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  1. #11
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Nick,

    I have a lot of those kinds of pictures too. Mostly when I first lived in Japan and was discovering photography and slide film all at the same time, and having grand illusions of becoming a National Geographic photographer. When I went back to Canada and did a darkroom course at a local university, my teacher would often ask me -- What's this picture of? What's your focus? What are you trying to say? Of course, this was always in black and white, but he wanted to know for a few reasons -- one, so he knew how to help us make our darkroom prints better, but mostly because he wanted us to be able to justify why we were spending so much time working on a picture that may not have been that interesting to begin with. After that, when I took photos, I would often ask myself "what am I taking a picture of?" If I didn't know, or it took too long to answer I usually didn't take the picture (although of course, vistas and places are worthwhile photos to take, but they're not the only thing). I think, as a result, my photos have gotten better (at least too my eyes) -- not so many pretty postcard shots (although I still like and shoot those too), and perhaps more of a personal style. Interestingly enough, I used to get lots of "nice" comments on my pictures in the past, but not so much anymore (from family and friends) and for some strange reason that makes me feel better now too!

    I also think looking at other photographers' work you admire and asking yourself what it is that you like about their photographs may help in giving you a particular focus when you take photographs yourself (although whether that adds 'pizzaz' is up to you). Anyway, just some ideas.
    Last edited by mooseontheloose; 09-11-2010 at 07:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  2. #12
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcd View Post
    It's great that others have liked your photos so much that they have made a point of saying so—really, that is a very good thing.

    But it should not influence what you think of your photos.
    One of the reasons I take photographs is that photography is a method of communication. If I want to be effective in that method, it behoves me to pay attention to how others react to what I do.

    So to that extent I think it is helpful to know what others think about what I do, and it isn't inappropriate to have that influence what I think.
    Matt

    “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

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IloveTLRs View Post
    I'm not 100% satisfied with photos that are "nice"; I would rather have people think "WOW, that is fantastic". I spend a lot of time on Flickr (uploading & looking) - I've seen so many amazing photos (film, naturally) that I look up to. I can't help sometimes thinking "Why can't I take photos like that?" or "Why can't I see things like that?" Sometimes it's a great motivator, sometimes it's discouraging.
    Well, not to put a too fine point to it, but what you're charging after is more of a cliché.
    If you get this "nice" reaction from people for your landscape photos it's because they satisfy their expectations which other photographers and the media (N.G., nature series on TV and so on) have shaped. Their own holiday photos can't satisfy this expectation because they're confused about their purpose and make journal photos instead of landscape photos. One photo can't be good in both categories!
    Anyway, If you want to get a "WOW, that is fantastic" reaction from this clientele, you'll need to set dial to eleven, so to speak. Up the saturation, include picturesque elements, take sunset shots. Avoid being subtle.
    Not my cup of tea, obviously. I had thought that with PIZZAZ you meant elements of photos that speak to your viewers, that shake them up and provoke a reaction. The key here is content. Show something that is controversial or out of it's usual context. Something unexpected, looking gross and beautiful at the same time.
    Of course, you're going to get as many rejections as accolades. That's the nature of things.

  4. #14
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phaedrus View Post
    I had thought that with PIZZAZ you meant elements of photos that speak to your viewers, that shake them up and provoke a reaction. The key here is content. Show something that is controversial or out of it's usual context. Something unexpected, looking gross and beautiful at the same time.
    Of course, you're going to get as many rejections as accolades. That's the nature of things.
    No necessarily so. It can mean adding a little more impact to the print. Ansel Adams did this, so when he did it would you say that what he did was trite or done to "shake them up and provoke a reaction"? He is not the only one that did that, just one example. Are you are injecting you own agenda it the thread?

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  5. #15
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    No necessarily so. It can mean adding a little more impact to the print. Ansel Adams did this, so when he did it would you say that what he did was trite or done to "shake them up and provoke a reaction"? He is not the only one that did that, just one example. Are you are injecting you own agenda it the thread?

    Steve
    I'd call it a point of view instead of an agenda.
    Interesting point you raise about A.A.. He was original at his time, certainly not trite. And he was a great teacher, you still can learn excellent b&w technique from him today.
    I don't think he was out to shake things up and the reaction he continues to provoke in viewers of his works is awe in front of the wonders of nature and an understanding that it needs to be preserved. He did this very well, thus abolishing the need to repeat it in his way. Trying to replicate his photos, one would be unoriginal and ill-advised today. But of course it can and will be done and might lead to personal satisfaction and commercial success.
    No one needs my permission to choose either way.

  6. #16
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    Why do you care what anyone else has to say or think about your images? I find one of the differences in many film and digital shooters is that the film shooters shoot entirely for themselves while digital shooters are shooting to impress people. Do you do photography for the sake of others, or do you do it because it is your passion? There is nothing that is any more of yourself that can come from any one of us. Maybe you need to stop thinking of your viewer and start thinking for your own values in your images, and start achieving them.

    Nikanon

  7. #17

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    Seeing photographically is about asking questions. The first question should be what attracts me to this scene enough to want me to photograph it? What is the main element of the scene that makes me want to photograph it? How do I make the main element the main element in my photograph with the tools and techniques at my disposal? Is this the only way of seeing this scene? Is there a better angle or approach? And because we all take pictures to communicate: will anyone else care or get the intent of what I am photographing?
    These are the major elements of my though process as I'm making photographs. Of course, all kinds of small technical details are working away in the background (which comes through much practice to remove from the foreground of thought).
    I don't agree with the school of thought that everyone be damned because I shoot for myself and if nobody else appreciates my photos than too bad. We are visual communicators and if nobody is looking at our photographs than what is the purpose of continuing photography. This doesn't mean you have to be hanging in MOMA. Having family and friends appreciate your photography may be enough. For others, MOMA is enough.
    What I think Nikanon is eluding to is integrity. We shouldn't be chasing down every fade (hello HDR) because we think it will get us noticed. But critically listening to viewers as you are doing is needed in order to grow and become a better communicator.

  8. #18
    Erik Petersson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomalophicon View Post
    The things I try to observe before taking any photographs are:

    What is it? Why am I looking at it? Why put it into a photograph?
    AND: KEEP IT SIMPLE!
    You are dissatisfied with the photos you are making today. This is good for you, because it gives you desire and energy to practice, practice and practice.

    Also, follow the above advice, which is excellent.

  9. #19
    juan's Avatar
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    When I was a member of a camera club, I learned from a PSA judge that making a great photo is as simple as having someone wearing a red jacket stand in the background. This is the same judge who could not understand why a black and white slide had no color.

    Don't let others dictate your view of your own work. Unless, of course, you are working for a commercial client.
    juan

  10. #20
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan View Post
    When I was a member of a camera club, I learned from a PSA judge that making a great photo is as simple as having someone wearing a red jacket stand in the background. This is the same judge who could not understand why a black and white slide had no color.

    Don't let others dictate your view of your own work. Unless, of course, you are working for a commercial client.
    juan
    My experience with PSA judges was that I knew more then they did when I was still using a Kodak Hawkeye Brownie!
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

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