landscape photographers are grown-ups

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by The_Traveler, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I just spent a long time reading a thread on luminouslandscape about the need to be honest in critique and it struck me that, as a group, landscape photographera are much more willing to accept and give honest critique without rancor than other groups.

    I read some actual critiques and, seemingly, people trade actual real opinion, often totally unsweetened by PC comments to soften the blows and people actually didn't seem to get their feelings hurt.

    On quick reflection, several possibilities spring to mind.
    1. The content is usually less personal,
    2. the group is more deliberate in their actions as they go about making images and thus is less emotional about the image or last,
    3. they are older as a group and just that much more mature.
    What do you think.
    If pressed, I will find and post the link.
     
  2. Jazz

    Jazz TPF Noob!

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    Well, sure, probably true.

    You park your car, get out, walk a little, set up the tripod (yawn), have a smoke (snore), sip your coffee (yawn), wait until the light is just right (snore), shoot a few, go home and process, post on the forum (yawn), someone says “I’d like to see it with the rock a little to the left” (yawn), or perhaps “haven’t I seen that same shot on the cover of Outdoor Photographer eleven times in the past year?” (snore).

    What’s to get upset about? Rocks don’t move, they don’t talk back, they don’t need to be told to have a thought in their head, and most importantly they don’t care how their hair looks.

    Sweetening: just kidding, this post was just for grins, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t even write it, I love landscape photogs, I think everyone should be one, I’m gonna be one someday, this was just a joke, I have nothing against Outdoor Photog ... I’m sure rocks are people too.

    Seriously Traveler, you make a good point and your reasons seem valid to me. We should all work at getting better at giving and taking criticism, myself included. For instance, after this post, I am prepared to be ripped by landscape photogs, and it’s okay. Humor rules. :lol::lol::lol:
     
  3. ksmattfish

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

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    Landscape photographers as a group might be more mature, but open minded? No way! Just try posting a landscape photo that breaks the rules established by the f/64 club. :) I find Luminous Landscape to be full of great information, and I visit regularly, but they also seem to be gear obsessed, which is something I'm trying to move away from in my own photography paradigm. I can't afford $50000 cameras, so I have to figure out a different way to make my photos better. The gear-heads might say that my feelings are just "sour grapes", because I can't afford the toys they can, and I'm sure that they are at least a little bit right. :)

    Then again, one of my favorite landscape photogs was Dean Brown. He shot in the 60's and early 70's using exclusively 35mm, hand held, and rarely enlarged his photos beyond 4"x6". His content superceded any issues with the technical quality of 35mm vs the technical quality of large format, which then as today, was a more popular choice for serious landscape photogs. He was on his way to fame, and then he fell to his death photographing a waterfall in 1973 (let's be careful out there!!). Check out the book of his photos "Photographs of the American Wilderness". I bet it's cheap on Amazon.

    As far as critique goes, I encourage people to hook up with other local photographers in person. It's amazing how productive real conversation vs posted monlogues are. People can say things to your face, that might seem insulting online, but because you can see their mouth, eyes, hands, and body language it takes on a completely different tone. People also tend to be more civil in person. I suppose that's because it would be possible to get smacked. ;)

    I find internet critiques to be very difficult. Besides only being able to look at a low res, web friendly version of the photo, often the photo is posted without any other information. I can't give a helpful critique if all I'm asked is "What do you think?" I think the world is going to hell in a handbasket! Ohhh...you meant about the photo.... ;)

    To start with I need to know what the photographer was trying to accomplish. As they tell me that, and I make my comments, new questions will arise. I have to have the answers before I can continue with the critique. Sure this can happen via forums, but it takes a lot longer, and discussions get sidetracked.

    Without more info from the photographer, all I can say is whether I like it or not, and what I would do if it was me taking the photo (keeping in mind that while viewing the photo after it's already been created hindsight is 20/20). My opinion is not a critique by itself. It might be part of a critique, but there should be more to it than just my opinion of how the photo looks. If I have enough information I can critique a photo that I dislike, or wouldn't normally be very interested in. I think the critique is best when in person.

    From Wiki: A critique is a systematic inquiry into the conditions and consequences of a concept or set of concepts, and an attempt to understand its limitations.
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i think there is some truth to it.

    i consider myself mature enough to deal with critique, also heavy critique. And I like getting it ;)
    But I think I am more thin-skinned when it comes to face to face critique, at least I remember having some hard times to fall aslepp on some occasions last year when a friend had wrecked some of my favourite images ;)
     
  5. blork

    blork TPF Noob!

