Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Can anyone take a good photograph?

Last response: in Digital Camera
Share
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 6:39:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself with?"...

A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
that's a good photograph".
The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.

So, my questions are:

Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
in touch they are with their in-built rules?
Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
tell what looks good from what doesn't?
If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
just not apply it to the things they see around them?

Tom

More about : good photograph

December 7, 2004 6:39:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Hi Tom!

In my view, part of photography is science, part is art.
Science - knowing the basic elements of photo composition, lighting, lenses,
etc.
Art - such as capturing the moment, exceptionally transgressing the habitual
photo composition...

I guess it's a bit short and simple ;-)

Marcel

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
with?"...
>
> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> that's a good photograph".
> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
>
> So, my questions are:
>
> Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> in touch they are with their in-built rules?
> Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
> tell what looks good from what doesn't?
> If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
> just not apply it to the things they see around them?
>
> Tom
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 6:39:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Tom Hudson wrote:

> Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> in touch they are with their in-built rules?

When you learn photography you learn a lot of technical things that are useful
for the recording of an image. These can be bent to a good degree. You learn a
lot of differnet ways of seeing, composing, perceiving, etc. This is the art
and it is an individual journey. You do learn all sorts of 'rules' regarding
the artistic side, and they are reasonable at getting you to nice images.
Fantastic images come from individuals who have their own vision and can express
it without relying on other people's success formulas. Some say it is best to
learn and master the rules prior to breaking them, some say it is best to
develop ones own style from the ground up without being tainted by the rules.
To each his own... IMO, the "rules" never hurt anyone nor hindered them from
developing their own unique vision. What you choose to do has to be what *you*
choose to do.

> Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
> tell what looks good from what doesn't?

Just about anyone can learn a set of static rules and apply them. But to
generate fantastic images demands 'seeing' in a way that is beyond all rules.
At some point you realize that the subject is no longer the made up of the
attributes of the subject, but the subject is part of a visual message that
includes the surroundings and the light.

> If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
> just not apply it to the things they see around them?

Go through the galleries at www.photo.net of the most popular images. You don't
need any rules to see what is good about the many great photos there. You might
not like many of them, for reasons all your own, but many of them, without
thought to a rule or a convention are automatically pleasing to your eye. When
you see a photo that is particularly appealing, spend a lot of time studying it
for form, relationship, light, perspective, movement, ...etc... and all this
before you give a thought to the technical approach that the photographer took.

You learn as much from studying other people's work as from practicing your own.

Take risks. It's only film.

Cheers,
Alan

--
-- r.p.e.35mm user resource: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
-- r.p.d.slr-systems: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpdslrsysur.htm
-- [SI] gallery & rulz: http://www.pbase.com/shootin
-- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.
Related resources
December 7, 2004 6:39:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...

Are your questions philosophical or are you hoping to learn how to improve
your photography?

Question: Can anyone take a good photograph?
Answer: Depends on what you call *good*, but if we assume some level of
elementary competency there is always the possibility that luck will play a
part thus resulting in a favorable outcome.

> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
with?"...

That post was fatally flawed by the words "should", "serious" and "amateur"

> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> that's a good photograph".

Maybe, depending on what most people consider *good*.

> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
>
> So, my questions are:
>
> Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> in touch they are with their in-built rules?

Rules and art make uneasy bed fellows so my answer is not necessarily.
Unless of course you dismiss the concept that photography is an art form in
which case you may apply as many rules as you like.

> Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
> tell what looks good from what doesn't?

Anyone can tell what they think is good just by looking.

> If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good?

See above.

> Can they
> just not apply it to the things they see around them?

No they just can't get it on film.

> Tom

Film, Ahhhh!
me
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 6:39:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
with?"...
>
> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> that's a good photograph".
> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
>
> So, my questions are:
>
> Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> in touch they are with their in-built rules?
> Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
> tell what looks good from what doesn't?
> If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
> just not apply it to the things they see around them?
>
> Tom

I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky shot or from
time to time.
Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they are no
guarantee.
One can learn all the technical aspects of photography but there are other
aspects that cannot be learned.
Photogrpahy is an art and one has to have a talent for it. Being able to see
things the way others don't.
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 6:39:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Tom Hudson wrote:
> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
> with?"...
>
> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> that's a good photograph".
> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
>
> So, my questions are:
>
> Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> in touch they are with their in-built rules?
> Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
> tell what looks good from what doesn't?
> If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
> just not apply it to the things they see around them?
>
> Tom

IMHO: Good or Bad pictures (like beauty) is totally in the eye of the
beholder.
I seen many photo competitions where the viewers get to pick "Viewers
Choice". Many, if not most of the times, the VC did not even earn an
honorable mention from the judges.
Different judges like different things and "never the twain shall meet".
If the image makes you say, WOW, it is by definition a great photo to
you. And who are you trying to please anyway?
Bob Williams
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 6:39:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
with?"...
>
> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> that's a good photograph".
> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.

Your reasoning is flawed. People may have the "rules of what they like"
built-in, but they don't innately possess the rules of "*how* to get what
they like"; those are the rules that must be learned or developed. While
the non-photographer can come a across a photo he likes and say "That's a
good photo!", a photographer might look at the same picture and say
something like "That's a good photo! Hmmm... I never thought of using that
shallow a depth-of-field in this context, but it works-- think I'll try
something similar on my next shoot."

Also, I think being a good photographer, at least in a technical sense, is
as much a matter of learning how to keep what don't like out of your photos
as it is in knowing how to include what you do like; much of that kind of
knowledge has to be learned or worked out by experience over time. Of
course, a person can snap off a card full of shots and there'll sometimes be
one or two good photos among them, but that doesn't make the picture-taker a
photographer. Even a blind hog can find an acorn now and again, as the
saying goes.

Though some might deny it, expertise exists and can be acquired through
reason and study. I'm pretty disdainful of "passion in photography",
whatever that phrase means. I think a photographer should *know*
photography and occasionally have passion for his subject-matter. A
"passionate photographer" is often just a picture-taker with an attitude
problem-- I guess that's why we have the two adjectives, "artistic" and
"artsy."
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 6:56:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Even a four year-old. I have the proof.
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 7:18:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> wrote in message
news:KY-dnb4Yxvu8iCvcRVn-rw@comcast.com...
>
> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
>> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
> with?"...
>>
>> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
>> that's a good photograph".
>> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
>> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.

>
> Though some might deny it, expertise exists and can be acquired through
> reason and study. I'm pretty disdainful of "passion in photography",
> whatever that phrase means. I think a photographer should *know*
> photography and occasionally have passion for his subject-matter. A
> "passionate photographer" is often just a picture-taker with an attitude
> problem-- I guess that's why we have the two adjectives, "artistic" and
> "artsy."


I agree with Martha Graham:

"Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great
because of their passion."

---Martha Graham

A violinist can play 3 octave scales perfectly but it can be dull to hear
but technically perfect unless some kind of nuance is added to give it
interest.


