Monday, August 24, 2015

Photography is Subjective and Will Not Submit to Any Rules

Who decides what good photography is?

Nobody. Each of us has our own tastes. Experts can tell us some basic principles and aesthetic values, but it still comes down to personal preferences.

Here's a funny comment thread I saw on the Urban Street Photography group page on Facebook.


Juliet Rake:

Without pointing to any images in particular, I have a general comment to make.

I'm not sure if it's the abomination of HDR, or other light altering software programs, but many of the images I'm seeing lately on this site have an unearthly quality...metal looking flesh on hands; odd, shadowless landscapes; over sharpened edges.....

I, being an old lady with taste formed in the heyday of film based street photography, frankly dislike these images....they do not illuminate, they distort and obscure I said two cents.

Gina Brake [admin]:

You are entitled to your two cents, but we welcome all street photography related photos here, and while you may not personally like whichever picture(s) you're commenting on, the person who made them liked them enough that they wanted to share it with us in this group.

That should always be kept in mind when not providing constructive criticism.

Steven Edward Streight:

I dislike most HDR photos, but if people like to do that, it's fine with me. We all have our own tastes and preferences.

I also prefer close up photos and faces, rather than distant and backs. But I would never try to act like my preferences are something others must submit to! :-)

Alfredo Louro:

I respond more to photographs that show people interacting with each other and with their environment.

Often, a photo that captures my attention is one that tells a story. I don't think any of this needs special effects.

There are the classic images by Cartier-Bresson, or Dorothea Lange, to name but two, long before Photoshop or HDR.

My impression is that when an image is too heavily processed, the processing technique becomes the subject of the photo, and it is a subject that has little interest for me.

So I agree. The human interest should be front and center. The technique should be almost invisible.

Steven Edward Streight:

To borrow a quote from "Stewart Saves His Family" film, we're shoulding all over ourselves.

Nobody is the God of Photography who dictates the Eternal Laws of Correct Image Making.

Many incredible photos have no emotion, don't tell any kind of story, and are all about the processing. What really matters if you like a photo or not. If you don't like an image, you don't have to look at it.

It's really that simple!


P.S. I prefer destructive criticism of my work.

"Constructive criticism" is for wimps, it means trying really hard not to be confrontational. It's what you have to give to narcissists and crybabies.

I don't learn much from praise or "constructive criticism." I do try to be nice and soft and sweet to others, but for myself, you can be as harsh and ornery as you want.

I had this exact discussion with the Blucheck art group today, quite a coincidence!

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