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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 04 Apr 2012 (Wednesday) 08:26
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Composition and all that Arty stuff - discussion thread.

 
ziemowit
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Sep 06, 2014 06:32 |  #3586

OhLook wrote in post #17138410 (external link)
I asked as a check on whether I was communicating. It looks like not.

Each image implies human activity without showing it. Specifically, it has implications for the past. A viewer can infer what happened during an interval before the shutter press. The things occupy their locations temporarily, and they're where they are because someone did something. The bag was stored on the rack. The ball was forgotten on the street. The dog was parked on the sidewalk. The store was closed and emptied. The yellow card was posted on the telephone box and later cut off (and the box itself shows abundant signs of age). So, in each case, the image extends back beyond that instant, and in some cases it also extends into the future. We expect the traveler to pick up her bag, the dog owner to collect his dog. The kids may or may not recover their ball. Another business will move into the storefront. The transitoriness of the card on the phone box was exercised before I got there.

I want to say something like "Your past always comes along with you." If, when you look at these images, none of that comes through, they fail as metaphors.

Yay! I like it.

what you need to do then is create a series of 15-20 that communcate that the most. choose the strongest of your images, analyze them why the work best to show what you're after, and follow that. having a website helps, you can focus a bit more. even if its a template based simple site, its a good tool to have.


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airfrogusmc
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Sep 06, 2014 07:45 |  #3587

OhLook wrote in post #17138410 (external link)
I asked as a check on whether I was communicating. It looks like not.

Each image implies human activity without showing it. Specifically, it has implications for the past. A viewer can infer what happened during an interval before the shutter press. The things occupy their locations temporarily, and they're where they are because someone did something. The bag was stored on the rack. The ball was forgotten on the street. The dog was parked on the sidewalk. The store was closed and emptied. The yellow card was posted on the telephone box and later cut off (and the box itself shows abundant signs of age). So, in each case, the image extends back beyond that instant, and in some cases it also extends into the future. We expect the traveler to pick up her bag, the dog owner to collect his dog. The kids may or may not recover their ball. Another business will move into the storefront. The transitoriness of the card on the phone box was exercised before I got there.

I want to say something like "Your past always comes along with you." If, when you look at these images, none of that comes through, they fail as metaphors.

Yay! I like it.

Sometime we need words to help convey a message. Thats why artist statements can be so important. Duane Michals sometimes writes on the mats and sometime on the images. If a clear message is important for the viewer to then take out the ambiguity. I say with your work just let them enjoy and come up with their own interpretations.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Sep 06, 2014 07:56 |  #3588

Clean Gene wrote in post #17138489 (external link)
No disagreement there. I'm just saying that (in most cases) it's incredibly insulting and presumptuous to accuse an artist of being dishonest when it's far more likely that he's merely blind and has nothing unique to say. If I present a crappy piece of art, then criticize it on those grounds. But the second that someone looks at my work and tells me that I'm being dishonest, that what I'm presenting isn't the real me, then as far as I'm concerned they can get bent. Unless it's the rare case of that person knowing me deeply on a personal level, then what freaking business do they have telling me that my work doesn't honestly reflect my beliefs, values, attitudes, feelings, vision, or overall view on life? Yes, many people cannot see. Those people tend to be called "blind", not "dishonest".

If the work is dishonest why is it any more or less insulting to tell a photographer he is dishonest? Tell any photographer here on POTN or any forum he is blind or dishonest and see what response you get :lol:

One can be both blind and dishonest, No?

If an artist is honest it will come through in his work. Whether someone else likes the work or gets the message is an entirely different conversation.




  
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OhLook
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Sep 06, 2014 11:49 |  #3589

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17138728 (external link)
Sometime we need words to help convey a message. Thats why artist statements can be so important.

If I have to tell what the idea is, it means the picture didn't work. The picture might work as a nice composition, but it won't be evocative unless the viewer's mental habits resemble mine. Remember the dancer in Jules Feiffer's cartoons? She'd say "My new dance represents the coming of spring" (or the excesses of industrialism, or something else). Then she'd take a series of poses that could be anything. You'd never guess that the dance meant "Here comes spring" if she hadn't announced its topic. I think Feiffer was spoofing conceptual art.

The odd thing is, when I originally posted some of those photos singly, they got comments that suggested that the scene brought up thoughts about its history, but when several are shown together and I explicitly ask what people think these are about, all they see is the geometry.


