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Frank Jackson on Street Photography I am happy and excited to announce a new RFF forum on Street Photography mentored by Frank Jackson, one of the best producers of analog B/W prints I have ever seen. His shows include the Open Shutter Gallery, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. His images are in the collections of Smithsonian Ogden Museum of Southern Art, California Afro American Museum and Xavier University New Orleans LA. He has worked for or has been featured with Visa Card, Xerox, UCLA, Eric Owen Moss, Architect, Hasselblad Forum (cover),Gordon Parks, Muhammed Ali, Million Man March Wash. DC, Lionel Hampton, jazz legion photographer , 1995-2002, Stevie Wonder, B+W Magazine (British version) twice, Rangefinder Magazine, Dahon Bicycles, Arelli Wheels, Real Product Design, Automobile Club of Southern California. Frank's online images are at fotographz.500px.com and fotographzfrankjackson.tumblr.com . "While on this diverse photographic journey…I have to say during this whole time my love for fine art black and white photography kept growing. I always found time to shoot in different cities and my own personal work…this has sustained me through some very tough times. As of 2012, with the help of a very good friend I maintain a state-of-the-art dream darkroom. The darkroom helps greatly in the on-going practice of understanding “the light”, being able to process film and print drives me to keep my digital photography “organic”. I’m curious visually and shooting what’s, what on the street feeds this curiosity. Everyday I walk out my front door to “see” the world with a digital camera, a film camera, the “cup” and an open mind (mostly).

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Old 02-24-2015   #122
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Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
Image of a parked car.



IDEA ALWAYS FIRST.
... that is not a car, as we know it ... em, Jim
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Old 02-24-2015   #123
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Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
For better or worse I have been a professor.

You teach someone how to take photos -- and the next thing you know -- one has turned into an art director and the student's photos are now no longer their photos, but a reflection of the professor. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

Many students are hopeless, at least at the moment one meets them. Maybe someday the light will turn on, but not now. But if forced to critique, the professor is forced to stumble around like in the video in the OP. Not much else you can do, unless you just tell them to go home. I have never sent anyone away, unless they refuse to work (and a few pervs in drawing classes who were hoping for nudes).

The best thing to do is have friends who are creative who you like, hang out with them, look at their stuff. Listen to them, talk to them, share your lives.

Go to museums, watch movies, read lots of books, keep a journal... you know the stuff you do naturally when you want to be creative.

No one is an authority unless they are holding the checkbook that feeds your family.
Agree
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Old 02-24-2015   #124
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Originally Posted by airfrogusmc View Post
I think it is good to get feedback from as many as you can. Then it becomes crucial who you listen to as I said in # 107.

Frank is here and a great source. I would surely take his words to heart.
Going to have to get used to another Frank being around here again.

Ill go by FrankS. The last initial was added some years ago to differentiate me from another Frank that used to be here.
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Old 02-24-2015   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
Image of a parked car.



IDEA ALWAYS FIRST.
Yes this is very nice. I really like the way all the lines line up and the reflectors on the truck repeat the shapes in the wall. Nice optical illusion going on to.

Lewis Baltz like....
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Old 02-24-2015   #126
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For myself, one image does not mean anything. Is there more? Is this part of a larger project?
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Old 02-24-2015   #127
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For myself, one image does not mean anything. I need to see more. Is this part of a larger project?
Yes I do agree.
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Old 02-24-2015   #128
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Originally Posted by Ned Bojic View Post
I disagree.

Stand-alone images are important. Without them, no so-called body of work can be valid.
No Ned, I believe you are agreeing with me. A body of work can be valid if a stand-alone image is representative of the whole group. If it is a one-off, and that is all that is presented, it doesn't tell me anything more then that. One can never know what the ideas, intentions, or the person behind it is about. We can guess, but it will just remain an enigma. Nothing more.
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Old 02-24-2015   #129
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I am saying this because I'd like to see more.
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Old 02-24-2015   #130
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Each piece is like pieces in a puzzle supporting the large whole the body of work. One good image no more makes a good photographer than one good at bat will put a baseball player in the hall of fame. The images have to be strong but they need to be strong in the way they support one another and if they are going in an exhibit need to have a flow and a consistency of vision. And that flow may be much different from the flow that may be required for a book or a portfolio.
Some interesting words on one of the photography great books.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHtRZBDOgag
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Old 02-24-2015   #131
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Or one can look at the work of Nathan Lyons, whose pivotal book "Notations In Passing", explored the relationships and the expansion of meaning with images sequenced without text.
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Old 02-24-2015   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Bojic View Post
It doesn't have to be that way.
Simply, a bunch of great images are enough. No need for bad, or average, fillers.
I understand your point Ned. Good, bad, or average does not matter. If one is going for a larger contextual meaning in a body of work, the images should support each.
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Old 02-24-2015   #133
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It doesn't have to be that way.
Simply, a bunch of great images are enough. No need for bad, or average, fillers.
Good photographs that have no visual relationship to one another is easy. Try and make good photographs that also relate visually. Try and put 40 together or 100 or so for a book. And then make sure they flow well from one to another and have a real visual consistency. When done well, thats extraordinary. Any good photographer should be able to make a bunch of unrelated good images.
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Old 02-24-2015   #134
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Very true Allen.
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Old 02-24-2015   #135
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Frank started a thread for bodies of work which could be fun if anyone is interested.