One could say photographers are not great because of their great technical
expertise; photos are great because of the amount of passion/feeling is
conveyed to the viewer.
December 7, 2004 7:18:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Robert Nabors" <nabors7@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:D MGdneOjgNGFgyvcRVn-2Q@comcast.com...
> I agree with Martha Graham:
>
> "Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great
> because of their passion."
>
> ---Martha Graham
>
> A violinist can play 3 octave scales perfectly but it can be dull to hear
> but technically perfect unless some kind of nuance is added to give it
> interest.
>
>
> One could say photographers are not great because of their great technical
> expertise; photos are great because of the amount of passion/feeling is
> conveyed to the viewer.

I don't think passion alone will do. If passion were the only perquisite for
greatness then all you need do is love photography and you'd be guaranteed
great photos. How many people do you know who are great simply because
they're passionate about what they do? What about study, practice and hard
work? Passion doesn't hurt but there's a lot more to it than that.
IMHO,
me
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 7:18:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Robert Nabors" <nabors7@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:D MGdneOjgNGFgyvcRVn-2Q@comcast.com...
>
> "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> wrote in message
> news:KY-dnb4Yxvu8iCvcRVn-rw@comcast.com...
>> >
> > Though some might deny it, expertise exists and can be acquired through
> > reason and study. I'm pretty disdainful of "passion in photography",
> > whatever that phrase means. I think a photographer should *know*
> > photography and occasionally have passion for his subject-matter. A
> > "passionate photographer" is often just a picture-taker with an
attitude
> > problem-- I guess that's why we have the two adjectives, "artistic" and
> > "artsy."
>
>
> I agree with Martha Graham:
>
> "Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great
> because of their passion."

Both are needed for greatness, but that doesn't change my point: A good
technical dancer with passion might make a great dancer, but a passionate
person with no training in dance will likely just ardently stumble about on
the stage. A may imply B without B implying A.

In a similar vein, many people are stunned with they see some of Picasso's
early work-- he had full mastery of many techniques and could paint and draw
in many styles, including realism. His passion for art eventually led him
to invent and master new forms, but he definitely did not substitute passion
for learned skill-- it simply can't be done. Passion is an internal force
that drives a person to do whatever he or she does, but the passion is NOT
the doing itself, a fact that is lost on too many people.

I suppose if you're passionate about being passionate, you can indulge your
obsession without learning anything else, assuming passion is an innate
quality and not a learned one. :-)
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 7:48:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Marcel wrote:
> Hi Tom!
>
> In my view, part of photography is science, part is art.
> Science - knowing the basic elements of photo composition, lighting, lenses,
> etc.
> Art - such as capturing the moment, exceptionally transgressing the habitual
> photo composition...
>
> I guess it's a bit short and simple ;-)
>
Sometimes that's best, I'm finding I ramble on too much in the name of
clarity (and still don't achieve it <:-)

What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built
in to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you
see them.

Tom
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 7:48:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5df06$0$222$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Marcel wrote:
> > Hi Tom!
> >
> > In my view, part of photography is science, part is art.
> > Science - knowing the basic elements of photo composition, lighting,
lenses,
> > etc.
> > Art - such as capturing the moment, exceptionally transgressing the
habitual
> > photo composition...
> >
> > I guess it's a bit short and simple ;-)
> >
> Sometimes that's best, I'm finding I ramble on too much in the name of
> clarity (and still don't achieve it <:-)
>
> What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built
> in to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you
> see them.

While it may be true that we tend to be drawn to particular patterns of
composition as a *viewer* of a well-composed shot, this does NOT necessarily
translate to people instinctively creating photographs with good
composition. Quite the reverse. I think it is most instinctive for people
to do with their camera viewfinder--exactly what they/we do with our
eyes...that being centering our eyes (and unfortunately, our viewfinders) on
the most interesting spot.

Where do we naturally look when we look at people??
-The eyes.
So where does the typical snap-shooter place the eyes of a person in their
snaps??
-Smack dab in the middle of the viewfinder! (ugh).

This is easy to illustrate from most people's experience:

How many times have you asked a stranger or family member to snap your
pictures for you? What do they do??? -They cut off your feet, and include
a big grey sky...all because they instinctively stuck your eyes right in the
middle of the frame, without any thought whatsoever to the placement of
other scene elements.

THIS is instinctive.
For the most part, I think we have to overcome this instinct in order to
consistently create compelling shots.

This is why if I ever hand someone my camera to snap my picture with
someone, I always say something like, "Try to get our feet a bit above the
bottom of the picture." -I think many people silently wonder to themselves:
"Why does he want a picture of his feet???"
:) 
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 7:48:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built in
> to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you see
> them.

I disagree. There is some useful instinctual prowess in all of us; perhaps
common sense. However, the best photographers study composition and study
the works of masters to improve and they do improve! So can amateurs, by
the way.
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 7:48:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Mark²" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> wrote in message
news:8eotd.400828$a85.315959@fed1read04...
>
> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b5df06$0$222$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> > Marcel wrote:
> > > Hi Tom!
> > >
> > > In my view, part of photography is science, part is art.
> > > Science - knowing the basic elements of photo composition, lighting,
> lenses,
> > > etc.
> > > Art - such as capturing the moment, exceptionally transgressing the
> habitual
> > > photo composition...
> > >
> > > I guess it's a bit short and simple ;-)
> > >
> > Sometimes that's best, I'm finding I ramble on too much in the name of
> > clarity (and still don't achieve it <:-)
> >
> > What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built
> > in to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you
> > see them.
>
> While it may be true that we tend to be drawn to particular patterns of
> composition as a *viewer* of a well-composed shot, this does NOT
necessarily
> translate to people instinctively creating photographs with good
> composition. Quite the reverse. I think it is most instinctive for
people
> to do with their camera viewfinder--exactly what they/we do with our
> eyes...that being centering our eyes (and unfortunately, our viewfinders)
on
> the most interesting spot.
>
> Where do we naturally look when we look at people??
> -The eyes.
> So where does the typical snap-shooter place the eyes of a person in their
> snaps??
> -Smack dab in the middle of the viewfinder! (ugh).
>
> This is easy to illustrate from most people's experience:
>
> How many times have you asked a stranger or family member to snap your
> pictures for you? What do they do??? -They cut off your feet, and
include
> a big grey sky...all because they instinctively stuck your eyes right in
the
> middle of the frame, without any thought whatsoever to the placement of
> other scene elements.
>
> THIS is instinctive.
> For the most part, I think we have to overcome this instinct in order to
> consistently create compelling shots.
>
> This is why if I ever hand someone my camera to snap my picture with
> someone, I always say something like, "Try to get our feet a bit above the
> bottom of the picture." -I think many people silently wonder to
themselves:
> "Why does he want a picture of his feet???"
> :) 

I agree. You have to learn to look all around your viewfinder to verify that
everything you want is in and whatever you don't is not.
Also, while shooting people from short distance, you have to bend your knees
if you want the whole person without the dropping perspective. This is
unnatural as well.
December 7, 2004 8:37:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

