer and has problems with spelling and grammar, I think the two main points of his article are right on the money. Camera clubs do by and large promote technical excellence but at the same time pressurise members into conformity, are most welcoming to work which represents minor variations on what has been done in the past (anything from 10 to 100 or more years ago) and truly abhor genuine originality.

    As regards experts, SO many are self-appointed and clueless - at best they can tell you "This is what it's like to be me" or "This is how I built a career X years ago". SO many have the attitude "Your work [whatever it is] is not like mine so it's garbage!"

    During my 40+ years in the media business, I have not only done a large volume of professional photographic work myself but have often been in a situation where I was commissioning other photographers or curating other photographers' work. Modesty aside, I feel this has given me an objectivity and a broadness of view that I really don't see in many other people!

    Regards,

    David
     
  7. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    g'day all

    so David, can i assume from your post that you would consider there are no basic 'rules' as to what might define 'good' photography?
     
  8. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Ray, after 40-odd years, my considered opinion is that a "good" picture is one that fulfils its intended purpose. Ths means that if a photographer is working to please him/herself, then only his/her own opinion matters (which is not to say that a given picture couldn't be improved, either aesthetically or technically, but I would offer an opinion only if asked, only in a positive way and only in order to help the photographer to say what HE/SHE wants to say more clearly. If the photographer is not concerned about communicating with others, criticism is pointless). In commercial work, pleasing the client is what matters. Specifically, if I see a picture that does fulfil its intended purpose, I acknowledge it as good without regard to my personal feelings, i.e. even if I don't personally like it at all!

    Regards,

    David
     
  9. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    well put David, though i doubt we can ever really not regard our own personal feelings

    to me photography has certain 'ways' which is why photography is used to create the image and not a thumb nail dipped in tar
     
  10. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I agree with David, that David is on the money.

    I have followed, in a very loose fashion, David Vestal over the years when his writings and/or photo testing of paper, technique, or whatever, appeared in some photographic publication.

    He is now in his eighties, so he has been around taking pictures for a very long time, and as far as I know, still takes pictures quite often.

    I believe that he imparts his knowledge with the hope that others of lesser years may gain from his acquired photographic skills. I could put it another way, possibly he sees his ramblings as a mentoring type of activity.

    Whichever way he does it, I don't think you could be too wrong by at least thinking about what he is saying.

    Perhaps his online writings aren't subject to the closer editing any physical publication would normally be subjected to, this may explain the grammatical part mentioned earlier.

    Recently in Photo Techniques he had a portfolio of work which included some photographs taken around 50 or more years ago and up to quite recent times, they were really very good, and different to most of the stuff one sees on a regular basis.

    His photographs in that showing, reflected his writings quite well, I found it most interesting.

    Mick.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2007
  11. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    Perhaps the problem with photo clubs (technical emphasis, pressure to conform, etc.) is that fact that they are "clubs" in the first place ??? Here in Calgary a few years ago, APUGger Eric Rose set up the Large Format Users Group. It was never intended to be a "club" with fees, an executive, and the associated politics. It was, instead, intended to be a monthly forum (2nd Tuesday of the month between Sep and Jun) where local large format (mostly) and traditional (mostly) photographers get together to show/look at each other's work and share ideas/techniques and discoveries. I write "mostly" as we are not hard and fast about the large format requirement (some members shoot medium format) and some members are experimenting with digital printing processes from negatives.

    The long and short of it, is that it just works. Occasional optional outdoor shoot days are arranged from time to time, and we have an annual Christmas dinner that is a great time. Ideas are shared and the group has grown in numbers and creativity and idea sharing. I believe the central reason is works is that the focus is on the photography, not on all the associated garbage that is a part of club politics and administration. Several of the LFUG members are also APUG members. For this success, the credit must go to the tireless efforts and inspiration of Eric Rose. We are knob-free, and hope to remain so.

    To this end, I do agree with the David Vestal's observations about clubs (and I might add, his observations are not the exclusive province of "photo" clubs). Thank goodness we have gone in a different and ultimately more satisfying direction, thanks to Eric Rose.
     
  12. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Whenever I pick up a PhotoTechniques, the only thing I'm absolutely sure I'll read is whatever David Vestal has written. He is among the very, very few regularly published writers who has the courage to rock the boat, and burst the balloons. (He once wrote something so pointed and strong in criticism of a prominent photographer who was easy to identify that he had to temper what he'd written just a tad in the next issue because I guess he'd gotten his knuckles rapped and maybe a lawyer letter....though that didn't change his mind any.) I sometimes disagree strongly with what he writes, but more often than not, I think he's spot on. It's too bad he doesn't have someone edit what he puts on line, because it's unprofessional to not proofread and fix mistakes, but I'm absolutely sure he couldn't care less at this stage of his career.
     
  13. kombizz

    kombizz Member

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  14. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My take on it is that it is an opinion, and he is certainly entitled to it.

    My experience with camera clubs has been less than satisfactory, but I wouldn't hold anything but my experience with that particular club, and my personal style responsible.

    I was the only analog guy, for starters, and while that should have been an interesting diversity for the membership, it seemed more to me like I had an arm growing out of my forehead.

    Also, the main photographic activity seemed to be to line up in font of a subject and shoot 500 or so handheld shots in two or three minutes, sort of like shooting the grizzly bear salmon feast from a railed platform. Just not my cup of tea.
     
  15. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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  16. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    I agree. I have recently been invited to participate in a local quasi-club where I would the ONLY non-digital shooter (not sure why I was invited). Based on my recent experiences on field outings with them, my lumbering, contemplative style with tripod+LF or MF equipment just does not fit in with their hit-and-run, staccato machine gun shooting style (and nary a tripod to be seen anywhere!). I will probably politely decline my participation in this emerging club lest I too be seen as growing an extra arm out of my forehead.

    I had a recent, similar experience at a workshop where it seemed that the emphasis was on "automatic" capabilities afforded by the digi-SLRs (again I was the only traditional shooter). However, the audience, in general, seemed to know little of the basic concepts of exposure, lens mechanics, light, etc. I can only presume that somehow the technological advances from the emergence of "digital" versus "traditional" light have made such knowledge "redundant". I guess somewhere along the way, light changed its physical properties (and I have been left behind) !!! (LOL)

    To your point about the Grizzly Bear Fishing Ambush - I coined a phrase some time ago to describe it... "The Herd Shoot"

    Sorry, but give me a quiet, reflective morning/afternoon in the countryside with my tripod and gear anytime, trying to catch that ever elusive "traditional" light that is out there !!! (at least I think traditional light is still out there?)... ;-)
     
  17. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Same here as well. Everybody is very nice and cordial but I have found that I simply have nothing in common with them accept the word..."photography". I don't participate in the local club anymore because it has evolved into something that I feel is a complete waste of my time.....not that I am better or I hold my brand of photography (the analog brand) as more "real", but I just find it hard to participate under nonsensical rules and an overall club mentality that I find stifling.
     
  18. DanMcGuire

    DanMcGuire Member

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    Groucho Marx said it best -- "I would not belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member"

    I guess that I am not comfortable as a joiner
    (My continued presence on APUG baffles me)