View Poll Results: The picture would have more impact with better execution

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16. You may not vote on this poll
  • yes

    6 37.50%
  • no

    9 56.25%
  • don't know

    1 6.25%
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Thread: Would better technical execution help or hurt - and why?

  1. #16
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    The softness of this image creates impact, it adds the feeling & mood. I like it the way it is. That's not to say however, that I wouldn't tweak it a tiny bit, like crop the top section of the door window off - at or just below that middle bar.
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    I agree with pretty much everything everyone is saying. The fuzziness contributes to the emotion. The simplicity contributes to the frankness. There's so much about this shot that works. It gives ME an emotional response, and they're not even my kids. That's pretty huge.

    I would be very tempted to correct the perspective and try to fix the angle of the door and such. I'd also be tempted to try to crop in a little, but I STRONGLY suspect it would ruin the shot.

    It's wonderful as it is, and a really interesting example of how the shot doesn't have to be good... to be great.
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  3. #18
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    I'm not sure...

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  4. #19
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    Pictures of children, especially your own, are on a different level. How do you analyze something you love?

    Nice shot.

  5. #20
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    The photo is perfect art. If it was all technically perfect it would be just another photo.
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  6. #21
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    I'm going to go against the grain here. While I love the subject matter, it would be much better if the execution were better...

    I am definitely distracted by the fact that the image is out of focus, the background sky is blown out, and the door frame isn't straight.

    A scene does not have to look artificial... there's a certain appeal to images that look like they came from a real place that wasn't tidied up for a photo (e.g. smudges on the windows and door frames, cracks in the pain, etc.)

    For those who think that you can't find the subject matter emotionally attractive, check out the work of Gregory Crewdson -- he takes technical execution to an extreme as all of his images are quite elaborately staged. When he scouts for subject matter he doesn't bring a camera. When he finds his subject matter, he brings back truck loads of gear (no kidding -- people think a Hollywood production company is coming in to shoot a movie. They are astonished to find out it's all to take just ONE photograph.) In his shots, while he looks for scenes that come close to what he is going for already, crews of people would add touches to the scene... wet down the grounds, use smoke machines to create a fog, the clothes would be deliberately dirtied, etc. He has a vision of his look and while a painter would paint all those details into the scene, Crewdson would place them all precisely into the scene to create the result... fussing for days to get it just perfect... and then take photographs of that scene.

    There was a movie screened at art theaters that toured the country a few years ago -- a documentary on him -- and it was a bit eye-opening to see how much could possibly go into the making of just ONE photograph.

    Don't misunderstand... I'm not suggesting you need a few semitrailers worth of photography gear to shoot, but I am saying that not only does good technical execution NOT hurt the image... it has quite the opposite effect. You can keep absolutely all of the appeal of the subject matter and have even MORE appeal because the execution was also good.

    Back in the 80's we used to do some photography with spot-diffusion filters. The poor-man's version of a spot-diffusion filter was a UV filter with a thin layer of vaseline applied by your finger but just around the sides of the filter -- the center was left clear. This creates a sharp focus in the center but a gently diffused soft focus around the periphery resulting in a photograph that looked as if it was meant to depict a scene from someone's dream. I suppose this created a trade-off in that you got the soft-focus to evoke the dream-like feeling, but you still got to inspect the subject of interest for sharp details.

    With that said... I've also met extremely successful photojournalistic photographers who take the opposite approach in that the subject matter MUST BE REAL. They feel it is NOT OK to "stage" the scene (although they will do things to provoke a reaction from their subject and then snap the photo.) But even those photos tend to be sharp and well-exposed. The technical execution is still there.
    Tim Campbell

  7. #22
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    Gregory Crewdson's elaborate shots seem like a great excuse to get teenage girls into bras and panties, then to stand around and photograph them with a Sinar 8x10 camera and ten to fifteen separate lights...

    Here's a funny column about Crewdson's work! Gregory Crewdson masterfully lights a woman planting flowers in her kitchen | Guess the LightingGregory Crewdson's masterful photo lighting of woman planting flowers

    Crewdson's photos appear HIGHLY staged, and utterly,utterly contrived and totally unreal. His images deal in what the fine art community often calls hyperrealism .They totally lack a sense of genuine reality...instead, they are a send-up of reality, and smack of artistic pretentiousness. Lew's quick grab shot of the two boys favored capturing the SPLIT-SECOND of the tender interchange between his two sons at the expense of getting the focus "just so". It's badly back-focused. Lew's shot is definitely out of focus. But it's not about some 8-hour, staged, set-up shot done on 8x10 view with tons of lights, like Crewdson's schtick...Lew's shot is a grab-shot, of something that lasted SECONDS...

    Lew's photo is about family life, brothers, children...it's REAL. Fleeting. It resonates.

    Crewdson's art photos are utter bull$hi+, and convey absolutely ZERO real emotion...totally staged, contrived, faked, pretentious, with plenty of teenaged girls in their undies, standing around, lit by tungsten spotlights... Crewdson's photos have absolutely zero application to this discussion.

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  8. #23
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    I voted "it depends".

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    I have to agree with Derrel on this. I didn't know of Gregory Crewdson's work before now, but browsing through it, the pictures didn't have any appeal to me. They were not emotionally evocative, but emotionally manipulative. I don't like being manipulated . It's the same reason I despise the overly saccharin jewelry commercials or greeting card commercials, or 'tear-jerker' films that tell you with dramatic music, lighting, posing, unrealistic dialogue that YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL SAD NOW.
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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derrel View Post
    Crewdson's photos appear HIGHLY staged, and utterly,utterly contrived and totally unreal. His images deal in what the fine art community often calls hyperrealism .
    Absolutely! I agree. I'm not sure they're an excuse to get shots of girls in panties... he often attempts to depict models that looks like they've gone through some real turmoil in their lives and not so much the super-model body type (unless he's done something I've not seen.)

