can it be good and still boring

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by mysteryscribe, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I am wondering something. I for one am no nascar fan and I'm sure some of you are not retro photo fans. So what I am wondering, just in passing is this. Can a photograph be really well done and still be boring.

    I once knew a man who shot off road racing pictures. The first set he showed me I oooed and ahed over just like a kid. The second sec was about the same but by set fifteen I couldn't show much enthusiam. HE told me frankly he could only sell them to the the guys who owned the car and even then it was better if the car wrecked or looked as though it was going to.

    I am pretty sure retro is like that, but I also wonder if most specialty shots aren't. You seen one race car doing 200 mph around an oval and you pretty much seen them all, except with a few variations. It's cloudy or it night time but in the end even that runs out of novelty and you just have a car.

    Is that like the dalphin and the sunset. I am just curious.
     
  2. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I'd hardly call your retro photos a wreck, Charlie :mrgreen:

    In all seriousness, I know what you're talking about. I've got a lot of decent photographs; many of them are even pretty good. But pretty muchly all of them are pretty boring, too. Or maybe it's just me. I find it difficult to make photographs that really grab me, and since I'm a little reluctant to show my boring photos to anyone, I don't show many.

    Just take a look at my website; talk about boring. The most exciting thing going on there is me juggling the cheerios.

    I think it takes a keen eye for visual excitement (which I've yet to develop, I think because I'm not really excitable... I just recognize and classify...), as well as mastery over the craft (which I've yet to develop, probably because I'm lazy). You have an advantage, though. Your retro photographs fit into a specific niche of style, a different way of looking at things. Therefore, your photographs, no matter what they may depict, are bound to show something in a new light, which is almost always interesting.

    Just my two bits.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Oh they are pretty boring trust me lol.

    Ps are those bloop gun shells on your site?
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    We've talked a bit about this on and off in other threads. I guess it depends on what levels you are talking about. A photo can be perfect in technical aspects, but still be boring. Personally, I think a photo that comes across that way isn't well done in the grand scheme of things, no matter how good it is technically. Otherwise it's just a record of what was sitting in front of the camera. I don't think it needs to be brimming with action and excitement, but there has to be something to it that makes me think or keep my eye busy studying it.
     
  5. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Re: retro. De gustibus non est disputandum. [I personally like it, for whatever it's worth. That's why I keep buying sepia toner.]

    Re: prints in general. Any print intended to be looked at seriously [that is, for content, including humorous content] should say something. Many simply say 'Isn't this beautiful!' and that's perfectly all right. It's a legitimate statement. Many of the photos submitted to the monthly contests do just that -- and do it extremely well. Some work, such as the best of Weegee, Penn and Arbus, say things that are much deeper, as 'Guernica' says something much deeper than 'The Hay Wain.' That's perfectly all right, too.

    But prints that say nothing to their intended audience . . .

    [Please note that the above does not even hint at 'technique.']
     
  6. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I'm not sure what a bloop gun is, but I think I can safely reply, no. They're .45 Colt shells, fired from my Vaquero. That shot is actually one of my favorites, as well, although the color print from which the scan comes was pretty bland. If I can find the original print (or negative again), I'm going to reprint it, doing it in the darkroom this time. There are a couple of images, actually, that I'm planning to reprint when I manage to finally dig up the negs.

    Looking over the images... I seem to see a pattern. The images which are nothing like I intended, or were just for practice or experimentation, usually seem to be better (at least in my opinion) than the carefully planned, prepared, and executed shots. The peacock feather, I forgot I had BW film in the camera; if I'd had color, it would've been just another feather. The .45 shells were carefully set up, but were practice only, for my (then) new set of closeup lenses. Same with the helmet. The two sunsets, I don't much care for, but there are certain parts which I positively love... the trees silouhetted against the hills, with the hills being lightened by atmospheric perspective... I love that detail. The aurora borealis photos were actually a miserable failure, but the BW version turned out to be a favorite image. There are other images which I haven't got on the main page which are similar.

    Now, if I could just remember all these things, and figure out how and when to employ them, I might get some images I really like... but anyway.

    Sorry for hijacking your thread. Feel free to smack the back of my hand with a ruler.
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I think it depends on what the photographer is looking for. The perfectly exposed and focused shot is good for the fans. My take on the deal would be to have it totally blurry to portray motion. Point is that as photographers we never make anything boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, I guess in the judgement of whether a perfectly exposed and composed photo is boring to some and exciting to others can also be in their personal interest in things. Fans of Nascar races might SEE more in a frame than I would ... I would see yet another (good even!) panned shot of a car ... but since Nascar races don't fascinate me even outside photography, also the photos of them are bound to not be soooo exciting to me.

    So WHEN there is one that I think "speaks" even to ME, then I guess that one is really good, for it was able to reach beyond the target group (i.e. the fans of Nascar races).

    This may well happen to any photo of any topic/theme.
    We all have our preferences in life and look for things more or see them less in photos about fields of our own interest or outside our own interest. And while your friend, Charly, is totally into Nascar and can therefore still get excited even over his 15th set of race pics (that are beginning to look all the same to you by then), you just can't. Your main interest lies elsewhere.

    I think these differences in seeing/looking need to be accepted, too.
     
  9. Je-C

    Je-C TPF Noob!

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    Ya know... this may provide all the insight needed to answer this question...

    Boring Postcards, Martin parr
    [ame]http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0714843903/202-3203668-2686214[/ame]
     
  10. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    ah they look more like brass shotgun shells. From the hand held small grenade launcher of the vietnam war era affectionately known as bloop gun for the sound it made. I think the official designation was M79 grenade launcher but it might have been m72 all i know was it went bloop, then bang. I don't know if they still do but the shells looked like brass shotgun shells.
     
  11. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    Yeah, I know what you mean now. We use the M203 now, which mounts underneath an M16A2 rifle. It still makes that sort of sound, but the shells look plastic (if I recall correctly, it's been a while, since my unit doesn't use them much) and they're fat (40mm) and short.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I find most photography in the genre of cars, sports, and wildlife to be pretty boring no matter how well done, although I can still respect the skills and effort of the photographer, and understand that many other folks are very interested in those subjects. I can look at a photo of an exotic bird, and marvel at the sharpness and color, and appreciate how close the photographer had to get to get the shot, but overall if it's pretty straight wildlife photography I'm just not that interested. (here's some wildlife photography that blows my mind though http://www.nickbrandt.com/ ).

    As a wedding photographer I deal with this all the time. Who really gets excited about wedding photography? It's pretty much only brides-to-be, people who are in the photos or were at the wedding, and other wedding photographers. I spend hours looking at other wedding photographers' work, but my non-wedding photog buddies think it's boring as dirt. I can walk into almost any coffee shop with some of my most mediocre landscape photographs and get a show no problem, but they would have no interest in hanging the very best of my wedding photography.
     

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