Esthetic discussions

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
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JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 22,412
Esthetic discussions

First off, I want to emphasize that I’m posting this as an ordinary forum member, not as a moderator. I know I always put that in my sig when it’s not an official moderator post, but since I’m going to discuss behavior here broadly, I want it clear that I’m doing it as a private person. As a moderator, I view my job as enforcing the rules, and not encouraging or proscribing permitted posting. As a member of this forum, I’d like to encourage people to support each other.

This post is a discussion of one particular aspect of how we relate here. I do have a proposal that I think may encourage more cooperation along these lines, and I’ll post that as a response to this post, since many people interested in what I’m proposing may not want to wade through this one.

With that out of the way, I’ll begin.

This is a gear forum. Mostly that’s what we talk about here. But for most of us, gear exists to serve the purpose of making photographs, and should not be discussed in isolation from its use. Horses for courses, as many of you are probably tired of hearing me say. DPR has at least a dozen other fora for discussing various kinds of photography done with all kinds of hardware.

In addition to being a place to discuss gear, this is also a community. And it’s natural for people to want to post images they’ve made with their Z cameras and have discussions of the images themselves, not just centered around what the images say about the gear. The problem comes when someone posts an image tacitly expecting a discussion of esthetics – or maybe just praise – and gets all kinds of gear questions and comments.

Often someone takes offense at that, and posts some invective that takes a swipe at the gear-oriented posters and impugns their ability as photographers. Sometimes, as in this post from yesterday, the charges are leveled against every member of the forum (including, logically, the person writing it):

Because people on this site are not photographers but gear enthusiasts and can not appreciate the reasonably decent image you have posted due to not being capable of that themselves.

So, we had a smoldering fire created by the OP not getting what they wanted, and gasoline poured on it by someone trying to help.

A few points about the above situation and ones like it (as I’m sure you know, this is not an uncommon turn of events):

  • Hoping for discussion of the esthetics of the image in such a situation is not unreasonable, but doing so with no indication that that’s what you’re looking for is not a prescription for satisfaction on a gear forum.
  • In a gear forum, responding to posts with images with comments or questions about gear is to be expected.
  • In a Venn diagram with circles for people who care about cameras and people who are capable photographers, there is considerable overlap.
  • Saying that people who frequent gear fora are poor photographers is neither true nor kind.

I have two proposals:

  • People who post images here looking for discussions on the esthetics of the image should say so. It’s as simple as saying “C&C desired”.
  • We should have a once-a-week thread dedicated to photographs made with Z cameras, with the expectation that most of the comments in that thread be oriented towards the esthetics of the images.

In a response to this post I will make a concrete proposal wrt the latter point.

Thanks for staying with me through this long post.


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