Ansel Adams Challenge

Started Jul 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
mschf
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Re: Ansel Adams Challenge
In reply to MouraPhoto, Aug 2, 2012

Hmmm, somehow I missed this reply.

Moura, there are reasons, which I already offered you, for my taking a very simplistic approach to "composition" and wanting to avoid going that deeply into the concepts of the decisive moment in a forum thread where I'm fully aware of people's level of understanding of it. All your posts, prior to my mentioning my 5-star choice, were written in such a way that I had no reason to suspect that you'd want to hear/talk about anything more than basics. I don't know if that was deliberate or not but it doesn't matter.

Do a search throughout the forums for any traces of conversations revolving around "compositional" ideas such as figure-to-ground relationships, shadow manipulation, relationships between objects and occurences of lines and patterns and the like.... then search for discussions about the rule of thirds and you may find that this is about all that most people will recognize (in fact to them it's a non-technical, de facto level criteriato be met in defining a successful photo). You might even find some threads on the "harder-to-identify" golden ratio scattered among the search results. Why would you want to delve into even the intermediate compositional stuff when you'd give people a better start in understanding the decisive moment by first encouraging them to evaluate such types of images based on the photos' "storytelling" merits? It's the kind of beginning which beckons that all-important "deeper look" (whether through the VF or when staring at a print) where, slowly but surely, intricate and subtle compositional elements will emerge... and maybe even be understood to the point that in cases where there appears to be no obvious "story", that it's the composition itself that tells the tale.

You could tell me I don't understand, but I do, just not in the same way as you seem to think I should (and that's part of the beauty in this type of photography). Maybe you understand more than I do but personally I'm content at this time to just realize that capturing random people walking across a street is not a decisive moment (never mind not even being an interesting "street" shot). This realization alone would already indicate a certain level of understanding, and I like to think I'm a few steps beyond that.

No, my point was never about "style", this word equates to "mimicking" to me, I don't feel it's necessary to meet all of HCB's "prerequisites" in order for a photo to still be a good decisive moment. I don't even believe HCB insisted on them but rather, just like the ol' "rule of thirds", offered them as a "guide", free to be ignored even but of course not to the point where you can't tell what type of photo it's supposed to be anymore... a landscape photo should at least have a "landscape". That was my issue with those 89+ photos I rated low... if I were to look at them without being told what the topic was, I honestly would have no idea that they're supposed to be "decisive moment". There was no "moment", be it something obvious but interesting or something that needed more attention to the subtle relationships between "compositional" elements waiting to be noticed (the latter being something I'd not expect to see in the challenges here anyway).

Maybe my biggest surprise is that you didn't at all challenge some of the other posters in that thread who pretty obviously don't understand but boasted (without any solid elaboration to back it up) that they did...

MouraPhoto wrote:

No, you don't seem to understand HCB style at all, I'm sorry. I think you'd like to, but don't really. And yes, your whole point was always one of style, of not being worthy of the HCB decisive moment.

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~ Martin

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