Title of the thread is Style is a clock without hands....
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Old 02-25-2015   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
Image of a parked car.



IDEA ALWAYS FIRST.
This is the sort of shot that you see in the movies, just before the actors walk into the scene or the camera zooms into the building then the scene inside the building starts.

There is nothing wrong with the shot graphically, but there is no center of interest.
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Old 02-25-2015   #137
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EVERYBODY has the right to critique any piece of art. "The arts" are a variety of forms of creative communication and if that communication doesn't reach somebody, then it has failed. You don't have to take everybody's word but they have the right to give it.
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Old 02-25-2015   #138
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Guys, let me tell you a story that's very pertinent to this thread. I grew up in Florence, Italy, a place full of treasures in paintings, sculptures, and so on. Florence is also the birthplace of very good artists, like Ghiberi, Leonardo, Michelangelo and many more. You walk around the city and in every corner there is a wall fresco, a sculpture, a church dome, and so on that provide much harmony and balance, that sometimes it takes your breath away. You feel like the masters of the arts are still there with, keeping you company, giving you advice and suggestions. I judge and pass judgment based on two parameters : Beauty and Harmony.
In this vein, I want to repeat a story that one of my art teacher sheared with us: One day Michelangelo had just finished a painting, and as the tradition goes, it showed it to the public while he was hiding behind a curtain nearby, so that he could hear criticism or comments on his work. One of the viewer was a shoemaker, and he made a remark that the shoe strings were positioned and tied all wrong. Duly Michelangelo, after the viewing was over, made the appropriate changes to the shoes. Next day the shoemaker noticed the changes and, full of pride that the famous Michelangelo had followed his advice, he started to criticize another aspect of the painting. At that point Michelangelo came out of is hiding place, and told him to worry only about things he new, and nothing else.
So, how do we critic other people work? Do we only talk about things we know or…?
Giorgio
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Old 02-25-2015   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peppard View Post
Guys, let me tell you a story that's very pertinent to this thread. I grew up in Florence, Italy, a place full of treasures in paintings, sculptures, and so on. Florence is also the birthplace of very good artists, like Ghiberi, Leonardo, Michelangelo and many more. You walk around the city and in every corner there is a wall fresco, a sculpture, a church dome, and so on that provide much harmony and balance, that sometimes it takes your breath away. You feel like the masters of the arts are still there with, keeping you company, giving you advice and suggestions. I judge and pass judgment based on two parameters : Beauty and Harmony.
In this vein, I want to repeat a story that one of my art teacher sheared with us: One day Michelangelo had just finished a painting, and as the tradition goes, it showed it to the public while he was hiding behind a curtain nearby, so that he could hear criticism or comments on his work. One of the viewer was a shoemaker, and he made a remark that the shoe strings were positioned and tied all wrong. Duly Michelangelo, after the viewing was over, made the appropriate changes to the shoes. Next day the shoemaker noticed the changes and, full of pride that the famous Michelangelo had followed his advice, he started to criticize another aspect of the painting. At that point Michelangelo came out of is hiding place, and told him to worry only about things he new, and nothing else.
So, how do we critic other people work? Do we only talk about things we know or…?
Giorgio
LoL great story...
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Old 02-25-2015   #140
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I watched the video. Thanks for sharing.
But I don't think it contains a critique as the word 'critique' is often used.

I see an almost gentle subjective preference from the teacher on his student's work. And he's mostly talking about the visual aspects of the photos (what makes an image interesting and to what degree), which I fully agree that Street photography is not immune to those.

And we see this all the time here on RFF. It's just from time to time we see some comments that are delivered in a condescending tone, that is neither helpful nor it is well-meant (except probably from the giver's own very narrow definition of well-meaning). Even only a handful of these could drown out the constructive critiques. As one proverb says, it only takes one drop of ink to render a bowl of good milk useless.