If the ability to come up with a good composition is built in, an awful
lot of people are doing their best to avoid it. Anyone can take a good
photograph. Very few can take a lot of good photographs. An art class or two
would help a lot of photographers but most of them are so hung up on
technical bull (the stuff the camera can do for you anyway) they never think
about composition.
--
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com
home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
The Improved Links Pages are at
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/links/mlinks00.html
A sample chapter from "Haight-Ashbury" is at
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/writ/hait/hatitl.html

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5df06$0$222$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Marcel wrote:
> > Hi Tom!
> >
> > In my view, part of photography is science, part is art.
> > Science - knowing the basic elements of photo composition, lighting,
lenses,
> > etc.
> > Art - such as capturing the moment, exceptionally transgressing the
habitual
> > photo composition...
> >
> > I guess it's a bit short and simple ;-)
> >
> Sometimes that's best, I'm finding I ramble on too much in the name of
> clarity (and still don't achieve it <:-)
>
> What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built
> in to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you
> see them.
>
> Tom
December 7, 2004 8:56:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> One can learn all the technical aspects of photography but there are other
> aspects that cannot be learned.
> Photogrpahy is an art and one has to have a talent for it. Being able to
see
> things the way others don't.
>

I guess that's what makes up an artist ;-)
Marcel


"Paul Bielec" <someone@microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:cp4noo$cq7$1@dns3.cae.ca...
> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> > Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
> with?"...
> >
> > A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> > that's a good photograph".
> > The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> > This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
> >
> > So, my questions are:
> >
> > Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> > in touch they are with their in-built rules?
> > Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
> > tell what looks good from what doesn't?
> > If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
> > just not apply it to the things they see around them?
> >
> > Tom
>
> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky shot or
from
> time to time.
> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they are no
> guarantee.
> One can learn all the technical aspects of photography but there are other
> aspects that cannot be learned.
> Photogrpahy is an art and one has to have a talent for it. Being able to
see
> things the way others don't.
>
>
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 9:00:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

its like a sport of tennis,

anyone can hit a nice shot, with enough swings.

but can you play the game?



"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
> with?"...
>
> A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
> that's a good photograph".
> The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
> This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
>
> So, my questions are:
>
> Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
> in touch they are with their in-built rules?
> Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not tell
> what looks good from what doesn't?
> If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good? Can they
> just not apply it to the things they see around them?
>
> Tom
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 9:43:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Marcel" <cosmar@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:zbedndnjcPsXqSvcRVn-uQ@rogers.com...
> > One can learn all the technical aspects of photography but there are
other
> > aspects that cannot be learned.
> > Photogrpahy is an art and one has to have a talent for it. Being able to
> see
> > things the way others don't.
> >
>
> I guess that's what makes up an artist ;-)
> Marcel

I personally prefer real-life artists over made up ones...
:) 
(Sorry...I'm slowly turning into my father!!!
....Courtesy-laughs are appreciated)
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 9:53:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Tue, 07 Dec 2004 17:37:45 GMT, "Tony" <tspadaro@nc.rr.com> wrote:

> If the ability to come up with a good composition is built in, an awful
>lot of people are doing their best to avoid it. Anyone can take a good
>photograph. Very few can take a lot of good photographs. An art class or two
>would help a lot of photographers but most of them are so hung up on
>technical bull (the stuff the camera can do for you anyway) they never think
>about composition.

People also get stuck in a genre, and need to occasionally review
those areas of photography that they might enjoy but haven't tried.

The other big one is lost opportunity. Many people are too shy to use
a camera when certain situations arise:

Two people are yelling at each other through their open car windows,
do you grab the camera?

At an air show, do you turn around and photograph the crowd's
expressions?

It's getting dark outside; turn on the TV or grab a tripod?

It's raining outside; hit the internet, or grab a coat?

Sitting outside a Starbucks, are you just getting fat or doing some
slow-shutter shots across the street?

A group of bikers invade your local IHOP dressed as Santa. Do you ask
if your daughter can borrow a chopper seat for some photos, or quietly
eat your breakfast? *

* Now why the hell would I take my camera to IHOP? This is why.

You are going out for a walk - anywhere. Is your camera going with
you?


BTW, there are some dangers involved in taking candid shots in cities.
A pal of mine who lives in London nearly lost his camera and nose
because a nearby drug dealer thought he was the subject of the photos.

--
Owamanga!
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 9:57:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

me wrote:
> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
>
> Are your questions philosophical or are you hoping to learn how to improve
> your photography?
>
Philosophical/Psychological/Curious.
I was actually hoping to improve my photography through practice <:-)

> Question: Can anyone take a good photograph?
> Answer: Depends on what you call *good*, but if we assume some level of
> elementary competency there is always the possibility that luck will play a
> part thus resulting in a favorable outcome.
>
>
>>Following on from "What should the serious amateur concern himself
>
> with?"...
>
> That post was fatally flawed by the words "should", "serious" and "amateur"
>
"What the concern himself with?", why that's just silly (that's a joke
btw, for the humour impaired).


>>A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
>>that's a good photograph".
>
> Maybe, depending on what most people consider *good*.
>
I'm assuming a broad range and a lot of generalisation for the sake of
keeping the question simple.


>>The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
>>This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.
>>
>>So, my questions are:
>>
>>Is the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer how
>>in touch they are with their in-built rules?
>
>
> Rules and art make uneasy bed fellows so my answer is not necessarily.
> Unless of course you dismiss the concept that photography is an art form in
> which case you may apply as many rules as you like.
>
See, I ramble on for clarity's sake and still can't get the point
across. Ignore photography completely for a moment.
People can look at an _image_ and see that it is pleasing (or not) to
their eye. In order to decide that it is pleasing or otherwise requires
some kind of processing internally, which suggests rules are involved -
not explicitly learnt rules, but either socially picked up without
realising or something we're born with.
It's not that people like photos because they comply with the 'rules' of
photography, it's that the 'rules' exist because they produce photos
that people like.
Does that make more sense? It's all got a bit more
technical/philosophical than I was aiming for. Meta-photography.


>>Is it possible for anyone to learn this or can some people really not
>>tell what looks good from what doesn't?
>
> Anyone can tell what they think is good just by looking.
>
But can they? Are some people less 'stimulated', for want of a better
word, by visuals? Sorry - it's starting to sound like a psychology exam.


>>If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good?
>
>
> See above.
>
>
>>Can they
>>just not apply it to the things they see around them?
>
>
> No they just can't get it on film.
>
Well that would be a yes for anyone can take a good photo and it's just
a matter of learning.

Tom
December 7, 2004 9:57:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5fd16$0$220$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> me wrote:
> > "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> > news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> >
> > Are your questions philosophical or are you hoping to learn how to
improve
> > your photography?
> >
> Philosophical/Psychological/Curious.
> I was actually hoping to improve my photography through practice <:-)

OK. Lets skip all that other BS and get started. The first step is to
familiarize yourself with the masters of photography. Look here:
http://www.masters-of-photography.com/summaries.html You should also check
your library or book store to find out more about these people and any other
photographers whose work you admire. You don't have to copy their work (you
could at first until you develop a style of your own) but you do have to
know what you like before you can create it.

Below in order of importance is a list of attributes of great photograph:
Compelling subject, at least to you.
Good composition.
Good lighting.

