Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public

Started Jan 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
ROC124 Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Good Question

The general public often prefer images that trigger a positive emotional response or memory. The stronger that response, the less important are the technical merits. Many photo hobbyists tend to look first, and sometimes only, at technical merits, particularly related to the gear used.

I like all of the images you presented and don't find that technical issues get in the way of my enjoyment. They all trigger warm memories for me of familiar places. They all succeed in what I think is the primary purpose of a photograph - to create a connection for someone. Since they all succeed in that manner for me, I'm not inclined to get into the technical merits. While they can be improved technically, my first reaction is that those technical improvements wouldn't significantly increase my enjoyment of them.

However, if I came from a different background (we are alll different!) and those images didn't create a positive emotional response for me, I might be inclined to focus on technical issues. Framing, placement of elements and tonality to lead the eye through the frame, to name a few, could all be handled differently and perhaps improved. I could then appreciate them more from a technical standpoint, but they still wouldn't create an emotional connection for me.

The big question for photographers, then, is "Who is the intended audience?" No matter how hard you try, you can't please everyone. In your case, was the intended audience those friends and relatives who enjoyed them images, or a bunch of largely anonymous gear heads on the Internet?

I sell my prints in local galleries, and have learned the clientele of each has different preferences.  I do photography to please me, but then select images for shows based on the different audiences. The one constant is that the photo hobbyists that attend the shows are often highly critical of technical issues, and never buy anything. There is a good lesson there!

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