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Another Too Quiet, Time to Rant Post

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
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  • #2501
    Kestrana
    Participant

    So you are all aware now I’ve been pushing the G+ photo community and am enjoying my time there. But I’ve also noticed a trend that’s really pissing me off with some of the photogs over there and this is the only safe ranting place.

    It actually has to do with the article orionid linked about the Dusseldorf School of photography.

    There’s a lot of professionals on G+ and it’s cool cuz they interact with us mere hobbyists and dish out lots of advice, tips and insight. You can tell they love what they do and they want more people to share the joy of photography. But they also know a lot of the other professionals already, and love to venerate one another – which is also cool because you can see if you do great work they’ll be supportive of you too. By this process, you can pretty quickly determine who the “photo community in general” thinks is hot shit right now.

    And that gets to the rant. Because some of the people who are hot shit right now are those people that the article was claiming are ruining photography, and now I understand more of the author’s viewpoint.

    For example, a prominent photog that people love to venerate on G+ posted a picture of a dimly lit corner of a vase with a couple rose stems in it, titled it with a poetic title like “She weeps in silence for her beloved”. This photo gets over 200 +1s and 80+ shares in about 48 hours.

    I posted my Winter Sunset HDR, which I think is pretty spectacular and did well in Software Hootenanny (2nd) and Anniversary 6 (3rd) and I got nothing. Nada. Zip.

    To be fair, I have about 1500 followers to the photog’s 66,000. And the photog in question has some great stuff in their portfolio. But they have mostly stuff like the example I cited above. I just don’t get it.

    I really feel the story needs to be told through the photograph not the title. Maybe that’s why I like nature photography, because it’s a definitive challenge.

    Or maybe it’s that old adage, I can’t tell you what art is, but I know what I don’t like.
    And I don’t like blaise pictures with pretentious titles trying to be more than the sum of their parts.

    #42895
    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    And I don’t like blaise pictures with pretentious titles trying to be more than the sum of their parts.

    So very very much this, not just with photos but art in general.

    This is just me doing a little armchair psychiatry, but I’d guess that a large part of that phenomenon comes from the artist as misunderstood tortured soul stereotype. Those who want to be seen as artists but aren’t confident enough to carve their own paths therefore either produce that kind of stuff or laud it in an effort to be viewed in that light. It ends up being a big self-congratulatory and -reinforcing circlejerk.

    Assuming this has some truth in it, the popularity of that type of stuff then is just the producers of it playing to their audience. It’s similar in a way to our own contests. How many times have you seen a technically better and honestly more artistic photograph get beat by another because the other has boobies or bacon or some other subject that appeals to the Fark hivemind? That used to bother me a little until I realized that, hey, it’s not a photography contest, it’s a Farktography contest and that’s just gonna be a natural part of it. (Please, nobody think I’m picking on anyone with that observation. Knowing your audience is key to the success of any performance, and if we’re interested in votes, that’s what we really are, no?)

    As to your winter HDR, you liked it (which is really all that matters), I liked it, and others liked it enough for it to do well in two contests, so if it doesn’t appeal to those who’d rather cry silently in a dimly lit corner, who cares? 🙂

    #42896
    fluffybunny
    Participant
    CauseISaidSo wrote:

    you liked it (which is really all that matters), I liked it, and others liked it enough for it to do well in two contests, so if it doesn’t appeal to those who’d rather cry silently in a dimly lit corner, who cares? 🙂

    I heart this comment.

    The votes here (or on G+, or as applause from an audience) are a good way to get a different opinion of one’s work. I don’t think you could even say an objective opinion as was noted about the nature of Farktography. It’s just a different view. I try to meld these feedback sources into my internal reference calibration as on offset to my own opinion of my work. The general phenomena in play in the Duss article and on G+ as you noted IMHO is that of the emperor’s new clothes, it happens every where in human societies. From fashion to automobile design to architecture and so on. While I don’t have an onion on my belt I am none the less subject to these forces, I just try to minimize the impact.

    #42897
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    I’m going to play a hard Devil’s Advocate on this with the caveat that a bad photograph cannot be saved by a clever title.

    However, I think titles are highly underrated in photography. In literature EVERYTHING hangs on the title, the finest piece of poetry or fiction in the world will likely never be read if the title does not lead the reader to the story. In photography, however, the title serves a completely different role. The photo speaks for itself, the content, the composition, the style all of these open and apparent, what isn’t always obvious is WHY the photo was taken. The title of a photograph talks about the intent of the artist, the underlying reason, the unspeakable feeling that drove the photographer to press the button in the first place. Absolutely, a photo should stand alone, a title isn’t necessary but it can communicate a deeper meaning the casual observer of the photo, the “Oh that is a nice picture” viewer may miss. A good title provides a history, the before and even the after that a photograph, by the very nature of the medium simply cannot do.

    A title cannot be a crutch, but it can be a pedestal for a photograph. It can raise them up, allow people to view them clearly, and part of that clarity is understanding my intent, my vision of the photograph.

    #42898
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    Of course, now that I look at what I wrote, I also believe that part of my love for titles is the writer part of me trying to grab hold of the photographer part of me and scream “HEY! Remember ME?”

