Cliche?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Alpha, May 2, 2007.

?

Is "Cliche" a useful/meaningful critique in and of itself?

  1. Yes

    64.0%
  2. No

    36.0%
  1. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    There are a lot of times I see photos that I've seen a million times before in one way or another. They can be well exposed, composed, and printed; interesting, even, in subject matter. But the fact that that the horse has already been beaten, whether it be a subject or a pose or what have you, often leaves me looking at a shot and thinking, "eh, cliche, :thumbdown: "

    So my question is: Do you think "cliche" is a useful/meaningful critique in and of itself?
     
  2. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    This is really subjective and it needs to be decided per image looked at. While the "self portrait" of your own shadow outside is pretty cliche in my mind, so is the picture of a bride and groom kissing. I mean come on, every wedding album has that picture.

    Obviously you wouldn't not take the picture of that kiss because it goes deeper than the picture itself, but the same idea can be true for many poses: Sometimes there just isn't a better way to get it done.

    Also, I think especially for beginners such as my self you almost need to expect the cliche poses, because those have been proven to work.

    I'm not going to submit an answer on the poll because I dont think you can answer this with a simple yes or no. While telling a person in the critique forum may get across your idea that the pose/shot is overdone, it really doesn't help any more than saying "try something different"

    Any images in particular that are bugging you?
     
  3. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    I voted yes, because it would be helpful to me if someone else could identify cliches in my work that I might not be aware of. However, I wouldn't use that as a critique for someone else's work, because it would probably just come across as being snarky and mean. Sometimes the pill goes down more effectively if you sugarcoat it, but I realize that's not everyone's style.
     
  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Sure it does. It's giving a reason why you should try something different.
     
  5. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    But there are plenty of cliche poses that work for certain pictures. Birthdays (blowing out the candles), weddings (the first kiss)... or to go even more general, in skateboarding a picture of someone getting air off a ramp is pretty cliche and is the cookie cutter style picture, but it works. Car photography is the same way. How many pictures of close ups on emblems or headlights have you seen? But thats what sells and is the norm for the style.

    I see what you mean, I just think that in order to critique and say a picture is cliche, you should at least explain why and if possible give some suggestions for future shots.
     
  6. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    So what's the difference between "iconic" and "cliche"?
     
  7. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    iconic is something that is executed according to a convention or tradition

    Cliche is anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse

    according to dictionary.com


    Now which you use to describer certain pictures is totally subjective.
     
  8. nabero

    nabero TPF Noob!

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    I totally agree--cliche is useful if someone wants honesty. If someone wants serious, honest critique they should be ready for knives though. Plus, if they are looking for kick-in-the-ass-pull-it-apart-roll-it-in-the-mud-type criticism, then they are probably wanting to do something substantial...just my opinion :er:
     
  9. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    To me, the photo of the kid blowing out birthday candles is iconic, as is the photo of the bride and groom kissing. But couldn't the self-portrait of your shadow on the ground be considered iconic to our times, since it's only increasingly popular with the use of camera phones and digital cameras? Then to some people the kid blowing out the birthday candles is cliche.. I guess the point I'm trying to make, is this: Is there an objective difference between the two? Because I could pick apart the meanings of each word, but it's not a huge leap to see how something traditional or conventional could also be overused and commonplace, or vice versa.
     
  10. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    thats exactly what I said, its the viewers decision whether the picture is cliche or not. I agree, birthday candles and wedding kissing is iconic, but the shadow on the ground is certainly cliche and not part of a tradition in any way (other than being a self portrait for beginners).

    And thats why I didn't vote here, because I dont think you can sum it up with a yes or no.
     
  11. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    Definitely, if they're looking for honest critique, no need to sugarcoat. But a lot of times people aren't specific about the type of critique they want. If it's a photo of a child and the person asks for "C&C" with a little smiley face tacked on the end, I'd be hesitant to give brutal criticism. Sometimes you can tell what kind of crit someone is looking for, sometimes not, and I try to err on the sweet side for the most part. If someone is looking to be told that their kid is cute, and they already have five comments about how cute their kid is, you've got to be either very brave or very mean to go in there and give a thorough and brutal critique. I'm not saying that's bad. I'm just saying I wouldn't do it.

    But... I can be brutal!:x Honest I can!:x:lol:
     
  12. Frequent Traveler

    Frequent Traveler TPF Noob!

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    Much of this is unfortunately roiled in the game of semantics - despite specific definitions of various adjectives (eg. iconic vs. cliche). Thus, there is a dependency on the "to whom" the photo is for - cliche may be precisely what a client is wanting, but they may not think of it as cliche while an AD may certainly belive it to be so.

    Another challenge is differentiating between iconic and cliche and that again requires a "to whom" question/answer not necessarily settled specifically by definition alone.
     

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