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Your best shots

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by olli, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    I have a website at SmugMug. I try only to post those images that I consider my best. Right now there are just over 100 on there. Around 10% of these are ones that I've given the benefit of the doubt and on another day might not post them and might still delete them. I also have a few others I've yet to post. So, call it an even hundred. Since I've been taken pictures 'seriously'around early 2008 - almost exactly six years ago - that works out at 16-17 shots per year.

    These are the images I consider my best - the ones I would print to hang on a wall, the ones I would put in a printed book. So I'm curious. Looking back over the years how many shots a year do you average when it comes to those you consider your best shots?
     
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  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    if i were to really be strict, I might have 5 great ones.....maybe less. Total. Maybe 100 that I really like, but are not truly great or exceptional in any way other than I took them or the subject means something to me.
     
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  3. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    About 5 year ago I fried my hard drive and lost 10 years worth of best shots. I only had my Maldives holiday backed up to disc. I was totally gutted for about a week. After that I came to the conclusion the best stuff was forever etched into my memories. It would still hurt to loose again ( I back up now) but I reckon not more than 20 would make it per year. I still have thousands of negs though. Kids and dogs , from 5x4's of my son , 6x7's of my little yorkie. And far to many 35mm.
     
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    It takes me a long time to get discriminating enough to narrow my stuff down that far. I mean, what would I mean by great anyway - Ansel or Winogrand worthy? In that case I'd have none, consistently, every year. By the standards of some of the best photographers I've encountered on the internet - I'd have several that would probably rate. But I don't really look at them that way. I shoot a lot most years and at the end of the year I make a book of the shots I like the most and want to be able to peruse without the aid of the electron. Most years I'll have between 100-150 shots in the book. I don't think all of them are great, but each has some value to me that will make me want to look back at it.

    Over time, just a few really stand out to me. I have maybe half a dozen street shots I'd be proud to show anyone. And a few non-street. But if I think about it that way, I'd stop shooting, because what would be the fun of being out there shooting that much if you only really kept a shot or three every year? So, I trash the great majority of my shots, but I like a lot more than a few each year enough to make a book to be able to go through and look back at. That's I guess the only real measure I have.

    Which reminds me - I haven't done a 2013 book yet. I did a book of the month I spent on the Amalfi Coast in July, but I did a lot of other shooting last year too that deserves at least some committing to print...

    -Ray
     
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  5. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    In fact, very few. I've just taken another domain and am going to set up a static site with my best shots and I think maybe theres a half dozen that I would hang on my own wall. Not all taken with a DSLR, either.
     
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  6. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    The images I keep on smugmug are not always my best but rather those I want to show to others, like you folks. I think of them more as important than best.
     
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  7. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    I mean the ones that you rate yourself - not by way of comparison with others. Apart from anything else that approach is totally subjective. So, for example, I find Ansel Adams' stuff boring. Your latter definition of a shot that has 'some value to me that will make me want to look back at it' is more what I'm interested in.
     
  8. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I'd say I have about 5-7 photos which I think are really good and worth something on their own (and not because their subject means something to me). I also have about 80-100 photos which I think are visually pleasing, but nothing more.
     
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  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    I'm curious about how you would define the difference between 'worth something on their own' and 'visually pleasing'. What's the extra that the former have that sets them apart?
     
  10. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I think debating about artistic merit is a very slippery path... It's a gut feeling. If I think: "This is nice" — then it's simply a nice picture and nothing more. If I think "Holy cow, did I shoot this?" — then it's probably better than just nice.
     
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  11. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    I'm not interested in discussing artistic merit. I'm interested in how we assess our own images - what clicks for you. Gut feeling is a good enough explanation.
     
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  12. Nuskyn

    Nuskyn SC Veteran

    387
    Jul 8, 2011
    @Gelderland - the Netherlands
    Jeroen
    My last shot is my best shot... :evilsmile:
     
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  13. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    I'll try making a Flickr sett of the images which I'm most pleased with and when I've done that I'll be able to let you know. The size of the sett will probably depend on how good I'm feeling about life at the time I make it.

    My Fulidr link below shows the images it thinks are my most interesting so I'm intrigued to find out how much I agree with it.
     
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  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Well, OK. Then the roughly 100-150 per year that end up in a book. Those 100-150, while they'll never end up in a museum anywhere, bring me some level of pleasure to look back on from time to time. I don't pretend that more than a few would be found interesting to anyone else BUT me, but to me, they're all worth putting somewhere that I'm gonna see 'em over time. And there's no criteria other than gut feeling and I likes what I likes...

    After 10 years I could probably produce a much better book of 100-150 with the best of each year. But the problem is I'd pick one set of 100-150 one day and probably a nearly completely different set the next day.

    At the end of the day what I love about photography is the process of shooting, culling, editing, processing, etc. And I think I like the finished product more as a memory of the process than as something with any intrinsic value of it's own. If other people consistently like one of my shots, I guess it has some value beyond my enjoyment of the process, because all they're seeing is the finished product. But I tend to like some that never get any notice at all more than many that do and I think it has more to do with the memory of the enjoyment I got from the creative process.

    -Ray
     
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  15. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    Those are good enough criteria. As what would make it into a museum, I'm sure we've all seen suffer in museums and galleries and come away bemused. I get conceptual photography; I just find many of the underlying concepts that inform some of the exhibitions I've seen undemanding to say the least.

    I'm interested that you might envisage coming up with nearly completely different set when choosing your 'ten year retrospective' shots. I find that I always have a core of shots, 60-70% of the total, and a smaller group that might change over time or even from day to day. That said, the way my core group is processed changes regularly, both subtly and more dramatically.

    For me, the process is of less importance. The event or the moment and the final product is what matters with the later being the most important. Whether others like them or not is irrelevant - or I should quality that by saying it's mostly irrelevant. The views of those I know and respect is relevant, but not determinative.

    Finally, I can't help noticing that a lot of the responses to my original post are a little apologetic - 'I like them but I realise they aren't brilliant'. Shouldn't we be a little more confident about the quality of our work? Just a thought.

    Thanks for all your responses.
     
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  16. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Interesting question, which I cannot answer in numbers.

    What I can say is that In reading Garry's post about so many of his photographs being lost..how upset he was for a week and then how he realized that many were etched in his mind...I like to think I feel like that.

    There are quite a few of my own photographs that mean a lot to me and many are taken with my iPhone...but the ones that mean the most are of my daughter, husband, dogs...and old ones of good friends, and my parents... My parents are long gone as is a really close old friend who died a year ago this past December. In reality, as much as I might be smitten with some of my non human or non dog photos, it's the people and dogs I know or knew whose images mean the most to me.

    Now I need to get more photos of some new friends and my growing older offspring and spouse... Recently I took a self portrait because I realized there are almost no photographs of me since I'm the one usually taking them and I wanted to make sure our daughter had at least one good one of me!:wink:
     
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  17. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
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  18. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    A very nice set Will. My favourite is your shot of the turbine hall at Tate Modern. Interesting that there is considerable variety but at the same time there are clear groups or themes present. This is another area I find interesting - the way, in retrospect, we (or 'I' - I should speak only for myself) find that there are certain kinds of images, certain themes or ideas that recur across time and place in images even though they weren't consciously pursued.
     
  19. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
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  20. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    Thanks Pavel. The first one reminds me a wonderful marble sculpture in the National Gallery. It has the same superb detail and texture. The Violinist is my favourite. I like the way the passage ways both lead into and away from him. He seems taken up with his performance, they appear indifferent.
     
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