    #42899
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    I’ll preface this by saying I’m not in a great mood and this kinda trips off some stuff that’s been in my head lately, but I’ve seen this happen in just about any group of more than 2 people that has anything to do with art, writing, etc. Someone gets deemed the object of nearly everyone’s verbal fellatio while others are ignored. Sometimes it’s deserved; unfortunately, it’s also common that someone gets a reputation, and it doesn’t matter what they put out, their stuff has no fault. Any semblance thereof is completely written off as cutting edge, avant guard, whatever. Unfortunately art, literature, etc is completely subjective, and the hive mind, as someone else referenced, is very active in those situations. Meh, whatever. Don’t let the bastards grind you down…

    #42900
    orionid
    Participant

    The title of a photograph talks about the intent of the artist, the underlying reason, the unspeakable feeling that drove the photographer to press the button in the first place.

    By this measure, every one of my photos would be titled “I thought this looked cool/funny/stupid” , “I wanted to see what would happen if…..” or “So, I rigged this shit up to….”

    #42901
    Kestrana
    Participant

    To clarify – I’m not upset at the reception my photo work is getting on G+. I’m pleased with every comment, circle and +1 I get.

    I just see the slippery slope mentioned by the author and the potential for the photo community there to be inundated by myspaceish copycats that distract entirely from the other options there are in the photo world.

    #42902
    fluffybunny
    Participant

    The title of a photograph talks about the intent of the artist, the underlying reason, the unspeakable feeling that drove the photographer to press the button in the first place.

    By this measure, every one of my photos would be titled “I thought this looked cool/funny/stupid” , “I wanted to see what would happen if…..” or “So, I rigged this shit up to….”

    I think you should start titling every single photograph you take with “I thought this looked stupid”. Your work will be unique and edgy because of it.

    #42903
    olavf
    Participant

    I didn’t see the photograph in question, but I’ve seen a lot like that. Including some from people that I honestly consider friends, and there is a mutual respect even given their 300K+ followers to my, well, not 1/10th that many.

    With any given social site there’s a certain amount of lemming behavior going on. I’ve seen it on Fark, I’ve seen it on FB and I’ve seen it on G+. People will give kudos to someone because they’re popular, not necessarily because of what they actually do. I mean, that’s how some ‘tard ends up spending millions of dollars for a marginally interesting picture of the Rhine, right? 90% of the people that +1, or comment on a lot of those things are mostly saying ‘hey, look at me, give me some validation’ while the poster is trying to keep the masses happy – and you have to do that sometimes, just to keep people looking at your stuff

    That said, a title, or a few lines can sometimes set a mood to make an image become something greater than it is. I’ll be the first one to admit that a really good title sets a frame for someone else to interpret a photo. My well titled shots almost invariably get more response than something with suck-ass wording. Someone that’s not prepared to fully interpret what they’re seeing for themselves react better to a push in the direction where your head is/was.

    #42904
    olavf
    Participant

    hey CISS I have shots that have both boobies and bacon. I can has winz?

    #42905
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    To clarify – I’m not upset at the reception my photo work is getting on G+. I’m pleased with every comment, circle and +1 I get.

    I just see the slippery slope mentioned by the author and the potential for the photo community there to be inundated by myspaceish copycats that distract entirely from the other options there are in the photo world.

    G+, for me, has gotten so out of control with people following me because I was in a Circle that got shared and re-shared that my stream is now a wall of gibberish. For me, this makes G+ like most of the other places on the Internet, a whole lot of dross very very little ore.

    I far prefer the validation and critiques of the smaller communities where I have some idea of the actual people involved. If I post a shot for review and critique here, I know people will give it more attention and thought than G+ or Flickr where my shot is a leaf in a hurricane of other photos. Even on Fark itself a shot that does well with the voters means not only have a taken a good shot but I have communicated it well to the audience. The D&D shot from last week was not a technically brilliant photo, U-Man’s crystal ball shot was in the same technical vein and far better done, it was what I was TRYING to do really but missed (though I see what U-Man did and can now emulate the effect!)…the only reason I did so well in the voting was whoring the audience, I knew if I loaded the shot with themes and objects they could identify with I would do well in the voting. That sort of learning has value as well, it teaches a photographer how to reach a market, how to please a client. You can’t that sort of validation on G+ because your market is so diverse.

    I learn something almost every week shooting and posting for Farktography, and I feel more appreciated here than I ever will on G+ or Flickr. I use the others so I have my place in their world reserved, I pick up a useful article or idea…or even an idea to steal! All the rest is just leaves in the wind.

    #42906
    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    hey CISS I have shots that have both boobies and bacon. I can has winz?

    olavf, as soon as I finish my statistical model that will allow me to forecast the whims of the voters on any given week, you’ll be the first I’ll share it with. 😉

    // It’s proving quite difficult – I may have to switch to an easier research topic, like cold fusion or understanding women.

    #42907
    Kestrana
    Participant

    ennuipoet I will point out that what you see in your stream is your choice…you don’t have to recircle every person that circles you. I have about 1600 followers but I’m only following about 300 people and from the outcry of the masses on G+ I’m guessing (and hoping) they will soon implement a filter for your default stream.

    But that said, I know what you mean. There’s been some people I’ve uncircled after awhile because they just spammed and spammed and spammed.
    And an internet friend of mine asked me to start posting my photos from a page rather than as myself because they were clogging his stream. It’s not perfect but it’s in progress.

    #42908
    caradoc
    Participant

    And I don’t like blaise pictures with pretentious titles trying to be more than the sum of their parts.

    “De gustibus disputandum non est” and all of that.

    It’s the big reason I really don’t care about Farktography voting, for one thing.

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