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bwrules
05-25-2011, 11:56 AM
Can we get a frame of reference for New Topographics for this discussion? Do you mean photographers like Robert Adams and Stephen Shore?

My favorite is Lee Friedlander.

2F/2F
05-25-2011, 12:47 PM
main turn ons:

appealing composition
appealing contrast/tonality
appealing mood
appealing content/concept

turn offs:

so-what or just plain ugly composition
over reliance on subject matter to "make" the shot
lack of concept/idea/thought
lack of mood
obvious and unintended technical incompetence with the camera
poor printing
poor presentation
techniques used do not support the content/concept (including size of print)
photographer cannot speak or write well about the work

Dave Ludwig
05-25-2011, 01:43 PM
ON:
Controversy.
Anything I haven't seen before.
Pushing the envelope of taste or subject matter (Saw a man in China skinning a dog in an alley- wished I had a camera).
People working toward something unique. We all prostitute ourselves to make photos people want to buy, but that can not be the sole purpose. We all have to work through the cliche to get where we want or need to be.


OFF:
Discussing equipment prowess -As though I should be impressed - WRONG! The equipment does not see the shot therefore it's MOOT.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
05-25-2011, 03:48 PM
My favorite is Lee Friedlander.

Friedlander was part of the "New Documents" exhibits with Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and the usual gang of Szarkowskists.

Since I brought the term "social landscape", I do mean it in the New Topographics vein: using the tropes of landscape photography to look at the built/lived environment, which may or may not include people, depending on the subject.

Robert Adams, the Bechers, Shore, Thomas Struth, etc.

bwrules
05-25-2011, 03:57 PM
Robert Adams, the Bechers, Shore, Thomas Struth, etc.

And Lee Friedlander. He was one of the first to document the social landscape.

2F/2F
05-25-2011, 04:28 PM
My favorite photographer, if I had to pick a favorite, is Lee Friedlander as well. But I certainly do not consider him to be one of the New Topographics. If anything, some of his more recent pictures (e.g. "America by Car") are more in that vein than the classic stuff I really love most, and for which he is most known.

New Topographic work definitely does explore somewhat similar issues as the social documentary work of Friedlander's prime, in a general sense. For example, they both use the artifacts of culture and society as tools to make their statements. But New Topographic work does it by way of different subject matter and approach than Friedlander and most other social documentarians used. The term New Topographic fairly specifically refers to the photographing of land, space, and structures, and how they inter-relate. This work also imparts much more objective information to the viewer. Friedlander's shooting does have it's seeming share of objectivity, but it is actually deadpan sarcastic commentary on the false idea of objectivity itself, especially in the world of photography. Friedlander's work is much more visually stylish, awkward, disorienting, "pointless," and humorous than most of the new topographic work. A lot of it is about perception itself, which I don't think the New Topographic work is. The New Topographic stuff is really about examination and the presenting of information. Social documentary in the style of Friedlander is really about the strangeness of looking at our world IMO. New Topographic work is about that which we see. Friedlander's work is about that which we perceive.

eddie
05-25-2011, 05:31 PM
This may be a little off topic, but I really dislike visiting photo websites that have music on them. Especially, if there's no mute button...

Gerald C Koch
05-25-2011, 07:04 PM
Add Atget to the list of great photographers.

Worst turnoff - photographs where technique is everything. Jerry Uelsman and surrealism first come to mind. If you have nothing to say then it really doesn't matter how well the print is made. I do like surrealists like Magret but can't think of any good ones in photography other than Nagy.

keithwms
05-25-2011, 07:31 PM
What fun!

Turns ons:
Any subject I haven't seen before, or at least haven't seen presented in the same way

Turn offs:
Things I have seen a thousand times
Effects for their own sake

Michel Hardy-Vallée
05-25-2011, 09:29 PM
I do like surrealists like Magret but can't think of any good ones in photography other than Nagy.

I prefer my magrets roasted than surreal...

pinhole_dreamer
05-25-2011, 10:29 PM
Biggest EVER turn on? Easy. Alfred Cheney Johnston's photographs of the Ziegfeld girls. WOW! I don't care that there's a hint of nudity but I just go nuts when I see his photos. I'm totally amazed by them.

