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Photography General Interest Neat Photo stuff NOT particularly about Rangefinders.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #41
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Talking about gear is much like talk about watches, which are regarded with far more fondness than one would assign to mere timepieces, and fountain pens, which exceed the basic needs of writing.

I don't see any reason for scandal here.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #42
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"Second, learning about photo history, criticism, and artmaking is just plain harder. people who know a lot about this stuff are just less common, the population too low to reach critical mass. That's partly due to educational backgrounds (what percentage of us has a relevant degree or has been able to do lots of independent research?) ... "

aizan, that's absolutely true! Work shops which focus on portfolio critiques can provide the necessary tools; for example, they can teach which questions about pictures are useful, and which words are more helpful than others. That kind of talk helps me see how the unexamined ideas that I've had stuck in my head limit the kinds of fotos I take.

I also entirely agree with Larry Cloetta that just saying you like a photo, without saying specifically why, or which problems a foto might have, is simply saying the photo matches "preconceptions of photographic goodness".

Books on the history of photography can certainly help. Here's one I've used: Looking at Photographs, by John Szarkowski. I was introduced to that book in a work shop, and to many others in informal, face-to-face clubs that wanted to learn how to do good critiques.

Going to exhibitions with knowledgeable people is another terrific way to learn. People on RFF are interested in foto shows - there's a great thread about them. But we'd have to take the time to write, in detail, about the pictures in them.

Gear talk is easier because cameras are fun machines, and we can talk about their good points, and their problems, by using words and measurements most of us know. As karateisland said, "It's much easier than doing the actual work to become a better photographer."

I enjoy gear talk, but I need critiques. (If I could just figure out how to post my pictures here. I don't have a website, blog, Flickr, or other photo hosting service. Fujiform allows me to post from my hard drive. How can I post photos here on RFF? I'd like to.)

Critiques can be at least as much fun as gear talk! Let's have both of them! I've definitely benefited from questions and answers about cameras and software.

"I'd bet that some of the more seasoned photographers here are able to talk about photos in depth. They could write a tutorial on how they approach looking at photographs, and then anyone who wants to practice can start a thread where they analyze a photograph. Others can chime in with what they see. In addition, we could discuss books like the one by Adams or Szarkowski and pick apart how they looked at photos."

That's another great idea, aizan. I'd have to find my notes from when I gave lessons like that but, in any case, I'm very interested in how the folks here follow up on this, as well as how they think we can use other parts of the internet to provide critiques.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #43
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Chriscrawfordphoto just answered my question about how post photographs from my hard drive! Thanks, Chriscrawfordphoto. I sincerely apprecate your help.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #44
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BTW, I've always assumed we post only photo's that we think are good and so are not asking or wanting criticism.

Perhaps a thread along the lines of "how could I improve this" might work. Or even one on well known cliches...

Anyway, I'm sticking to my original comment that criticism of photo's can start WW3 and, as we are a nice friendly crowd, that's why we don't do it.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #45
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The problem with giving a crit of someone's work is worrying that I will cause offence or upset. I have had quite brutal (honest) critiques during my masters and sometimes it left me feeling upset, though I knew it made me a far better photographer it was at the time hard. So personally I can't bring myself to make comment on others work, saying nice photo etc though flattering for the artist is easy to say an would not help them grow but pointing out things that could have been done differently makes me uncomfortable. Now talking about gear is easy, I'm pretty much with digital of the opinion that nearly every body of the past 6/7 years is plenty good enough in 99% of cases. Lenses are perhaps a different matter, but I have not found any real dogs just not as good as some others. Even with an arts education I do have an interest in technical stuff.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #46
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In my opinion gear talk is more popular than photo talk because of a society that holds
the view that "fabulous gear" can produce impressive pictures.
Improving skills takes time and time is money today.

What is the social worth of skills compared to the question of to buy and to have?
Look what we are talking about more...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #47
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It's often obvious people commenting on photos posted here are afraid to be honest. At least I hope that's the case and the actually see how bad the image is but don't want to hurt feelings.

I had a though I posted in another thread on the topic. Develop a standard set of criterion for judging images and post it as a poll. All great images as well as bad images have common elements. The elements were voting on should be both positive as well as negative. In a poll you get a consensus of opinions. If the person wants to add a comment then simply post that in the comment section.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #48
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Local camera clubs have gone the way of the dodo, just as most local clubs of any kind have suffered with the rise and domination of the internet. I experienced the last founderings of my local club in the 80s and 90s. Prints and slides were judged once a month in many categories. Judges were taken from among the membership. Criticism was direct and to the point. It was obvious that most judges were partial to a certian style, just as the general public is but, over time, one was given a thorough undestanding of how their images were percieved and how they might "improve" their work. We also had guest speakers, local pros or established fine art photographers.

