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Amateur Snappers & Great Pictures

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by art, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    As I said, they are very average point and shoots. Whatever anyone might think about them is really not going to improve what we can all see, nice though they are.
  2. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    ...and as I say, that's only your opinion, as the view of others is their opinion and my assessment of any picture is my opinion. I say this is a good picture of a butterfly, you may say it is not. Both views are equally correct...

  3. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Going round this circular argument does get a bit tiring after a few times. You believe all opinions are equally valid or invalid, which people have argued here many times, without at all affecting the reality. I really don't believe all evaluation of anything in the creative arts is by definition equally valid or invalid.

    Here for your enjoyment is a stunning urban landscape that is (i'm sure someone somewhere is daft enough to agree) completely beyond criticism.

  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Pictures of people and places attract us all (generalisation) because we are all inherently nosy and interested in our fellow man/woman/place they live.

    That series of pictures hold our interest now because of its historical value and that inherent curiosity about how people lived.
    OK - maybe it's just me who is interested, but that's all they are.
    They are not great pictures, but they are, in the main, interesting.

    I know when I am attracted to a picture - painting or photo. Now, if lots and lots of people feel the same, including the Galleries and picture gatherers, it is on the way to being a great image. Give it a year or so, and if we still all feel the same, it is definitely on the way to being a great picture. It's not there yet, but maybe as the photographer gets on his/her last legs or pops their clogs and we all still think it is a picture worth keeping and looking at - it could now be a great picture.

    For me great pictures don't die. They don't slip behind the cushion tomorrow and get lost forever.
    There are great pictures - they are just not the current ones... yet!

  5. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    That is your opinion. In my opinion, it has no objective validity but I will always defend your right to hold it, provided you accept my right to differ.

    You use the word "believe" so you admit this is an opinion. I don't wish to change your opinion but I do wish you would accept that everyone else's opinion is of equal validity. The alternative, and here I do not exagerate, is to follow the path that leads to the insanity of IS and the other religious maniacs.

    All art is nothing other than opinion. That is its strength and that is what we should, in our own small way, seek to preserve. I like this building, others do not. Provided we agree to differ in peace, there is no problem...

  6. art

    art Well-Known Member

    Hear hear!

    Why would anyone even want to disagree with any of that? And even if they did, what can they do about someone else's opinion anyway? Dislike them, despise them, hate them, kill them . . . . .?
    SA is right, it's the path to insanity.
  7. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Well, that rusty pole (bottom r/h corner) looks a bit post-modern ....

  8. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Mick, that's your opinion and I can understand why you might say that. I can make a good argument that his photography is naive in the extreme (although that probably does actually qualify it as high art! ;)) or that it derives most of its value from being of a vanished past, being merely nostalgic. But that's OK. Life would be very dull around photography if everything had to be cut & dried, instantly appreciated as good or bad, not possible as being misconstrued or misunderstood or under or over-appreciated. There's stuff I liked decades ago that now makes me wince a bit or even discard as rubbish. It would also be very dull if we all liked or disliked everything instantly and could never have the surprise of new discoveries, slow burn appreciation of the worth of an image.

    However, the more I learn about photography and pictures and the more I look at Forsyth's work then the more I appreciate it. We look at images in different ways and understand them in different ways and even change or shift our opinions & understanding & relationship to them over time. I know people who hate Trevor Crone's work, for example, (another guy who started by photographing close to home - and still doing it!) but others love it. Enough, as for Forsyth, to justify wider appreciation, publications, books & quite a sizeable fan-base. :D

    The point I was trying to make however, was in relation to the stupid statement of the author of the Guardian article. Good photography opportunities start at your own front or back door. In fact, as someone else has posted already & Eggleston has proved, you can make great pictures inside your home. Inside your refrigerator even ... :p Cheers, Oly
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  9. sirch

    sirch Member

    I would say that taking good pictures is what a serious photographer is driven to do but no one won an Olympic medal or an F1 race by just doing what they were comfortable with.
  10. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Of course it's my opinion. I would never pretend otherwise. My objection was your description of them being 'great'. I'd suggest that several people need to agree on 'greatness'. I'm afraid that I don't subscribe to 'all opinions are equal' . When it comes to pictures (other than my own genre of NH) I'm the worst in the world at reading the picture and seeing the story. I would never believe that my opinion was worth the same as some others who post here.

    Finally when I looked at that fellows pictures (you see - so impressed I don't remember his name) I have to say that I was reminded of some of my own stuff taken at age 11 with my first ever camera. If I had the energy I could dig out prints of a pianist almost identical to his - but with my sister playing. The key difference IIRC is that his are technically better than mine. I have scores of family members standing on their doorstep (his number 16 I think). I even have my grandfather sitting on his white charger in his front garden (he was a cavalry officer). If the man on the step is 'great' then I give up.

  11. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    I don't think that extreme edge of the curve stuff is relevant to the current discussion. On the other hand, I could well be wrong.

  12. lfc1892

    lfc1892 Well-Known Member

    He said...

    "These great photographers prove that it is only by seeking the extraordinary – which can be found in the ordinary – that photography becomes art. Great photographs reveal great, and terrible, realities.In a world of pretentious and complacent amateur snapping, we are drowning those moments of truth in an ocean of the banal."

    Photigraphy is art full stop. It doesn't have to meet his criteria. And as for it being proof? Come on.
    The last paragraph stinks of snobbery. No thanks.

