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Archive 2013 · Idle hands
  
 
dmacmillan
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p.2 #1 · Idle hands


Eyeball wrote:
One thing I have to continually remind myself is that an image can be a great memory and not necessarily a great photograph. And you know, I don't think there is a darn thing wrong with that as long as the intended audience consists of people who are going to appreciate the memory.

I couldn't agree more and said something to that effect in the post of the church photo.

Just to make sure there's no misunderstanding, my mention of the child in the bathtub photograph should not be construed as a comment on its worth. I have many similar photos of my boys and grandchildren in the tub and they are precious memories. It's doubtful it will win any awards, but I don't think the OP felt it would. Sometimes we should accept an image for what it is and respond appropriately. 1200+ words on it is like killing a gnat with a sledgehammer.



Jan 29, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Eyeball
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p.2 #2 · Idle hands


My comment wasn't aimed at you, Doug. Sorry if it looked like it. I just wanted to acknowledge that Bob's pic can have meaning for him even if it doesn't come across to us nit-pickers.



Jan 30, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Skarkowtsky
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p.2 #3 · Idle hands


I agree with you guys. However, lest not forget he posted this in the critique forum. I tried to give objective criticism, general photography techniques.


Jan 30, 2013 at 12:16 AM
dmacmillan
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p.2 #4 · Idle hands


Eyeball wrote:
My comment wasn't aimed at you, Doug. Sorry if it looked like it. I just wanted to acknowledge that Bob's pic can have meaning for him even if it doesn't come across to us nit-pickers.

No problem. My second comment was made when I had the opportunity for clarification, to affirm what you said in regard to the photo I had singled out.

Again, I agree. I'm sure if Bob looks at this photo years from now, the memories of the beekeeper quietly fidgeting with pen and paper will come rushing back. For the rest of us, though, it's a "you had to be there" photo.



Jan 30, 2013 at 12:18 AM
AuntiPode
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p.2 #5 · Idle hands


One important question to ponder and not necessarily an easy one to ask is, how much critique would help to poster. Especially when someone is new to photography I worry that critiquing to many aspects in too great a depth my discourage a newbie. For someone who's very experienced, a few quick comments are more than enough most of the time. If someone wants more explanation, they can ask and they'll receive. That's why I rarely post long and detailed critiques ... plus they are a lot of work.


Jan 30, 2013 at 12:21 AM
cgardner
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p.2 #6 · Idle hands


The goal of the exercise in my view is to create some emotional reaction in the mind of the viewer who sees the photo.

It does take analysis to reverse engineer how technique in one photo creates that psychological reaction better than another. It's much simpler when a photographer posts a sequence of different crops or points of view. Then it is easy to say photo 1 delivers a message better than photos 2, 3 and 4 by comparison.

When a photographer posts one photo and 3-4 different people create edited versions the comparison process is similar. By comparison with the edits the poster can see how the story in the shot might have been told more effectively or in some cases where poor technique is a roadblock to the "magic" of accepting the photographic rendering as a real 3D scene from "working".

Personally I think the regulars here focus to much on PP fixes. PP is great tool for refining a message beyond what the technical limits of the recording medium and the situation allows, but this photo is a good example of one where no amount of PP can fix it. The problem in delivering the story and creating some emotional reaction to the hands of an experience beekeeper isn't the rendering of the hands, which is skillful and well executed but rather the thought put into telling the story in a way anyone will relate to it, which is the first important step in getting them to react to it.

A good example of that was the recent first time most of the fireman shot. RustyBug, who was a fireman at some point, recognized the implied message from the context of the hose in the background. But that was part of the message I or anyone who had never rolled hoses after a fire didn't relate to, or react to on an emotional level. It is a shot the if hung in a fire house would probably resonate with nearly everyone who saw it. The same is true for this shot. If you gave a print to the beekeeper or his family they'd relate to it better than a stranger would because they understand the context that isn't shown in the photo.