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airfrogusmc
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Sep 06, 2014 11:56 |  #3590

OhLook wrote in post #17139020 (external link)
If I have to tell what the idea is, it means the picture didn't work. The picture might work as a nice composition, but it won't be evocative unless the viewer's mental habits resemble mine. Remember the dancer in Jules Feiffer's cartoons? She'd say "My new dance represents the coming of spring" (or the excesses of industrialism, or something else). Then she'd take a series of poses that could be anything. You'd never guess that the dance meant "Here comes spring" if she hadn't announced its topic. I think Feiffer was spoofing conceptual art.

The odd thing is, when I originally posted some of those photos singly, they got comments that suggested that the scene brought up thoughts about its history, but when several are shown together and I explicitly ask what people think these are about, all they see is the geometry.

That's a huge misconception and I can point to all kinds of really good photographers that have used words to help convey the message either actually writing with the images or with the use of artist statements or forewords. When the work is very personal if you need the work to be taken literally then you might need to think about words. I say invite the viewer in and let them come up with their own conclusions. As Z suggested put together a larger body of work and it might become much clearer or just a simple title of the body of work or title each image and that can clear up the ambiguity if that is really important.




  
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ziemowit
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Sep 06, 2014 14:20 |  #3591

OhLook wrote in post #17139020 (external link)
The odd thing is, when I originally posted some of those photos singly, they got comments that suggested that the scene brought up thoughts about its history, but when several are shown together and I explicitly ask what people think these are about, all they see is the geometry.

Maybe you are overcomposing your images then, if the geometry of it all is what jumps at the audience before the content. I had this problem while working with 50mm range, switching to 35 helped a lot to loosen me and let go of the very structured approach.


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OhLook
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Sep 06, 2014 19:24 |  #3592

ziemowit wrote in post #17139190 (external link)
Maybe you are overcomposing your images then . . . I had this problem while working with 50mm range, switching to 35 helped a lot to loosen me and let go of the very structured approach.

This idea is a shock. Are you saying these compositions are too good or too classic or something like that, and they're distracting? I simply try to frame so that I'll like the shapes in the frame without cropping later (this includes negative space) and so that irrelevant objects and irrelevant people are excluded. And (unless shooting way up or way down at something) get the horizon level. I notice that a lot of your horizons in candids are far off level, but those are shots of people in motion, which is different.

My camera has just one lens, but it zooms.


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Sep 06, 2014 20:00 |  #3593

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17139027 (external link)
That's a huge misconception and I can point to all kinds of really good photographers that have used words to help convey the message either actually writing with the images or with the use of artist statements or forewords. When the work is very personal if you need the work to be taken literally then you might need to think about words. I say invite the viewer in and let them come up with their own conclusions. As Z suggested put together a larger body of work and it might become much clearer or just a simple title of the body of work or title each image and that can clear up the ambiguity if that is really important.

Totally agree. The need for words in no way means the photo failed


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elrey2375
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Sep 07, 2014 00:33 |  #3594

IMAGE: http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/661/lxIhC7.jpg

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ziemowit
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Sep 07, 2014 06:13 |  #3595

OhLook wrote in post #17139474 (external link)
This idea is a shock. Are you saying these compositions are too good or too classic or something like that, and they're distracting? I simply try to frame so that I'll like the shapes in the frame without cropping later (this includes negative space) and so that irrelevant objects and irrelevant people are excluded. And (unless shooting way up or way down at something) get the horizon level. I notice that a lot of your horizons in candids are far off level, but those are shots of people in motion, which is different.

My camera has just one lens, but it zooms.

I'm not saying that's the case, just a suggestion, i would have to see the images as set side by side. But overcomposing, focusing mostly on relations and geometry is a common problem at some stage, as I said, I had it.

The straight horizon concept is very very flawed, on many different levels (bad pun intended). Just one of those 'rules that should never be broken' thing. I'm always very suspicious of those.

Contrary to most people's belief, this isn't how we actually see the world. It is how we feel it, beacuse of clever spritit level in the inner ear. A little test, if you care to do it. Set yourself an alarm in your phone to go off every half a hour through the day, and when it does put a extended index finger along the line of your nose, from the lips to your forehead. Now move it forward, keeping the angle intact. Let's see how many time you will get a 90 degrees relation to the horizon line :)

I believe the reason behind the tilted horizon in Moriyama, Winogrand and several other people is this. Bare in mind its just my specuation, i can be totally wrong here. I do believe it to be the case though, it's not a 'I want to be different, lets till it, why the hell not' neither to accentuate the motion in the image. The reason is that is closer to the way we actually SEE.

