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Immediacy and self confidence

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Roger Hicks, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    IT DOESN'T

    THAT'S THE POINT

    As I have tried to say repeatedly, do not be overawed. See my replies to RovingMike and DerekR: things like "All I am saying is that it's far too easy to be blown as if by the wind by comments that are substantially worthless. The only person who can decide the value of anyone's comment on your work is you, and you should remain alive to the possibility that you are a better photographer, and better informed, than some of those who post what they believe to be helpful suggestions."
    Cheers,

    R.
     
  2. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    But isn't that how it works anyway? As far as I can see the lack of self confidence goes to the 'exhibition lounge'.

    I'm not seeing the substantially worthless comments that you are. In fact to my mind the substantially worthless comments are the wow great shot type of thing.
     
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    See what DerekR says in post 8 about assuming that others know better -- and look at how often people are willing to screw up perfectly good pictures on the strength of others' advice. "Crop this out . . . change it to black and white . . . get so-and-so on the thirds". As I said in the original post, if you can immediately see the value of the advice; if you say, "of course"; then go for it. But if all it does is sets a niggling doubt in your mind, consider the possibility that your ideas are, in fact, better than theirs.

    There can be two kinds of "Wow, great shot" comments. Some are, as you say, worthless. Others are in response to a great shot...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  4. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    And very often crop this, convert it, etc are valid suggestions. I think most of those posting for appraisal do indeed consider whether any adjustments will result in improvements. I think it is rare to blindly follow suggestions, so that is working to my thinking. You do seem to give the impression that those who give appraisal largely don't know what they are talking about, not sure if that is what you intend. My impression is that appraisal is largely well considered and worth considering.

    I would say great shot is used seldom for a great shot rather largely for a good shot, even a very good shot. If you think your shots are already great where have you to go? I don't think I have taken a great shot yet, I might one day.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Rather than "very often", I'd suggest "sometimes". And indeed, "not all that often, unless you immediately identify with the need for the change".

    Which comes back, yet again, to the very simple points I made in the initial post.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  6. SargeK

    SargeK Member

    One of my favorite quotations, which may, or may not, have some application to this thread.

    "Only the photographer who took the picture can print an honest and authentic artistic statement about the image." George DeWolfe

    What most are sharing is what they would have done were the image theirs!

    I tend to side with Roger on this.

    Ziggy
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Ziggy,

    Highlight: YES! YES! YES!

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Well, I have the confidence to post my offerings and take whatevever comments are made in the spirit they are given.

    It seems some here have not the confidence they espouse, to offer up their own work in the same vein. I admired people like Damien Demolder, for example, who was never afraid to show us what he did.

    One of my favourite ditties is:

    Would those who say it can't be done
    please not interrupt those of us who are doing it?
     
  9. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    We've been here before. A couple of years ago Roger H. moaned about people posting pictures in the exhibition forum rather than offering them for appraisal. As a reaction I posted an abstract photo in the appraisal forum, sat back and awaited the flak. From, I think, ten comments,the only criticism came from Roger H. huffily remarking that it wasn't his taste in photography and he wouldn't hang it on his wall. I can live with that. To put it another way, there are photos that offer themselves for appraisal and there are those which are 'beyond' appraisal. How can you objectively and/or subjectively appraise a picture- apart from cropping suggestions- when you haven't got the faintest idea of how it was taken? I'd like to think that I've got enough self-confidence to judge my own photos, especially as I know the conditions they were taken under.
     
  10. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Another pearl of wisdom from Kate.

    The thing is, Kate, that "those who say it can't be done" are oftentimes those lacking the vision and/or the ability to even try.

    You and I both know why Mickey Mouse grew up a cow.

    Eric
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    You've quoted this before. How many of these people "who say it can't be done" have you actually met, and what were you doing at the time? How well were you doing it?

    If the thing about "offer up their own work in the same vein" is aimed at me -- as you've more than hinted it is in the past -- then the three simple truths are as follows.

    First, I don't do FaceTube, YouBook, etc., so it's not feasible to post stuff here on AP. For some reason my older work, on my site, doesn't seem to count in your eyes.

    Second, AP appraisals are aimed at single pictures: effectively, at club competitions. Single, unrelated pictures are not what I am especially interested in. Few serious photographers are. Rather, they (and I) work in series, on themes: I'm not trying to win this week's AP competition, or to gain acceptance in some salon or other with a theme set by someone else. If people are happy with working to someone else's brief, fine. I used to do it when I worked in advertising, many years ago. I still do it occasionally to illustrate commissioned articles, but mostly, I originate ideas for articles myself, and besides, there's a difference between illustration and art. But nowadays I'm much happier working on themes.

    Third, I don't really feel any need. I spent most of yesterday working on next July's exhibition in Arles. I know what I'm trying to do; I'm reasonably certain that I know how to do it; the theme is one that people will either "get" or not; the same is true of the style; what am I going to gain from the AP appraisal gallery?

    If I didn't know what I was doing, I might ask for more help here. But as Ziggy pointed out in his George DeWolfe quote, "Only the photographer who took the picture can print an honest and authentic artistic statement about the image."

