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Reactions to photographs...

Discussion in 'Philosophy of Photography' started by retow, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    Is it me, or what is wrong here?
    1. So I post these B&W and sepia shots taken from the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend in this thread and some others in the GXR thread. Invested a couple of hours on Saturday (ok, granted, it was a pleasant walk as well). Used a high end camera and top lenses, walked, made sure all camera settings were such that optimal file quality would result under the conditions, tried different framings, different perspectives and angles, bent to my knees and up again, waited until the hords of bl… tourists with their camera phones walked out of my frame, made sure exposure was spot on, changed lenses did some PP. And then I posted some of the better ones on this forum. All in all, there was very little feedback on this forum, neither positive nor critique. Had I shot the BBridge in a tourist type of way, I might have gotten more reactions, I guess?
    2. But then, the other night as I was on my way to a dinner appointment I took some snaps with the Pentax Q, framed carelessly, not really bothering about the camera settings or exposure, aperture priority, f1.9, max iso 640, bold monochrome and snapped away happily. I uploaded one of these excessively in camera processed bold monochrome shots in the "time for seasonal images" thread and got considerable "recognition" for it.

    Ok, ladies and gentlemen, the floor is yours. And don't misunderstand my rant, I'm not fishing for recognition, but rather wondering what pleases the crowd here and why.

    (*This post originally was found in this thread https://www.photographerslounge.org/f23/black-white-monotone-sepia-words-no-words-184/index129.html and I've taken the liberty of splitting off retow's questions and the immediate responses to start a new thread here for more discussion.)
     
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  2. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I'm trying to think of an answer for you here retow :smile: I know how you feel though if it's any consolation. I took a quick shot of some leaves against iron railings in London a few months ago. Just a casual shot whilst on my way out for a dinner, tottering along in a gale force wind in a dress and heels holding my coat together with one hand, camera in the other, half bent at the knees to avoid the 4 lanes of Park Lane traffic viewing my drawers and took a quick snap. Posted to flickr and it resulted in 450 views and 25 comments, the most ever in over a year of my humble flickr offerings! I guess we're just a contrary bunch. Sometimes I wonder if it's where you post on the page in that sometimes if you get the last slot the photo often gets overlooked altogether. Anyway, I appreciate your efforts and look forward to seeing your next batch of images :wink:
     
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  3. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    Hi Retow,

    This is an interesting question, which I suspect many of us here would like to explore. Rather than keep your question hidden here, can you post it as a separate thread so we can explore it further.
     
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  4. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    BB, thanks for moving this discussion to a separate thread.

    Retow, can you post the pics you were talking about in your original post. It might kick off the discussion with a fixed point of reference for us to start from.
     
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  5. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    retow, it's clear that you're not alone in these wonderings! I have asked similar questions many at time - to myself and to others, though I have not posted my thoughts on the site.

    There are a couple of thoughts that come to my mind from my own personal point of view. I believe that for most, it's a matter of timing... Unless I am monitoring the site almost constantly, I miss photographs and new threads. As an Admin, I have tried not to let this happen but it is extremely time consuming and even when one tries really hard, one can still miss things. I know you're not pointing fingers or anything at all like that - you're genuinely wondering.

    If I've missed a several photos in a row, I often feel "unkind" commenting on just one photo by one person...so when I have the time, I will do my best to react to all...but this takes quite a bit of time to do thoughtfully. At least it does for me. What I do find is that if someone has linked their photo from a website, then it is easier for me to go directly there and comment, if I've missed the opportunity to do so in the thread. If people use the gallery here, that's another option - though I know many members may not realize they have to set up gallery notifications to know about feedback there. And finally, I also realize that there are many people who just don't feel comfortable responding with words or don't know how to put their reactions into words.

    I have to guess that many here who take the time to post their photographs do want to get reactions. We have the Photo Critique forum but that's more for asking for specific help and/or opinions not for general viewing.

    For many this is a busy time of year, so I know it's not the ideal time to expect more activity here on Serious Compacts, however I hope that for many we can make the New Year's resolution to try when we can to respond to each other's photographs across the forum. This has always been one of my main interests here, as opposed to talking about our G.A.S.:wink: My hope is that by your taking the "bull by the horns" and posting, and by starting this thread that we can all encourage ourselves to be more generous with our responses to each other's pictures.

    In addition, it's OK to use the "Thanks" button to let people know you've seen and appreciated their photos...and if one has the time, even a short response without waxing "poetic" is also very much appreciated, I know.

