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RustyBug
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Competition Entries ...


I try not to grumble, but rather seek to understand. Granted, it may get read as grumbling or poor loser kind of thing by some. That's not what's in my heart. Instead, just developing some perspective regarding the difference between that which might be viewed as popular vs. that which might be viewed as differential vs. thoughtful. Of the three (and others), the "thoughtful" is typically least received in the short response.

I've noticed this pattern, here in our own forums, WA over the years. The same piece that submitted to presentation forums, gear forums or PC Forum can be received differently than in the WA forum.

Additionally, those images that warrant more thought to reach the "frame of reference" or "I get it" aspect of the message ... typically fare much less than those that are aesthetic or readily seen as clever, etc. I think the "speed" of the message reception is construed as a qualifier to the judging process. If someone has to stop, take time to study, explore and consider the piece ... it seems to receive far less appeal. Given that I'm prone to such pieces, then I've come to expect that it will have a limited mass appeal for those kind of images.

My selections for this comp were targeted to lean that way, to see if how they would fare in competition. I'll be taking notice of the different categories that the invited entries fall into ... aesthetic vs. differentiation vs. thought kind of thing (not to be confused with different genre). Just a different data point to correlate to my understanding. If it pans out to be as my expectation (i.e. few "deeper thought / introspective" images), then it may serve some validation to my thesis in a different forum than here at FM.

This all of course begs the question of why enter the competition, at all (I enter very few). For me, it is a form of feedback. Sure, it "feels good" to be selected or to win something. In my early years (80's) I was eager to win. This one, I mostly wanted to learn if the pattern I've seen (regarding certain types) here at FM would be different at the IPHF level. First pass (rejection phase), the thesis seems to hold up. Second pass (acceptance review) will give more confirmation or refute to that thesis. Of course, if there are many in that category ... just not mine. Well, that will be something to learn from, as well.


The long story (for me) I think goes back to Allen's point about "the right gallery, for the type of work you do". In that regard, competition may not be a good matching venue for certain types of work, and if that is the case, then it is understood to be expected. From that, trying to understand a more refined application of how to achieve the right match(es). Not to be confused with sour grapes, nor sore loser ... just that it might be a narrow plight.



May 28, 2022 at 08:00 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Competition Entries ...


Sour grapes ain't gonna help you get your work on the wall of a gallery. The" I'm right the world is all wrong" attitude usually doesn't work. King of forum land might be just that when it comes the world outside forum land. I do see a lot of horizontal growth on forums and little vertical growth. The question then becomes how do you get your work to the next level?


May 28, 2022 at 08:20 AM
Camperjim
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Competition Entries ...


airfrogusmc wrote:
.....I do see a lot of horizontal growth on forums and little vertical growth. The question then becomes how do you get your work to the next level?


The bigger question is what is the next level and what does that mean? I would suppose if you are a professional photographer that next level needs to include popular appeal. As Kent points out for many of us the issue becomes more involved.

As amateurs many of us shoot for ourselves. I know for sure that my work is not going to be popular. I went through that phase years ago. I spent some time with camera club competitions and learned at least what would be popular there and what would score well. I decided I was no longer interested in shooting for competitions and I quit camera clubs except for the occasions when some decent speaker is presenting.

If we shoot for ourselves not only can we expect less than stellar results for competitions, then as Kent also mentioned that brings up another issue. Why enter at all? I have asked myself that numerous times and I have gone through phases of entering a few competitions followed by long spells of not being interested. I suppose we are all at least somewhat social (my wife might disagree in my regards) and at least at times we look for feedback, constructive criticism and acceptance.

I have an additional reason for displaying here. I find the forum feedback and discussions to be of value and I occasionally contribute to help provide some additional level of activity. As is very clear, critique forums are not real popular and are even more difficult over the internet.



May 28, 2022 at 08:42 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Competition Entries ...


I am strictly talking about personal work. I shoot professionally so nothing like "will the gallery like my work" or "will _____ like like my work" matter. it really doesn't matter because I feed the family with my pro work. So that leaves me the freedom to shoot what ever I want and from a place of honesty. I feel that is what has allowed me to have some success in the gallery world. Kinda catch 22 ish. In forum land the work that gets attention pretty much looks like everything else you see on the forum. The next level is getting your work seriously considered in the world outside forum land. We all have choices.


May 28, 2022 at 09:07 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Competition Entries ...


I wonder if we might be "perceiving" comps as a measuring device ... of vertical growth.

