View Full Version : What are your photographic turn-ons/turn-offs?

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05-24-2011, 08:37 PM
Turn offs (these seem to be more easy to come up with, for whatever reason...)
-"Extreme post processing," including, but not limited to, the HDR hole
-Anything for anything's sake
-Filter whoring (as Lon delicately put it)
-Lomography/Bokeh/Hipsters thinking it's ironic to use a Nikon F because 'omg it's so 19th century'/it's all the same

One of my former professors, when assigning projects about social issues, had a list of images and subjects that were not acceptable... which stimied most of the students. The list had everything from "kittens" to the most controversial subjects of the time on it: "abortion, war in Iraq, eating disorders..." and so on. In time, I decided I'd never make images about those subjects, because they were done to death.

05-24-2011, 08:43 PM
Turn offs:
Inartful nudity or porn
Snapshots parading around as photographs
Color, when B&W would be exquisite
B&W, when color would have produced a superior result
The average pregnancy picture. However some I have seen were incredibly well done.

Turn ons:
Any well done photograph, even if it is only suitable as a textbook illustration, etc. Photography is an art and a science and good stuff is good stuff.

Roger Cole
05-24-2011, 11:32 PM
Want more of:

Social landscape in colour
Natural landscape in black and white
Compositional rigour in line, tone, texture, shape

Want less of:

Homeless picture #2012310413b
Fine Art Photography
Slot canyons
Sand dunes
Street photography
Decisive moments
Jazz musicians / buskers

What the heck is a "social landscape?" Pictures of landscapes or building-scapes that include signs of humanity, like "urban landscapes" only including rural or suburban or wherever? I never heard the term before and that's all I can think of that it might mean.

05-25-2011, 12:35 AM
Social Landscape? Look up New Topographics.

Tony Egan
05-25-2011, 12:43 AM
Preoccupation with categorisation/labelling of types of photography
One exception: "Banal" and "Deadpan" which end up being just plain dead and boring

I know what I like when I see it. It's not based on which label or subject type might be attached to it.
Photos that are the axe that breaks the frozen sea inside us (with apologies to Kafka)

Ken Nadvornick
05-25-2011, 03:09 AM
Let's try some non-content related things...

The anticipation time between exposure and development.
The unmistakable smell of a mid-life acid fixing bath.
The quiet gurgling sound of the siphon hose on a print washer.
The comforting appearance of anything viewed under red light.

The assumption that it must be about terrorism.
The assumption that is must be about kiddie porn.
The assumption that newer is always better.
The assumption that he must be a moron to want to photograph THAT!


05-25-2011, 03:12 AM
Like: Well-executed street photography
photojournalism in black and white
Artistic nudes
Overexposed color negative
Anything exemplifying social commentary
super-sharp or super-blurred portraiture

Dislike: Nudes that offer nothing apart from nudity
Most landscapes
Most architectural

05-25-2011, 03:19 AM
Like: Travel, nature, landscape, so general natural beauty. Also like "industrial" stuff like power stations etc.

Dislike: Generally not keen on "street" photography. For me it's just pictures of people doing what we do every day and somehow uninteresting for me. Kind of like reading a book about every day life, with a whole chapter on how Excel was running really slow at work.

Steve Roberts
05-25-2011, 04:38 AM
Industrial landscapes
Hard-hitting photojournalism
Clever use of light (OK, all photography is about light, but some are able to use it better than others)
Photos mounted on/in black.
Interesting skies.

Offbeat composition for its own sake that does nothing for the end result. (Anyone remember the 'STARB' obsession? Shot Through A Rhubarb Bucket?)
Anything starring a windswept, gnarled tree (every other photo of Dartmoor seems to have one).
The use of colour filters in colour photography, e.g. graduated filters for skies. Polarising filter, OK, graduated orange filter, not OK. No logic - just the way I feel!
People who brag about how many 'bricks' of film they've bought/got in their freezer. I am not interested - it's what they do with it that counts.
Photos mounted on/in white.

05-25-2011, 06:08 AM
Only when it's very tasteful. But no one really wants to look at furry pussies anymore :p

Pure Gold!

I really don't have many turn off's. I enjoy looking at most photography. If I have to say anything, it would be McPhoto's, I.E., the shots that everyone copies of each other and gore for the sake of gore.

Roger Cole
05-25-2011, 07:40 AM
Social Landscape? Look up New Topographics.

If I wanted to look something up I wouldn't ask here.

Seriously, a quick look already turned up a general idea, much like I suspected, but I'm curious what the people using the term here mean by it.

Shawn Rahman
05-25-2011, 07:57 AM
Would like to see more:

Straight photography
Attention to detail
High quality printing

A lot less:

"Dramatic" skies
Negative scans
Lith and alternative whatever
Multiple super toning

And the number one thing I can't stand on here:

Making the point you used old expired film/paper.

Wow. Agree with ALMOST everything you wrote here, although many of us don't have the means to wet print at the moment, so perhaps negative scans are mainly done for necessity. I suppose I could get commercial prints and scan those.

I really like your answer to "Lith and alternative whatever". It does seem to me that lavish praise is often poured upon anything lith or wetplate on this forum, regardless of image quality. Don't get me wrong - I love a lot of it, and am in awe of what goes into the process, but it still must be a good image in the end, no?

Shawn Rahman
05-25-2011, 07:59 AM
Can we get a frame of reference for New Topographics for this discussion? Do you mean photographers like Robert Adams and Stephen Shore?

Michael R 1974
05-25-2011, 09:10 AM
Also Wessel and Baltz. They all participated in a mid-70s exhibition. They were collectively referred to as the New Topographics. Some of it is quite interesting. It can be challenging to look at some of it because of the deadpan approach to the already potentially banal subject matter. But it remains an important influence on me in my own photography. There is an excellent book called New Topographics which I bought recently. It shows all the images that were in the original exhbition and discusses the exhibition itself and the subject matter.

Jeff Kubach
05-25-2011, 09:23 AM
Mention before that IR is a turnoff, to me that is a turn on!


05-25-2011, 09:44 AM

Architectural photos that are solely about the building
Nudes of people tattooed and shaved
Photos that would be okay but for that one corner or edge that is weak (ill-considered composition)
extremely shallow DoF portraits
The "macro photo of toys" effect
extreme wide-angle photos
overly dramatic or black skies

Turn ons:

Great examples of the above
well done composition
attention paid to the quality of light
helping others to make photographs

05-25-2011, 10:42 AM

Most photography post WWII to Present
Bad Portraiture


Most photography 1830's - 1930's
Exquisite Portraiture

05-25-2011, 11:16 AM
This is extremely difficult to put into words. I look at hundreds of photos every day and when one grabs me it is typically well executed technically, a composition strong enough to hold me in the frame and hold my attention. It is also an image that continues to draw me back to it. Any subject can be of interest.

05-25-2011, 11:48 AM
Any well done photograph, even if it is only suitable as a textbook illustration, etc. Photography is an art and a science and good stuff is good stuff.[/QUOTE]

Perfectly stated!

Roger Thoms
05-25-2011, 11:54 AM
turn offs

turn ons
"breaking rules"

Really, I had no idea. ;)