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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Could you guess what people going to like?
Old 07-17-2015   #1
Ko.Fe.
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Could you guess what people going to like?

I have a photo philosophical problem, I think.
Very often here is no harmony between what I like and most do.
On Flickr and in forums galleries I often find and like what only few or even nobody else likes...
I'm not talking about kincky sex photos or something wierd. Just street, portraits and landscapes mostly.

If I share my picture I never could guess if viewers going to like it or it is going to be passed by.
In no-Internet environment, I have only one person who would like my pictures and explain why he likes it (often for same reason) as I do. But mostly after we have drinks and not just two.

Is it normal? I have some if not few non-primitive pictures I like and many (for me) have checked them as well as good one.
I think, my goal is to have more pictures like these...
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Old 07-17-2015   #2
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I think this is to be expected. Its very difficult, if not impossible, to be truly objective about one's own work - not just in photography; a great deal of art criticism and general academic wrangling has addressed this question in recent decades.

In the case of photography, letting some time pass between shooting, and editing and evaluating, can help. But the shooter and the viewer will always bring their own, highly individual overlay of subjectivity to the formal, objective qualities of a given photo.

When this can seem irksome to the photographer, is when viewers seem to consistently prefer what the photographer considers to be outliers, rather than the "real work". I think this can be an illusion to some degree, because, when the photographer and the audience are in agreement about which are the "good shots," it fulfills expectations and therefore does not stick in the mind as much as disagreement.
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Old 07-17-2015   #3
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Totally normal. What I consider my best photographs are usually the least viewed or liked, while the most mundane and cliché are skyrocketing. Go figure. Different values.
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Old 07-17-2015   #4
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I am not motivated to create photographs based on what other people like. I do it for personal reasons. For me, it's not a popularity contest; one reason why I'm not fond of popularity-based photo sites like Instagram. I could care less what others think.

Of course, I'm also not a professional photographer, so I don't have to appeal to a clientele.

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Old 07-17-2015   #5
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Often it is the case that what the photographer likes, and why, differs from what a viewer sees, likes, and their reasons for that. This is normal. It happens in all art disciplines.

I don't think about it. I put up work that I like, for my reasons, and enjoy how viewers react and what they say. When our opinions agree, I am happy. When our opinions differ, well, I'm happy anyway ... ;-)

G
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Old 07-17-2015   #6
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Your dilemma is the reason photography editors exist.

As harpofreely mentioned, it is difficult to edit/curate yourself.

However, you should work on what you prefer and enjoy (assuming we're not talking about commercial work). So the hard part might be figuring out your style and then refining it.
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Old 07-17-2015   #7
jesse1dog
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Question of for whom do you take the pictures.
I take pictures to suit myself and not really for others.
If others like my pictures and they have given pleasure, then I'm happy.
Even if only one person has looked, and liked what they have seen, then I'm pleased.
I would be very worried if everybody liked my pictures - I would think that they didn't express me and what I am.
So I guess your feelings are pretty normal for a thinking and caring photographer.
Keep going and doing what you want.
j
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Old 07-17-2015   #8
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You have to shoot for yourself. "What other people like" is an impossibly fast moving target.
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Old 07-17-2015   #9
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Pretty normal I'd say - some of my best shots (IMHO) get very little attention. Some other shots which I only find to be just "OK" get a lot of good comments.

If you want a lot of "likes", find some cute kittens, glue them to a satin pillow and shoot with vivid colour setting
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Old 07-17-2015   #10
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I think anyone who takes their work even a little bit seriously has asked themselves the same question more than once. The best answer I have come up with thus far is twofold:

1) Try to be as objective as you can, and separate your own emotional attachment to the photos from viewing your work wherever possible. Viewers generally don't care how difficult the shot was to make, or how you felt when you took it. It just has to stand (or not) on its own. I doubt anyone can be truly objective about their own work, but you do your best.

