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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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Are YOU satisfied with YOUR images?
Old 07-31-2008   #1
dcsang
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Are YOU satisfied with YOUR images?

This question is, I guess, a corollary to Joe's thread here:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=59485

Here's the reason for asking the question in the subject line.
Many times, when going through a roll or two (or images on a card) I have a handful of "keepers" - images I like and I think are "good" to me. I am happy with them. I don't necessarily show them to everyone or such but I like the image. This does not mean I'm not going to try to get better by continuing to learn from other folks' techniques, images etc. but I know I like the images I've kept.

The others are "throw aways".

So, with that in mind, do you find that you have to look to others to validate your images? Do you see a need or desire to have other people "like" your images? That is, a desire to have others see your images and say "this appeals to me" in order to feel that you're doing well in your photographic endeavours?

I'm curious how others feel about this.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 07-31-2008   #2
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Dave – for me it’s a mix of both. It’s great if someone else appreciates an image I like, it’s also interesting when they like an image I don’t particularly.
However, one thing I wrestle with (usually unsuccessfully) when evaluating my images, is separating the image per se from the emotional tags that often relate to the subject &/or the circumstances when I took the image.
All that said, my bottom line is that I show and display images that I like, not those others like.
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Old 07-31-2008   #3
FPjohn
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Well no. There always seems to be improvements to be had or an "instant" missed.

yours
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Old 07-31-2008   #4
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Taking photos of my children always give me keepers because I love looking at my children. I am content with what I am capable to accomplish [and what I am lacking] in photography. There are more important issues in life [for me] than lifting my photography to higher levels.
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Old 07-31-2008   #5
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Yeah, I usually get 1-3 images on a roll that I just love. That's why I get such a kick from photography. The thing of it is tho, is that me liking one of my photos does not mean that it is any good. So... it's nice when other people sometimes like them.
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Old 07-31-2008   #6
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Same as you Dave.
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Old 07-31-2008   #7
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I definitely get a charge when someone understands one of my pictures as I do - or as I don't. If someone compliments one with a shallow "ooh, that's pretty" or whatever I'll thank them, but it doesn't really do much for me.

I'm confident in my photos and don't feel the need for validation from others. You don't have to like them. They probably don't match your drapes anyway.

I *do* like hearing feedback on how people interpret and respond to photos, but that's something very different than looking for validation.
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Old 07-31-2008   #8
BigSteveG
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If I was "satisfied" I'd stop making images.
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Old 07-31-2008   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YrDdraigGoch View Post
I know what I like and I know what I want, I'm very strict, which means that about 30 out of 37 slides go straight into the bin. A few more may follow a little later.

So I wouldn't know if anybody likes the images that I don't, no one sees them.

I don't need any "validation". I do this for me, though it can be amusing to hear the interpretations that others may put into my images.


Taliesin.
If you are so strict, why do you shoot so many failures?

(This is not a personal attack of any kind. I do the same thing. But I'm interested in your reply.)

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-31-2008   #10
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Roger, that sounds just like my wife who asks me, why don't you just shoot the good pictures and not all those bad ones!
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Old 07-31-2008   #11
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I actually have a need for people to dislike my photos.
Even if it's a picture I think is the cats pajamas, having a rough critique gives me a challenge to improve BEYOND where I am today....it's what keeps me going out and taking pictures.
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Old 07-31-2008   #12
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YrDdraigGoch View Post
My dear fellow,

I don't "shoot" failures.

Though there are numerous reasons as to why I don't have a 100% "hit rate".
Primary factor is the fact that I shoot slow speed slide stock, intolerant of exposure error so only the best exposure is kept from any bracketing I do in difficult light.
There are sometimes DOF issues, not altogether previsible while using rangefinder cameras.
And then, compositional misjudgements, one is always "learning" n'est-ce pas?

Would you care to share your "hit-rate"?


Taliesin.
Dear Taliesin,

Clearly you do shoot failures, or you would have a 100% hit rate.

I specifically said that this was not a personal attack, because I do the same thing; I was interested in your analysis of why it happens.

My hit rates? I increasingly wonder if this means anything. Pictures I keep? Pictures I like? Pictures that are published? For keepers, at best, maybe 30/36. At worst, not 1/36. For publication, much the same -- but I'll rarely use 30/36 except for pack shots and step-by-steps.

I'd hate to average the 30/36s and the 1/36s, but as a rough guess, I'd say 30-50% good publishable, the same again usable in desperation, the remainder effectively scrappers.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-31-2008   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Taliesin,

Clearly you do shoot failures, or you would have a 100% hit rate.

I specifically said that this was not a personal attack, because I do the same thing; I was interested in your analysis of why it happens.

My hit rates? I increasingly wonder if this means anything. Pictures I keep? Pictures I like? Pictures that are published? For keepers, at best, maybe 30/36. At worst, not 1/36. For publication, much the same -- but I'll rarely use 30/36 except for pack shots and step-by-steps.

I'd hate to average the 30/36s and the 1/36s, but as a rough guess, I'd say 30-50% good publishable, the same again usable in desperation, the remainder effectively scrappers.
Cheers,

R.

