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  1. #11
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpm32
    The ones I thought were the worst she just made all over about. Why did I think they were the worst? Lack of definite subject, distractions from the main subject, bad exposure, lack of details, it just wasn't catching, too busy, etc.

    It was obvious she wasn't paying attention to any of that. What she brought to the table was a lifetime of memories with her - and that's how she viewed the photographs.
    If you think of your family as 'clients' then this issue will go away. At the end of the day, you can influence a bit, but happy clients pay the bills and spread the word.

    Additionally, I would discredit your family so harshly. I have seen photographs that don't break any of the 'rules' yet were sterile - emotionally devoid. It's often the ones that have the 'flaws' that convey the greatest sense of lasting and communicate the best 'words' about the subject. Now isn't that true photographic art?

    Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by gr82bart
    [...] I have seen photographs that don't break any of the 'rules' yet were sterile - emotionally devoid. [...]
    Art.
    True. So many commercial portraits are like photographic emblamings. *shudder*. When a picture isolates a subject from an environment that he lived in, hopefully loved, it's more like cataloging, instutionalizing. That's exactly how I took Avedon's pictures to be.

  3. #13

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    Who is the intended audience for these prints?

    If it is only family, I would give individuals the ability to choose which prints they want. Let your Grandma have the prints that have the most meaning to her.

    Anytime you deal with images of someone who hassed passed emotion will always trump aesthetics.

    One of my best friends passed away a few years ago. I compiled a large collage of images (mostly snaps) from all his friends. I don't think any of them remotely were of any real artisitc merit, but even 7 years later I can look at them and my memory sees the image for a split second and then goes back to that time or place that the image was made. Such images are really a time machine for our memories, maybe the greatest gift that photography can give us.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  4. #14
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    The title of the thread is faulty. Grandma is the one with the trained eye, which is just the point. You're only looking at superficial formal qualities.

    Perhaps they should be presented with text if they are really so visually impoverished without the backstory.

    Who is the actual intended audience? That's not clear.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  5. #15
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    Let me begin my extending my deepest thanks to all of you who have responded. You have my greatest appreciation.

    So... my original line of thinking was to present a finished "product" to the family. I still haven't decided whether it will be a portfolio box or a bound book. I don't plan on doing a photo album (so to speak) as it's just not what I had in mind. This will not be a collage that will be hung on the wall. I envision this to be given to Grandma, and anyone who stops by her house will be free to look at it (friends, family). I wanted to have this assembled for my Grandfather's one year memorial. Perhaps I should offer all my photos and have the family select 12 - 16 they like most. From there, I can make those the feature photos, while the rest would be printed in a smaller format, or not have anecdotes of the man like the feature photos would. Then, I'd prepare the finished "product" at a later time.

    As far as the art and the untrained eye... you all are probably right - it's definitely more the untrained photographer than anything. I've never done this - so I certainly don't know how to approach it. I appreciate the direction you're giving me - forget concentrating too much on the art as that's not what is important here.

    This could also be a product of one of my biggest problems in life: I tend to make everything way more difficult than it really needs to be.

    So again, thanks for listening to the situation.

    Brian

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bpm32
    I'm trying to figure out how to put into words what I'm thinking - hopefully this will come out right...

    I had in mind the prints I did and did not want included - though I kept this opinion to myself. One by one, I handed the prints to my Grandma, and I was shocked at her reaction to them. The ones I believed to be the best (due to composition, exposure, printing - you know - all the "technical" things) effected little reaction from her. The ones I thought were the worst she just made all over about. Why did I think they were the worst? Lack of definite subject, distractions from the main subject, bad exposure, lack of details, it just wasn't catching, too busy, etc.
    I might be missing the mark on this, but it seems possible that your own definition of what makes a good (or well composed photograph) might be a little restrictive. Have you ever looked through much of Robert Frank or Lee Friedlanders work for example? What you are describing sounds much closer to their sort of work - and work that is more than recognised and acceptable - it's just a different sort of photography.

    Kevin said it best - Grandma is the one with th trained eye in this case. The best photography is inexorably tied to memory.

    ‘All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this — as in other ways — they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers.’

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