    My point in bringing up Crewdson is that they are so very fanatically staged that he spends months planning them, truckloads (not proverbial "truckloads"... ACTUAL trucks... LOADED with gear, lighting, light modifiers, smoke machines, armies of people, people with firehoses wetting down the landscape, people riding around in trucks fogging the streets, etc. etc.) to take what will eventually get paired down to just ONE shot. It's technical execution "gone wild" if you want to use that expression.

    He seems to be attracted to towns that have gone bust... e.g. mining towns where the mine has since closed, etc. and locates the run-down backwaters of America as his preferred sets.

    As for zero "real emotion", I think that's a bit harsh. I've mentioned this casually before... I'm a gay man. I have absolutely no interest in the sexual appeal of photographs of scantily clad teenage girls. I do not find his images to have any sex appeal whatsoever. It's a bit like showing photos of a war-torn town... it's not really about the sex and more about the wear and tear and battering ... the toll that's been taken. A photo does not need sex appeal to be interesting or emotional. I see his images as capturing a moment in time (even though I know the moment is fake, I can imagine it is real just as easily as I can enjoy watching a movie that I know is a work of fiction.) I can wonder... what events led up to this situation that I'm seeing right now.

    In the documentary film on Crewdson, they brought up his education. He did originally go to a photography school that emphasized a documentary style... a photograph that "documents" something you find in real life and without altering it (substantially). He was bored by those. Then he stumbled onto a school where they emphasized that photos could be art in the same way that paintings can be art... you aren't limited to just painting what you see in front of you... you get to make stuff up. He found this style far more appealing and that's what he gravitated to. Everything in his work is made up. Much of it is made up in an effort to tug at some emotional string.

    But I did mention I've met the polar opposite of Crewdson. I was invited to a gallery showing of Alfred Eisenstadt's work. Eisenstadt was a photojournalist photographer for Life magazine (his photo of the sailor and nurse kissing in the ticker tape parade called "VJ Day in Times Square" is one of his more famous works. Anyway... Eisenstadt was at the gallery and was 93 years old at that time. Because I worked for a photography studio, I was asked to photograph some people with Eisenstadt and... doing what I always do for wedding groups... started to move everyone around to pose the shot.

    Eisenstadt did NOT LIKE THAT and I received a bit of a scolding from him. When you get scolded by a world famous photographer... I guess you listen. As a photojournalist, he does NOT believe in "posing" his scenes. He wants to capture what comes naturally otherwise he believes it's not real. In that sense, Derrel, he is taking your point of view. However... I would learn that he and others Life magazine photojournalist photographers also didn't want boring pictures. They would think it ok to provoke the subject to get the reaction they want. In that sense I learned a bit from him. I'll give you an example... at weddings you will, from time to time, get the husband and wife who want to pose like "American Gothic" -- prune faces and all. No matter what you do, you can't get them to smile. One day when faced with another occurrence of this problem, I walked up to the husband, took him just a few feet from his wife, and suggested that when I count to three, I wanted him to tickle his wife. He was surprised at the request, but I managed to convince him to do it. It was a GREAT shot. He was smiling because he was being mischievous. She was smiling because she was being tickled. Was it natural? Well... I did "provoke" it. But I did not "pose" it. You decide. Either way, it worked.

    Meanwhile, back to the topic of Lew's shot.

    I reiterate that I really do like the emotion conveyed by the subject matter and I appreciate that this is "real" and not posed.

    But with that comment aside, I really do wish the image was focused and the sky was not blown out and I'm really struggling to believe that everyone else thinks it would look worse if some bits of technical execution were better.

    Lew asks ... would better technical execution of his shot improve it.

    He is inviting the feedback and I think it would be disingenuous to blow sunshine up his proverbial nether parts to make up the answer in an effort to make him feel good. He deserves an honest response.

    My honest response is that yes... I believe better technical execution of this shot would improve it and would not detract from it. Specifically, I do wish the focus were better and that the sky through door was not blown out.

    I added that if you want deliberate soft focus to convey a dreamy emotion there are ways to have both sharp focus on the intended subject and still provide soft-focus surrounding the subject.
    Tim Campbell

  12. #27
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    I'm really struggling to believe that everyone else thinks it would look worse if some bits of technical execution were better.
    Not everyone. I don't mind the original, but it could be better. The question posed though (I think) was whether making it technically better would make it less emotional.
    Think that there are many things that would make this photo better without detracting from the emotional attachment aspect - up to a point.

    But then I also like Crewdson's work. I have respect for anyone that can realize an idea. The fact that he uses a camera to do this is enough for me to call him a photographer.
    After watching the movie, I probably see him more as a movie director that uses a still camera, but photography is photography. Not my place to tell someone otherwise.
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  13. #28
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    I think better technical exectution improves an image, but sometimes the better execution involves adding a degree of softness...

    The image works well as it is, circumstances could perhaps have improved it marginally, but there is a real risk that that would reduce the mistical quality.

  14. #29
    Jedi Bunnywabbit Site Moderator
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    I think we've drifted very very VERY far outside the original point.
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  15. #30
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    The only definition of "Good technical execution" I can think of that applies in all situations = "An image that comes as close as possible to the image you intended"
    Thus, I would argue that by definition, yes: better technical execution will always help you in achieving your intentions.
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