That's not to say, that they are the right yardstick to assess vertical growth, but I do think we sometimes look to them as a feedback / measuring device. Not to be confused with an ego grab-fest attempt (in my youth). Likely a reason for the few / intermittent entries ... it takes time to grow, so the interval between comps is necessary, if the feedback about growth is the objective.

Whether or not the comps are a good measuring device ... that's a different matter of discussion, I think. Which then begs the question:

What are the best ways for measuring (and advancing) vertical growth?



May 28, 2022 at 09:11 AM
Camperjim
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Competition Entries ...


RustyBug wrote:
What are the best ways for measuring (and advancing) vertical growth?


One way has already been mentioned... doing something unique and different; i.e., experimentation.

Since Covid hit, I have been doing something else...painting. Painting shares many of the aspects of visual communication as photography. It allows me to create from scratch as opposed to seeing and finding. Good or bad, I find that my paintings are often very similar to my photographs. I don't know if that means I am growing or stuck in a box.



May 28, 2022 at 09:39 AM
grandmas
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Competition Entries ...


RustyBug wrote:
What are the best ways for measuring (and advancing) vertical growth?


I think a very large amount of photographers who visit photography forums are photographers and not so much artists. Nothing wrong with being a photographer, but to become an artist one needs to study art.




May 28, 2022 at 10:08 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Competition Entries ...


I don't post in the crit forum anymore and the fact that little real crit, the kind that matters out there, doesn't hapen much here. And when one trys to defend their work they get attacked. Oh you are being defensing. Yeah no s--t. Thats what defending your work is. That's whats missing on a forum that happen in live crits. Give and take. Just like when someone defends their work. In the world out there when one gets say m maters degree or an MFA they actual have a defense of their final portfolio. Where they have to defend their work.

Well what do I know? Heres some local press of the exhibit I had in Hamburg Germany.
https://www.oakpark.com/2019/05/28/streets-alleys-and-other-captured-moments/

I have been doing it both professionally and with my personal work for decades but the folks on forums know more. Photographic myths are in abundance here. And repeated until to many they become fast. And the big issues here don't even enter into the convesation out there. Seriously.

How do you achieve vertical growth? Frist don't take a lot of what you see and read in certain places as fact. Look inside. DEEP inside. Take honest look at your work. Does it look like everyone else's work? Can you see any thread of a look or consistency in your work.
Like Weston said "so called “composition” becomes a personal thing, to be developed along with technique, as a personal way of seeing." Edward Weston.

Do your images look like your images? Forget what is popular on forums. Are those images real to you. What is the intent. BTW intent is the perfect place to start when writing an artist statement.

I had good friend that said she knew she was starting to arrive when her freinds and family commented "why don't you make pretty picture like you used to make."

I've said this before and I am lucky I have a group of photographers and artists that are friends of mine and whose work I admire. Seems like most of my friends are that. We get together every few months to look at new work and critique it. The one thing you have to have to enter is new work. It helps you see patterns in your work that you might miss. You talk about bodies of work and relating images more so than single images. You are able to fully discuss intent and why. In that process can find out truths not only in your work but about yourself. That is a great way to help in growth.
My 2 cents. Take to for what its worth.
Allen





May 28, 2022 at 10:21 AM
Camperjim
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Competition Entries ...


airfrogusmc wrote:
I don't post in the crit forum anymore and the fact that little real crit, the kind that matters out there, doesn't hapen much here. And when one trys to defend their work they get attacked. Oh you are being defensing. Yeah no s--t. Thats what defending your work is. That's whats missing on a forum that happen in live crits. Give and take.



I very much appreciate your comments on personal growth, but I disagree on the idea of "defending" your work when someone critiques it. It goes against human nature but I try as much as possible to avoid defensive explanations whether the critiques are online or in person, individual or group. Listening gives you an understanding of how someone else sees your work. You may not agree or change or even respect the individual but I see listening as essential to the process. The only "give and take" which sometimes is appropriate is to discuss your intentions and what you where trying to communicate. That should never cross the line and become defensive or the critique process fails.

IMO there is another equally important point. The photographer needs to take responsibility for all the attributes of the work, for everything that is in or missing from the image. Again, human nature, but all too often we can find excuses for what did not work.

Obviously there are other reasons not to post here. In your case your work is at a very high level and valuable help from a forum such as this is not likely.