    There's no right and wrong here, it's all opinion with art and such discussions. My opinion doesnt agree with his. That's all, really.
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    OK, we have very different definitions of "comfortable". For me "comfortable" is doing what I REALLY, REALLY want to do -- and it's the same for every photographer I know, including many who are far better than I. "Comfortable" is nothing like the same as "easy", which is I suspect closer to your definition.

    Or, to turn it around, what does "going outside your comfort zone" mean to you?


  14. art

    art Well-Known Member

    Yes, 'comfort zone' seems to widely interpreted. I agree with the "what I really want to do" point, though doing otherwise is tantamount to being forced into doing something you don't want to do and what is the point of that?

    So yes, "doing what I want to do" is pretty much a given for me and 'comfortable' would probably be something that I've done before or something I feel reasonably confident and/or proficient about, i.e. something that is not going to stretch me. It follows, therefore, that going outside my 'comfort zone' would probably involve something I've not done before or am not too confident about, i.e. something that would stretch me.

    I sort of agree that 'comfortable' is not the same as 'easy'. Many things require skills/experience that are not easy to acquire but once learned are no longer particularly difficult for that person. For example, juggling is not easy but many people can do it comfortably.
  15. sirch

    sirch Member

    Not wanting to get into an argument but to reference the OP, going to a war zone would be outside my "comfort zone" however much I wanted to take an iconic photo. More parochially, asking a random person on the street if they would pose for a photo would also be outside my comfort zone, I would not find it an easy thing to do and I would be uncomfortable doing it. Doesn't mean I wouldn't do it, just that I would be uneasy/uncomfortable doing it. Another example might be taking myself and several thousand quids worth of camera gear into a riot, there might well be some good shots but would I risk it? is that what stops me taking "great" photos?
  16. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I agree, Mick. However, more than several people agree that Jimmy Forsyth was a great photographer and that his pictures have tremendous value. So by your measure you are swimming against the tide somewhat. But that's OK, too.

    Agreed. As I posted in effect above, we all bring different standards, understanding, levels of experience to any image when assessing it for ourselves.

    Don't! Keep doing your 'thing'. [Which is why some of us are aghast at what the author of the article was suggesting.] Keep on trying to reach the standard that you are happy with and that, perhaps, others appreciate as well.

    If you like something less 'record' & more 'pictorial' have a look at this guy's work: http://www.aaubreybodine.com . He was a pro but like a lot of pros he was an amateur, too. He also rarely moved off his own patch but as it was in the USA, it was quite a large one!

    Cheers, Oly
  17. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    My argument with that is, no matter how many people share an opinion, it is still just an opinion. That they share the opinion is a fact; the opinion they share is not a fact. Every opinion has equal validity, no matter the balance of the numbers.

    Think back to the days of William Tyndale; we just watched Melvin Bragg's programme about the man and his time. Tyndale's opinion was in the minority and eventually the majority, in the person of Henry Tudor, killed him for that opinion. Less than a hundred years later, the numbers had changed and Tyndale's opinion was held by the majority and they were killing the descendants of Henry Tudor's faction, which was ironic, given that Henry Tudor had changed opinions, inaugurated the Reformation and so joined Tyndale's faction.

    Confused? You bluidy well ought to be...

  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Me too. But equally, not going to war zones (or riots) ain't what stops me taking "iconic" pics. Or indeed many other people. Look at my Final Analysis column. Very, very few of the pics I choose for it are in war zones. Nor did Ansel Adams venture in to them. Nor David Bailey. Nor (apart from the Spanish Civil War) HCB; Willy Ronis; Robert Doisneau; Man Ray; Edward Weston; Elliott Landy; Vivian Meier... The list is very long indeed. In fact, very few "iconic" pictures were ever taken outside "comfort zones" -- and often, the most "iconic" work by a given photographer was part of a body of work that placed them in very little danger, even if they had also visited war zones: think of Margaret Bourke White. The phrase "comfort zone" is a shibboleth for low-grade amateurs whose pics are mostly so awful that just about anything would shake them out of their groove -- and "groove" isn't the same as "comfort zone".

    If you are uneasy/uncomfortable taking pictures -- any pictures -- it will probably show, and not in a good way. Building a body of work means taking quite a lot of pictures under similar circumstances: and that means getting used to those circumstances. This, to me, is something very close to a comfort zone. Yes, you have to learn to do things, but learning to ask people if you can take their picture ain't difficult: anyone with a "comfort zone" so small that they can't do this has a very small "comfort zone" indeed. And once you've learned to do it -- hey, guess what, you're in your "comfort zone". Again, you're confusing "easy" or indeed "requiring no effort whatsoever" with "comfort zone". When you are in your "comfort zone" -- when you're comfortable taking pictures -- is when you can start making decent pictures of your chosen subject: not before.


    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  19. Paul M

    Paul M Well-Known Member

    I'm curious to know if you apply the same argument to everything or just photography? Are there in your opinion no great writers, sculptors, artists, actors?
  20. Jimbo57

    Jimbo57 Well-Known Member

    Something of a flaw in logic showing in that statement, is there not?

    The only two things that are equally correct in that quote are:

    1. It is your view that it is a good picture of a butterfly.

    2. It may be the other party's view that it is not a good picture of a butterfly.

    It says nothing whatsoever about the correctness or otherwise of whether it is a good picture of a butterfly.

    (Such correctness would have to be determined by objective criteria and the result might vary according to the specific criteria employed - but the only thing that is "correct" about opinions and views is that they are, indeed, opinions and views, rather than objective determinations.)

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