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Worker 11811
03-07-2012, 07:05 PM
geeze what a reply "talk to me somehow"...what the hell does that mean...well..i guess you gotta get into his head--does he like cats? a cat picture will talk to him...like that

who's his class favorite pupil---look at what he's doing and do him one better same way...just move a leaf over or something and talk about the altered juxtaposition makes it a much more significant interpretation....

yup...pay attention in class to what he says he likes--what does he shoot?

I had a prof. who had recently completed chemotherapy for cancer but the treatment wasn't completely successful and the prognosis wasn't good. One of the other students found out that he had a "thing" about grave stones.

Word got around pretty fast... If you want to push his buttons, take pictures of grave stones.

I had an English prof. who liked cute animals. So, for my final writing project, I wrote a short story about cute, forest animals... Aced it! :D

Find out what makes your prof's boat float and take advantage. ;)

John Austin
03-07-2012, 07:47 PM
I had a prof. who had recently completed chemotherapy for cancer but the treatment wasn't completely successful and the prognosis wasn't good. One of the other students found out that he had a "thing" about grave stones.

Word got around pretty fast... If you want to push his buttons, take pictures of grave stones.

I had an English prof. who liked cute animals. So, for my final writing project, I wrote a short story about cute, forest animals... Aced it! :D

Find out what makes your prof's boat float and take advantage. ;)

Today I live my call sign

I admit to being worried about this thread the moment I read the OP - What is required should have been obvious and the replies above are sycophantic and stupid - If your teacher falls for that sort of slimy approach she is not worth wasting time with

In order to be truthful in your photography you must be truthful to yourself, both very difficult for any person - So to be encouraged to photograph through your teacher's eyes is deplorable - Bugger classroom results, the development of your own seeing is what is demanded here

In asking you to leave your comfort zone, safe pictures, it seemed to me teacher was asking you to go out and explore your own perceptions - Now sit with yourself staring at a wall until what your really want to explore rises in your mind, this usually takes about three years to start happening

Failing that, photograph something you love, something you loathe and something fear and try to engage with each area

Valerie
03-07-2012, 07:51 PM
Ok, so how about something from a photo teacher's perspective. If I told a student to stop playing it safe, I would mean stop doing what is obviously comfortable. If you like still life, maybe you should try street photography. Maybe use a different format or process. By doing still lifes over and over, you will get into a rut difficult to get out of. Perhaps you are the greatest still life photog that ever existed. Great. Good for you. But don't you have any other facets to show us?

What I do NOT want to see are photos that look like someone has followed some "plan" designed to please me. Surprise me instead. Make me see things YOUR way, from your unique perspective. I can't imagine any decent instructor who wants to see entire classes of "mini-me's". Additionally, "stop playing it safe" could be a open ended comment designed to make you think/meditate/ponder/reconsider a little about what you are shooting. A teacher's job is to guide you to directions you may not be aware of yet.... To urge you off the beaten path and into unknown territory where you can be fully expressive of the MANY aspects of your art instead of only one or two.

...... That will be 2 cents, please.....

tkamiya
03-07-2012, 08:53 PM
Your instructor wants you to "stop taking safe photographs" and wants your images to "talk to him in some way."

My instructor said this to me once. Somewhat paraphrasing, he says I seem to be taking photographs of things that I know will produce a good photograph. He didn't think there was any ME in the photograph. He also said don't take this advise literally.

I think mine and yours are saying the same thing.... Mine were "good photographs" but it really didn't say anything. For example, they were nice photograph of some landscapes.... but I had no passion in landscaping or geography, so to me, it was just a nice scene.

I went into several branches of photography and I think I found my home in portraiture - especially family portraiture. There's a lot of ME in it although I am not literally in it. I convey what I see, what I want to see, what I want them to see themselves did/do, I have their emotions through my emotions, etc, etc, etc. It's my interpretation of what I thought that family represented. In other words, my photograph showed my unique view of the family.

Successful or not, that's not for me to decide. I think some of them were.

Do your photograph do that? Does it show your unique view of the object with your experience, view point, ideas, etc, etc, etc? Or just a nice photograph of something?

Your professor obviously wants you to think and think on your own. Come up with your own interpretation of what he said and show it in your works.

jnanian
03-07-2012, 09:38 PM
if you have been making still lives all along, i can understand why your teacher is suggesting you
are playing it safe. you are doing what you know you are good at, instead of doing something
that might be difficult.

he isn't being vague, or obtuse, or speaking in code. he just wants you do do something
you might learn from, instead of going through the motions, and not really pushing yourself to learn...

Worker 11811
03-07-2012, 10:03 PM
I admit to being worried about this thread the moment I read the OP - What is required should have been obvious and the replies above are sycophantic and stupid - If your teacher falls for that sort of slimy approach she is not worth wasting time with.


For the record, I never submitted any photos of grave stones to that prof. In fact, I can't remember taking very many photos of grave stones at all.

Finding out what your audience likes or doesn't like is important. It doesn't matter whether you take the greatest photos in the world, if nobody looks at them they won't amount to a hill of beans. Second, I wrote a short story about forest animals because I thought it would be fun. I was probably more motivated to work hard and write a good story because it was fun to do. I can't imagine any prof. would give a high grade to any work that was truly not up to par.