The local club was affiliated with PSA (Photographic Society of America) which provided another level of regional and national competition. The combination of critiquing and nurturing helped many to be competent and sometimes great photographers.

Some of the old internet photo sites did allow for objective criticism, but they seem to have died out in favor of the you-praise-mine and I'll-praise-yours venues.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #49
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Duplication. Didn't see how to delete.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #50
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See also this thread: Suggestion for a new RFF forum - thoughts?

No photo criticism or gear talk necessary!
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Old 6 Days Ago   #51
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My experience with two photography groups - primarily the salon I mentioned above as well as another group that's just starting up - is that photographers who want serious critique will explain upfront what they are asking for from their viewers. So, for example, at the last salon I attended there were a couple people who asked for guidance on portfolio formation, one who wanted to see if his photos were having the intended impact on others, and I asked about paring down a group of photos to a small selection to enter in a competition. If the photographer knows what they're trying to do and explains it, it's much easier for viewers to critique effectively, as they can first discuss the simple question presented before getting into the much more complex why.

In short, for the critique to be useful and to limit the problem of sensitive egos being bruised, the process must be about the photographer's intent as much as the photos themselves. Without that guidance, it's all left to personal tastes, which, as noted elsewhere in this thread, are widely varied but not terribly useful as a means of judgement for the work of others.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #52
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I think in a forum that is mostly about vintage equipment, "gear talk" is going to be inevitable. Got some new pics from your screw-mount Leica or your Russian RF or your old folder? Let's see 'em! And do tell us what camera and lens you used, otherwise they might as well all been taken with your phone.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #53
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Each and every person that can see can see the world. It can be different than the rest of us. Photography is the expression some use to express their thoughts, desires, goals and objectives.

What helped me most with my photography journey is finding a gent who helped me and became my coach and mentor.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
But what about the #1 most popular gear topic of all time: What camera/lens should I buy? Highly subjective!



Absolutely, it's a complete fool's errand! The role of art criticism is to pick a needle out of a haystack, something you think is especially interesting, and suggest some ways that your readers might come to grips with it. It's always one step behind the artists and the art.



You've lost me at this point, because the way we'd be talking about photos (in a general sense, not specifically art criticism) is essentially practical. It's as practical as talking shop, only directed at the subject matter and aesthetics of a photo rather than its technicalities.

But what about the #1 most popular gear topic of all time: What camera/lens should I buy? Highly subjective!

I was hardly defending the usefulness of those posts, and there is a reason they are widely mocked. I'm going to a bodega in the Bronx, which polarizer should I take, the Japanese one or the German one?
To preserve my faith in humanity, I tell myself those questions are tongue in cheek, and move on.

But, to your larger point, my feelings, and that's all they are, about the desire some people obviously have to either talk about their photos or talk about someone else's photos, over and above the healthy level we already have here, were summarized in my original post so no need to rephrase them here. But, I might address your last two sentences to clarify what I was getting at.

the way we'd be talking about photos (in a general sense, not specifically art criticism) is essentially practical. It's as practical as talking shop, only directed at the subject matter and aesthetics of a photo rather than its technicalities.

It's only the "technicalities" that are practical. Criticism, as a form of teaching which strictly confines itself to the technicalities, can be useful to another photographer up to a point, but that is as far as you can go and still be helpful. I am not good at studio lighting, because it is something I have never learned (since I don't do studio work). To get a specific result requires a fairly specific lighting set up. That's craft, and it is teachable. That kind of thing might be of benefit here, though you can find it all day long elsewhere.

It is "talk", usually devolving into long winded obtuseness, "directed at the subject matter and aesthetics of a photo" that I personally find to be as useless as tits on a mule. You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to.
To say that person "A" knows more about subject matter and "aesthetics" than person "B" is simply pernicious, at least beyond a certain point, a point so obvious to everyone that it needs no "talk".

This is nothing more than what someone likes, it has nothing to do with whether a photo is "good" or not. In the art world, anything becomes "good" if a critical mass of influential people decide they like it, for arbitrary reasons which reside wholly in their selves, not in the work. This does indeed rest on much "talk". Duchamp and his urinal is illustrative.

Reading Tom Wolfe's "The Painted Word" on the world of art and art criticism would be more illuminating on this point, and more humorous, than anything I have the time or the skill for here.

If, on the other hand, someone has an unrepressable urge to correct the subject matter or aesthetics of any of the photos I might post here, I won't mind. They're just pictures, after all. Maybe it will, as you say, "help my readers come to grips with it" though I doubt that most are having trouble in this regard.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #55
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OP-"why is gear talk more popular than photo talk?"

