What do you guys think about subtle photographs?
I am talking about photographs that do not have a strong subject, or no main subject at all.
Much advice ive heard talks about having a strong focal point or foreground subject. But i dont think it is neccesarily bad to not have a main subject.
One measure of talent or a unique aesthetic, vision or something...is the ability to break the rules and succeed in spite of doing it "wrong."
Would you have an example? There are many ways to define it; photos having lots of blur, or low contrast could be one kind. Düsseldorf-school type of deadpan photography could be another kind. The Eggleston/Shore/etc style is also sometimes in a similar vein, though many of their photos have brilliant and strong colors (red ceiling by Eggleston).
I like that approach, though unfortunately it doesn't always come across well. Seems that more often with commercial imaging I apply a three second rule; basically I have three seconds or less to get a viewers attention. The problem with more subtle images is that they can require more attention from the viewer.
A G Studio
sometimes the best things are about nothing,
and if they are about nothing, they allow the viewer to reflect
inward. the problem, of course, is that most viewers want
to be spoonfed everything, and if they aren't, the imagery is " pathetic "
or worse ... "art" :p
Originally Posted by HerrBremerhaven
Can you imagine an image that you would include in a large show, when you have people's attention but which you'd hesitate to present as a stand-alone image?
I can. It's similar to the difference between what's known in the world of photojournalism as "wild art," which is a stand-alone picture that doesn't even illustrate a story...often the result of "cruising for features"...as opposed to the sort of images that flesh out a picture story where the images are equal to or even primary, relative to the text. On a page like that you might have between three and six photographs, some of which work in a way that's essential while not being images that would be published separate from the group.
Sometimes subtle images aren't just ok, they're critical.
About 25-30 years ago, Joel Meyerowitz did a book called Cape Light, of photographs made on Cape Cod. The first time I saw the book I flipped through it quickly and was not impressed. First, it was in color, and I am a B&W photographer first and foremost. Second, he shot everything with a Deardorff 8x10 on Kodak Vericolor II Type L, a tungsten balanced film, though many of the shots were in daylight. The colors were subtle and nuanced, and of course they were not done in his usual street shooter style.
But then I went back through again and looked at each photo carefully. Oh my god.... they were wonderful! "Cocktail Party, Wellfleet" is my favorite.
From this experience, I learned not to ignore the more subtle photos in a portfolio.
It depends how "visually aware" you are. All photographs need some form of focal point. If you were a beginner, I could look at your photograph and think, what the hell is this a photograph of? Or you could be a master of composition and have a very minimalistic/ abstract photo.
I've seen people come up behind me and wonder what I'm photographing, then go off and admire the pretty picture-postcard view of the same scene. The latter of course being very dull ;)
Well - it seems there are ALL sorts of levels this sort of phenomenon can occur at... and context (however you choose to define it can ALSO have a huge role to play) - so it seems to be extremely difficult, at best, to even talk about this unless we have specific examples to play with. It seems also a discussion of 'subject vs. object' might be useful here.