Bad Photography?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by TheLostPhotographer, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. TheLostPhotographer

    TheLostPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    What is bad photography and why?

    I've spent the last couple of weeks going out into the night with old 'worthless' cameras and getting very merry whilst snapping away. The results often are undoubtedly bad, but they're also good.

    Here's a set from a 1974 Olympus trip bought for just €1 and loaded with the cheapest 400 ASA film I could find. 25 exposures from a 24 exposure film. No tripod, no cropping, no post production.

    This is a very 'unglamorous' set of me mixing with anyone I met on the street the other night. I'll post a set taken of me mixing it with the social high flyers another day.

    Bad photography or, good photography. What's your measure of good and bad?

    http://www.totalism.co.uk/WHLN/web/index.htm

    Loads of bad spelling also I'm afraid.
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Definitely not the technical aspects of the equipment you are using. I saw the most amazing photo of Al Gore's Campaign a few years ago and it was shot on a Holga.

    It doesn't matter if it is soft or slightly missexposed, or doesn't obey the rule of thirds. As long as the photo can convey a meaning and make the reader feel something other than bored it's a good photo IMO.
     
  3. Chas

    Chas TPF Noob!

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    Quite so. It's got to have that ........ Je ne c'est quoi ... but I know it when I see it. Piles of old photos have it in spades. Terrabyte loads of digital files need to be annihilated with positrons or something .....

    Technical imperfections can easily be consciously overlooked by the trained mind, but aesthetic blunders - they are irremediable.
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    For me a good photo has some thought in it. Let us take your photos for example. Some of those ally way shots are amazing. A lot of nice shapes and dramatic light plus I get a sense of mystery. Not positive that there is such a thing as bad photography. For instance; the shots of the drunk people are dull to me. To you they may have frozen a moment dear to your heart. That will forever make them great shots.

    Let me know if that makes any sense.

    Love & Bass
     
  5. TheLostPhotographer

    TheLostPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Makes perfect sense to me. I wasn't trying to convey any personal feelings. In fact I had drunk far to much myself to think about anything much. I enjoy taking cheap old cameras out and just snapping for fun occasionally. It's a release as much as anything and helps to keep the fun in photography for myself. I think it's a good exercise to just go out and forget all the technicalities once in a while.

    Most of the new photographs we see today benefit from sophisticated, auto everything digital technology. As much as I appreciate a well exposed photograph in difficult conditions, every photograph looking next to perfect gets a bit sterile after a while.

    Perhaps understanding why you think a photograph is a bad photograph is a good way to learn how to take good photographs?
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    As I have said on many occasions - a photograph being judged good or bad depends solely on it's purpose.
    If a photograph does what you want it to then it is a good photograph. If a photograph fails to do what you intended of it then it isn't any good as an image.
    Composition and technical perfection only matter in an image if they are integral to the photographer's intention. If they do not form part of the visual equation then they are not important.
    If you are going out with the intention of taking random pictures (and with a Trip you do not need to even look through the viewfinder, just point it with your hand and shoot) then part of the charm - and an essential part of their success - is their complete 'randomness' and spontaneity. If you spent time composing and getting the exposure right all of that would be lost.
    It is also true to say, though, that when you review the pictures you will engage your critical faculties and find that some of the random images work better that others - and there will be one or two that you will think 'would have been really good if the composition/exposure had been just a little better...'

    Craig is also right in saying that the images will be seen differently by you. You have all the memories that go with taking them to provide an extra dimension. Others do not have those memories when they look at the pictures.
     
  7. Chas

    Chas TPF Noob!

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    So true. If I may use an analogy from another forum I play in, knowing why you just "bounced" that crosswing landing in a Cessna is going to greatly decrease the probability of your doing it again. That's how you get to make greasers every time (well, almost ...... ;)).
     
  8. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To my mind, bad photos are those of big faces stuck so close to the lens that it can impossibly focus on them any more, lit up with the full on-camera flash - your typical party photography where very thoughtlessly people snap away with little cameras on "AUTO" ... which is quite a bit different from what you have taken with your the camera you used for your photos behind the link!

    Though don't get me wrong, I am quite a defender of "the snapshot", for it captures a moment in time that without it would have come and gone and be forgotten. But you can even put some thoughts into pointing and then shooting, or you just ... you know ... point and shoot. Like that. Snip! Snap!
     
  9. Chas

    Chas TPF Noob!

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    IMO the very worst "photos" are the ones you never took but should have if you had your act together more. Like the one of the massive brown bear just inside some woods in a park near Banff in the Canadian rockies - watching me from maybe 80 ft through some trees. He saw me before I saw him, and was on his hind legs, truly magnificent in the wild like that. I should have just bolted I suppose but got off a shot with the P&S (very little detail from that range sadly) but as I was fumbling with the A2 around my neck for a decent one he dropped down, turned unbelievably quickly and bolted. If he'd chosen to go after me I mightn't be posting this - the rental car was about the same distance the other way (ahem ...). OK this wasn't so smart .....

    Always be properly prepared. No, it's the ones that got away that I most regret.
     
  10. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    I enjoy and appreciate all types of art, but it has to be good and well executed in its own terms, not my terms, but its own. What I really dislike is the half-assed excuse "I wanted it that way" especially when presented with flat, sooty prints that could have and should have more tones for greater emotional impact.
     
  11. TheLostPhotographer

    TheLostPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Maybe they wanted the emotions to be flat?

    Have you considered that? Seriously. There are some great works of art (photographic and otherwise) that are as toneless as a erm.... I dunno.... erm.... a depressed mind stuck in grey mud.

    It can work.
     
  12. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Yah, but most of the time it isn't done for the effect but it just occurs for the lack of skill. Flat and lifeless is OK if that's the intent but not if its just the happenstance.
     

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