Good Luck!
me
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 10:15:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky shot or from
> time to time.
> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they are no
> guarantee.
> One can learn all the technical aspects of photography but there are other
> aspects that cannot be learned.
> Photogrpahy is an art and one has to have a talent for it. Being able to see
> things the way others don't.
>
It's the seeing things part I'm looking at, the choosing what to take
photographs of and how to compose them. I've always thought that anyone
can do anything if they're just interested enough to spend the time on
it. I suppose if you don't have a good sense of taste you'll be useless
as a chef, if you don't have a good visual awareness you won't make a
good photographer.

Tom
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:08:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"me" <anonymous@_.com> wrote in news:10rbo9pstitmd0d@corp.supernews.com:

> Rules and art make uneasy bed fellows so my answer is not necessarily.
> Unless of course you dismiss the concept that photography is an art
> form in which case you may apply as many rules as you like.

Ahhh ... but there are lots of rules in art.
Just saying that you are making art en a genre
is setting lost of rules.

Most artists are following more rules than they
are breaking.


/Roland
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:10:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Paul Bielec" <someone@microsoft.com> wrote in
news:cp4noo$cq7$1@dns3.cae.ca:

> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky shot
> or from time to time.
> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they are
> no guarantee.
>

I know some good musicians. They can take the cheapest instrument
and make wonderful music. I need much better instruments, and I
still make rather ordinary music.


/Roland
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:10:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Roland Karlsson wrote:
> "Paul Bielec" <someone@microsoft.com> wrote in
> news:cp4noo$cq7$1@dns3.cae.ca:
>
>> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky shot
>> or from time to time.
>> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they are
>> no guarantee.
>>
>
> I know some good musicians. They can take the cheapest instrument
> and make wonderful music. I need much better instruments, and I
> still make rather ordinary music.
>

Do you know, or can you imagine, why that is?

--
Frank ess
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:10:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Frank ess" <frank@fshe2fs.com> wrote in message
news:eLOdnRNCNKwPiSvcRVn-ig@giganews.com...
> Roland Karlsson wrote:
> > "Paul Bielec" <someone@microsoft.com> wrote in
> > news:cp4noo$cq7$1@dns3.cae.ca:
> >
> >> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky shot
> >> or from time to time.
> >> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they are
> >> no guarantee.
> >>
> >
> > I know some good musicians. They can take the cheapest instrument
> > and make wonderful music. I need much better instruments, and I
> > still make rather ordinary music.
> >
>
> Do you know, or can you imagine, why that is?

For most...years of practice, and exercising their creative "muscles."

For a rare few...It's a gift that can explode into new bursts of creativity
with little planning or thought.

Most of us fall into the first category. :( 

The good news is that becoming a master doesn't necessarily require the
prerequisite of genius, or extraordinary gifts. Mastery can be gained to
the degree that your acquired vision, and your willingness to reflect on
failures/successes are kept alive through open-minded persistence.
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:10:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Mark² wrote:
> "Frank ess" <frank@fshe2fs.com> wrote in message
> news:eLOdnRNCNKwPiSvcRVn-ig@giganews.com...
>> Roland Karlsson wrote:
>>> "Paul Bielec" <someone@microsoft.com> wrote in
>>> news:cp4noo$cq7$1@dns3.cae.ca:
>>>
>>>> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky
>>>> shot or from time to time.
>>>> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they
>>>> are no guarantee.
>>>>
>>>
>>> I know some good musicians. They can take the cheapest instrument
>>> and make wonderful music. I need much better instruments, and I
>>> still make rather ordinary music.
>>>
>>
>> Do you know, or can you imagine, why that is?
>
> For most...years of practice, and exercising their creative "muscles."
>
> For a rare few...It's a gift that can explode into new bursts of
> creativity with little planning or thought.
>
> Most of us fall into the first category. :( 
>
> The good news is that becoming a master doesn't necessarily require
> the prerequisite of genius, or extraordinary gifts. Mastery can be
> gained to the degree that your acquired vision, and your willingness
> to reflect on failures/successes are kept alive through open-minded
> persistence.


I guess the discussion laps against more than one continent: the roles
of technical ability, experience, insight, "genius", and accident, in
accomplishing an image.

Genius can be emulated ( or at least approached ) by experience and
insight, is what I hear.

Technical ability can be acquired by study and practice (experience).

Experience is inevitable, but is only as valuable as the insight gained
during its accumulation.

Inspiration is ...


My view, every image will contain elements of each, none can be ignored,
nor can they be separated out or attributed in some instances; in many,
it may be obvious which influence predominates in the final. Some
combination of inspiration and execution could satisfy few or many
viewers, and result in conflicting evaluations of "goodness".

For my part, I get an inspiration about once every six weeks. My ability
to fix and share that inspiration depends on innumerable variables, and
in maybe one out of six episodes I come close to sticking my "vision" to
the wall. Where it wriggles pleasingly for some and hangs inert and limp
for others.

I think almost none of this is "accidental", that nearly every visible
and every invisible vector is determined and could, with patience and
careful design, be codified to the benefit of the society. But none of
it is easy, none of it grows without the nurture of contemplation and
communication.

To summarize: I know what I like, I try to help others see and
appreciate it, but I ain't got a lot of success or hope for more of it.
If it weren't for the fact that I like the process(es) so much, I might
quit. Well, probably not, but I'm tempted from time to time.

--
Frank ess
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:10:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Frank ess" <frank@fshe2fs.com> wrote in message
news:K7mdnc04vZFBqyvcRVn-jw@giganews.com...
> Mark² wrote:
> > "Frank ess" <frank@fshe2fs.com> wrote in message
> > news:eLOdnRNCNKwPiSvcRVn-ig@giganews.com...
> >> Roland Karlsson wrote:
> >>> "Paul Bielec" <someone@microsoft.com> wrote in
> >>> news:cp4noo$cq7$1@dns3.cae.ca:
> >>>
> >>>> I think that just anybody can take a good photograph. One lucky
> >>>> shot or from time to time.
> >>>> Of course, having better equipment and experience help. But they
> >>>> are no guarantee.
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> I know some good musicians. They can take the cheapest instrument
> >>> and make wonderful music. I need much better instruments, and I
> >>> still make rather ordinary music.
> >>>
> >>
> >> Do you know, or can you imagine, why that is?
> >
> > For most...years of practice, and exercising their creative "muscles."
> >
> > For a rare few...It's a gift that can explode into new bursts of
> > creativity with little planning or thought.
> >
> > Most of us fall into the first category. :( 
> >
> > The good news is that becoming a master doesn't necessarily require
> > the prerequisite of genius, or extraordinary gifts. Mastery can be
> > gained to the degree that your acquired vision, and your willingness
> > to reflect on failures/successes are kept alive through open-minded
> > persistence.
>
>
> I guess the discussion laps against more than one continent: the roles
> of technical ability, experience, insight, "genius", and accident, in
> accomplishing an image.
>
> Genius can be emulated ( or at least approached ) by experience and
> insight, is what I hear.
>
> Technical ability can be acquired by study and practice (experience).
>
> Experience is inevitable, but is only as valuable as the insight gained
> during its accumulation.
>
> Inspiration is ...
>
>
> My view, every image will contain elements of each, none can be ignored,
> nor can they be separated out or attributed in some instances; in many,
> it may be obvious which influence predominates in the final. Some
> combination of inspiration and execution could satisfy few or many
> viewers, and result in conflicting evaluations of "goodness".
>
> For my part, I get an inspiration about once every six weeks. My ability
> to fix and share that inspiration depends on innumerable variables, and
> in maybe one out of six episodes I come close to sticking my "vision" to
> the wall. Where it wriggles pleasingly for some and hangs inert and limp
> for others.
>
> I think almost none of this is "accidental", that nearly every visible
> and every invisible vector is determined and could, with patience and
> careful design, be codified to the benefit of the society. But none of
> it is easy, none of it grows without the nurture of contemplation and
> communication.
>
> To summarize: I know what I like, I try to help others see and
> appreciate it, but I ain't got a lot of success or hope for more of it.
> If it weren't for the fact that I like the process(es) so much, I might
> quit. Well, probably not, but I'm tempted from time to time.