May 28, 2022 at 11:56 AM
Camperjim
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Competition Entries ...


airfrogusmc wrote:
I've said this before and I am lucky I have a group of photographers and artists that are friends of mine and whose work I admire. Seems like most of my friends are that. We get together every few months to look at new work and critique it. The one thing you have to have to enter is new work. It helps you see patterns in your work that you might miss. You talk about bodies of work and relating images more so than single images. You are able to fully discuss intent and why. In that process can find
...Show more

I have said this is in past. I am envious and you are very fortunate to have such a group of friends and photographers. I am in a group that started out like that but had deteriorated. We meet monthly, now by Zoom, and show our recent work. Unfortunately people have become too polite and the comments tend to be worthless; just likes with little in depth thought. I did not even bother to attend last month.



May 28, 2022 at 12:03 PM
 


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airfrogusmc
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Competition Entries ...


You have to be able to defend your work in both the art world and the pro world. If you can't do it in the pro world the art directors, account managers and designers will eat you alive and you wil not last long. In the art world if you do not have confidence in your work and fully know what you are and why you are creating and can't defend that then you wont even get an at bat.


May 28, 2022 at 12:18 PM
EverLearning
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Competition Entries ...


Camperjim wrote:
I have an additional reason for displaying here. I find the forum feedback and discussions to be of value and I occasionally contribute to help provide some additional level of activity. As is very clear, critique forums are not real popular and are even more difficult over the internet.


I too find the feedback forum helpful, in two different ways. I don't know if validation is the right word, but when there is a lot of feedback that a photo is appealing, well-done, etc. it help confirm my thoughts on a photo. Or, when a lot (for critique forum, ) people say something like "this one does nothing for me" then that too helps and I need to stop and really think why did I think the photo worked but others didn't. Was my perspective being skewed by something special "in the moment" that only I experienced? Was there an opportunity before me that I did not fully realize but I was reluctant to accept that something was wrong in my execution of the photo?

While the above is helpful feedback, the feedback with actual critique offers the greatest insight and therefore the greatest value. The why (and why not) and not just the what.

Regarding popularity of the critique forum, there have been numerous posts in this thread that touch on it. First, here at FM, the presentation boards seem to be a ) mostly a form of self-gratification (a generalization, I know) b) very cliquish and c) an arms race in over-post processing (especially the Landscape forum with saturation). Second, a critique forum only works if people post and are willing to be critiqued and b) people are willing to give meaningful critiques, which requires time, effort and, to some degree, careful choice of words. If the poster gets defensive then the one giving the critique is less likely to provide critiques of that posters' future postings. If it is an issue with enough posters, then people will just stopping doing critiques (I saw this many years ago on a local forum).

I have received some positive feedback but far more constructive criticism. Both are appreciated. The positive feedback is energizing. The constructive criticism is fuel for growth. As somebody mentioned, you don't have to agree with all feedback or incorporate all feedback, but it is valuable to contemplate all feedback.

Don



May 29, 2022 at 08:52 AM
Camperjim
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Competition Entries ...


I find there is also another benefit to entering competitions and posting here. It forces me to make selections and view my work more critically and carefully before applying or posting.


May 29, 2022 at 09:02 AM
EverLearning
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Competition Entries ...


grandmas wrote:
I think a very large amount of photographers who visit photography forums are photographers and not so much artists. Nothing wrong with being a photographer, but to become an artist one needs to study art.



But what is art? People tend to think of painting and sculpting as visual art, but not photography. But photography IS a visual art. Studying great photographers is as much studying art as studying great painters and great sculptors, even though photography is a young art when compared to the other two. Also, there are people who are gifted in some way; artistically, mathematically, memory, spacial understanding, etc. Mozart was reading and writing music by age five and composting by six. Clearly, formal studying was not responsible for that skill, that gift, at so early an age.

Photographer vs artist reminds me of a product that existed 50 years ago - Paint by Number. It came in a box with a "canvas" and paints. On the canvas was an image outlined; sections outlined with numbers inside. Each number represented a provided colour. Paint the colours as per the numbers and in the end the painter had an image with some basic appeal. the user was a painter but not an artist. Ten years ago i did a photo tour to the Great Bear Rainforest, which was lead by a pro photographer with a degree in biology. He made a number of good points but probably the biggest one is not to just take "a photo of a ...". Look for a strong environmental shot or a compelling behaviour shot or special light that changes the photo from "a photo of a ..." to a piece of art. (I'm still guilty of taking "photos of a ..." although a lot of time this occurs towards the end of an outing where there has been precious little to photograph.)




May 29, 2022 at 09:06 AM
EverLearning
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Competition Entries ...


Camperjim wrote:
I find there is also another benefit to entering competitions and posting here. It forces me to make selections and view my work more critically and carefully before applying or posting.


Totally agree. My first experience with this was actually the setting up of a web site to share my work with family and friends (and maybe sell a few photos (and "few" became accurate)). Knowing where the best of my work would end up, I started paying a lot more attention to the details in field and striving to improve my post-processing skills.