The name "RangefinderForum" presumably reflects the purpose for which it was set up in the first place, and hence the entry-point interests of many of the people who visit here.
I hasten to point out that I'm not saying that non-rangefinder gear/utilisation things should not be discussed !
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Old 6 Days Ago   #56
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why don't we, in general, want to talk about photography instead of gear?

fear
apprehension
low self esteem
don't want to appear pretentious
a few years back we had a similar discussion on rff and some folks thought talking about photos/art was just too pretentious
don't want to appear smarter than thou
i see crap pics with positive feedback at times...especially if the pics are of someone else's family, pets, kids etc.
many folks don't think they are 'good enough' photographers to offer criticism
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Old 6 Days Ago   #57
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Quote:
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Discussing photography invariably involves criticism, which is frowned upon. When you are only allowed to post praise, you get a half a dozen attaboy posts and the thread dies, with no one learning anything. The upside is no one is offended. On the other hand, you are allowed to freely praise or criticize camera gear, explain why you do and don't like it, and post comments on how you would like to see deficiencies addressed. Whether or not you agree with all the members' opinions, you generally learn something about the camera gear in question.
I think you just hit one of the HUGE nails on the head!!! If I could circle, star this post I would I remember when I was in photography class back in the day... circa 1997 haha... There was one student who never put up her photos for critique and the professor let her get away with this! I confronted this student and we had a pretty heated discussion my point was why even take the class if you want even post for work for critique when everyone else has to?? Your wasting my time, other peoples time, and no one is learning at anything isn't that the whole point of college?? If I'm remembering correctly this students point of view was that she had a vision of her work and that any possibility negative said about her work would hinder her vision... or something like that... It was such a load of BS... it was beyond ridiculous...

So with the internet years back I would critique other people work at various places here being one of them... Some took my critiques well others not so much...I pretty much stopping criticism of other peoples work on the internet because people are just so mentality soft and just can't handle a different point of view.. I really wanted to help others but they have this own little vision in there mind, and only look for praise... its sickening really... I'm never super harsh, trust me I've seen some harsh criticism that might make someone stop photographing all together... haha I mean if I was truly unfiltered on this forum and critiquing others work ahhh let's say it probably would not be nice for many people on this forum... A lot of the work I see here for lack of a better word is garbage... There is some nice work here from time to time.... And I know not everyone is not in photography to make art I get that, or is in it just for fun or a hobby... cool man.. But please at least be creative when making an image even if its of say your kids or a pet... Do a little homework go to the library look at some photography books find some work that you like even stuff you don't like at first and look at the work study it a little bit see if you can take something from it....

Any type of critique good or bad no matter how harsh is good... and will make a you a better photographer... I'll look at work on here on other places you you see nothing but glowing reviews of the work...I've rarely seen some one openly go against the grain and critique negatively... I've seen the standard cop out response from the photographer something like, Oh that's how I wanted it to be and I'm the artist...ugh It would be nice to return to a time where one could openly talk about someones work and not get crucified for saying something negative about that work.. Artists are praised for being open minded folks and such, which couldn't be further from the truth! To be truly open minded you have accept and consider negative reactions towards your work.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #58
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Old 6 Days Ago   #59
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Sorry, Marko, but with your condescending language like "ridiculous," "sickening," and "garbage" I can't imagine anyone inviting your critique.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 35photo View Post
I think you just hit one of the HUGE nails on the head!!! If I could circle, star this post I would I remember when I was in photography class back in the day... circa 1997 haha... There was one student who never put up her photos for critique and the professor let her get away with this! I confronted this student and we had a pretty heated discussion my point was why even take the class if you want even post for work for critique when everyone else has to?? Your wasting my time, other peoples time, and no one is learning at anything isn't that the whole point of college?? If I'm remembering correctly this students point of view was that she had a vision of her work and that any possibility negative said about her work would hinder her vision... or something like that... It was such a load of BS... it was beyond ridiculous...

