Show "Blandness"

Discussion in 'Herman's Genres' started by pictor, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
    Since there is no thread for bland pictures, I have decided to open one.

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    Canon PowerShot G12, 9.8mm @ f/3.2, 1/60, ISO 80

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    Canon PowerShot G12, 18.1mm @ f/4.0, 1/25, ISO 3200
     
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  2. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I'd end up posting over half the photos I ever took ,lol!
     
  3. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Christian, thank you. I decided to look up the definition of blandness because I think that "blandness" is often misunderstood. Blandness. according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary means:
    To me, your two photos have the smooth and soothing qualities in the colors, tones and mood.
     
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  4. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
    BB, please remember that English is not my native language and hence it happens sometimes that I don't get all connotations of some words and phrases. Some years ago I read the book "Über das Fade. Eine Eloge: Zu Denken und Ästhetik in China" by Francois Jullien. This is the German translation of an original French book whose English title is "In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics". If you are heavily interested in Chinese aesthetics, you may want to read this book. The intended meaning of the german word "fade" is not "boring", which is also an English word for "fade", but something different. I supposed that the translators of this book used the correct word and thus I chose this word, too.
     
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  5. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Oh, I can see what you were after very well, Christian. That's why I decided to post the definition because I think many of us English as our first language types, give the word "bland" a negative meaning, which it clearly does not have as its first meaning. I can understand the use of the word "fade", as well. Perhaps "understatement" is another related description?

    The book you've mentioned sounds fascinating. I'll see if I can find a copy because now you've gotten me even more interested in the whole idea!
     
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  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
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    you should be able to figure it out...
    Among the thousands of shots I brought back from Europe last summer was this rather quiet little shot of a solitary gent reading the paper at the breakfast table. I couldn't bring myself to trash it, but it was always too..... I guess the word would have to be "bland".... to use or do anything in particular with. I didn't know what I was saving it for. Until now. PERFECT, a thread for bland photos! I think this meets any of the definitions discussed above. Its not bad, not exciting, mildly soothing in a sense. In a word, bland. So, thanks for presenting this unexpected opportunity!

    -Ray

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/5177946241/" title="P7272945 by ramboorider1, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="774" alt="P7272945" /></a>
     
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  7. Mayank

    Mayank SC Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    230
    Jul 16, 2010
    India
    What a lovely subject, Pictor! Thanks!

    Here's 'Submerged in Fog'. Canon PowerShot G9.

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  8. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Ray, that photograph of yours is a thoughtful, quiet portrait. I think you're wrong - it is one of your best. Since this is not a W/NW thread, I'm going to ask if you have tried cropping in from the left in order to remove the electronic controls. I know it will cut off the vine, and the small potted plant, too. Your call, obviously. This portrait could be of Picasso, from times past. The tones of black and white are lovely and it has a real sense of place, weight and time. Very painterly and strong in it's quiet way.

    Mayank, what can I say? So soft and subtle cloaked in natural beauty. I am a huge fan of the way you distill landscapes to their essence.
     
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  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
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    you should be able to figure it out...
    A fine suggestion, as always. I'd already cropped a bit out of the shot and I do like the vine framing the left side, so rather than crop it anymore and losing both the vine and some sharpness, I just retouched the electronic stuff off of the wall (and replaced the shot in the post above). You can see it if you look close, but its not something you'd probably look at closely unless you were looking for remnants. So, thanks for the idea!

    As for Mayank's shot, that one almost strikes me as just too beautiful to qualify as bland! Its beautiful in a very subtle way, so maybe the term applies, but I have trouble thinking of it that way...

    -Ray
     
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  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Wow, that was fast! I don't know how to do that magic, Ray - wish I did.

    I think you're reading too much of the second definition of bland into its meaning.:wink: Perhaps we'd all better get a hold of the book that Christian has recommended Amazon.com: In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics (9781890951412): Francois Jullien, Paula M. Varsano: Books: Reviews, Prices & more Here is the description via Amazon's site:
    I'm sure there are better explanations, however even by reading this, I think one can come away with a much better idea of what this blandness is about. The book sounds very thought provoking. I may have to buy it for myself sooner, rather than later. Thank you Christian!
     
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  11. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
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  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
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    you should be able to figure it out...
    Depending on the complexity of the background, it can be extremely quick and easy (as with this shot) or a bit laborious. And, in some cases, almost impossible. But with something like this, its about a 10-20 second adjustment in Aperture. If I'd done it to the clean image before applying any other processing, I could have probably made it totally invisible. Because it was a non-critical part of the shot, I just went ahead and applied it on top of the image that had already been processed in Silver Efex Pro and already saved back to a jpeg. And you can see the outline of the change. Like I said, VERY quick and easy. I have one landscape type shot that I did a couple of months ago that I was able to remove a power line, two power line poles (fairly prominent ones at that), and a car and, if I didn't know where to look, I'd never know the difference. That took about 10-15 minutes worth of messing about though.

    -Ray
     
  13. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Ray, perhaps you might consider giving a more detailed explanation over in the Image Processing forum, when you have some extra time on your hands. I'm sure other Aperture folks would like to know the "how to" parts in detail.
     
  14. Mayank

    Mayank SC Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    230
    Jul 16, 2010
    India
    Children climbing up a steep, rocky hill to grab kites stuck there (Jaipur, India). Canon PowerShot A640.

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  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Since I've had time to read that pdf translation that Christian referenced above, I'm going to quote from the review by Philip J. Ivanhoe in order to explain better what the author Francois Jullien may have been after in his book "In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics". I'm very glad that I read this review and may yet read the book. I suggest that at the very least, contributors to this thread consider the excerpt I've quoted, while noting the boldly highlighted section is my doing - for those who really hate to read.:wink: Reading the complete review is worth it and helps explain what I think Jullien may have had in mind when he chose the word "bland". "Bland" does not seem as though it was the best choice for translation. Nevertheless, we all can continue to reflect and add our own contributions to what I think will turn out to be a surprising and very good thread - thank you Christian!:flowers_2:

    P.S. Mayank - many thanks for that death defying image of those two young kite flyers! The subtle image doesn't betray the real danger involved in their child's play.
     
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  16. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
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    olli
    "dan is...one of a number of words used to convey ideas about the value and integrity of what is honest, simple, straightforward, mild, and unadorned."

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    LX3 ISO160 f4 1/125 12.8mm
     
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  17. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Thank you, olli - your definition cuts to the chase.:th_salute:
     
  18. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
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    olli
    Also culled from the book review.
     
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  19. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
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    Andy
    Here's a bland one from me...

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  20. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
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    Olympus E-P1, 120mm @ f/5.6, 1/180, ISO 640
     
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