An excellent post, Frank.
Thanks.
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:57:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>>Marcel wrote:
> While it may be true that we tend to be drawn to particular patterns of
> composition as a *viewer* of a well-composed shot, this does NOT necessarily
> translate to people instinctively creating photographs with good
> composition.

Yes, that's what I'm on about, it just seems like if people can tell
what they like the look of they should be able to recognise that and
take at least reasonable photos (compositionally if not technically).
I think that's what a lot of (visual) art is about, recognising what
looks good. I think what really interests me is why do people like what
they like, but that's a really broad area and way OT.

> Quite the reverse. I think it is most instinctive for people
> to do with their camera viewfinder--exactly what they/we do with our
> eyes...that being centering our eyes (and unfortunately, our viewfinders) on
> the most interesting spot.
>
That's true, it implies a lack of awareness of everything else in the
picture that they're not actively taking a photo of, which is part of
the skill.

> Where do we naturally look when we look at people??
> -The eyes.
> So where does the typical snap-shooter place the eyes of a person in their
> snaps??
> -Smack dab in the middle of the viewfinder! (ugh).
>
> This is easy to illustrate from most people's experience:
>
> How many times have you asked a stranger or family member to snap your
> pictures for you? What do they do??? -They cut off your feet, and include
> a big grey sky...all because they instinctively stuck your eyes right in the
> middle of the frame, without any thought whatsoever to the placement of
> other scene elements.
>
> THIS is instinctive.
> For the most part, I think we have to overcome this instinct in order to
> consistently create compelling shots.
>
Yes. So basically people have the ability to recognise a good picture
(in their own eyes) but it takes time to train yourself to apply that to
_taking_ them. Sounds fair. I think that answers my question.

> This is why if I ever hand someone my camera to snap my picture with
> someone, I always say something like, "Try to get our feet a bit above the
> bottom of the picture." -I think many people silently wonder to themselves:
> "Why does he want a picture of his feet???"
> :) 
>
<:-)

Tom
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:57:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b6194c$0$216$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> >>Marcel wrote:

No he didn't... Mark2 wrote that.
:) 

> > While it may be true that we tend to be drawn to particular patterns of
> > composition as a *viewer* of a well-composed shot, this does NOT
necessarily
> > translate to people instinctively creating photographs with good
> > composition.
>
> Yes, that's what I'm on about, it just seems like if people can tell
> what they like the look of they should be able to recognise that and
> take at least reasonable photos (compositionally if not technically).

Ah...but that seems that way to you because you are a introspective person.
Sadly, most people are not, which is what leads so many folks to muted
success in many aspects of their lives--including photography.

>either nowhere
> I think that's what a lot of (visual) art is about, recognising what
> looks good. I think what really interests me is why do people like what
> they like, but that's a really broad area and way OT.

This is always a good question to ask though..."WHY did you pick THAT
image?"
I've been surprised many times with the images people pick out of a group,
because they chose something I woudn't/didn't. Their answers are usually
pretty generic, but every once in a while, you'll get someone that will
really have some insight on WHY they like images.

> > Quite the reverse. I think it is most instinctive for people
> > to do with their camera viewfinder--exactly what they/we do with our
> > eyes...that being centering our eyes (and unfortunately, our
viewfinders) on
> > the most interesting spot.
> >
> That's true, it implies a lack of awareness of everything else in the
> picture that they're not actively taking a photo of, which is part of
> the skill.
>
> > Where do we naturally look when we look at people??
> > -The eyes.
> > So where does the typical snap-shooter place the eyes of a person in
their
> > snaps??
> > -Smack dab in the middle of the viewfinder! (ugh).
> >
> > This is easy to illustrate from most people's experience:
> >
> > How many times have you asked a stranger or family member to snap your
> > pictures for you? What do they do??? -They cut off your feet, and
include
> > a big grey sky...all because they instinctively stuck your eyes right in
the
> > middle of the frame, without any thought whatsoever to the placement of
> > other scene elements.
> >
> > THIS is instinctive.
> > For the most part, I think we have to overcome this instinct in order to
> > consistently create compelling shots.
> >
> Yes. So basically people have the ability to recognise a good picture
> (in their own eyes) but it takes time to train yourself to apply that to
> _taking_ them.

I think so, but it's usually worse than that: I think most people recognise
what they like, but they rarely ever even ask themselves why they like it.
They just do. Some will say "because it's pretty" or "it's colorful" etc.,
but they don't often get much farther than that. Hopefully they reach a
point where they start making connections between the diverse visual
compositions they are drawn to, and begin to understand how to look for
these things with specific intent, rather than simply making reactionary
declarations when they are presented with a pre-determined product that
brings them visual pleasure.

>Sounds fair. I think that answers my question.

Hooray!
:) 
December 7, 2004 11:57:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Mark²" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> wrote in message
news:7pptd.402140$a85.399816@fed1read04...
> > Yes. So basically people have the ability to recognise a good picture
> > (in their own eyes) but it takes time to train yourself to apply that to
> > _taking_ them.
>
> I think so, but it's usually worse than that: I think most people
recognise
> what they like, but they rarely ever even ask themselves why they like it.
> They just do. Some will say "because it's pretty" or "it's colorful"
etc.,
> but they don't often get much farther than that. Hopefully they reach a
> point where they start making connections between the diverse visual
> compositions they are drawn to, and begin to understand how to look for
> these things with specific intent, rather than simply making reactionary
> declarations when they are presented with a pre-determined product that
> brings them visual pleasure.

First and foremost photographers must be keen observers. Then they must
translate those observations into their photographs.
IMHO,
me
Anonymous
December 7, 2004 11:59:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b5fd16$0$220$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> me wrote:
>> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
>> news:41b5ceb6$0$223$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
>
> See, I ramble on for clarity's sake and still can't get the point across.
> Ignore photography completely for a moment.
> People can look at an _image_ and see that it is pleasing (or not) to
> their eye. In order to decide that it is pleasing or otherwise requires
> some kind of processing internally, which suggests rules are involved -
> not explicitly learnt rules, but either socially picked up without
> realising or something we're born with.
> It's not that people like photos because they comply with the 'rules' of
> photography, it's that the 'rules' exist because they produce photos that
> people like.
> Does that make more sense? It's all got a bit more technical/philosophical
> than I was aiming for. Meta-photography.

