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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 28 Jul 2011 (Thursday) 02:55
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How do you approach pictures that you know will be controversial?

 
WideOpen
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Jul 29, 2011 19:09 as a reply to  @ post 12845485 |  #31

After reading the OP's initial post, I don't even know what to think. You say that you're doing this because you're trying to be "different" and you don't like pics you see in magazines for products. What the hell does manipulating dead critters have to do with commercial photography? I know you had explained your reasoning for this by talking to your teacher etc., but still, you wanted to evoke a reaction.

How can you possibly expect a different result in class than the one you had received? How did you collect these dead animals? I LOL'd at the part where you said you pulled them from your fridge.




  
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NewEnglandPhotographer
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Jul 30, 2011 19:16 |  #32

subscribing for the sole purpose of seeing pics...


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Bear073
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Aug 01, 2011 00:42 |  #33

Clean Gene wrote in post #12836092 (external link)
I immediately started taking out the dead animals that I'd collected in previous weeks and stuffed into my refrigerator, and started shooting the hell out of them.

That the entire time I was playing around with maggots and dead ****ing animals, that it SEEMED like a good idea.


Think you need to reconsider your forum name Clean Gene. :)

You got an A on the assignment. No different than having a client like the work you did for them. It only matters if your customers are happy and pay you for your work. In this instance you got paid with a grade. Who cares what anyone else has to say about it.

And I, like everyone else, really want to see the pics.


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hedonist77
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Aug 01, 2011 01:53 |  #34

Pics! Or it didn't happen..... :)


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ThatJamesGuy
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Aug 01, 2011 02:12 |  #35
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The nickname "clean gene" mixed with his psychological profile highlighted by his shot description would make for a great serial killer..just leave a swiffer or something with every body, that can be your calling card.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Aug 01, 2011 02:24 |  #36

Bear073 wrote in post #12855642 (external link)
Think you need to reconsider your forum name Clean Gene. :)

You got an A on the assignment. No different than having a client like the work you did for them. It only matters if your customers are happy and pay you for your work. In this instance you got paid with a grade. Who cares what anyone else has to say about it.

And I, like everyone else, really want to see the pics.

I was actually hesitant about showing the pic. Firstly, because even though I was getting praise, I simply don't like it. I think it was a good idea (or...a bad idea given the audience, but a good idea otherwise), but I just don't think that it is DONE. My teacher (who knows a ****load more than me) liked it a lot, but I just am not staisfied with it. I think it needs more work. I stopped too soon.

Secondly, when I started this topic, the actual picture was sort of irrelevant. I was more concerned about my general attitude about the picture more than anything else, and I didn't want the discussion to turn into a discussion about whether or not the picture is trash. Because honestly...whether it's good or bad really isn't the issue, and I didn't want the actual picture screwing around with the discussion. Still though, I think that the topic has run its course, so I'm thinking of showing the picture anyway just for the hell of it.

However, the pictures that I take are usually far less embarrassing to me than the comments that I post online. I tend to make posts when I'm drunk/lonely/angry, and I also tend to post comments that I find quite embarassing the next day. So obvously, my concern is that someone who I know will see the picture, realize who "Clean Gene" is, and then read over every dumbass thing I've typed here over the course of the last year.

So...maybe I'll post the picture. Maybe not. I sort of want to post it just to appeae the
"pics or it didn't happen" crowd. On the other hand, I think that this topic has pretty much run its course and I am pretty sure that I'm already aware of why the picture stinks (therefore, no reason to post the picture and get advice). So...maybe, after I've sobered up and am exercising good judgement. But you're probably never going to see it, because when I'm in that state of mind I generally have no interest posting pictures on internet forums.

Furthermore, I'm actually shocked myself by the level of hatred that the picture got. Because, even if it sucked, I really did try to keep it tasteful. I don't know if it was the religious symbolism that got people pissed off, or thinking about the possibility of me beating a baby animal to death just to take a picture. But regardless, I still don't see the picture as being THAT bad, particularly with the class mostly consisting of younger folk who probably listen to gangste rap about murdering people. So...I'm also sort of boggled as to the extent of how much people got offended by it. Thing is, now that I've described how immflamatory and controversial the picture is, the actual picture can't possibly ever hope to live up to the way I described it. So...I certainly COULD show it, but I guarantee that your reaction will probably be, "so...is that it?"




  
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Clean ­ Gene
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Aug 01, 2011 02:33 |  #37

sjones wrote in post #12845204 (external link)
That your teacher liked the photos, expressing such by giving you a good grade, is what is important in terms of your academic concerns. That your classmates didn't, well, f**k 'em.

