"Technical" vs. "Artistic": Should One Trump The Other?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Steve5D, Mar 31, 2013.

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What do you consider more important in your photos?

  1. The use of proper technique is most important to me.

    5 vote(s)
    11.6%
  2. Getting an artistic image is most important to me.

    5 vote(s)
    11.6%
  3. It would depend on the situation, the client, and the desired image.

    33 vote(s)
    76.7%
  1. Steve5D

    Steve5D TPF Noob!

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    In another thread, there's a discussion regarding the technical merits of a photo of a young lady. One poster pointed out many of the technical flaws of the photo, and every single one of his criticisms were correct, in a technical sense.

    But it's still a really good photo.

    So, that begs the question: Should proper technique trump "artistic expression"?

    If so, why? If artistic expression is to trump technique, should it always do so?

    My opinion is this: In doing product shoots for Bose and Mesa Boogie, I needed the photos to be technically correct. Period. I was being paid by clients to produce marketing images for them. My "artistic vision" didn't really matter all too much.

    But if I'm shooting a concert, or candids on the street, "technical", for me, runs a distant second to artistic expression.

    There is a time and place for both, and my experience is that they rarely occur simultaneously to the same degree.
     
  2. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How about...

    An artistic interpretation is best when rendered with technical accuracy. An artistic interpretation rendered without technical accuracy cannot convey the message as effectively as the same image executed properly, however a technically excellent image with no artistic strength is essentially "just another snapshot".
     
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  3. pixmedic

    pixmedic Critical Care Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    that picture got plenty of praise on its artistic merits. but it was posted in a section where technical merits are often judged as well. and it was.
    the response to those technical critiques were..well, you know how it went.
    anyway, part of posting here, and especially in a section that specifically caters to professional C&C, is having the ability to accept whatever C&C is given.
    as long as that critique is given in a technical and respectful manner, it should be received as such and things should move along.

    the great part about this forum is....you have so many people here with different styles, techniques, and feelings on what makes a good photo.
    your question of what trumps what...it doesn't make any sense to me. people that feel artistic license is more important will probably always feel that way, and people that focus on the technical aspects of a picture will probably never be convinced of the "artistic" value over its flaws. its just a different camp of thought and I dont think one is any better or worse than the other. if you went out to shoot an artistic piece, and despite any technical flaws, you achieved what you envisioned....then it was a successful photograph. BUT, to a person looking at from photography technique, they might have some issues with it.

    art is a feeling. you cant really PROVE art to someone. they either "feel" the piece or they dont. its much easier though, to show someone technical mistakes.
    i might take a crappy technical photo and really love it. but if I posted it here...i would say, heres my photo. I love it. I know it has "insert technical flaws here" wrong with it, but I love it on a personal or artistic level because "insert whatever personal reasons here". If a more learned photographer pointed out a hundered technical reasons why my photo was crap, im fine with that because I know its true. I like it for personal or artistic reasons, not technical ones.
     
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  4. nonamexx

    nonamexx TPF Noob!

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    Technical as in... overexposed, underexposed, wrong WB, wrong ISO, wrong focus, etc. Am I right? Now as for composition: does comes under technical merit or art? Because often people criticize composition as though it is a technical flaw, but in my view, composition is an artistic choice - may be right or wrong. But that is an artistic issue.

    P.S. people can also get pretty technical about art, so it all gets a bit complicated.
     
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  5. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    This bold text above is what is called 'Argument from Authority'
    In short, it is saying in a sub-text, 'I have this high level experience, therefore my opinion should have some weight.'

    I just mention that because, on the other hand, I have no experience so you might want to devalue my opinion (which is, as follows below in italics to make it stand out)

    I don't shoot for pixel-peepers; I don't care what they think. I can't satisfy everyone and so I choose to satisfy myself so I shoot for myself and, incidentally, for people who like the style of what I shoot. My personal mantra is that technical perfection is only important if it stands between the viewer and the enjoyment of the image.
    Thus I try to get good technicals but I mostly try to get great shots and let the technicals fall where they may.
     
  6. pixmedic

    pixmedic Critical Care Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    authority? whos claiming to have any authority?
    what "I" got from that statement was this.
    "when I shot for this company, i had to focus on technically accurate photographs. when I shoot for myself, i can focus on artistic photographs"
    people "name drop" here all the time. for all manner of reasons. I didnt get any "better than you" vibes from Steve, just that he was trying to show a real reason as to why he might have shot differently for different clients.
     
  7. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    'Argument from authority' is not my construct but is the technical term for that kind of usage where one cites experience or knowledge to back up his/her opinion.
     
  8. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Eh. One person's garbage is another person's treasure. There's an intersection between technical and artistic - where that intersection lies, and how big are the circles depends on the individual. And if the criteria is whether an image evokes emotion, then the lowly snapshot wins hands down, as there is more emotion tied in to the ordinary snapshot (for the people involved, that is) than most of us can summon with our "artistic" images.
     
  9. runnah

    runnah Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If I from the get go decide I want my photo to be underexposed for a reason, than that is a conscious technical choice. If I go out and take a photo that I later find to be underexposed, that is a mistake and needs to be pointed out.

    It's all about intent. That us not saying that there aren't happy accidents but for the most part it isn't the case.
     
  10. runnah

    runnah Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Logical fallacies.

    Right up there with poisoning the well, straw man argument and so on.

    Perfect example of argument from authority is any add or commercial you with someone wearing a lab coat. Even if the product is some quack cure your brain automatically assumes its legit because we have been programmed to trust doctors.
     
  11. amolitor

    amolitor TPF Noob!

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    The poll is a little odd, and suffers from the "planted axiom" fallacy! The third choice introduces a client, and thereby suggests that the poll is about commercial photography.

    I'm not commercial, at all, so. I answered 'artistic' is the only thing that matters to me, because that's all I care about. With 'artistic' pretty broadly construed, to cover everything that's not technical. Whatever THAT is.
     
  12. pixmedic

    pixmedic Critical Care Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    that makes more sense.
    I dont think thats what Steve did at all though. He simply cited actual real world experience with a real client where the results were relevant to the discussion.
    I dont think his mentioning the name of the company was meant in any way to show arrogance, but to show that his opinion is based on actual in the field working knowledge.

    and honestly, I personally think its a better piece of evidence than the "i know better because ive been shooting for 100 years" argument.
     

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