I agree that most people can agree on what is a good image. But a good image
doesn't have to be a 'pleasing' image or one that people even like to
view...
http://cakeru.image.pbase.com/image/15470706.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/magus/image/15634978.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/zidar/image/8973787.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34326372.jpg
....each is a good image but only the first would be considered a pleasing
one by most people. Only that one would hang 'nicely' on a living space
wall. If there are rules that can be followed to produce consistently good
and/or pleasing images then nobody has yet let them out of the bag. I think
that anyone can get lucky and get a good/pleasing image with a camera.
Anyone could hit bullseye on a dart board too. What you are really asking (I
think) is if making good/pleasing images consistently is possible through
applying defined rules. The answer IMHO is no. I believe that making
consistently appealing/powerful images is an innate talent. With photography
mastering the equipment and technique is a simple little endeavour that then
serves the photographers in-built visual sensibilities. Talent can be
developed and honed but it cannot be learnt. It doesn't need on rules.

>> Anyone can tell what they think is good just by looking.
>>
> But can they? Are some people less 'stimulated', for want of a better
> word, by visuals? Sorry - it's starting to sound like a psychology exam.

You're right. Some people are not turned on at all by visuals at all. My mum
has no interest in my 'real' photo's. She has no interest in painting,
sculpture or films either. She really wants to see lots and lots of holiday
snaps though, and she takes and cherishes more of these sorts of photo's
than anybody else I know.

>>>If this is the case, how can they tell if a photo looks good?
>>
>>
>> See above.
>>
>>
>>>Can they
>>>just not apply it to the things they see around them?
>>
>>
>> No they just can't get it on film.
>>
> Well that would be a yes for anyone can take a good photo and it's just a
> matter of learning.
>
> Tom

They can learn to focus, expose, etc. to perfection. Light forming and
control can be learnt. An understanding of how a scene will be recorded by
the film/sensor can be learnt. Knowing how to process and print to minimise
or overcome the limitations of the film/sensor is also learnable. But the
process of creating good imagery goes beyond these technicalities. I know
avid photographers that have been at it for 40+ years and know every little
thing about technique and equipment and yet they take consistently dull,
forgetable photographs. I know others (just a few) that hit the ground
running and were producing what most consider good imagery from their first
roll of film taken for the sake of image making
--
Simon
http://www.pbase.com/stanmore
December 7, 2004 11:59:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Simon Stanmore" <nomail@thanks.com> wrote in message
news:1102453140.7851.0@nnrp-t71-03.news.uk.clara.net...
> I know
> avid photographers that have been at it for 40+ years and know every
little
> thing about technique and equipment and yet they take consistently dull,
> forgetable photographs. I know others (just a few) that hit the ground
> running and were producing what most consider good imagery from their
first
> roll of film taken for the sake of image making

There are all levels of talent both innate and learned. I wouldn't want
people to think that if they don't hit the ground running there's no hope of
them improving their talent. I believe anyone can improve regardless of
their age or where their skill level currently is.
IMHO,
me
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:08:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Paul H. wrote:
> Though some might deny it, expertise exists and can be acquired through
> reason and study. I'm pretty disdainful of "passion in photography",
> whatever that phrase means. I think a photographer should *know*
> photography and occasionally have passion for his subject-matter. A
> "passionate photographer" is often just a picture-taker with an attitude
> problem-- I guess that's why we have the two adjectives, "artistic" and
> "artsy."

At the moment I'm a very instinctive photographer, I need to feel
something when I look at the subject if I'm to get a decent photo of it
(or luck, as sometimes happens).
You're talking about a stage beyond that, which I might be able to get
to with enough practice, but I think that's a long way off at this
point. I can see how you'd get there though. Eventually you get enough
experience that you can just know what's right and what will work. It
won't always work out, but then it never does.

Cheers,

Tom
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:17:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Charles Schuler wrote:
>>What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built in
>>to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you see
>>them.
>
> I disagree. There is some useful instinctual prowess in all of us; perhaps
> common sense. However, the best photographers study composition and study
> the works of masters to improve and they do improve! So can amateurs, by
> the way.
>
I only started reading about photography in the last couple of months.
My learning style is to do until I get stuck and then read, it's the
only way I can get anything to stick in my head (and works very well for
me). I have found it useful to read about photography I must say - in
some cases to see how others did it and _avoid_ doing it that way
because the results were awful (in my eyes at least, someone liked them
as they'd got to write books about it).

Tom
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:17:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I have found it useful to read about photography I must say - in
> some cases to see how others did it and _avoid_ doing it that way because
> the results were awful (in my eyes at least, someone liked them as they'd
> got to write books about it).

That's the way we all are. I go to the library and take a stack of
photography books to the nearest table and thumb through them. I find shots
that are not to my liking. I also find shots that are inspiring and then
think about what I could do to emulate them. I have improved through this
process.

I also think about the shots I don't like because somebody else likes them
and try to analyze the implications. Try it. You might be surprised at
what you come up with.

Finally, my wife is very artistic and I like discussing shots with her. Do
you have such a resource?

Have fun!
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:35:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

OTOH if "greatness" is an intrinsic quality why is it that some "great"
artists were not proclaimed "great" until some time after they expired?

Alternatively it may be tempting to mix form with function and technique
and still miss the point: aesthetics exist because they are aesthetics :-)

Aerticeus
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:50:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Simon Stanmore wrote:
> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b5fd16$0$220$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
>
> I agree that most people can agree on what is a good image. But a good image
> doesn't have to be a 'pleasing' image or one that people even like to
> view...
> http://cakeru.image.pbase.com/image/15470706.jpg
> http://www.pbase.com/magus/image/15634978.jpg
> http://www.pbase.com/zidar/image/8973787.jpg
> http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34326372.jpg
> ...each is a good image but only the first would be considered a pleasing
> one by most people.

I really like the 2nd, I don't think I'd hang it on the wall in my
house, but I do like it.

> Only that one would hang 'nicely' on a living space
> wall. If there are rules that can be followed to produce consistently good
> and/or pleasing images then nobody has yet let them out of the bag. I think
> that anyone can get lucky and get a good/pleasing image with a camera.
> Anyone could hit bullseye on a dart board too. What you are really asking (I
> think) is if making good/pleasing images consistently is possible through
> applying defined rules.
>
Not at all, I really need to work on communicating clearly <:-)
I'm almost asking the opposite - Can people take good photos by
instinct. It's not quite what I'm asking, but it's a lot closer.

>>But can they? Are some people less 'stimulated', for want of a better
>>word, by visuals? Sorry - it's starting to sound like a psychology exam.
>
> You're right. Some people are not turned on at all by visuals at all. My mum
> has no interest in my 'real' photo's. She has no interest in painting,
> sculpture or films either. She really wants to see lots and lots of holiday
> snaps though, and she takes and cherishes more of these sorts of photo's
> than anybody else I know.
>
I occasionally have a set conversation with my mum, it goes something like:

mum: "Take a photo of that, that would make a good photo."
me: "Err, no, that's alright"
mum: "Oh go on, why not?"
me: "Because it wouldn't make a good photo."

