Is this a portrait? Should it have placed 3rd?

Discussion in 'Articles of Interest' started by SoulfulRecover, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    Knowing that the judges' selection is final is NOT the same as knowing that you are free to disregard the rules in composing your entry. The contestants were expressly TOLD that the subject must be living. If an artist wishes to break with convention or social mores, then power to her, but disregarding the CONTEST rules gave this entrant a wholly unfair advantage over the folks who believed and trusted the organizers of this contest when the "rules" were announced. Its no different than giving first place in a landscape photography contest to the photo of a puppy because, while not a landscape shot- what a cute puppy! We love puppies. Look at those sweet eyes.

    This organization broke it's express agreement with all who entered.

    Very irritating. Think I'll go take a picture of a puppy. Or an android puppy. Hmmm....


     
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  2. petrochemist

    petrochemist No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The judges could have given it an 'honorable mention' to bring it to attention if that's what they want.
    To be placed it must conform to the rules - if they are incapable of applying the rules then their competition just gets added top the increasing number that photographers will simply ignore.
     
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  3. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    Would you say you’re peeb’d off?
     
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  4. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think all the portriats put more weight to the subjects personal background situation than the actual photographic techniques involved. The winning picture never really told me anything. If I had not read the information, my first thought was he was a captured pirate. Nothing conveys his look / appearance / attitude. It litterally looks like a mugshot the navy takes of pirates they capture! The 2nd picture I think says the most. Rain on the window, her somber mood. That tells you something. The robot is a typical average everyday portrait. But as discussed it does not meet the rules. It's nothing special, just a portrait that "pays the bills".
     
  5. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I disagree about the winning portrait. He doesn't say "pirate" to me at all. I think there's a whole world in those eyes and that look. The fact that you can't see any boat but just water behind him, for me, emphasizes the loneliness and despair.

    As for the android, the judges' comments are interesting:
    "Judges comments: During the judging process, only the title of each portrait is revealed. It was unclear whether the girl was a human or an android, and this ambiguity made the portrait particularly compelling. Tammi’s portrait offers a provocative comment on human evolution."

    So they didn't actually know for sure if it was an android or not. She is quite disturbingly lifelike and even after knowing she is an android, I find myself staring to see what the differences are. (On another note, if it's not immediately apparent that an android's super-smooth skin and dead eyes are not human, that says a lot to me about how heavily portraits of actual humans seem to be edited these days.)

    But even giving the judges the benefit of the doubt for a second and believing they had no idea they were breaking the rules, the question still remains of whether or not it should have even been accepted into the contest at all.

    The picture does start a conversation about the increasingly blurred lines between organic life and artificial "life." However, why choose to begin that conversation by flouting the rules of an existing contest? Would it have made such an impact otherwise?

    (Those questions are musings, btw, but feel free to answer them if you feel like it ;) )
     
  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't see dsipair in his eyes. I see anger. Lowered straight brow, narrowed eyes, slight tilt of the head down. Now his lips / mouth do not convey anger.
     
  7. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ding ding ding.....what do we have for him Johnny?
     
  8. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    I think I agree with the "Honorable Mention".

    Keep in mind that the judges did not know what they were looking at. Read the quote again. All they had was the title. It was not voted for "because it was an android". It got its 3rd place votes legitimately.

    Any criticism of technique really just boil down taste. You might not like it, but the judges accepted it as a part of the composition.

    It looks like a stylized image (possibly with heavy but subtle makeup) perhaps with deliberate removal of detail, and yes, I have seen photographs with such "stylistic" touches before.

    So that leaves the face and the expression on the face. Here, I felt the expression on the face was unusual. Portraits sometimes show something of how people present themselves, which is to say how the person wants people to see them, and sometimes what the photographer wants people to see. I have never seen this particular facial expression in a portrait before. There is an alertness. Is there confidence? This is what I think the judges voted for.

    As for whether it gets a prize. Well, what I said at the top. . . .
     

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