Does Stephen King push peoples' buttons when he writes horror stories? Do you think Serrano might have been pushing peoples' button with "Piss Christ?"
Pushing peoples' buttons is what artists do.

Bill Burk
03-07-2012, 10:24 PM
Well, except that you get enigmatic responses when you want a straight answer to your point blank questions, it sounds like your teacher has given you an open door.

In that sense, you can do anything at all.

What else are you into? Cars, dirtbikes, skateboards, smoking, drinking, working saturdays at machine shops, fishing, just hanging with friends. Playing video games and watching TV, leaving the house a mess because it's a pain to clean up. Are your neighbors hoarders? Are people getting kicked out of their houses and leaving pianos on the street for free because they got sick?

Good luck, don't worry about failing. Worry about turning in something drab.

mids1999
03-08-2012, 12:07 AM
I sincerely apologize for the ease of misinterpretation of my last post.
When I stated that my instructor told me to take "photos that talk to me", I meant me as in myself... not the instructor.

The photos I took varied from still life, to landscape, to cityscape and we only completed two assignments so far DOF and light/shadow.

I appreciate everyone's advice.

Worker 11811
03-08-2012, 12:25 AM
I sincerely apologize for the ease of misinterpretation of my last post.
When I stated that my instructor told me to take "photos that talk to me", I meant me as in myself... not the instructor.

Y'see... This is where the Southern expression, "Y'All," would come in handy.
Or, the New York City expression, "Youze." Or, the Pittsburghese espression, "Yinz."
(All roughly equivalent.)

People make fun of regional colloquialisms but, in cases like this, they can simplify conversation.

;) ;) :D

RalphLambrecht
03-08-2012, 02:20 AM
leve your comfort zone. try something more rsdical.

rudolf
03-08-2012, 05:58 AM
I don't know what's in your case, because I didn't see any of your photos, mids1999...

But let me tell you my story: in my case, I deal with "safe" and "not-safe" photos by developing an... alter ego! ;)

My first personality makes black and white images, always in square, and quite boring. First "me" doesn't like such places as city streets, and it takes lots of time to take one photo (working with medium format, sometimes a tripod, you know, it have to take time).

My second personality - oh, he's different. He often uses color, doesn't like square format and takes pictures in a way, which couldn't be described as "safe" by first personality, that is: often on the streets, sometimes very close to people (with very wide lens), sometimes quite fast and so on...

Here is first me (http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcinszymczak/), and here is second (http://www.flickr.com/photos/roderyk/).

So, maybe this will lead you to your answer. Or maybe not. ;)

DesertNate
03-08-2012, 07:08 AM
Just whatever you do, don't go with shooting on a 45 degree angle and crouching. That's what damn near every kid does when their college photography teacher gives them that useless comment. Shoot subject matter you don't usually do, or shoot something more interesting, but don't be too tempted to "do it wrong on purpose" unless you have a vision of what you're trying to accomplish.

CGW
03-08-2012, 07:38 AM
Get another instructor. This sort of advice encourages what amounts to "mass individualism." He/she plainly doesn't have a clue if they can't specify what they want.

Bill Burk
03-08-2012, 09:38 AM
I got it the first time when you said it should talk to you that he meant make it personal.

Like when I took a public speaking course (which is definitely outside my comfort zone) and they said talk about something you know well, then you will be successful.

So I talked about loading a spiral with 35mm film and processing.

It worked. I forgot my fear and got through the three minutes' talk.

jnanian
03-08-2012, 10:06 AM
...

keithwms
03-08-2012, 10:54 AM
Seem we need to have this instructor come in and face our firing squad....

lancekingphoto
03-08-2012, 11:45 AM
Take a picture of a ventriliquist's dummy, with the phrase below: "Hello, Instructor."

mark
03-08-2012, 02:06 PM
Thanks for all of the feedback.

I have made another attempt to contact the instructor.
In reply to this email, the instructor stated to start taking pictures of things that "talk to me in some way".
This has me even more confounded, as that is what I thought I had been doing all along.

I do not think they mean for me to break the rules of composition, as they have been pushing the students to follow those rules all semester.

This actually makes more sense than you realize.

Make a list of those things you are passionate about. Then try to communicate that passion.
Think theme. People may be passionate about fast cars but that is the object of the passion.
It is the SPEED they are really passionate about.

The instructor set the bar pretty high. Should be fun.

kb3lms
03-08-2012, 02:26 PM
I forgot the olde lady characters name....saturday nite live weekend update "editorial" guest...

Emily Latella

mids1999
03-08-2012, 09:41 PM
Well, there are quite a few things that I have become passionate about, and I have already photographed a few of them.
I will have to dig deeper into my list of interests, and hopefully come up with something.

As far as shooting something that I am uncomfortable with; the truth is, that I have become quite comfortable behind the lens over the years.
There are really only two areas that I can currently think of, that make me uncomfortable; photographs where I would be financially liable for messing up and nudes.

This discomfort would be at the financial and interpersonal levels though, not the technical level.
I have this image of either being sued for messing up an important event in someones life, or getting smacked repeatedly for asking people to model in the nude.