What makes it difficult to be self-critical, or one's own worst critic, is the fact a photograph has emotional attachment to context beyond what is seen in the photograph. It's not just photographs. Has your wife ever said to you, "Why don't you ever look at me like you did when we first met?"

What happens in the brain when things are familiar is that as soon as you recognize that it's your wife in that crowd of 3,000 people in the shopping mall the brain stops processing all the clues it would if someone told you to find the Chinese face in the crowd. Why? because it the brain already knows what he wife looks like. Back when you first met the brain did need to process all the clues and that's why you looked at her differently.

BTW the correct answer is, "Darling your beauty is so indelibly etched in my memory I don't need to look at you to be reminded how lucky I am to have married you." And that's a pretty accurate description of how the Fusiform Gyrus in the temporal lobes processes familiar faces and objects.

In any situation like the county fair or road side stand where the honey was being sold some emotional reaction to the hands inspired the taking of this photo. It's a nice photo of the hands, but it doesn't create the same reaction when I see it because I don't have the same memories about the context as the person who took it. I can only react emotionally, or not, to the clues in it in the same way as the photographer who took it.

Here's a throw down challenge to anyone posting a photo here. Stop telegraphing the story you want it to tell in the subject line or narrative about taking it. Post the photo with the subject line "What story do you see in this one?" and ask the questions:

What do you think the story is here?
Why did you find it interesting? "I didn't find it interesting" is a valid answer but explain why.
What senses other than visual did it trigger? sound, touch, taste
What personal memories caused you to react that way?
Do you think everyone will react the same way?
What did you notice first?
Where did your eye go next?
What did you dwell longest on?
What was the last thing you saw before exiting?

Those are the questions I ask myself when critiquing a photo. Too analytical you say? Perhaps but those criteria will objectively evaluate whether the photo "worked" on an emotional level to a narrow or wide audience and why.



Jan 30, 2013 at 12:52 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #7 · Idle hands


AuntiPode wrote:
If someone wants more explanation, they can ask and they'll receive.


I was politely PM'd by a fellow FM'er (not inferring Karen) who offered "Economy of expression" as something I might consider. I'll see if I can try to truncate and delay a few things to coincide with "they can ask" and "economy of expression" a bit more.



Jan 30, 2013 at 02:44 PM
 

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cgardner
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p.2 #8 · Idle hands


Sometimes more can be learned from a spontaneous snap shot than a carefully planned nearly perfect shot. But then again if you know everything there already there is no point, nor any obligation to read any comments you find waste your time.

I comment the way I do despite the snarky editorials from Doug about my posting habits, experience and teaching approach which have been going on for ten years in two different forums. He followed me here from DPR after I left there to heckle. I left because it got tiresome having him and his troll buddies patting each other on the back for each more clever put-down and derailing threads where I was trying just to help the OP, usually a clueless newbie. .

I comment as I do because the people whose photos I comment on tell me they appreciate the in depth analysis, even if they need to print it out and read it several times to absorb it all. Doug's opinion of my posing habits bothers me only the extend a pesky fly at a picnic does. You change tables but pesky fly follows. He might say flies are also attracted to BS, and know that's what he thinks of my advice. But like flies I can't can't figure out why he's so attracted what he thinks is sh*t. He seems to read and count every word I write and seems to have collection of old threads he'll occasionally link too. But at least he has better manners here than on DPR, but only because Fred moderates more than the Askey snakepit.

My comments are pretty much the same comments, repeated because new people ask the same questions and post photos needing the same improvements.




Jan 30, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.2 #9 · Idle hands


Hey Chuck,

Have you ever considered that it's your pedantic, 'follow my playbook and nothing else' approach to critique and advice that is so off-putting to most of us?

It's how you phrase things, so matter-of-fact in tone. With the exception of irrefutable technical information, the rest is subjective in the creative process. That doesn't mean it can't be a calculated, well-thought-out execution that speaks with clarity, and to many viewers, and it also doesn't mean that it's the wrong solution just because it's not your solution.

