Quote Originally Posted by horacekenneth View Post
Very well said, the whole post was.

Would it be possible to add one more qualifier on to here?
You've qualified photographs based on how well it conveys what the photographer wanted (their message). Could we add another qualifier that is the quality of the message?
A communist photographer might have made a photograph communicating how great Mao Zedong was, and in such a way demonstrated his own skill in photography (skill communicating his message through the medium), but we would not call it a great photograph because the message is poor. (keep in mind I'm not taking away a level of appreciation of the photograph)
Well, one could of course. I prefer not for several reasons, one being that unless it is a very closed photograph (i.e. the message is not much up to interpretation), the message changes with context, and the most significant part of that is you, since you interpret the message, so it tends to get messy keeping the picture, it's inherent message and your interpretation apart, and it's far too easy to dismiss something one is not comfortable with (on purpose or not).

Take for instance this legendary photograph of the Soviet Flag on the Reichstag.

It is a very powerful image of victory. But does it convey the victory of communism, or merely the defeat of the German Nazis?

Well, the intention was certainly at least partly to intimidate the west and show off Stalin muscles. But did it? And does it now after the fall of communism?