2) Make work that matters to you and that you're happy with, and trust that it will speak to others. I believe that if you make work from your heart, there will almost always be others out there that it also resonates with. And often for completely different reasons, which is part of the beauty of artistic pursuits.
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Old 07-17-2015   #11
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after having uploaded over 10.000 photos to flickr and having shown quite a few hundreds in forums over the span of 8 years yes I can guess quite well which photos 'people' will like, even which people will like which photo.
I consider that a valid learning experience these sites and forums provide, but photos liked by others only partly coincide with the photos I like myself. Other photos which I like myself might hardly be noticed by anyone else, I usually know that before showing.
However I don't try to comply and love surprises
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Old 07-17-2015   #12
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I'm curious, Ko.Fe, as I've followed your flickr for a fair while now - can you post a example each of, one photo you liked that got no love, and one you were indifferent to, that got lots of attention?
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Old 07-17-2015   #13
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Thanks to all for very informatives replies and special thanks to harpofreely
I was going to initially, but I'm too shy.

Here is example of something complicated what I like and many nice and advanced photogs, viewers liked as well.



And here is two most recent ones, which pushed me to write here.

I really like this one because all three of them and how they look at each other. It was taken on April 19th this year.



It made me happy, of course, by nice persons and good photographers who paid attention to it (always an honor to me).

But very next one which was sitting in cue since March of this year as selected to be shown was much more popular. And I'm considering this one as the simple one.



Cheers!
Ko.
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Old 07-17-2015   #14
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Kostya,

You have quite a few photos that I like. But I've never seen your flickr stream up until now. I think the question you posed has more to do with the amount of exposure that we get.

Example, if a photographer has a 10,000 audiences, even if only 1% likes the photos, that's still quite a lot of people.

On the reverse, if one only has 100 audiences, and 20 of those likes the photos, that's 20% of the viewers.
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Old 07-17-2015   #15
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How relevant the question is depends on the photographer's aspirations. If they're a hobbyist pursuing it for it's own sake then it doesn't matter; if the photographer is genuinely serious about how their work operates in the world then it has to be considered a form of communication. If the photos don't produce any response then they're not communicating anything effectively or of interest. If people hate it, love it, are offended by it, are comforted by it, are informed by it, are confused by it - then I think one is on the right track. The worst possible crime in art or photography is to be boring.

The question is for people who are serious about photography (or anything) that communicates is what audience they are trying to communicate to. Honestly I think gauging how good your work is by the number of likes and views on flickr is a horribly bad way to figure out the worth of what one does because the average Flickr user is an average twit. Also, flickr is a terrible way of looking at photographs; better to print them and place them on a wall in front of an intelligent critic.
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Old 07-17-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Is it normal?
The average person loves cliches.
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Old 07-17-2015   #17
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Agree. Cliches become cliches for a reason. Just like stereotypes.
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Old 07-17-2015   #18
Ko.Fe.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nongfuspring View Post
...Honestly I think gauging how good your work is by the number of likes and views on flickr is a horribly bad way to figure out the worth of what one does because the average Flickr user is an average twit. Also, flickr is a terrible way of looking at photographs; better to print them and place them on a wall in front of an intelligent critic.
I'm not after numbers of likes and my initial post was not about it.
I can't stand most of pictures with 99+ likes status. 99% of them are primitive cliches.

About twits on Flickrs. I'm selective. I'm not following everyone who follows me. It is about 1:10 ratio. Those whom I follow have pictures worth to look at and enjoy. And If they liked my picture it is valuable remark.
While "intelligent critics by the wall" is something I haven't seen, yet.

Flickr was one of the examples. I have similar situation with more advanced audience and within my family as well. I never know which picture my wife is going to like.
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Old 07-17-2015   #19
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based on my instagram feed and some of my insta-celeb friends, most of the popular shots needs to have colors and or dramatic lighting.

for myself, my number one audience is myself, i like b&w more and use instagram as a journal so really if someone likes my pictures, that is great but not the determining factor of what i shoot and post
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Old 07-17-2015   #20
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While I would not see much in the above photos ( let's leave out the dog, as I like dogs a lot ). IT DOES NOT MATTER.
What matters is what YOU are reacting to. You could actually use your Flickr FAVE button in order to discover something about yourself. Fave only the photos YOU genuinely like, do not fave stuff of friends to be nice to them. Then, after several weeks go and look through these faved photos, and you might discover things about your psyche you did not know about, or you might get a clearer view about what moves and inspires you in photography and go yourself in that direction.
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