Is it possible to have a photo that's too intense?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Senor Hound, May 14, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    Is it possible to have a photo that's too intense and emotion-provoking? I saw a Vietnam photo of someone being executed, and I saw a photo of a Buddhist monk setting himself on fire in protest (of Tibet I believe). Anyway, these photos are INTENSE! I mean, I don't look at them all the time cause they're ALMOST too much. Especially the execution photo, it just has soo much pain and suffering to it, that you can't look at it too long before you just think, "Okay, that's enough!" The same goes with the footage of the airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center. Its so intense, you don't want to look at it (even though it doesn't change what happened to look at it again). Then again, I'm a very emotional soul, who has a heart made out of glass. Maybe it doesn't bother others nearly as much as it does me.

    So this got me thinking, is it possible for a photo to be too intense? I didn't used to think so, but after hearing some responses from people about certain intense photos of the same persuasion, I'm beginning to wonder if its possible to alienate your audience.

    For the record, the answer might be, "It depends on what audience you're shooting the photo for." So lets give two scenarios, one being as amateur work showing off to this forum, and another being someone trying to win a Pulitzer Prize with their photographs. The two might elicit the same answer, but they might not.
     
  2. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    especially in the US we live in a very censored world. What FCC might find to intense someone could find teddy bearish. With all art people will either like it or hate it.

    Context IMO is a big deal too. The same picture of the airplane with a certain caption might work better than just the plane or the plane with a perverse caption.
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you were going for a Pulitzer I would say don't hold anything back.
    Posting on here, yeah - maybe you could post something too intense, but I don't think I've seen it yet.

    But, I might draw the line differently than other people, so I'm sure there will be differing opinions.


    I know what you mean about really intense photos though... Can't say I've ever felt the need to look away, but I love it when a photo (or any art form) can make you actually feel something.
     
  4. nynfortoo

    nynfortoo TPF Noob!

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    A photo can be too intense, sure, just as any media can. It's all subjective though.

    I don't find pictures of the planes flying into the towers intense, because I'm far removed and can distance myself from them. They're just objects.

    The pictures of people jumping/falling from the towers, on the other hand, I can understand. I don't personally find them intense either, but I can understand how people might.

    The pictures of execution and the monk on fire (this one particularly) will probably be too emotionally intense for me.
     
  5. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah...
    There are some pics that I find too intense to bear to look at because of the content...
    But pics of the Twin Towers and the Tibetan Monk and the terrified little vietnamese girl, and the vietcong execution are JOURNALISTIC...
    They are telling the truth... Gory as hell - but DOCUMENTARY...
    Recording true HISTORY..
    As such, PERSONALLY, I regard these pics as photographic art...
    One pic that springs to mind as being too "intense" FOR ME... was in an email sent to me a couple years ago of some guy posing provocatively with a hamster going in somewhere it shouldn't...
    See - there was no "point" to this picture - save the "shock factor"...
    And definately NOT photographic art...
    Which brings up another point...
    Was Heronimus Bosch an ARTist..? - Or just a comic illustrator...?
    I think the latter (and not very good, at that...)
    Jedo
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The intensity in the photos you named is reality. The things that were being shown were very powerful illustrations of things that were going on in a time in history and was a necesarry story to tell. If you want to stay away from photos that are to intense I guess the photos from the "imbedded" journalists of todays wars would be better suited to you. Nice antiseptic photos toned dow so as not to show things that are too troubling for people lest we think horrible things hapen in war. the job of a journalist is to show what is happening and invoke emotion and not worry about or feelings of photos being too "intense".
     
  7. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    No..
     
  8. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    For sure. Not that it makes it "bad" or anythign. But Ican't look at photo's of the plane about to hit on 9-11.

    I think documentary photo's are important, even if some people can't stomach them.
     
  9. Valethar

    Valethar TPF Noob!

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    Not by a long shot. We're actually very much the opposite.

    The FCC has rules against indecency in specific circumstances, such as pornographic images or extremely foul language, but that's far from being a 'very censored world'.

    If you want to see a good example of censorship, you should check out China, the old USSR and other such countries that have state-run media. A lot of things that we can do in the US would land you in prison or worse in many other places in the world.
     
  10. cdanddvdpublisher

    cdanddvdpublisher TPF Noob!

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    While it's true, I would agree that it seems that there are more restrictions that have been put in place over the past few years than there had been.
     
  11. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    OK well I had a friend in high school that was from germany. She showed me her form of "Teen" Magazine and it had a male and female both nude.

    That wouldn't happen in US.

    You can compare china to the US as much as comparing US to Europe and see what I'm talking about.

    And not calling US censored is crazy. How many years did it take to show the first ass on regular television?

    Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor

    Remember what happened after Janet Jackson?

    Your comparison is putting words in my mouth by saying I called the US the same as china. US Democracy, China is communist right?

    TO add...Aren't all countries started with some basis of religion anyways.
     
  12. Judge Sharpe

    Judge Sharpe TPF Noob!

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    In my youth, no- now in the later years, yes. What is "too intense" is a result of your personal philosophy. It is different in my late 50s than it was in my early 20s. It has to do with actually having been exposed to the live reality of some very intense moments. I am more empathetic now than I was in my youth. Misery and sorrow, pain and suffering, death and mutilation, while news worthy sometimes bother me more now because I realize that but for the fickle finger of fate, go I. I am able to choose what I am exposed.
    As to censorship, I am opposed to it, except in the most egregious cases of exploitation without even a scintilla of sociological or artistic value. That is my standard for adults, for my three year old grandchild I am much stricter as to what he should be exposed to, until he reaches a reasoning age. Just an old man's ramblings.

    Judge Sharpe
     

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