    I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts and want to thank you again, retow.:drinks:
     
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  6. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I have found generally that shots I think are excellent, elicit yawns online, and shots I don't think are my best (but sometimes post to demonstrate some technical point or something) get a better reaction than I thought.

    I would suppose this is one reason why I'm not a professional. If I can't identify what other people like, then I probably can't sell them for anything much. So, I just shoot for myself :)

    If others like my pictures, then great! If not, no big deal. It's also why I post to friendly boards like SC and mu (as opposed to DPR, e.g.). I don't mind the cheap "nice shot" posts as just positive reinforcement, and I try to do the same for others. Not lying about it (that is, not reenforcing obviously poor pics), but stuff that is pretty nice gets often a "thanks" from me. And why not? If someone went through the effort, and had a good eye, then the world is a better place for you having taken the picture.

    I did not see your pic in question, though, as most of my forum time is on mu-43.
     
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  7. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    I understand many of the points made, what puzzles me, though, is that a quick, insignificant snapshot with a point and shoot set to excessive in camera processing ( called "bold monochrome" ) with burned highlights and pitch dark shadows with no details whatsoever gets recognition rather than what I would consider much better photography where the monkey behind the shutter had a plan and tried to execute on it.
     
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  8. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    retow, in the case that you're describing "bold monochrome" I think that it may have something to do with "tastes", if you know what I mean. What is in and out of cultural fashion or taste changes... I have a love of realism, and yet there are times where I find myself drawn to unrealistic images - both in making them and seeing them.... I do think that there are trends both in what is generally "liked" and noticed, though it doesn't make any of these trends right or wrong. As an old friend of mine used to say "There's no accounting for taste." So maybe that comes into play?
     
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  9. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    I understand your state of perplexity (is that a word?) and have had similar experiences where a photo of mine that really 'clicked' for me can draw (imagined) yawns.

    Humans are 'funny cattle' and I suspect photographers are even funnier. We are a strange mix of artist and technician and I suspect we all crave a little recognition. We also 'see' in unique and different ways.

    I tend to be more cryptic and reserved in my commenting (it's all that maths and science) while others can wax eloquent.

    Thanks for raising this topic for discussion - it's good to get us thinking more.
     
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  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'd second the recommendation to repost the photos in question in this thread, or at least link to them. I took a quick look and had no idea which photos you were talking about, but evidently missed them the first time. I know I often find bolder B&W photos more evocative and interesting than far more technically accurate photos, if the bold B&W pulls out some shapes and the basis of an image that often times gets lost in the more accurate and restrained photos. I have no idea if I'd react to the photos in question this way or not, but based on your description, I could easily imagine having that reaction. The more accurate and nuanced photo could be a great photo of a bridge, but the bolder B&W, assuming the right composition, could be a photo of a mood or feeling, and I'd go for the mood or feeling almost every time. I generally shoot with a fairly high quality camera and generally in either raw or color jpegs that leave a lot of room for processing, but I VERY often process them to the point that they probably COULD have been taken with a tiny sensor camera with heavy in camera processing. I don't like to eliminate all the other options when I shoot, so I rarely if ever use those settings when I shoot, but that's often the look I end up liking. Which of course comes down to personal taste. But I'd love to see these for myself so I can tell you if that's what I think is going on with these...

    Just for the heck of it, here are two that might explain my perspective. Here are two versions of the same photo. It was taken in raw with a Nex and the color version is a much more technically accurate shot (although the sky is quite well blown out - not surprising when shooting into the sun). I processed the bejeezus out of it and came up with this B&W version, which to ME was what the photo was supposed to be - its how I saw it when I shot it. But a few people asked to see the original, so I posted that as well and I got a few comments from people who preferred it. I don't see anything interesting in the color version at all, but some people did. I love the B&W version but a lot of people are appalled by the processing. The B&W version conveys a feeling and sense of foreboding that the color version doesn't come close to for my eyes. But everyone as different eyes. All down to taste.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/5594452547/" title="Persons Above by ramboorider1, on Flickr"> 5594452547_35a81848a2_b. "1024" height="681" alt="Persons Above"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/5785386329/" title="DSC01807 by ramboorider1, on Flickr">"1024" height="682" alt="DSC01807"></a>

    -Ray
     
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  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    this discussion REALLY needs the images in them.
     
  12. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I had another look at your bridge images posted on the b & W no words thread. I think maybe you could try and post the images larger because even though I clicked on each one, they were still quite small. I think if you posted them larger they would have much more of a wow factor. I don't post many pics on get dpi because I can't figure out how to make mine bigger and everyone else's photos look so much better! Just a thought :) BTW, first and last of your bridge pics held my interest the most. The last one in particular with the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
     
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  13. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Damn...!