As an aside, I love the photos being critiqued in the video, I think those are excellent examples of Street photography in color.

So to answer your question, Hsg, I am on the side where there is no authority figure, singular nor organizational. There are degrees of mastery, and there are masters (those who are gifted by both talent and resources to set a high standard).

Some of these masters are also good teachers who aims to share their knowledge and experience (I would be glad to attend workshops or gallery from one of them given the chance) and some of them won't be as generous.

But I believe you have as much right to criticize my photos as I do yours. And the goal is not to say "Your photo sucks" or "I'm swooning", the goal is to start a conversation (just as it is in this video) in which both of us may learn something. Sometimes this happens, other times not.
said better than I could...
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Old 02-27-2015   #141
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Is This Art Photography Any Good? - Take it or Leave it with Bruce Gilden

What Makes a Good Street Photograph? - Take it or Leave it with Bruce Gilden
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Old 02-27-2015   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
Image of a parked car.



IDEA ALWAYS FIRST.
Your picture?
Very good!
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Old 02-27-2015   #143
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Here is another video where Eric Kim who has a following in the social media gets some harsh feedback from Costa Manos.

Costa Manos Critique of Eric Kim
I'm familiar with Eric Kim and his blogs/youtube, but I hadn't seen that. Thanks for sharing the link. What Costa Manos is saying to him really makes me think about my own photos.
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Old 02-27-2015   #144
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I'm familiar with Eric Kim and his blogs/youtube, but I hadn't seen that. Thanks for sharing the link. What Costa Manos is saying to him really makes me think about my own photos.
Thats a great piece. Right out of the box he says to Eric lets see if we can find a consistent body of work. Then about 1:27 in there is an image that he talks about on its own it's kind of interesting but could work better in a body of work with other relating images.
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Old 02-28-2015   #145
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Is this morphing into a critique thread? If so, I have something to say.

One of the things I find lacking in a lot of street photographer is that the intellectual statement often pushes out the visual [visual: composition, balance, dynamics, etc], to the point where there's often no visual tickle at all. My personal belief and approach is that photography is first and foremost visual, and so, fundamentally, the visual needs to be respected, dealt with, and utilized, as an underlying requirement. Beyond that, you can go ahead and have your philosophical statement.

This is the reason, IMO, for the strength of HCB's work, and its durability. When I started as a news photographer, I went into it with that attitude, that every photo not only had to tell the story, but also be a visual experience. Anyone who wants to see what I did with that idea can look at my 35mm Flickr stuff, linked below, where there's a selection of my old news stuff (distilled version here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnt...7628767257187/ )

You can argue that this isn't a requirement, but doing it earned me awards every year, and got a lot of wire service attention and international distribution; unusual, considering that I was working on a very small town paper with less than 15,000 circulation and never promoted myself at all (my editor was entering me in contests--I just wasn't interested). Given a choice, I think people will prefer content + vision to only content.

In my opinion, too many street photographers get wrapped up in the situation and what it means to them, and nearly entirely forget the fundamentals of formal photography, ending up with half of a picture, something inadequate no matter how good the subject matter is-----merely snapshots of interesting things.

OK, I should just shut up, now....
No, please keep going!

Thanks for actually trying to discuss instead of hijacking with embedded photos. I have read trough posts I cannot understand that you post hasn't got more attention.

Imo you are to the point about the visual. For me it has always been a big puzzle that many street photographers seemingly neglect the visual impact of a photo and don't seem to care about composition.

So I believe anyone has the right to critique a street photo, first stating if this is a strong photo, and secondly opinions about how the photo is a street.
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Old 03-02-2015   #146
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Here's and interesting very short piece on Stielitz's photo Steerage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtav_nMdrxE
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Old 09-28-2015   #147
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I agree with the Da Vinci story from Pepperd, and I actually feel no one has the right to critique a photo unless their observations are based upon a set criteria for that subject matter. I have been invited to judge a couple of Photo competitions and if it's a middle or high school contest I relax judging the production part and stick to the "which one of these photo's grabs me the most" . If the contest is for adults who should only present their best entry AND very well produced prints I will judge a lot harder. It still comes down to what I LIKE THE MOST...(and a different judge would pick differently)
I met Eric Kim and ended up sitting in on one of his street workshop's as they were showing the images they had shot that day...he then let them critique each others work...which I think is a very bad idea. That would be similar to a professor of the class allowing your peers to give you a final grade on a term paper.

As any critique or contest will go you hope to be judged by someone who is known as an expert in that area of photography.

...and then I for one don't know what I might like until I see what others have photographed.
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