So with the internet years back I would critique other people work at various places here being one of them... Some took my critiques well others not so much...I pretty much stopping criticism of other peoples work on the internet because people are just so mentality soft and just can't handle a different point of view.. I really wanted to help others but they have this own little vision in there mind, and only look for praise... its sickening really... I'm never super harsh, trust me I've seen some harsh criticism that might make someone stop photographing all together... haha I mean if I was truly unfiltered on this forum and critiquing others work ahhh let's say it probably would not be nice for many people on this forum... A lot of the work I see here for lack of a better word is garbage... There is some nice work here from time to time.... And I know not everyone is not in photography to make art I get that, or is in it just for fun or a hobby... cool man.. But please at least be creative when making an image even if its of say your kids or a pet... Do a little homework go to the library look at some photography books find some work that you like even stuff you don't like at first and look at the work study it a little bit see if you can take something from it....
Not to sound like a Vulcan or something, but you couldn't handle that student's point of view just like she couldn't handle yours. Or maybe she even handled it better. I'm not sure because more background information is needed to draw conclusion.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #61
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Sorry, Marko, but with your condescending language like "ridiculous," "sickening," and "garbage" I can't imagine anyone inviting your critique.

John
Sorry to hurt your feelings John... I must have not expressed myself properly or you didn't read my post thoroughly... I never would come out and say someone's specific work is garbage... No that's not the right way to do things... Being constructive, pointing things out that that I feel could be improved, even saying things I didn't like and why etc.. is the right way in my view...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #62
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Not to sound like a Vulcan or something, but you couldn't handle that student's point of view just like she couldn't handle yours. Or maybe she even handled it better. I'm not sure because more background information is needed to draw conclusion.
Maybe I wasn't clear...this was along time ago..ha When everyone in the class was required to post work for critque, but this person get exempted from posted work that was my only problem..
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Old 6 Days Ago   #63
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Because gear is a simple matter of having it or not. Work, even classic, era-defining work, is subjective. If you own a black-paint M3 with a noctilux, I can't say "no you don't!"
For the same reason, gear is a tangible way to be aspirational. It's easier for me to dream of being Capa fondling a Contax than it is for me to dream of being Capa while riding in an amphibious assault craft.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #64
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I think that really good thought-provoking critiques and commentary just aren't very common even in the best of times, so be happy when you encounter it?

As for me, who am I to critique someone else's work? I took a couple of classes in college, but otherwise I'm self-taught. The vast majority of images that I see online and in print are quickly forgotten, and I won't have much to say about them. It may have nothing to do with the quality or relevance of the works, it could just be that I didn't understand them or got distracted by other things.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #65
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Quote:
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I think that really good thought-provoking critiques and commentary just aren't very common even in the best of times, so be happy when you encounter it?

As for me, who am I to critique someone else's work? I took a couple of classes in college, but otherwise I'm self-taught. The vast majority of images that I see online and in print are quickly forgotten, and I won't have much to say about them. It may have nothing to do with the quality or relevance of the works, it could just be that I didn't understand them or got distracted by other things.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #66
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The vast majority of images that I see online and in print are quickly forgotten, and I won't have much to say about them.
And that says a lot about the vast majority of images.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #67
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Quote:
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...As for me, who am I to critique someone else's work?....
You can certainly share what works or doesn't work for you in a photograph. You can state how a picture makes you feel or think. You can share what a photograph means to you. You can inquire about and discuss the facts of a photograph - location, event, etc. You can ask questions or for opinions about a certain aspect of a picture.

None of these are critiques per se, but they all encourage conversation and understanding.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #68
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You can certainly share what works or doesn't work for you in a photograph. You can state how a picture makes you feel or think. You can share what a photograph means to you. You can inquire about and discuss the facts of a photograph - location, event, etc. You can ask questions or for opinions about a certain aspect of a picture.

None of these are critiques per se, but they all encourage conversation and understanding.

John
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Old 6 Days Ago   #69
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The problem with giving a crit of someone's work is worrying that I will cause offence or upset. I have had quite brutal (honest) critiques during my masters and sometimes it left me feeling upset, though I knew it made me a far better photographer it was at the time hard. So personally I can't bring myself to make comment on others work, saying nice photo etc though flattering for the artist is easy to say an would not help them grow but pointing out things that could have been done differently makes me uncomfortable. Now talking about gear is easy, I'm pretty much with digital of the opinion that nearly every body of the past 6/7 years is plenty good enough in 99% of cases. Lenses are perhaps a different matter, but I have not found any real dogs just not as good as some others. Even with an arts education I do have an interest in technical stuff.
i'm not an arts educator, but i've taken several photography and arts classes that had crit sessions. the important thing is to be respectful and for negative (and positive) comments to be concerned solely with the artwork, not the person. other people who have not had this experience will eventually find it valuable, like you did!

do you remember how the teacher conducted crit sessions? maybe you have the experience to be a moderator in the "crit session" category...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #70
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Originally Posted by 02Pilot View Post
My experience with two photography groups - primarily the salon I mentioned above as well as another group that's just starting up - is that photographers who want serious critique will explain upfront what they are asking for from their viewers. So, for example, at the last salon I attended there were a couple people who asked for guidance on portfolio formation, one who wanted to see if his photos were having the intended impact on others, and I asked about paring down a group of photos to a small selection to enter in a competition. If the photographer knows what they're trying to do and explains it, it's much easier for viewers to critique effectively, as they can first discuss the simple question presented before getting into the much more complex why.

