1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

When is a photo not a record shot?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Dorset_Mike, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    To my (pedantic) way of thinking every photograph is a record, be it a happy snap or a work of art.

    I personally would much rather see a well exposed and focused record shot than some of the arty farty stuff that gets certain people pontificating.

    Ranting on about the rule of thirds with one breath then bending over backwards to find excuses why the rule should be broken for this or that shot, and many similar examples.

    Personally I am quite content to be taking my happy snaps and record shots. I suspect a heck of a lot of members would admit to the same.
  2. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Me too. One of the things that used to really annoy me, when I used to enter camera club competitions, was the judge saying "it's a record shot". How the f**k does he know? I may have spent a lot of time on the composition, looked all around the viewfinder to make sure there were no crisp packets there, played with the exposure compensation, etc, and he tells the audience "it's a record shot".

    Every shot is a record shot, it is a record of what you saw in your viewfinder - it doesn't matter how many filters you stuck on the front of your lens, whether you used an ultra wide or a super telephoto, or even the much-maligned 'standard lens', it is a 'record' of what you saw. Judges that resort to this type of terminology are poor judges, lost for something relevant to say.

    Rant over....
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Personally every shot is a record shot for the pleasure it affords of times past, places seen and friends and family remembered. I like records. It pleases me if they are more perfectly formed than haphazard but even if I were ever to make a wonderful, box ticking, image it would be the memory of the day, not the image, that resonates.

    Besdides I print square not round :)
  4. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    All shots are record shots to me unless they're abstracts- like when I posted some shots I'd taken on a street art walk a couple of months back and some people said they were just record shots. Okay yes but they're recording something that in many cases will sooner or later be oblirerated by being painted over and then be lost forever but they are beautiful images in their own right
  5. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    I think there are at least two dimensions to this.

    The first is technical quality. And this isn't absolute. Pin sharp focus might be important in one shot, and abstract blurriness in another. So this is about getting the appropriate "craft" attribute for any given shot.

    And I think the other is about is it a photo of something or a photo about something. It was Damo's poll last week that got me thinking about this a bit more deeply than before.

    For me the world is broken down into two types of photo: those of something i'm interested in and those of something I'm not.

    So a portrait of my Son is of something I'm interested in, but a picture of your son, or a random person is of no interest to me.

    But some of those pictures with people in them that i'm not interested in hold my interest as pictures. They are about something - it might be about the light, about the shape or form of the something, or about a quirky and interesting arrangement of object within a frame.

    The same holds true of landscapes - some i'm interested in because I know them, many I have no interest at all about where it is, or what it signifies.... it's just "interesting or not" and if interesting probably because it is about something other than what is is a picture of.

    So what is a record shot.

    I think this is often used as a euphemism for a poor (in the reviewers opinion) shot. And i think that is what causes the confusion (and defensiveness) about the term.

    But that is silly in my opinion.

    I think a record shot is one where to the majority of viewers what is important about the shot is what or who it is of.

    and there can ge good and bad ones.

    And a non-record (let's call it an art) picture is one where the subject is pretty irrelevant, but there is something about it that holds interest even though you don't know or care about the subject.

    And again there are good and bad ones.

    I sketched a matrix - hope you can read my handwriting - it's even worse than my typing!


    the pale area in the middle is supposed to indicate the grey area where, for instance, the picture of my Son is clearly a record shot as I took it to record him for me. But I have used my skill and vision to create a picture that holds your interest. even though you couldn't care less who it's a picture of

    Hope that helps
  6. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    But only in terms so broad as to be useless for categorising photos, and I guess the person offering critique, be he a judge, or forum poster, needs an accepted vocabulary with which to make his critique.

    In developing this vocab many words take on much more specific technical meanings than in general English usage. And "record" is one of them
  7. Chris Cool

    Chris Cool Retired

    To me. A record shot does not convey anything special about it and is what anybody could take.

    A non record shot is where the image says or does something that is er, different!

    An image of my daughter is a record shot, until she takes one of herself, that says something er, different, like poser! Lol


    Taken on a 1.3 mp phone a few years back.
  8. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I say don't get hung up on what judges say. :)

    If you like the shot you took then you've had fun and enjoyed your photography.

    Many great photos over the decades could be classed as record shots.

    For example social history photography is by it's nature is record shooting.

    Alot of Bresson's work could be argued as being record shots.


    Surely the above is a form of record shot? :p
  9. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    Horizon's a bit off tho!
  10. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you can imagine the judging. :p

    It's not straight and the shooter has cut off people in the background. 7/10. :D
  11. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    It is a creative record. See endless past discussions on this. Clubs are full of people who can't see any difference between what they do and what the three or four who habitually win all the championships do. That's why they are not in those three or four. When it becomes important to them to self-justify, they are just abandoning all ambition to be in that group. No problem with that, they get their rewards in different ways.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Not so. If you're shooting black and white, it's clearly not a record of what you saw, even more so with infrared, where the light being recorded can't actually be seen with the naked eye. Clearly, on a different level, every shot is a record shot because it's something that has been recorded, but that's a meaningless definition that has only the advantage of being accurate over your equally meaningless one. ;)

    I'm with Phil on this one.
  13. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    OK explain how/why that shot has any creativity.

    To me it's a wonky flattish shot of a pebbly beach in the 1920s/30s with a load of people doing nothing. The only thought that comes to mind is "wonder what they're doing under that brolly" from their relative positions I would suggest "not a lot" as the answer.

    I can see the same people that find that creative would have raved over the pile of bricks exhibit.
  14. Old git

    Old git In the Stop Bath

    If the photograph you have taken pleases you, and you feel no need to alter it to make it better, then record shot or not, it is a keeper and any crit others may make is irrelevent.
  15. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    But best not to enter it for a competition, or post it for comment, both of which are designed to seek the comments you find irrelevant. ;)
  16. Old git

    Old git In the Stop Bath

    I do listen to crit. but then again I am rarely totally happy with any of my shots
  17. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I was thinking the same.

    As far as creative records go I prefer Frans Lanting's stuff.



  18. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    using my definitions above i call this art, not record. (i think my categorisation is a bit binary, and as mike says there are probably a lot more sub categories)

    i have no interest in anyone in the shot, or the location. could be in the uk or the usa for all I care.

    But it hold my interest.

    for me the very formally posed legs of the chap, his shoes and clothes are just so incongruous to a beach scene it makes my eyes prick up

    But even more so - the shapes formed are interesting, especially the brolly/leg ones. Although there are dark areas in the background there is a sense here of a very strong dark shape against a much paler background, so despite having a cluttered background, you don't notice it.

    So all in all something that holds my interest in a way a random shot of people I don't know wouldn't
  19. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    it's down to definitions again - i don't think those are record shots at all, creative or otherwise.

    For me they are pure art.

    Take the first - i don't even know what those animals are that are making the interesting shapes and patterns (bees maybe?). Ot the ones with 3 zebra's in it. That isn't a shpt of zebraz, it's an artistic exercise in shapes and pasterns that happens to use zebras as part of it.
  20. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

Share This Page