You know...I would certainly LIKE to believe that. But open critique is taken pretty seriously, with the rest of the class actually losing points for non-participation in critique. It ultimately DOES come down to the teacher's assessment, yes. But the critique is actually taken fairly seriously, and that would not be the case if the teacher's opinion was the only opinion that mattered.




  
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SOK
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Aug 01, 2011 05:41 as a reply to  @ Clean Gene's post |  #38

SHOW US THE PICTURRRRRRRRRRRRRRREE​EEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS​SSSSSS

:p


Steve
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RTPVid
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Aug 01, 2011 09:49 |  #39

Clean Gene wrote in post #12855965 (external link)
...or thinking about the possibility of me beating a baby animal to death just to take a picture. But regardless, I still don't see the picture as being THAT bad, particularly with the class mostly consisting of younger folk who probably listen to gangste rap about murdering people...

Re: the reaction. You didn't say much about the religious symbolism, so I can't comment, but you have to look no further than the Michael Vick case (external link) to see that people go completely bonkers over animal cruelty while completely ignoring such things as spousal abuse by the very same group of people (in this case, professional athletes).


Tom

  
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vfotog
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Aug 01, 2011 09:52 |  #40

Clean Gene wrote in post #12855965 (external link)
I was actually hesitant about showing the pic. Firstly, because even though I was getting praise, I simply don't like it. I think it was a good idea (or...a bad idea given the audience, but a good idea otherwise), but I just don't think that it is DONE. My teacher (who knows a ****load more than me) liked it a lot, but I just am not staisfied with it. I think it needs more work. I stopped too soon.

Secondly, when I started this topic, the actual picture was sort of irrelevant. I was more concerned about my general attitude about the picture more than anything else, and I didn't want the discussion to turn into a discussion about whether or not the picture is trash. Because honestly...whether it's good or bad really isn't the issue, and I didn't want the actual picture screwing around with the discussion. Still though, I think that the topic has run its course, so I'm thinking of showing the picture anyway just for the hell of it.

However, the pictures that I take are usually far less embarrassing to me than the comments that I post online. I tend to make posts when I'm drunk/lonely/angry, and I also tend to post comments that I find quite embarassing the next day. So obvously, my concern is that someone who I know will see the picture, realize who "Clean Gene" is, and then read over every dumbass thing I've typed here over the course of the last year.

So...maybe I'll post the picture. Maybe not. I sort of want to post it just to appeae the
"pics or it didn't happen" crowd. On the other hand, I think that this topic has pretty much run its course and I am pretty sure that I'm already aware of why the picture stinks (therefore, no reason to post the picture and get advice). So...maybe, after I've sobered up and am exercising good judgement. But you're probably never going to see it, because when I'm in that state of mind I generally have no interest posting pictures on internet forums.

Furthermore, I'm actually shocked myself by the level of hatred that the picture got. Because, even if it sucked, I really did try to keep it tasteful. I don't know if it was the religious symbolism that got people pissed off, or thinking about the possibility of me beating a baby animal to death just to take a picture. But regardless, I still don't see the picture as being THAT bad, particularly with the class mostly consisting of younger folk who probably listen to gangste rap about murdering people. So...I'm also sort of boggled as to the extent of how much people got offended by it. Thing is, now that I've described how immflamatory and controversial the picture is, the actual picture can't possibly ever hope to live up to the way I described it. So...I certainly COULD show it, but I guarantee that your reaction will probably be, "so...is that it?"

serial killer or troll or both... a school project in COMMERCIAL photography that involved posing thawed dead animals and then later added maggots and now involves religious imagery and beating dead baby animals. and the teacher loved it and gave you an A. How much are you selling that bridge for? If there was any question of you involved in illegal activities to create this image, and beating to death baby animals would certainly be cruelty to animals, have a hard time imagining you'd have a professor so screwed up that they'd love this in their commercial photo class. by the way, posting only when you're drunk, angry or lonely is pretty pathetic, true or not.




  
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Bear073
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Aug 01, 2011 22:53 |  #41

vfotog wrote in post #12857294 (external link)
posting only when you're drunk, angry or lonely is pretty pathetic

I never post when I am any of these. Guess that explains why I have fewer than 50 posts in 3 years. :D


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TheBurningCrown
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Aug 01, 2011 23:07 as a reply to  @ Bear073's post |  #42

Clean Gene wrote in post #12841670 (external link)
Regardless, the whole attitude of "do what you want and **** 'em if it pisses them off" doesn't quite cut it for me. Because yes, I might be totally doing this out of my own pocket with no one paying me for the work.

Something you should realize, which I did this very spring. I did the opposite of what you did. I had a concept and I forcibly tweaked it to make it "fit" what I thought the teacher wanted. And guess what? The teacher didn't like it. After the class was done she saw what I really wanted to do with it, and she thought that was much better.