I then get accused (sardonically) of being an 'artist'.
She likes posing unwilling family members for impromptu photos in which
everyone looks miserable because they're being posed in photos every
time the opportunity arises. If I'd just thought of that I could have
answered my own question - some people just can't see what makes a good
photo and photos are all about _what_ _is_ in them. Composition and what
shouldn't be in them be damned.


> They can learn to focus, expose, etc. to perfection. Light forming and
> control can be learnt. An understanding of how a scene will be recorded by
> the film/sensor can be learnt. Knowing how to process and print to minimise
> or overcome the limitations of the film/sensor is also learnable. But the
> process of creating good imagery goes beyond these technicalities. I know
> avid photographers that have been at it for 40+ years and know every little
> thing about technique and equipment and yet they take consistently dull,
> forgetable photographs. I know others (just a few) that hit the ground
> running and were producing what most consider good imagery from their first
> roll of film taken for the sake of image making

Well I can only hope I won't be the former, I don't think I will be, but
they probably don't either.

Tom
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:59:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

casioculture@gmail.com wrote:
> Tom Hudson wrote:
>> Simon Stanmore wrote:
>>> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
>>> news:41b5fd16$0$220$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
>>>
>>> I agree that most people can agree on what is a good image. But a
>>> good image doesn't have to be a 'pleasing' image or one that people
>>> even like to view...
>>> http://cakeru.image.pbase.com/image/15470706.jpg
>>> http://www.pbase.com/magus/image/15634978.jpg
>>> http://www.pbase.com/zidar/image/8973787.jpg
>>> http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34326372.jpg
>>> ...each is a good image but only the first would be considered a
>>> pleasing one by most people.
>>
>> I really like the 2nd, I don't think I'd hang it on the wall in my
>> house, but I do like it.
>>
>
> I really dislike the 4th.

Not a fan of Terry Gilliam's _Brazil_ either, I bet.


--
Frank ess
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 1:13:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Charles Schuler wrote:
> I have found it useful to read about photography I must say - in
>
>>some cases to see how others did it and _avoid_ doing it that way because
>>the results were awful (in my eyes at least, someone liked them as they'd
>>got to write books about it).
>
>
> That's the way we all are. I go to the library and take a stack of
> photography books to the nearest table and thumb through them. I find shots
> that are not to my liking. I also find shots that are inspiring and then
> think about what I could do to emulate them. I have improved through this
> process.
>
Currently what I could do to better emulate most of the shots is get
better equipment. It's true that you can get a fantastic image with any
camera and the know-how, but having the right equipment really helps and
there are plenty of images you just can't get without it.
New equipment's a project for next year, in the mean time I'm practicing
with my P&S (which at least has full manual controls, the old one was
full auto).

> I also think about the shots I don't like because somebody else likes them
> and try to analyze the implications. Try it. You might be surprised at
> what you come up with.
>
True, I'll have to try that.

> Finally, my wife is very artistic and I like discussing shots with her. Do
> you have such a resource?
>
Yes, though she's a little busy learning to be a teacher at the moment,
so her time's a little short. The SI's useful however.

> Have fun!
>
You too!

Tom
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 1:13:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> Currently what I could do to better emulate most of the shots is get
> better equipment. It's true that you can get a fantastic image with any
> camera and the know-how, but having the right equipment really helps and
> there are plenty of images you just can't get without it.
> New equipment's a project for next year, in the mean time I'm practicing
> with my P&S (which at least has full manual controls, the old one was full
> auto).

You are right about the equipment. I have been through 4 digital point and
shoots and none of them inspired me to learn more ... got a 300D and the dam
broke!
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 1:55:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Mark² wrote:
> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b6194c$0$216$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
>
>>>>Marcel wrote:
>
>
> No he didn't... Mark2 wrote that.
> :) 
>
Yes, I realised I'd mis-snipped after sending it <:-)


>>Yes, that's what I'm on about, it just seems like if people can tell
>>what they like the look of they should be able to recognise that and
>>take at least reasonable photos (compositionally if not technically).
>
> Ah...but that seems that way to you because you are a introspective person.
> Sadly, most people are not, which is what leads so many folks to muted
> success in many aspects of their lives--including photography.
>
That makes sense, I guess I just always assume other people are
introspective, even though I know they're not.


>>I think that's what a lot of (visual) art is about, recognising what
>>looks good. I think what really interests me is why do people like what
>>they like, but that's a really broad area and way OT.
>
> This is always a good question to ask though..."WHY did you pick THAT
> image?"
> I've been surprised many times with the images people pick out of a group,
> because they chose something I woudn't/didn't. Their answers are usually
> pretty generic, but every once in a while, you'll get someone that will
> really have some insight on WHY they like images.
>
I'll have to try it, it sounds useful.


>>Yes. So basically people have the ability to recognise a good picture
>>(in their own eyes) but it takes time to train yourself to apply that to
>>_taking_ them.
>
>
> I think so, but it's usually worse than that: I think most people recognise
> what they like, but they rarely ever even ask themselves why they like it.
> They just do. Some will say "because it's pretty" or "it's colorful" etc.,
> but they don't often get much farther than that. Hopefully they reach a
> point where they start making connections between the diverse visual
> compositions they are drawn to, and begin to understand how to look for
> these things with specific intent, rather than simply making reactionary
> declarations when they are presented with a pre-determined product that
> brings them visual pleasure.
>
>
I can't imagine not thinking about these things, seems like an odd idea
to me, it probably explains a lot.

>>Sounds fair. I think that answers my question.
>
>
> Hooray!
> :) 
>
and may I add Yipee!

Tom
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 1:55:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
news:41b63501$0$219$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> Mark² wrote:
> > "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> > news:41b6194c$0$216$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> >
> >>>>Marcel wrote:
> >
> >
> > No he didn't... Mark2 wrote that.
> > :) 
> >
> Yes, I realised I'd mis-snipped after sending it <:-)
>
>
> >>Yes, that's what I'm on about, it just seems like if people can tell
> >>what they like the look of they should be able to recognise that and
> >>take at least reasonable photos (compositionally if not technically).
> >
> > Ah...but that seems that way to you because you are a introspective
person.
> > Sadly, most people are not, which is what leads so many folks to muted
> > success in many aspects of their lives--including photography.
> >
> That makes sense, I guess I just always assume other people are
> introspective, even though I know they're not.

