Wise words indeed!
Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble
I looked around in your gallery uploads before posting this response. I really like some of your compositions that you have posted in there. The ones that I gloss over because they don't interest me are the ones like you presented in your OP. I wouldn't know how to comment on compositions in that brand of photography because it simply does not hold my attendtion, but I can appreciate it for what it is. But compositions as seen in "Them Old Boots", "Sheard Steps", and the "Ohiopyle" series are very pleasing to my eye. But, I believe there is no mistaking it, despite all other satisfying elements, if composition is "perceived" to be weak, then aesthetically, it can fail in any one person's eyes, including your mother's. In the end, if you feel good about it, then who's to say your own perception is wrong?
To be blunt, she may be your mother and very dear are all mothers to us but she is one person whom it appears doesn't rate your compositional skills. However you have evidence that plenty others do so why worry about one person's opinion?
Allow one hundred people into an exhibition of say 10 great photographers' work and I'll guarantee that at least one of the hundred won't like some of the work on show and cite composition among a myriad of other reasons. Here's another guarantee. They won't all home in on the same work or even the same photographer
Value your mother for what you believe she is good at and accept that she may not be a "born photographic critic"
We all want our parents love and their acceptance of what we do. Have you asked her what she likes and doesn't like in the photos? It may not change either of your beliefs in what makes good photographic composition. However, it could open a line of communication where you both can accept each other for what you both are. That's more important in the scheme of things.
Your photos are fine! I couldn't see them very clearly but they look manipulated and not straight shots. If they are manipulated in any way then your mother won't like it. But I am not sure if your mother thinks like a mother I known that the music isn't music if it has no lyrics and a photo isn't a photo if it doesn't show a person or animal (or a soul).
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Bet your mother would like the compositions better if her grandchild was in them .
Composition is really personal - so the chances of your mother seeing things the same way you do aren't all that high.
Do you tend to like the composition of things she likes?
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
It's hard for me to say if they're good or not. Composition is, in my opinion, personal. I like the concept, and find your photos quite nice.
I've found that matching composition to my intended impression makes my photos stronger.
My wife finds my photos so-so, but others like them, so don't worry about it. Ask your mom how she thinks they could be better. You might find she likes them more if she's a bit involved.
Take care and have a great Thanksgiving!
How does she regard your grandmother's compositions?
I'm lucky to know, and it helps me put mom's criticism in perspective. When I get criticism from my mom (She'll comment on what draws my eye, and she's right.) Then she speaks of grandma, who was a great teacher but "one step short" of being a great artist. Then there's my dad the art teacher. He is an affirmer and never critical, so I don't know his opinion on my compositions. He just wants pictures from his 80th birthday party.
Thanks all for the great responses! I think part of why I asked in the first place was in case I was getting the "oooh, nice photo" type responses, but from people who appreciated the technical more than the artistic/composition aspect. I am totally fine with the concept of some people liking it and some not - no one will ever please everyone. Just start a thread here on "St." Ansel vs Edward Weston and see what happens.
I wish I could get a straight answer from my dad (who rarely speaks and hasn't been involved in any of the questioned conversations) - he used to be the family photographer (I have his old camera) and there were several artists on his side of the family (not mom's side, AFAIK).
And, yes, the ones I posted in the initial post are a bit of a departure from my usual, but I needed something new for the "audition" and these were what she was looking at when she made the most recent comments. Thank you much to those who looked at my gallery to see my past history, too.
Believe me, johnielvis, I don't let other's opinions decide what/how I'm going to shoot. Like others before me, I do it my way. But I did want to know if I was failing completely and should think about whether it's worth pleasing only myself.
btw, she's NEVER criticized photos of her grandson. Hmmm, big surprise there.
As I've thought about it, there really are a fair number of other things on which she's had different opinions than I. The color of my room as a kid (she picked my least favorite color), assorted gifts over the years, so I guess I should just count this among those and move on. Thanks to all for letting me know I'm not totally nuts or blind!
You're a bit too hard with yourself. And your mother may just be a bit overbearing in her Headmistress-like commentary. All due respect to her experience and eye, but individuals are very much entitled to evolve their own specific styles, interpretations and compositions — including you. The works look like studies using alternative processes? The middle pic to my eyes is perfect — it's something the eye lands on comfortably the first time it comes into view. I cannot determine what I am looking at from the left and right side pics.