Is Your Challenge Entry a Winner?

Started Feb 19, 2013 | Questions thread
christian jacob
christian jacob Regular Member • Posts: 134
Re: Is Your Challenge Entry a Winner?

OldArrow wrote:


The industry tries to remove the photographic knowleges from the camera users, offering replacement terms, tools and ways of thinking. Never mind that the technical principle goes on using only four basic elements (blend, exposure, focal length and sensitivity), since our light has not changed (very much) from Day One till now. But ready-made "situations modes" removed even that from conisderation: nowadays it's Pets, Fireworks, Landscapes, Portraits, Birthdays, Boiled Eggs S, M, and H, things like that.

Soon it will be so, if it isn't in my Modes, it can't be photographed.

In other words: "Here comes the rabble", spoken by one Charles Dodgson, after the invention of prefabbed wet plates (he then stopped being a photographer and concentrated on other ventures).

I think you are too fixated on technical stuff.

In my opinion the important thing in a photo is the composition, the motive and how it's presented. The things you're complaining about is artisans stuff, not artistic, and making stuff easier also frees one from concentrating about exposure and thinking about how the picture should look like.

The people you are complaining about wouldn't shoot better photos if they hadn't got all those help from their cameras, it would be worse.

And it was, as recounted in endless jokes about horrible holiday slide presentations, it is the internet which, well, empowers the tide of not quite good pictures; you are complaining about the wrong technology

And then we have the Challenges, richly visited by such photographers. Luckily, not all are like this, and there still is this minor part that knows what they do with their tackle. These, and many among the more interested, would like to learn more. They expect this to come from their challenge-evaluated work.

Do they get what they want from the challenges being the way these are now? Hardly. The stats, the undefined challenges, votings and whatever else we know goes on, nothing can really ensure any consistent response. Thus, no progress can be measured, or used to any advantage. Looking at almost all of this Forum's themes, you can see the truth in this. The Challenges, the way these are, produce yet more mediocrity, against all good intentions.

Well, you can find out (after some interpretation and cleaning out of "dirty" data) what is popular, which is an rather interesting fact in its own.

Important is not so much if you got place 40 or 85 in a challenge of 100 entries, but how the votes are distributed.

If it's a nice gaussian with a maximum at 1.5, it's a bad photo; if it has a more chaotic distribution, many lower votes, but also some high ones, it is at least divisive.

Also, there is no objective ruleset of what constitutes a good picture without exceptions to the contrary, and all such rules are more or less social constructions depending on our culture.

Even the importance of such things as the golden cut, which one can find everywhere in nature, can greatly differ, and if we say a photo is better because it follows it  or it's dumber brother the rule of thirds, is it not mostly because we learned it that way? It is often (not always) better to not center the motive, eye, whatever, but sometimes it can. And perfectly aligning it with a mathematical expression seldom helps, because there are other things like colour influencing the observer (and in different ways for each individuum).

Elsewhere in the thread you wrote that the simpler a picture, the better. But this is also in great part a sign of the times, of the way we consume pictures. Many old paintings, which stood the test of time, are filled with detail to explore (all the while with a strong and meaningful composition), because they were ment as a long lasting experience. This changed, and when photographs with many people / details in them became possible thanks to better film, the reductionism of modernism was in full swing.

Also, it just plain easier to get a good composition with only a few components; that doesn't mean it is the only possible way.

But I think I've got lost in my train of thought -- I blame having a traditional bavarian breakfast for my incoherent ramblings

There is a huge, previously written quantity of text upon what to do about it... Will it ever happen?


-- hide signature --


Well, it happens all the time (in part now).

What will never happen is getting to an all-satisfying answer -- and this is a good thing in my opinion.

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