See, I'd be screwed here, I always wind on the first 5 frames of a 36 roll so that when it comes down to sleeving them i don't end up with those lousy orphan negs. So for me...even if every single frame I shot was perfect I'd end up with an 83% hit hahaha.

oh well, i'm off to get a burrito....mmmmm
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Old 07-31-2008   #14
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To me, photography is a reflection of what I see through the limitations of the camera and my ability to capture a subject to my desired feeling or intent. With that said, I always start by taking a picture of something I like, and once it is produced, it takes a life of its own. Invariable, of the few people who do look at my pictures and like them, many times it is for reasons I never even noticed; and that is a bonus.

But I think it is this process of the dance between the subject, the creator, and the observer, that gives a picture its soul.


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Old 07-31-2008   #15
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Yes, I like my work. Yes I know my limitations.

Others often love my pics, even if I know they are not that special technically nor artistically. It doesn't matter. I take the Bob Ross view really: 'The moment you are 100% satisfied, you might as well quit'.

And if I think one of mine is brilliant (rare), and all of RFF says it' s*cks, I still think it's brilliant.
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Old 07-31-2008   #16
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Dave - interesting question ...

my photography fall into three general categories...

1. those I shoot for myself (vast majority);
2. those I shoot for others (usually for famliy or friends);
3. those I shoot to share with others (some of my travel, candid and 'street' photography falls into this category)...

the above aren't mutually exclusive and may overlap...

I couldn't care less what others think about photos that fall into the first category.

For those images that fall into category 2, I only care what the intended audience thinks or likes about those photos because I make those images for them.

I do care what others think about images that fall into the third category, not for personal validation, but because it's important to me to see what others perceive as it may in some cases help me to see differently... and for me, this last category of photography or image making is all about different perspectives on neutral subject matter, while the first two are about personal perspectives on personal subject matter...
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Old 07-31-2008   #17
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"I never have taken a picture I've intended. They're always better or worse."

- Diane Arbus

[remember, she did kill herself...]
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Old 07-31-2008   #18
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I am...except when I'm not.
I often like what I do but I always think I can do more/better.

Yes, I like positive feedback from others. If I didn't, I wouldn't bother to post my shots anywhere.
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Old 07-31-2008   #19
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forgot to add, I don't think about photos in categories 1 and 2 as 'keepers' or 'throw aways'... all of those photos are usually 'significant' to me and I keep them all... what is perhaps not that significant to me at time x may become extremely significant to me at time y...

images in category 3 are rarely 'keepers' - (for me, defined as something worth spending lots of time and energy to produce the best print possible)... for cat. 3 images, the process is usually more important that the image... i enjoy travel photoraphy, walking around town 'shooting stuff', taking random candids etc...
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If you had sex
Old 07-31-2008   #20
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If you had sex

Would you know if you came?

Of course.

But now that I'm older I have the Universal Dying Man's Wish that I close my eyes for the last time remembering the best I ever had.

If one can't figure the keepers from the culls, I very much doubt that he can differentiate self abuse from The Real Deal, much less the Really Good Deal.
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Old 07-31-2008   #21
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The vast majority of my photos end up in the trash. But then I take lots and lots of photos when I'm seriously shooting. When i was a photojournalism student so long ago, it was hammered into my head that film is relatively cheap, particularly when you consider that it is impossible to recreate an event/trip, etc.

That's just hard-wired into my brain now. I shoot heavily and edit heavily. I may only keep 1 out of every 40 or 50. It's not that all the rest are junk, it's just that I like others better.

And I do get a great deal of satisfaction when others like my photos. That is, after all, one of the reasons I like to shoot. To show others what I see.
Sometimes the opinions of others have convinced me to rethink my own feelings on a picture. Other times, I will continue to love or dislike a photo, regardless of what someone else thinks.
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Old 07-31-2008   #22
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Generally yes but sometimes so not so!

The gallery here fascinates me ... sometimes you can put a pic in there that will be viewed forty or fifty times but not evoke a comment and another image will be viewed a third of that amount and garner two or three appreciative remarks? I personally won't put an image in the gallery that doesn't give me some sense of pride or satisfaction but I agree with what someone said before that your own peception of your pics can be heavily influenced by an emotional tag.

Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that my interest in photography started with my join date here on this forum ... particularly when I'm trying to do too much with the knowledge I have. At these times I have to take a breather and just slow down and let the learning process happen naturally and quit forcing it!
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Old 07-31-2008   #23
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mine is an ancient philosophy...i am my own worst critic!
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Old 07-31-2008   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monochromejrnl View Post
forgot to add, I don't think about photos in categories 1 and 2 as 'keepers' or 'throw aways'... all of those photos are usually 'significant' to me and I keep them all... what is perhaps not that significant to me at time x may become extremely significant to me at time y...

images in category 3 are rarely 'keepers' - (for me, defined as something worth spending lots of time and energy to produce the best print possible)... for cat. 3 images, the process is usually more important that the image... i enjoy travel photoraphy, walking around town 'shooting stuff', taking random candids etc...
Ken,

I think, (after reading both your posts), you and I are very much alike in this respect.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 07-31-2008   #25
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I would like to think I'm my worst critic. But it still has been very useful to get feedback from all sorts. Other photographers, friends, relatives etc. have all given me tips; some painful, others helpful. I have rejected some, especially when one of my friend's wife said, 'It's in Black and White!'
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