Now let the 'what are you talking about you lunatic' comments flow :D


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Sep 07, 2014 06:15 |  #3596

elrey2375 wrote in post #17139794 (external link)
QUOTED IMAGE

great mood here, I would change the frame a bit so his head is not that dead central, but love it anyway, the silence flows from the screen, well done sir.


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airfrogusmc
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Sep 07, 2014 07:32 |  #3597

Love the lines and the mood elray. Can almost feel the light.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Sep 07, 2014 07:37 |  #3598

ziemowit wrote in post #17140006 (external link)
I'm not saying that's the case, just a suggestion, i would have to see the images as set side by side. But overcomposing, focusing mostly on relations and geometry is a common problem at some stage, as I said, I had it.

The straight horizon concept is very very flawed, on many different levels (bad pun intended). Just one of those 'rules that should never be broken' thing. I'm always very suspicious of those.

Contrary to most people's belief, this isn't how we actually see the world. It is how we feel it, beacuse of clever spritit level in the inner ear. A little test, if you care to do it. Set yourself an alarm in your phone to go off every half a hour through the day, and when it does put a extended index finger along the line of your nose, from the lips to your forehead. Now move it forward, keeping the angle intact. Let's see how many time you will get a 90 degrees relation to the horizon line :)

I believe the reason behind the tilted horizon in Moriyama, Winogrand and several other people is this. Bare in mind its just my specuation, i can be totally wrong here. I do believe it to be the case though, it's not a 'I want to be different, lets till it, why the hell not' neither to accentuate the motion in the image. The reason is that is closer to the way we actually SEE.

Now let the 'what are you talking about you lunatic' comments flow :D

I believe that in some cases, as you pointed out,tilts can help create movement and tension. It can help lead the eye where you want it to go. Z as you were saying, If there is a valid visual reason other than "it looks cool" for the image to be tilted and that tilt is helping the visual statement thne by all means do everything you can to help support your visual statement and tilt away.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Sep 07, 2014 11:48 |  #3599

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/airfrogusmc024/L1027444_1_zpsa1f52210.jpg



  
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OhLook
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Sep 07, 2014 12:31 |  #3600

elrey2375 wrote in post #17139794 (external link)
[old man, seated . . . venetian blinds, stripes]

This does a great job of conveying isolation and showing someone deep in thought. On isolation: the striped shadows suggest an old-fashioned prison uniform as shown in old movies and cartoons. I think the image would benefit by slightly darkening the big light area at the man's raised knee.

ziemowit wrote in post #17140006 (external link)
overcomposing, focusing mostly on relations and geometry is a common problem

Another possible reason that some people picked up on the time-related theme originally but no one did in this thread is the viewing conditions. When you see one image at a time, in a screen-filling size, you think about it longer. With four of them together, and small, you'll react more to what's strictly visual.

The straight horizon concept is very very flawed . . . this isn't how we actually see the world. It is how we feel it, beacuse of clever spritit level in the inner ear. . . . Set yourself an alarm in your phone to go off every half a hour through the day, and when it does put a extended index finger along the line of your nose, from the lips to your forehead. Now move it forward, keeping the angle intact. Let's see how many time you will get a 90 degrees relation to the horizon line

I'd guess that this exercise shows this: "Most of the time, we don't hold our heads straight up, and our brains compensate." Inner ear--right, the calcium carbonate crystals in the semicircular canals tell you which way is down. I've read that seasickness is caused by inconsistency between vestibular sensations (i.e., the sense of gravity) and visual input. Your brain wants what you see to match where your ears say you are.

As applied to tilting versus leveling the camera, I doubt there's a simple answer. In viewing a candid image taken at close range, if all the people and the architectural elements tilt in the same direction, I get an impression of looking quickly at what's pictured. But the edges of the frame are still vertical, emphasizing the tilt, making it seem unnatural. If I look quickly at something in reality, there's no frame to remind me that I'm leaning. That's the inner ears' job.


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Composition and all that Arty stuff - discussion thread.
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