    I was about to use the "there's no accounting for taste" line!! :rolleyes: It's very true, as is the old Yorkshire saying "There's now't so queer as folk." What it all adds up to is another cliché - "one man's meat is another man's poison". Let me illustrate this in a couple of ways. This:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightmancer/1764435627/" title="Pink Shoes by RangefinderGeneral, on Flickr">"500" height="324" alt="Pink Shoes"></a>

    ...is my most popular photo on Flickr. It has been commercially successful too, on a couple of greeting cards and as canvas prints. On 500px it doesn't score a blip.

    This, on the other hand, is one of my favourite photos of last year:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightmancer/5151384279/" title="MP4 London Train Reflection by RangefinderGeneral, on Flickr">"500" height="299" alt="MP4 London Train Reflection"></a>

    ...but I seem to be in a minority of one. :frown: I think it's "clever" and makes use of a reflection to present an image that is initially disturbing because it is "impossible" until you understand what's happening in the frame. Maybe I'm overthinking it...

    Ah well... I concluded some time ago that I am my own worst editor and that I am not alone in this. Thing is, are you shooting for you or for mass consumption? If the latter, maybe take a hint from 500px and shoot lots of eyeball-searing brightly coloured HDR. shortbread tin landscapes, "misty" waterscapes with an NDx10 filter and soft porn. I guarantee you will get lots of "likes" :rolleyes:
     
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  14. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Hopefully retow will repost. Good points, Christina, I agree about needing to see pictures larger. Yet, I also want to say that this is also a general thread, as well, about members reacting to other members - not just retow's pictures.

    P.S. Oops! I see I missed your post Bill! Thank you for your two examples and your explanations - ooo, "soft porn"? Just don't post that style here or I'll have to :eek:fftopic: it!:biggrin: Seriously, though, a very helpful comment, Bill.

    P.S.S. Here is a ink to retow's selection of Brooklyn Bridge photos: https://www.photographerslounge.org...ia-words-no-words-184/index128.html#post50572 They are attachments so I can't copy them here.
     
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  15. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    Sometimes, because we are all in different time zones, it's difficult to remark on a picture that appeared probably several posts earlier, without either reposting the whole picture as a "quote" or seeming to ignore the posts that have since appeared, however deserving of comment !
     
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  16. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    It could be something as simple as where they were posted. It's the holiday season and a fresh thread and people are in the clicking spirit. The other thread is a long-running one. "Oh great, more clever b & w shots of a freaking bridge" (not my feelings, but a possible explanation). I wouldn't fret about it. Shoot what floats your boat. But I also think this group tends to like the contrasty, gritty shots FWIW.
     
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  17. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    My hands are up, I confess, I never give thought to how much effort is put into making a picture when deciding if I like what I see or not when I see a posted picture. If the picture works for me, then I don't mind if it took an age or a second to compose or post process to achieve the finished result.

    I will thank people for posting pictures and, if time, comment on their pictures either on SC or, if they have a link, on Flickr. I don't feel qualified to offer serious criticism. I'm not sure I know what types of pictures work for me and which don't. I guess I look for something extra special in a picture other than the just nice. We are all capable of making nice pictures, but we all strive for capturing that extra special element to make our images extraordinary. Look at the pictures you mentioned, what extra ordinary features do you think the pentax Q ones might have had to gain more recognition by your peers here on SC?

    I would add to the request for bigger pictures in your post.
     
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  18. rbrtkrskmp

    rbrtkrskmp SC Regular

    29
    Oct 8, 2011
    In general, I think the way we look at photos is changing.

    Our current visual culture is dominated by mobile photography.

    Young generations grow up with their phone as most important (or even only) camera. The iPhone is the most used camera on Flickr and Facebook streams are full of uncomplicated phone pictures.
    So we are getting used to seeing extravagantly processed, quick snapshots. Apparently, even people who are active on a "serious" forum like SC.

    I used to post "real", carefully edited photos on Tumblr. And I got little or no attention.
    Nowadays, I post phone snapshots in a cheesy, fake instax frame, and I get many "likes" and "reblogs".

    Times and taste are changing.
     
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  19. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    retow,
    To start.... if you would like a qualified opinion/critique on images, I make myself available to you. If you would like it in private, please pm me and we can do it that way. If you want it on the open forum, please post the images, pm me because I am not here often anymore but will post my insights for you.

    I critique, edit, curate etc for many very good shooters, exhibitions and collections.
    at your service sir.... Don
     
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  20. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
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