Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
Sure, and I think just about everyone on APUG agrees with all of that, except for quibbling about the definition of "best" in that last sentence. That's a photographic world we aren't talking about here, precisely *because* it's gone almost entirely digital, but I think much of the OP's question would apply there too: Can people appreciate family portraits that have some damn CHARACTER in them, that say something about the people they show, rather than just documenting an image of the person and relying on the viewer to supply the emotional content? I think statistically the answer is "kinda but not very much", and that's not a new thing having to do with any particular medium, it's just that human beings tend to be kind of lazy viewers.

Let me ask you this: Do you do portraiture out of a profound artistic attachment to portraiture as well as for the paycheck, or is it a "just a job" kind of photography for you?

I ask because, if you picked door #1, I'd expect that you might feel some frustration about those philistine customers and how they can't tell a good portrait from a mediocre one, as long as it's in focus and of the right person and the skin isn't green. That's not film vs. digital, I don't think it's even a purely relative aesthetic judgement, it's "investigative viewer" vs. "passive viewer". And I think it's quite understandable that in a crowd like APUG, where people are intentionally taking a particular and somewhat challenging route to a final image, many of us wish we could get a world of more investigative viewers, who notice and care about the details that motivate our choices of process.

Do I do photography for a paycheck? No never have. The only process that interests me is the process of working with people. That's the enjoyment. The craftmanship part is also a major part of it. From day one, I loved skin and how to light it and make it glow. Then came expression and how to capture it. Then came how to set up bodies to enhance the beauty and relationships.

I used analog day in and day out for 30 years. Medium format, develop and print my own work. Retouch negatives and retouch prints. Then came digital and I was one of the last to adopt it, because I wasn't convinced of longevity. The process of what makes that final image on the wall is only a relevant to me in that is has to be a productive process.

I often get the feeling here that there is so much concern about process because there is so little being sold. So people obsess with trivia and fiddle with instruments.

99.99% of people don't care what is under the hood of their car. As long as it get the results they want. A lot of people here are like a bunch of mechanics obsessing over the engines and wondering why people don't care. Sorry they don't. They just want their car to do what a car is supposed to do.

My clients just want what a portrait is supposed to do. How I achieve it is not interesting to them. As for people that can't tell the difference between my work and someone else's, is why we have price lists and why we have carriage trade and we have Sears. It all works out.