Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public

Started Jan 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
NewGirlLiz Regular Member • Posts: 475
My take on this

Out of these three photographs, I like the first one best. It is the one that most appeals to me - although I'd love to have seen more of that reflection that you have in the foreground.

The second one doesn't excite me that much - although it looks like a beautiful sunset. (Or is it a sunrise?) I think that's because there isn't enough to focus on other than the sunset itself. Neither the trees nor the foreground seem quite interesting enough to me.

The third one doesn't really do anything for me either (sorry). Too many different things here and none of them seems to stand out enough to say 'Look at me - I'm what this photograph is all about!' But out of them all, the first is definitely the one I'd sit and look at for a while.

In terms of your question about photographers vs 'the general public'. I do agree with what someone else said, that we cannot class family and friends as 'general public'. Whether they are aware of it or not, their opinions of our work - and the way they express it to us - are influenced by their relationship with us.

I'm very new to photography so I don't have much experience of this issue here, yet. However, I'm a writer by trade and your question resonates very much with my experiences there - which I'll share a bit of in case it helps you with this question.

If a 'normal person' reads a book, they will usually judge it in terms of how much they enjoy it and generally won't look much further than this.

However, if you take a book to a bunch of writers and ask them to critique it, they will look in detail at the technicalities of plot, structure, tension, characterisation, the quality of writing etc etc, and will judge it FAR more critically than your 'general public' guy.

Also, from my experience of working with new writers, they frequently get extremely positive feedback from friends and family, and when they take the same thing to an editor or a writer can often be dismayed when they get a page full of notes on what they should change. 'But my partner/daughter/auntie/best friend said it was the best thing they'd ever read!' they cry plaintively. The thing is, that's part of their job - to support us in our endeavours and encourage us on. That's not to say their opinion doesn't count. Just that if we are trying to improve our work, it doesn't count anywhere near as much as the opinion of an experienced person from the field we're working in.

MPA1's comment about the most obvious pics winning challenges over the 'best' is similar to the fact that best seller lists are often full of books where the author has spun a gripping yarn rather than books with great literary merit.

I guess what we'd probably all like is to produce the goods that win on both technical merit and instant 'likeability' from the general public. And I think that forums like this are amongst the best ways of helping us get there!


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