How about responding as a viewer, then as a photographer, but ALWAYS keeping the OP's bottom line in mind? How about not telling people how to do the photo over with your vision of 'ideal' lighting or an appropriate narrative. How about actually looking at the elements of their photograph and suggesting how they can approach it with more understanding and their interpretation in mind?

Maybe you feel you're doing these things. Maybe you are. But, maybe you aren't conveying those messages as clearly as you think. Sure, some people will receive your information well. Some of us can see how preposterous your advice is at times, too.

You're imposing too much of your values on others work. This isn't a classroom, you aren't the teacher. You want to expound your personal philosophy, write a book.

You've cited your experience over and over. However, I can go toe to toe with you in evaluating and critiquing work. That's how I was trained, also. But, I'd never presume to tell someone how to make their own photograph, start to finish.

It's pompous.




Jan 30, 2013 at 08:13 PM
dmacmillan
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p.2 #10 · Idle hands


Well, that was kind of out of the blue.

Chuck, it's easy to focus on me. But, by doing so, you aren't able to see all the others who have problems with your style. Since your return, you have already crossed swords with others in other forums.

Before you returned, there were a number of new posters in this and other threads. There was some good conversations and those new to the site weren't neglected and got some good advice. You have recently increased the frequency and length of your posts. You tend to commandeer threads, often becoming argumentative with those who don't see things from your narrow perspective. All this has been pointed out by numerous others, but it seems to fall on deaf ears.

I thought your time away might have been an opportunity for reflection, but apparently not.





Jan 30, 2013 at 08:34 PM
dmacmillan
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p.2 #11 · Idle hands


All,
Thanks for all of your messages of encouragement and support. I appreciate it.



Jan 30, 2013 at 10:17 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #12 · Idle hands


Skarkowtsky wrote:
Hey Chuck,

You're imposing too much of your values on others work. This isn't a classroom, you aren't the teacher. You want to expound your personal philosophy, write a book.


Maybe a link to your tutorials rather than the repetitive cut & paste. An intro to the concept for the OP, et al, and the link to the tutorial could be a way of providing the concept to the OP, stimulating traffic and SEO to your site, prompting more questions from the OP after visiting your tutorials, and sparing the other regular members of the forum from the repetition and condescending projection that accompanies it at times.

The "clever" comments that have been written are really indication of a much deeper disdain for the canned repetition. John and Doug aren't alone in their disdain for the condescending teacher projection. We do respect that you have experience and knowledge to share with us and other fellow member's of FM ... but it truly has "hampered & dampered" the spirit of the forum at times. As one who has similar tendencies to "go long" and be "overly analytical" ... please don't perceive this as being hypocritical, but rather an honest, direct and relate-able effort to suggest something that might be helpful to restore some of the spirit of the forum that has waxed and waned with your projections of superiority.

You have frequently cited your history with Doug, but there are others (many others) who share such feelings that you can put a dark cloud over the parade at will, without recognizing that you are doing so. I do not feel that you intend to do so, believing that you are taking the high ground to helping the OP, dismissing other members as being lesser inclined for truly helping the OP than your training and experience provide for.

I have spoken well of your knowledge on many occasions with yourself and other fellow FM'ers. This I stand by ... however, the undertones and overtones have reached the point where they are overriding and degrading the inherent value of your knowledge with many of your fellow FM members. This is not meant to be mean or antagonistic, but honest, direct and filled with respect in an effort to find a way to harness your valuable contributions without the "hamper and damper" that often comes with it for many of us.

I know that you are an analytical minded person, who will always be able to construct a case for your actions & decisions. I expect that to never change. However, as a logical and analytical individual, please take a few moments to reflect on that which has been offered in a legitimate effort to discuss something that has come up many times in the past and has merely been hinted at and never presented as directly as I have here. I hope that this is well received in good will, even if it might come across with a bit less so initially.



Skarkowtsky wrote:
write a book.