The principle of "do what you want and **** 'em if it pisses them off" doesn't mean that you should be selfish and piss off everybody (well, kinda, but hear me out). Rather, it's more in line with the idea that if you do what you really want to do, it will come out far better than if you held back and bent it to someone's expectations. Though I now wholeheartedly believe in that idea, I still sometimes catch myself attempting to appease someone and denying my true creative ideas.

One of the ideas I hope to challenge next involves shredding negatives :p. Sinful or not, it should be really fun!

And since this thread is horribly lacking in pics, I'll post one of mine. Here is a shot that I was very hesitant in putting up, but is true to itself and my emotion taking it. Plane flying over ground zero: Ghosts (external link).

Basically: if you think it's cool, then it probably is. If you're worried about other people judging it, you'll only make it worse.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Aug 01, 2011 23:51 |  #43

TheBurningCrown wrote in post #12861280 (external link)
The principle of "do what you want and **** 'em if it pisses them off" doesn't mean that you should be selfish and piss off everybody (well, kinda, but hear me out). Rather, it's more in line with the idea that if you do what you really want to do, it will come out far better than if you held back and bent it to someone's expectations.


Yeah...I see what you're saying. And for me, in practice, that generally seems to be true. The stuff that I'm most interested in generally tends to be better than the stuff that doesn't interest me. I'm not denying that.

But...one some level, I get the feeling that that shouldn't be true.

I mean, again, not everything is even mostly about quality. I just feel like photographs (like almost anything else) ultimately exist for some purpose. Whether or not it's "good" is in many far less important than if it simply does what it is supposed to do. At least, that's my take. You very well may disagree. I just sort of think...a certain audience might appreciate whatever photograph. But if you're photographing for a DIFFERENT audience and they are going to hate the **** out of it, then I still just can't see that as anything other than failure. Unless you simply WANTED people to hate it, then the picture clearly isn't doing what you intended it to do. Regardless of how good or bad it is, it just isn't working.

And I guess on another level, I just think that if someone is to be any good, then they shouldn't NEED to shoot things that interest them in order to create good photographs. It's one thing to SPECIALIZE at things that interest me and to be BETTER at things that interest me. But...I try to think of photography as WORK. It's not supposed to all be fun and games. I can be BETTER at the things that interest me, but I still am severely limiting myself if I have to resort to things that interest me in order to gain any level of competence. I have no expectations of ever getting a JOB, but I still like to think of photography as WORK. And when it comes to work, the vast majority of people are just plain going to occasionally have to learn to COMPETENTLY do the stuff that they hate doing. That's not only a part of not getting fired, that's an important part of being a well-rounded person who's expanding his/her potential.

Anyway, what the hell. Here's the picture. I thought about it and...what's the worst that can happen? Worst case scenario, someone I know "in real life" sees the picture, realizes who Clean Gene really is, and then browses through my posts and sees me make a fool out of myself. But then, on the other hand...**** those guys. Since when have I ever made an attempt to impress them anyway? So...why should I care? They aren't my friends and I'm not hanging out with them, so screw it. Here's the pic.

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Now, as I said before...I'm not happy with it. The rest of the students seemed to hate the hell out of it, which seemed sort of strange because it's not THAT gruesome or offensive. I can understand no one liking it, but the reaction seemed to be almost as if I had just punched all of their mothers in the face. They seemed to be angry and offended, which was worse of a reaction than I expected. Because honestly, I can see WHY people could get offended, but that still seems pretty damn tame in my mind.

And while the teacher really liked it, I just...don't. I think that the idea has potential, but I just don't feel like it's DONE. It needs a lot more work, perhaps a completely new shoot with a revision on the entire concept. It's like...this sort of looks like I'm on the right track, but visually (and to a slightly lesser extent, conceptually), I just don't feel like it's finished.



  
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ThatJamesGuy
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Aug 02, 2011 00:03 |  #44
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Oh god..


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Ugly ­ Joe
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Aug 02, 2011 00:09 as a reply to  @ Clean Gene's post |  #45

I see why the teacher liked it - lighting is great, subject is purposefully positioned, the entire set up is very well done. The composition flows well...I'm trying to think if more negative space around it would help or not (a wider crop, if this was cropped). I'm not sure.

Personally, I wish the wings were longer - that's just me...it just seems a bit incomplete with the stubby little wings this little one has.


As for why people freaked out? Yeah, I can see that. It's rigid minds and beliefs that this thing strikes hardest at - I can understand why closed minds would take this as a harsh slap in the face. That's very likely what drove your classmates.
Cute little animals are also a touchy subject - especially when seen as young, helpless, innocent little things.


I'd call this art first and foremost. It is certainly thought provoking.
Good work!


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How do you approach pictures that you know will be controversial?
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