Hooray for you! We're alike in that way.
I have always wondered at the amazing lack of that is many people.
My wife, unfortunately, is often a case in point (luckily only limited to
SOME things). For example...she is a terrible clothes shopper, and likes to
take me along (not my favorite thing to do...). The reason is that I can
almost instantly identify WHY I do or don't like an item on her, and what
precisely it is about it that I do or don't like...and...how it needs to be
different. While this may seem ridiculously basic to you or me (and many
others, I'm sure), there are lots of folks out there who just don't seem to
have this ability. I always assumed--like you--that everyone does this.
They DON'T!! -It can be quite irritating to observe when you DO.
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 3:05:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Archived from "angryfilmguy" <asdf@asdf.com> on Tue, 7 Dec 2004 18:00:48
-0500:

>its like a sport of tennis,
>
>anyone can hit a nice shot, with enough swings.
>
>but can you play the game?

That's the beauty of digital, it gives everyone enough swings to play the
game. :) 

vm
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 11:07:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I think what you have here is an example of the answer you are truly looking
for. Every person has a different perception on what a good image is. The
response you get for each image is very much individual, for example:

Photo 1: Technically perfect, but in my eyes boring (no offence to the
photog, this is only because I have seen this type of shot 1000's of times)

Photo2: Technically not so perfect, but I like it, because it is showing the
subject in their true form.

Photo 3: Extremely powerful Journalistic image, conjours up feelings of the
waste of war and how humanity continues to destroy itself. Some of the
general public may take offence to these type of images and say they hate
the photo, they are not taking any notice of the technical expertise of the
photog.

Photo 4: Also technically perfect, I like this type of image, there is a
story behind this that I will spend the next day or so trying to work out.
Others may look at it and say the same as I did about the first shot.

Each and every one of these photos will get different responses from
different individuals, this is the wonderful thing about humans being
unique. I could take a photo of a child, that to most of you would mean
nothing at all.

example:

http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=2843075

But to her mother who cried when I handed her the print it means the world,
Technically perfect? well thats up to a Contest Judge to decide, but for me
the true judge was the recipient of the photo.

We as photographers judge each other on technical merit, content, exposure,
rule of thirds etc etc. But the general public will judge us purely on the
wow factor and what emotions are conjured up from our art.


--
Michael Brown
Melbourne Australia
www.photo.net/photos/mlbrown




<casioculture@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1102484265.626097.136910@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Tom Hudson wrote:
> > Simon Stanmore wrote:
> > > "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> > > news:41b5fd16$0$220$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> > >
> > > I agree that most people can agree on what is a good image. But a
> good image
> > > doesn't have to be a 'pleasing' image or one that people even like
> to
> > > view...
> > > http://cakeru.image.pbase.com/image/15470706.jpg
> > > http://www.pbase.com/magus/image/15634978.jpg
> > > http://www.pbase.com/zidar/image/8973787.jpg
> > > http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34326372.jpg
> > > ...each is a good image but only the first would be considered a
> pleasing
> > > one by most people.
> >
> > I really like the 2nd, I don't think I'd hang it on the wall in my
> > house, but I do like it.
> >
>
> I really dislike the 4th.
>
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:52:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Tom Hudson <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote:

>A good photograph is one that most people can look at and say, "hey,
>that's a good photograph".
>The 'rules' of photography are based on what people like the look of.
>This means that everyone must have the rules of photography built-in.

I don't consider myself artistic BUT I enjoy taking pictures. Others
have made similar comments but what I find very interesting in a
picture is taking something out of context. For instance, you could
walk by an old barn many times and never take notice but take a photo
of just a weathered hinge in contrast with the aged wood, especially
if there is a distinctive pattern etched there and all of a sudden it
looks completely different.

Just my $0.02! Nice discussion by-the-way!

--
------------------------------------------------
http://www3.sympatico.ca/dmitton
SPAM Reduction: Remove "x." from my domain.
------------------------------------------------
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 3:07:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> "Tom Hudson" <gbz@fvathyne.bet.hx> wrote in message
> news:41b5df06$0$222$bed64819@news.gradwell.net...
> > What I'm getting at is that the basic elements of composition are built
> > in to everyone, and the ability to instinctively recognise them when you
> > see them.
>
> While it may be true that we tend to be drawn to particular patterns of
> composition as a *viewer* of a well-composed shot, this does NOT
necessarily
> translate to people instinctively creating photographs with good
> composition. Quite the reverse. I think it is most instinctive for
people
> to do with their camera viewfinder--exactly what they/we do with our
> eyes...that being centering our eyes (and unfortunately, our viewfinders)
on
> the most interesting spot.
>
> Where do we naturally look when we look at people??
> -The eyes.
> So where does the typical snap-shooter place the eyes of a person in their
> snaps??
> -Smack dab in the middle of the viewfinder! (ugh).
>
> This is easy to illustrate from most people's experience:
>
..
>
> THIS is instinctive.
> For the most part, I think we have to overcome this instinct in order to
> consistently create compelling shots.
>
One of the consistantly excellent photographers on the SI is
Ken. All his shots use round or curved elements. All of mine use straight
lines. So I tried shooting round lines. Couldn't do it. I find that very
annoying, but it makes me think that only some things are instinctive to
some people. Sort of like a real life Rorshach test. Also I notice that as
we get older, we get better and better at less and less. I guess I'm stuck
with straight lines. Bob Hickey
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 6:32:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Simon Stanmore wrote:

1> http://cakeru.image.pbase.com/image/15470706.jpg
2> http://www.pbase.com/magus/image/15634978.jpg
3> http://www.pbase.com/zidar/image/8973787.jpg
4> http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34326372.jpg

1st is well done, but ... er, well, not for me.
2nd is fantastic in detail and communicates strongly
3rd is pj-touching-cliché,

The 3 above are what I would consider, in various categories, "photography"
where the photographer applied himself to impress us in some way and convey a
sense of subject.

4th one is pure barf. It is crudely done, poorly lit, badly manipulated in
photoshop and generally meaningless and as it seems the intent was humor a total
failure at that as well.
Considering that the same photog did work such as:
http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/37095900
http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/37095898 (not that great, but vg)
http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34333800 (guess he was getting tired
of his little wooden men... see gallery
http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34333790 (better!)
http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/35590999 (wow!)

and other good to very good shots, I'm surprised the one you posted is in his
collection.

Cheers,
Alan.

--
-- r.p.e.35mm user resource: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
-- r.p.d.slr-systems: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpdslrsysur.htm
-- [SI] gallery & rulz: http://www.pbase.com/shootin
-- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 6:32:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm,rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Alan Browne" <alan.browne@FreeLunchVideotron.ca> wrote in message
news:p xJtd.26066$Ou1.1635317@weber.videotron.net...
> Simon Stanmore wrote:
>
> 1> http://cakeru.image.pbase.com/image/15470706.jpg
> 2> http://www.pbase.com/magus/image/15634978.jpg
> 3> http://www.pbase.com/zidar/image/8973787.jpg
> 4> http://www.pbase.com/davenit/image/34326372.jpg
>
> 1st is well done, but ... er, well, not for me.
> 2nd is fantastic in detail and communicates strongly
> 3rd is pj-touching-cliché,

I really don't see how the capture of unplanned emotion can EVER be
cliche...unless the photographer goes out of their way to deliberately stage
a shot after a known famous pose. The raw, unplanned capture of these
moments is always worthy of presentation so long as it is not contrived.

If skillfully captured emotion is cliche, then we're in for a very boring
world of people photos.
!