Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
That's a different issue from the thread title which relates to the cliche issue.
The "We" you talk about is not us. That the great millions of unwashed masses think they can make a great photo with their cell phone camera, is a problem. Very rarely they are right, in the case of breaking news. However, the big problem is that they are clueless about what makes a good photo.
However, the majority of serious photographers have missed an important clue too, though they have many other useful clues at their commend.
The clue that is the connection between the cell phone masters and the serious photographers who miss the boat is one of the four elements that all good photos have at least three of and great photos have all four. In a way it is the most important element. If it is present, it is enough to make a photo a great photo in the estimation of the general public typified by the cell phone users. And you know what, ... they have a point.
The four elements that make a great photo are: 1) Composition (including perspective and framing), 2) Lighting, 3) Timing, and 4) Emotional connection to the viewer.
The fourth element is the one most often neglected by the serious photographer. Hence a surplus of lone trees with or without sheep.
I have no idea which post you are referring to or if you are referring to the title. Perhaps you'd care to take the time to clarify.
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau
the unwashed with a cellphone is the same as the unwashed with a brownie box, or instamatic or ... its just a different box
there are plenty of people who are inexperienced and unwashed who take great photographs without the "4 elements"
and even seasoned pros and artists who make great photographs without the "4 elements" ...
i think jerry is right to a certain extant, but i don't think photography is completely dead, just playing-possum
Here's a thought: I'm a mediocrity. 50 years after I pass, no one will know my name, much less what I did on this earth. And that's for the things I am really good at. When it comes to photography, I'm working up to mediocrity.
That said, there are a number of photographs on my walls that only I could make. Not only that, but I and only a few others will ever see them. They bring me great joy. The process (making photographs and learning) brings me joy. The subjects bring me joy. I'm not trying to be profound or break new ground.
I just googled these search terms: lone tree ansel adams. There are some nice images there.
A lone acacia tree on the plain of Africa will always be evocative to me. So will the image of a Joshua tree (having grown up in Southern California and all). Sure, some are better than others. Most are dull. Doesn't detract from the good ones.
True--you have to understand (a) what makes a good "tree on a hill" and (b) what makes it cliche (or not, as the case may be).
Originally Posted by jnanian
Then you can move on to breaking new ground.
It's like a musician practicing scales. You won't perform them, but you need to know them. The best musicians I know never stop doing the basic work.
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perhaps you want to show us (and I ask again) some of your work, so we can all be enlightened and finally have a real clue on how award winning images are created. All talk about developers is quite cheap unless one can back it up with some decent prints. And, don't forget, beauty in photography (and art in general) is, was, and always will be, in the eye of the beholder. What is crap to you, for someone else may be worth thousands, for a number of reasons that most sensible human beings here will be able to discern for themselves.
The practice of photography is very much alive. Although, I think what you're discsussing would be more, "Is originality dead?" which is a valid question for anything involving creativity.
I know in my own work (less than 10 years and, I'm sure, full of cliches), I am constantly trying to implement and balance the creative/innovative with the technical side of things. I think it's also important to remember that conventions, rules, theories, etc. are all informed at least a bit by cliches or ideas that aren't necessarily original. Lighting, composition, posing all come to mind here. But that's where subject, context, and treatment come into play, and can make a "one tree hill" photo more original and interesting than it first seemed.
Just my thoughts.
"She's always out making pictures, She's always out making scenes.
She's always out the window, When it comes to making Dreams.
It's all mixed up, It's all mixed up, It's all mixed up."
From It's All Mixed Up by The Cars
Actually, these "Three Trees" on a hill - complete with ominous clouds in the background - did win an award, so somebody must think that photography is not dead...
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932