Looking back on things, I would say there has been three substantial steps in my growth as a photographer/artist:

1) getting my first digital camera: no-cost photos, instant feedback on camera screen, more feedback on computer screen, easier experimentation

2) Creating my website

3) Constructive critiques, especially those received here

Lots of growth but also LOTS of room for growth.

Don



May 29, 2022 at 09:14 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Competition Entries ...


I think that the point about studying art ... 2-dimensional image making as it broadly pertains to photography, involves an included understanding of the physiological response that we have. Other mediums also ... each having the common denominator of the physiological response of viewers / audience.

For me, that's something that I sought to learn. For others, they couldn't care less about understanding that ... yet, they have learned to create works that receive response from viewers, without an iota of (formal) study ... i.e. observational study of the interaction between their works and their audience (along with understanding of audience variance).

Then, couple that with the "voice" or "intent" of what it is you desire to say, understanding whether you want to whisper it to your audience or shout it loud becomes part of not only what you desire to say, but how you desire to say it. Powerful, brash, soft, subtle ... insert the terms of music or literature that control intensity and pace, transitions, etc. ... and somewhere between Hip-Hop and Mozart, Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss lies the range(s) of what we have at our disposal to craft, create, capture and record.

Written verbal
Non-written verbal
Non-verbal auditory
Non-verbal visual
Non-verbal (olfactory, taste, touch)

The interface of cognitive and sensory warrant an understanding of each (imo). How deeply we seek to apply such understanding is part of our growth. And of course, some folks do so by virtue of their "natural talents" without given it much direct thought, while others are more inclined to grow as students, owing more direct thought to the various tenets.

We study, we learn, we experiment, we learn, we observe, we learn, we think, we learn, we experience, we learn, we practice, we learn, we listen, we learn, we read, we learn, we discuss, we learn, etc. ... all pieces of how we grow. In this manner, we craft the composition of who we are, and who we are to become ... which in turn facilitates the compositions we desire to capture, create, or record, et al.

Who we are today, and who we (and our art) are tomorrow ... they may, or may not, be the same. Perpetuity lies ahead. What we do with it is upon us.










May 29, 2022 at 12:21 PM
grandmas
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Competition Entries ...


EverLearning wrote:
But what is art? People tend to think of painting and sculpting as visual art, but not photography. But photography IS a visual art. Studying great photographers is as much studying art as studying great painters and great sculptors, even though photography is a young art when compared to the other two. Also, there are people who are gifted in some way; artistically, mathematically, memory, spacial understanding, etc. Mozart was reading and writing music by age five and composting by six. Clearly, formal studying was not responsible for that skill, that gift, at so early an age.

Photographer vs artist reminds
...Show more

I think art is going to be different for everyone. For me I think art can simply be beautiful. I can paint a picture of a flower and it would be considered art, but taking a documentary photo of the same flower, probably not. I think for art in photography in today’s world needs to lean more towards thought provoking.

I agree some folks have a gift or talent. I would suggest that just because I have a camera and can learn how to use it in a productive way does not automatically make me an artist. I think to be an artist one must either have a special gift, or study, and in some cases both.

The “great photographers” work we study is often done by photographers who studied art before doing photography.

We need to know what we want before we shoot. Often what we want may not work for others, and we should be able to accept that.

I find it interesting that a lot of comments in this forum are often the same with one voice saying something different. I am sure the poster probably thinks the majority are on the right tract, but the one different voice can make someone think.




May 29, 2022 at 01:04 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Competition Entries ...


I can say that documentary photography like the work of W Eugene Smith, Bruce Davidson and Robert Frank (to name just 3) certainly can be art.


May 29, 2022 at 01:11 PM
Camperjim
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Competition Entries ...


There are plenty of definitions of art or fine art. I had found one I thought especially good but cannot find it again.

I think it went something like this:

A creative endeavor with the intention to communicate aesthetic, emotional, or intellectual content.



May 29, 2022 at 01:26 PM
EverLearning
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Competition Entries ...


airfrogusmc wrote:
I can say that documentary photography like the work of W Eugene Smith, Bruce Davidson and Robert Frank (to name just 3) certainly can be art.


Depends on what you consider "documentary". Purely from the perspective of documenting something (text books, research papers, autopsies, mug shots, etc), it would be a stretch to say those are art. A documentary about something can be artfully done (and probably would be dry if the images, video and auditory were all done in a pure "document it" fashion).



May 29, 2022 at 01:33 PM
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