    This is the point from the original post that you (and others) are missing: almost, it seems, deliberately. Look inside yourself for criticism, rather than trying to construct your artistic vision by committee.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    "Moaned"? "Huffily"? "Two years ago"?

    Well, the first two were your perception, and the third suggests you've been harbouring this particular grudge for a very long time. Why?

    This was the point of my original post. Have a bit of confidence in yourself!

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    As far as I'm concerned, Trannifan is the one showing self confidence and courage.
     
  14. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    I've been reading through this thread with increasing fascination. It's as though Roger persists in asking our fellow forumites: "Where's your British stiff upper lip"? to which I feel tempted to respond by paraphrasing the late Kenneth Williams: "It's about an inch above this weak, flabby, quivering lower one."
     
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    No, that's nothing whatsoever to do with confidence in your work. Self confidence and a stiff upper lip are completely different things. What I'm suggesting is, I would have thought, blindingly simple: that YOU may be a better judge of YOUR work than other people. YOU should be the one who knows what YOU are trying to do. If you don't, then go away and think about it. After all, if you don't know what you're trying to do, it's quite hard to do it.

    This flies in the face of the camera club/competition ethos, where you put up individual pictures against other individual pictures, but what I'm saying is that the way to pursue your artistic vision is, well, to pursue your artistic vision, rather than being blown by the winds of competitions and the wildly differing opinions of others. It's rather akin to the "stay on the bus" thread, http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?119847-Stay-on-the-Bus!

    By all means ask others' opinions, but do not necessarily set them above your own. I fail to see why this simple piece of encouragement -- "You're probably better than you think you are" -- has upset so many different people in so many different ways.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    How?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  17. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Is that his question?
    I thought the question was more of a comment on those who do appraisals (dig, dig), how those who post for critiques are quivering wrecks unable to assess their images' worth - and how he himself is above all that. I suppose Arles is 'arles about luvvies', so a safe haven from the riff-raff.
    But of course, I could be wrong.

    Kate
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    You are.

    Maybe you're a "quivering wreck", though it doesn't look like it. Where on earth did you get this ridiculous idea about what I said? All I said is that it's too easy to have unnecessary seeds of doubt planted by critiques, and that a lot of the time, the "improvements" I've seen recommended have resulted in worse pictures.

    You are very, very good at reading what you want to believe I've written, rather than what I've actually written. You're also increasingly good at pointless sniping. I mean, what was the point of your nasty little attack on Arles? "Luvvies"? No. Literally thousands of photographers go there every year, some to exhibit, many more just to see scores of exhibitions that range from the awful to the superb. They learn a great deal about photography from seeing thousands of pictures, on the wall instead of on a computer screen or in print, and from talking to other photographers who care enough about photography to get off their bums and make the journey. Have you ever met anyone who's been there, and discussed it with them?

    Plenty of people can't get there, whether from considerations of time or money. Others don't bother to go because they are simply not interested enough in photography. I don't know which is stopping you going there. But to dismiss everyone who goes there as "luvvies", and to pretend that anyone who doesn't go is "riff-raff", is downright feeble-minded. By that argument, anyone who is interested in anything, be it photography, writing or cookery, should restrict their ambitions to the lowest common denominator; should request the opinions only of those whose ambitions and experience are similarly modest; and should never go out of their way to see what real excellence looks like.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  19. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    Oh, Whoa, I think I'll step away from this thread before the flak gets any thicker. My last post was not meant to be taken too seriously, Roger. My photographic problem is that sometimes I think my images are better than they truly are, and so if I post them in the Appraisal gallery and then someone whose judgement I respect (such as R.Mike) points out a flaw or two, that causes me to stiffen my resolve to look far more closely at what I'm doing and trying to aim for. When I first joined the forum I soon discovered there were some very talented members and I undoubtedly learned from their helpful advice for which I remain grateful.
    I do actually think so much of what you say is of considerable merit, but sometimes the way you phrase your thoughts and ideas can so readily be construed as deliberately abrasive and harshly provocative. You certainly don't take prisoners but, to echo Dick Emery, I'll conclude by saying, "Oooh, you are awful, but I like you."
     
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    True for all of us, though as I get older, I hope I'm getting more realistic. Partly, of course, this is as a result of going to Arles, which apparently Kate despises: there, I get to see truly excellent and sometimes innovative photography, and to meet the photographers who create them. But of course they're only "luvvies" so who cares about them?

    Much as I take your point about overestimating your own work -- again, we all do it or have done it -- I'd also suggest that it may sometimes be better than you think, just as mine might sometimes be better than I think. Anyone who is never insecure is either very, very good; or an arrogant twerp; or just hopelessly inexperienced. An artist friend -- someone whose opinion I respect -- has just left after looking at the prints for my latest (probable) exhibition. She gave me some excellent ideas for presentation, and I am very grateful to her. But this (to me) is what art is about: ideas, execution and body of work. It's not just about one or two pictures.

    As for "deliberately abrasive and harshly provocative", well, I try to tone down what I would say face to face to an artist whom I respect. Anyone who is really serious about their art has to develop a way of dealing with criticism. This is not necessarily the same as "a hide like a rhinoceros". Rather, it's a way of transforming criticism into something valuable: even ill-informed or simply bitchy criticism can have its use.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

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