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    After ignoring Jazz's lame reply, I will move on to say that I think you're on the right track. However, I have some comments on your possibilities, in reverse order:

    3 (older, more mature): It hadn't occurred to me that landscape photographers are necessarily older than other types of photographer. But you might be on to something. Generally speaking, older tends to be wiser, and thus less inclined to get caught up in the retarded ****ing matches that one so often sees around semi-political issues.

    2 (more deliberate, less emotional): I don't know about that. While it is true that serious landscape photographers are very deliberate in their actions, I don't think you can say that photographers of other subjects are not. People who do street photography, nudes, tableaux-vivante, etc., are (in my experience) very deliberate about what they're doing. The same applies to the emotional investment -- I know landscape artists who are very caught up in their work on an emotional level.

    1 (less personal): Here's the kicker. If you cast a wide net, you will find many examples of landscape photography that is not very personal. But if you zero in, you find the opposite. Many landscape photographers focus on landscapes that have a personal meaning to them, whether it is the landscape around where they live, or around some environmental or political issue that affects them. And there's the sub-kicker: political.

    Generally speaking, landscape photography is not all that political. Nice pictures of mountains and gardens, blah blah blah. But again, if you look closer, you can find lots of landscape photography that is very political. Think of the Atomic Photographer's Guild, or the various projects about clearcutting in the West, or images of environmental degradation in former war zones, etc.

    Of course, once landscape photography takes on a political note it gets relabeled as "documentary" photography, but it's still landscape. Another factor is that the politics that are discussed in landscape photography often revolve around issues that require a bit of thought, so it's less inclined to induce the knee-jerk reactions such as we saw with those crying baby pictures last year.

    However, the fact remains that most landscape photography falls into the category of Pollyanna aesthetics of the natural world, which can be nice to look at, but gives you nothing to think about.

    Sorry if this is a little unfocused -- its like I'm trying to cram a whole book's worth of ideas into a single forum post!
     
  6. CMan

    CMan TPF Noob!

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    I honestly want critique. If there's something that you don't like about my picture, I want to hear about it. If you don't like the image, that's fine, it won't change my opinion of whether I like it or not; it will just help me to become better for future photographs.

    I don't know if that's because I'm a landscape photographer, but that's how I feel.
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    Honest critique from those who care about you may be the most valuable though. When your Granny tells you your photo sucks, you know it sucks! :lol:
     
  8. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    True, I am not a great landscape photographer myself, but almost every single landscape image I ever produced has a very personal thing to it, which might never make it across to the people seeing it though.
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If Granny did it I would be scared, very scared, as she passed away many winters ago.

    I know it is very valuable, still I was rather cross with that person for some days ... but only because she took away my illusions about the quality of those particular shots. I think many landscape photographers are very biased when it comes to their own work ... including myself.

    Well, maybe one day I will start posting some of my landscape shots here or on my webpage and see what happens to them ;)
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I don't know if they come across that way, but my critiques are without rancor. I don't always feel that I can be of any help, but when I post, I'm honest about the issues I think are in the image. I do my best to explain them without sugarcoating or being harsh, but it can be a fine line, depending on the original poster.

    I started with landscapes, since they don't move around on you. I lost interest in them though, so now I shoot mostly people. Who knows, I may go back to them at some point, but they don't tell the stories that I want to tell.

    So I don't agree with the original premise. I sometimes stop by a glamour forum, and from what I've seen, the critiques there are honest, upfront, and without malice. Like with any group, the information in those critiques is more useful from those with experience. I think that's what it boils down to.
     
  11. ksmattfish

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

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    When I get a critique that really burns me, I just chalk it up to the critic being unable to comprehend my artistic genius. :lol: Deep down I know that the more a critique ticks me off, the more likely it is that the critic is absolutely right.
     
  12. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Oh man, I hate that. And yeah, if it burns, there's usually something to it. If I can shrug it off, then I know I'm confident in what I did.

    I think I've gotten to where I can take in what the person says, decided whether it applies, and if I want to use it or not without it being personal. What ticks me off now is if the person actually does get personal about it, and throws some barbs in. I see some critiques that pop up occasionally that aren't "honest", they are downright rude. There's absolutely no call for that. Some people think being honest means being a jerk.
     

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