I am not capable of taking good photographs when I am uptight or can't relax. When I can't relate to people around me (How do you know a conversation is bad? Like when a friend talks to you and you don't have much more than a yes/no answer and then a silence falls. It's different than the silence that falls between friends who know each other well and at the time there's no reason to speak.)
Sure I can take photographs, and with my "professional" attitude, I can even take technically acceptable ones. But, unless I am able to get past the haze of "unconsciousness" - for at that time I am not "myself" and I am not acting "consciously" (Different than the beautiful "unconsciousness" when things really click without thinking - this is an "off" state), the photograph will be missing something essential, that I demand. It will have no spark or soul.
At times like these, I am an automaton. The world around me is a blur. I can navigate the intersections and obey traffic signals but I am unable to really "see" - At times like these I cannot take good pictures.
I found out that more people likes the shots I dislike and vice versa.
[ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]
I haven't had that happen, but have had friends fawn over a shot that I think is just OK.
Originally Posted by dehk
I don''t believe you have to consciously analyze a photo, or at least, not for long. It's generally an instant gut reaction sort of thing. Some negatives can be dolled up a bit with manipulations while printing, but you'll never make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
So, although there are times when nothing works, nothing is going to happen and you get back and know nothing did...
These are balanced with times when the conversation flows. The jokes are funny, and the friends... old and know-you-so-well... they totally get that you are hanging out under the treehouse, and let you be. Or the light comes through, or the river beckons. These times when photos can't help but be taken... Make it worthwhile.
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One of many criteria for me is: all "maybes" goes to trash.
Of the thousands of photographs that I've taken (digitally and analog), I can probably count on two hands the number that I've printed.
And of the ones that I've printed, only three are currently on display in my home, and even then they are in areas that I cannot easily see.
I'm usually excited to shoot them, excited while processing them, and then after the initial review I rip them to shreds and notice every nit picking thing that I don't like. After the laundry list of things that are wrong, I end up getting disgusted with it and shove them in a file folder, never to be seen again. I've only displayed some things on a website to attract business in the past, but even that is in the process of being taken down at this time.
It's not whether or not I know its a bad photograph, its whether or not I feel worthy and validated as a 'photographer'. Even when people say "that photo is awesome", I still think in my head "they're just being nice." And perhaps it is a good photograph, but I still feel like it completely sucks because I noticed that soft focus, or that 1/2 a stop underexposure, or that camera shake, or that color shift, or that... or that...
My definition of "good" & "bad" is changing over time.
Just gave my son a print taken of him in the lab he worked in (washing test tubes, etcetera..) at "his" sink, striking a grandiose pose.
Focus is a bit soft, he wiggled so a bit of blur too. But last night he and my daughter in law declared it "the best shot ever". The first few times I tried to print it I really wasn't getting to like it but it was all I had and kept coming back.
Last winter I made some real headway in my printing skills, and one thing that I've noticed looking back that work, over the last few weeks is that my B&W stuff looks better after a year, my color work looks better when printing. That's not an absolute but a trend and interesting.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I have the same problem, but I've decided to just live with it. I'm an imperfect photographer, I always will be, practically everyone else is too, and it's a fool's errand to determine whether I feel "worthy and validated" based on the quest for perfection---it's about as useful as determining whether I feel worthy and validated based on whether I can fly!
Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy
Seeing different people's reactions to my photos has been eye-opening in this respect. The attached shot is one of my favorite photos of my son; I look it and I see that un-self-consciousness of childhood, the laser focus on any current object of interest that's one of his most basic character traits, a pleasing spot of color that breaks up what would otherwise be overly bullet-y composition, and so on. (OK, I wish the out-of-focus rocks weren't in the foreground, and that the barn column weren't growing out of his neck, but those aspects don't confront me unless I look for them.) All three of his living grandparents feel the same way and have prints of that photo in places of prominence. But my wife finds it to be merely-OK, just another cute picture of the Boy. Everyone involved is a reasonable person in most respects, everyone has taste and discernment, everyone is looking at the same photo, it just hits them differently. So if I were searching for validation, should I be perfectly satisfied because it works for me, 75% satisfied because it works for three of the four other people closest to the subject, dissatisfied because it fails to reach someone who matters, should I be waiting around until the subject can tell me dispassionately what he thinks...? I've concluded that it's a silly question and I should just get out and shoot.
(Alternatively, I could go do some actual work. Anyone want to integrate Java code as a separate thread in a Python script for me?)
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
Originally Posted by ntenny
I'm sure this will be controversial but sometimes 10 minutes and you can remake an image to what you want. Personally I like the rocks. They add dimension by creating a foreground, a middle ground and a background.. A great picture, but I dislike the stripes and I think it looks better in black and white.
I've already deleted this from my files. Please feel free to do with it as you wish.
Last edited by blansky; 11-20-2012 at 02:26 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.