Regular likes :

Old cemeteries
Historical photos, either of people or landscapes, preferably from around the Civil War through the 1940s.
Landscapes (b/w) or sepia
Action photography, especially football, ice skating, hockey...I love sports photography - color or b/w

Dislikes:

Modern portraits

Gerald C Koch
05-26-2011, 09:58 AM
Add Atget to the list of great photographers.

Worst turnoff - photographs where technique is everything. Jerry Uelsman and surrealism first come to mind. If you have nothing to say then it really doesn't matter how well the print is made. I do like surrealists like Magret but can't think of any good ones in photography other than Nagy.

Sometimes its just better to go to bed and post in th morning when the mind is fresh. :)

I mispelled three of the names in my post, they should be Jerry Uelsmann, Rene Magritte and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. A interesting aside, Hungarian is spelled strictly phonetically except for some personal names. So no help even there.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
05-26-2011, 10:45 AM
I noticed that nudity comes up in a few people's list of turn-off, mostly when it falls in the "useless" category.

I find there are two kinds of nudity that people care about: prurient, or meaningful. Sometimes a photo can be both, but the popularity of prurient photos on the Intertubes shows that it's easier to make than meaningful nudes.

The sad sack of nude is thus the non-prurient, meaningless one: just a naked girl, somewhere, not doing anything specific, nor representing much of significance.

Nobody really cares about it. It stimulates no sinful intent, and communicates nought.

Edward_S
05-26-2011, 10:52 AM
Well I suppose it's good to get things off your chest, so here goes:

Likes:

Well-executed photographs with interesting subject matter, or ones which convey strong emotions or otherwise draw me in as a viewer (so an entirely personal thing).
Photographs that show some special quality of the light (hard to define exactly what this means).
Photographs of things/people/places that I haven't seen before (especially from the earlier years of photography and therefore liked as much for their content as for their technical qualities).

Dislikes:

Almost all photos of a jetty sticking out into an empty sea. It's not that they're bad pictures, but the internet would be half its present size if they all ceased to exist.
Milky water: flowing down waterfalls, swirling round rocks (with or without strategically placed autumn leaf), washing up on the beach. It just looks downright freakish.
Photographs in exhibitions with incomprehensible captions. I can only take so much "autobiographical ethnobiology" without feeling like biting my hand off.

yurisrey
05-26-2011, 12:09 PM
likes: as a viewer i like to be made aware that the photographer effectively uses the medium in their own unique style
dislikes: repetition, cliché and generally mediocrity

Gerald C Koch
05-26-2011, 12:32 PM
Someone once remarked that to tell whether a photograph is artistic or pornographic; "the artistic photograph always contains a plinth or an urn." :)

darinwc
05-26-2011, 12:35 PM
Turn-on: attempting to answer the question.

Turn-off: over-simplification
(yeah im calling you guys out who answered "like: good stuff, dislike:bad stuff")
=]

Michael R 1974
05-26-2011, 01:26 PM
I also don't like when people generalize about liking things that are "unique" or "different" or that they "haven't seen before". Just because it is unique or different doesn't necessarily make it any better than something that has been done to death. It is very popular these days to just do something unique, and often the "uniqueness", and nothing else about it, is what makes it "brilliant". I recall a relatively recent issue of View Camera which featured a portfolio of prints from some of the photographer's old negatives that had been poorly washed (therefore stained and heavily degraded). That was the point. Brilliant.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
05-26-2011, 02:18 PM
Someone once remarked that to tell whether a photograph is artistic or pornographic; "the artistic photograph always contains a plinth or an urn." :)

What does a Grecian urn? ;)

jnanian
05-26-2011, 02:38 PM
Turn-on: attempting to answer the question.

Turn-off: over-simplification
(yeah im calling you guys out who answered "like: good stuff, dislike:bad stuff")
=]

i guess this is me ;)

for turn ons

i am open to most types of photography, i don't really mind nudes or
things if they are accidental, as long as some thought was part of the scheme ..

as for turn offs ..

labels ...
and i get tired of when there is no self expression
or nothing that expresses ownership of an image ... but instead just
copying someone else's style or their tripod holes &C ...