In short, for the critique to be useful and to limit the problem of sensitive egos being bruised, the process must be about the photographer's intent as much as the photos themselves. Without that guidance, it's all left to personal tastes, which, as noted elsewhere in this thread, are widely varied but not terribly useful as a means of judgement for the work of others.
i've never gone to a salon, but that's an excellent rule that we could apply to keep online discussions productive and on track.

have other people attended salons? a directory of them would help people get face to face feedback.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #71
jsrockit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Imagine going into work tomorrow and telling your boss that instead of working you were gonna just talk about it. That should work well :]
It happens all of the time in the corporate world... it is called a meeting.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #72
JeffS7444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
You can certainly share what works or doesn't work for you in a photograph. You can state how a picture makes you feel or think. You can share what a photograph means to you.
If a photo doesn't make me feel anything in particular, then I'm probably not going to have anything meaningful to say about it.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #73
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
It happens all of the time in the corporate world... it is called a meeting.
Microsoft's got just the product for it too: It's called Outlook.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #74
Jdsegra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
Sites like RFF are gear centric mostly because that is what we have in common.
I think this really gets to the heart of the issue. What makes a photograph compelling? I have been looking for ways to get more exposure to compelling work, but my opinion of that seems to differ from most.

There’s also the appeal of that piece of kit that will “transform” your photography. The problem is that you get that piece of upgraded kit, and the idiot behind the camera hasn’t changed.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #75
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I am amused and I guess not surprised that no one has mentioned as a reason why we talk gear more than pictures is because (and I'm making an assumption, but I bet it's true) -- we are mostly, maybe overwhelmingly male here. Guys like "gear" -- whether it's cars, motorcycles, bicycles, ski equipment, watches, fountain pens, etc. This may be another generality, but women don't tend to worry so much about the gear they have but instead just go out and use it.

As for criticism, I think if folks here ask for people's honest criticism, they get it, and it's generally constructive. But getting into deep "philosophical" criticism, for lack of a better word, is pretty hard to do, and frankly the BS factor in criticism is very high. Call me a Philistine, but I either like a picture or I don't. If you have to explain to me why I should like it, you've lost me. (And there are a number of highly acclaimed photographers out there today whose stuff is simply for me a matter of the emperor's new clothes.)

I will in all likelihood never mount a show of my own work. I'll most likely never enter anything in a contest. I just like taking pictures -- the finding of the subject and how to come at it and record it. So criticism beyond technical or compositional is lost on me, since frankly it's the critic's opinion, not mine.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #76
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'Philistine' I just love the word...

Maybe that's why there is a lack of discussion of photography.

To one person your a Philistine and to another a genius, and visa versa.

There is always someone who knows all the rules...

Taste in 'Art' is so ridiculously varied that the only safe discussion <IS> about gear and technique.

Joe
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Old 6 Days Ago   #77
David Hughes
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Hmmm, I don't do art, I do photography and I see the camera as a sort of notebook that I can use to record things with. From time to time I think pictures might amuse or entertain but I know what I like/laugh at won't appeal to others and vice versa.

So I don't see the point of it on RFF which is about range-finders and a few other types of camera.

If I was teaching or learning I'd think differently but I do suspect that teachers/critcis have favourites...

Regards, David
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Old 6 Days Ago   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jszokoli View Post
'Philistine' I just love the word...

Maybe that's why there is a lack of discussion of photography.

To one person your a Philistine and to another a genius, and visa versa.

There is always someone who knows all the rules...

Taste in 'Art' is so ridiculously varied that the only safe discussion <IS> about gear and technique.

Joe
So true.

We develop our own preferences and our own eye through experience. Beginners might benefit from critiques. But the more experienced photographer who has developed his own eye and follows his own rules would likely not appreciate second guessing his work.

I'm comfortable discussing gear. I'm comfortable offering an encouraging word or compliment to other photographers about their work. But I would not be comfortable criticizing other photographer's work given the subjective nature of the art.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #79
jsrockit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hmmm, I don't do art, I do photography
Right here is the huge reason why talking about photography here doesn't work... not a judgement either way, but art photography tends to make people a bit angry here. The threads always seems to get out of control.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #80
jsrockit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jszokoli View Post

Taste in 'Art' is so ridiculously varied that the only safe discussion <IS> about gear and technique.

Joe
Exactly Joe. (I hope all is well).
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