I think I just did.




Jan 30, 2013 at 11:14 PM
sbeme
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p.2 #13 · Idle hands


Kent,
Well said.
thanks.
Scott



Jan 31, 2013 at 01:18 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #14 · Idle hands


You're welcome Scott.

I know that what I wrote has been on many members minds for a long time. I tried to present such a sensitive and subjective matter with a propriety of dignity and respect for our fellow member whom we all value and have all benefited from his contributions and participation.

I believe that if we are all honest with ourselves, we know that we have all been prone to needing a "gentle nudge" from time to time. FM in general and this forum in particular has incredibly good members ... all of whom I value.

As such, I would like to apologize to Chuck ... not for saying what I did, as I aspired to speak the truth in kindness with dignity & respect ... but for the knowledge that I know I stepped on an emotional nerve of someone who I truly do have a degree of dignity and respect for.

I think the thing that put this issue "over the top" for me was the reference to the "teacher" and "psychological experiment". While we do all aspire to assist others in learning (making us all aspiring teachers) via the critical analysis and opinions offered, and we do recognize the psychology involved with the human response to the visual medium (and other people) ... it is the projection that any of us is better suited to help others learn (i.e. teach) that affronts fellow members.

In no way, shape or form do any of us singularly have the capacity to be "all things to all people" ... but collectively we present a very valuable place for growth to occur. This is the reason I keep coming here ... to learn from others, and to reciprocate in kind to help others learn.

When one subscribes to (or projects that) there isn't anything more for them to learn ... there becomes a perception that embodies a literal take on the term "know-it-all". But even beyond that, the "psychology" involved with a group of people that have assembled to be part of a shared learning forum are naturally at odds with the concept of anyone who projects only a willingness to "teach", with little regard to the prospect of learning and including themselves amidst the body of "learners". In this manner, a projection of distinction is contrary to one of immersion with the group of members.

Chuck, I do not desire for you to remove yourself from this forum. Your contributing value to us and other fellow FM members is inherent. But, that being said ... a forum is not a classroom ... and there is no "teacher". Rather a collection / assembly of all walks of life, background, training, experience and talent levels that come together to share in a "give & take" manner.

Oddly enough, you do present that you aspire to "give" to the OP (et al) as a teacher/mentor. This is not a bad thing in and of itself ... except for the repeated posturing that you project regarding your status/qualifications as a teacher/mentor. The strong defense that you frequently present as an unwillingness to "take" from others who are likewise offering to "give" in the spirit of the forum, puts you at odds unnecessarily with your fellow members.

I personally have learned from you, but it wasn't because of your reference to your pedigree, it was because of the information that I could relate to regarding the subject matter. Meanwhile, others that could not relate to your material as presented ... all the pedigrees in the world are meaningless and offer no contributing value for advancing their learning. All that people need to respect your knowledge, experience & talent ... is your knowledge, experience and talent. They don't need to be reminded of your pedigree to enhance or garner such respect. It reminds me of the old adage that:

"A photographer is only as good as his last photograph."


We cannot rest on our laurels and expect others to cling to what our former selves offer in limitation. Great teachers never stop learning and great teachers know how to learn from their students as well through the teaching and learning processes. So really, all that is being asked here is that you relinquish your projection as being a great teacher predicated upon your former self and become a part of the forum aspiring to grow as both a teacher and student along with the rest of us.

We simply want you to be one of us in the spirit of the forum, rather than continually presenting yourself as not one of us.

Again, I apologize for the pain/angst that stepping on an emotional nerve causes. I realize that this is well beyond a "gentle nudge" ... but it is truly intended to still be in keeping with the spirit of a good FM'er maintaining dignity and respect for our fellow members. I truly hope you understand ... if not today, then tomorrow.

God Bless, thank you for your contributions, and I hope this helps such that growth and learning can be well promoted for everyone to perpetuity.

Now ... "Bring on the Pics"



Jan 31, 2013 at 03:38 PM
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