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Except that...

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Roger Hicks, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    At Arles I was talking to a gallery director, and a phrase she REALLY understood was "sauf que..." (except that...). We have all taken countless pictures that are perfect "except that..."

    One of the tricks of learning to take better pictures is learning NOT to show people pictures that are perfect "except that..."

    Usually, we don't need to be told what the "except that..." is. But it can take quite a long time before we stop ignoring "except for..." and trying to persuade ourselves that a picture is perfect in the hope that others won't see the flaws we can see all too clearly for ourselves.

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  2. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    ... I've yet to take a picture that would come close to needing to say "except that .." and, IMVHO, anyone who does has a bit of an ego problem ;)

    Cheers,

    Jack
     
  3. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    With some shots the flaws are of your making, error on exposure, camera shake etc or limitation of equipment.

    Other times it's things outside your control, something upsetting composition or lack of the right position.

    But some photographers might be too nit picking. Others would accept the shot and not even consider what you might feel is a flaw as a flaw.

    If you are skilled and experienced hopefully the 'except that' in terms of exposure or other technical issues are avoided.

    So it then comes down to seeing and waiting for compositions to work.

    A shot can have technical flaws but still you want to view and enjoy it.

    The final thought is that you might put something in composition that other think is a flaw. :p LOL
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Jack,

    Then you're being too critical. I was taking 'except that' pictures in tne 1960s: pictures I can look at today and say, "That's bloody good [though I cheerfully admit some way from perfect] except that..."

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    My point, though, is that if YOU think there's a flaw, there are two possibilities.

    1) You're right.

    2) You're wrong.

    Either way, it's worth hearing others' opinions -- especially if you're wrong, and the 'flaw' doesn't matter except to you.

    Re-read my post and note that I said nothing about technical flaws. Things beyond your control? Wrong point of view? If the shot works, who cares? But you generally know when (a) it's nowhere near what you wanted and (b) you didn't get lucky. Same, for that matter, for camera shake and exposure. If it works, it works. Take credit for lucky accidents, What I'm getting at is a refusal to admit, "Well, I NEARLY got it right -- but only nearly" and hoping that others will fail to spot the shortcomings.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  6. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Don't know about hoping that others will fail to spot the shortcomings, but I have published shots with known deficiencies if there is something about them that makes them otherwise attractive.

    Probably true of most of my shots, thinking about it! For example in this one the man's head is irritatingly cut through, but the little boy's antics with his hat compensates in my view. A better person might have raised the camera a little, but a poorer person might not have seen the shot.
     
  7. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    For every perfect shot how many failures are there? Of course in these digital times it doesn't really matter. Or does it? Should we strive for the perfect shot first time or should we just take pot luck and hope that one of the hundreds we have shot works? How far dare we go with post processing just to lift it a little?
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    What a peculiar question. Why would I hang (at considerable effort and expense) pictures I thought were flawed? This originally came up when I was reviewing someone else's portfolio, and was later reinforced when I was talking to the director of a Marseillais gallery.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  9. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Slightly off topic. When I go for a walk with a camera I often turn a corner and see a lovely scene - I normally pick up the camera and do a grab shot, then take a few minutes adjusting the viewpoint, focal length etc. and take several slightly different ones. Surprisingly often the first grab shot is the best and all the others are "Except that" ones.

    Do othe members have the same experiences?

    Roger
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    Most assuredly. Just about everyone I know has had the same experience with grab shots. I suspect, though, that the "first = best" experience is not quite as common as we all think it it: we just notice it more when it is.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Eh?

    Read what I wrote. I was talking about a discussion with a gallery director. Where did I say anything about hanging "except that..." pictures at an exhibition?

    Look at the Appraisal Gallery pictures here on the AP forum. These are not in an exhibition. Go to a portfolio review. These are not pictures in an exhibition. And some of them are excellent "except that..."

    Which bit are you failing to understand?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that you understand what you mean, and I apologize for not understanding you, but until you make an effort to express yourself more clearly, I fear I shall remain in ignorance.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding the way you phrased it. Yes, the discussion happened in Arles. No, it didn't happen at my exhibition. Does this clarify matters to you?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  14. RobertCoombes

    RobertCoombes Well-Known Member

    Not my fault. Would have been perfect, but for the things in front of the camera.
     
  15. TimHeath

    TimHeath Well-Known Member

    This is an interesting, fascinating thread but with an extraordinary no. of views - over 7000 last time I looked!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  16. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

  17. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    I'll give 'em an "OK", Roger, and, every coupla years, maybe a "well, that's why I continue to spend money on this hobby" :)

    Cheers,

    Jack
     
  18. johndow

    johndow Well-Known Member

    Being a relative newcomer I am in no position to talk about perfect pictures as i don't possess the knowledge or skill, but i would be surprised if anyone ever gets the perfect picture (in their eyes). I believe the skill is in knowing when to be satisfied with what you have produced regardless of outside opinions/ critique.

    Perfection in photography is an ever moving goal post. Since "except that" would be subjective, having a different meaning to each of us, my except that shots would be a million miles from those of others in this forum. It all changes with experience/ knowledge and the pursuit of perfection.

    On the other hand i could take a photo which i feel is worthy of the bin and someone with way more experience/ skill etc would view as an "except that" shot (which is what i would aspire to, not perfection).

    One mans "except that" is another man's ........

    (Only my opinion)
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    And a very valid opinion. What I'm talking about, though, is the kind of picture with a single, glaring flaw. The shot that prompted the thread was of a street demonstration in Paris, superbly composed, technically excellent, but with a woman's face at the bottom, in the centre, looking straight at the camera. Put your thumb over her face and the picture was brilliant. Take your thumb away, and her direct. slightly curious, slightly vacant stare drew your eye immediately. I saw it while reviewing at a portfolio, and the photographer immediately saw what I meant and agreed with the criticism.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Further clarification: there's a big difference between a picture that's "not quite right", whether you can tell what's wrong or not, and an "except that..." picture where everything is fine except for one thing. It can be easy to ignore that one thing if you're the photographer, because we always concentrate on what we wanted to photograph, and then, in the picture, we may find ourselves able to continue to ignore the jarring element. The classic beginner's example is the tree/lamp post/telegraph pole growing out of someone's head. But it's often very easy to see such a flaw in someone else's pictures -- just as it's easier for them to see it in yours.

    Cheers,

    R.
     

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