Technique versus 'drama'

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by s.johnson, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. s.johnson

    s.johnson TPF Noob!

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    Hi.. In the last 2 months I got a Pentax K1000 slr and a 50mm lens and decided to take up photography. I found this site a few days ago and it seems like a good place to get my various newbie-questions answered.

    Anyways... I was looking at some of my early photos and I began to wonder, in the general consensus, does "drama" in a photo outweigh technical perfection? Ideally, they should both be good, I know, but here is an example:


    [​IMG]


    clearly this shot is a technical screw-up (I used that b&w film that can be processed as color, which seems to give a reddish tone to low exposures...)
    There's sun glare and it all seems off balance, amateurish, etc. (i think there's even a strand of spider web in front of his face)

    However, if that shot were of acceptable exposure/lighting, I don't think it would be as interesting... I think the glare, combined the subject's facial expression and contrasted with the bamboo of the opposite corner kind of creates a conflict which I think is somewhat engaging. But I would never show this to anyone who asks to see some of my pictures, as I am simultaneously embarrassed by it.

    I'm not trying to pawn this photo off as anything spectacular, but I just wanted to get some other opinions on the issue.
     
  2. forceflow1049

    forceflow1049 TPF Noob!

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    I think that drama and technical perfection can both be good options at times. However, a dramatic photo will suffer for subpar technical ability. Very rare, in my opinion, is the photo that impresses or inspires without near perfect mechanics.
     
  3. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It does have a look to it that works with the technical difficulties.

    It would be more interesting if he were asleep.

    And fascinating if he were dead.
     
  4. Weaving Wax

    Weaving Wax TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a stickler for being "perfect" and sometimes mistakes are some of the best photos ever. A few of my favorites I've taken were screw ups. It's a very interesting photo and I like the red tone. It does have a feel to it, but the blown out sky is a little distracting. I'd probably crop that out. It is a great shot. I do like it.
     
  5. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    There's a bunch of pictures of Marilyn Monroe which demonstrate what you're talking about. Notably one of her on the subway:

    http://www.nynewsday.com/media/photo/2004-10/14720493.jpg

    It's admittedly not quite that crap in real life, but the focus is really iffy in it, the composition is perhaps a bit off, the exposure isn't quite right... However, if you see this picture in real life it's amazing because of the emotion in expression of her face.

    So, IMO, drama or emotional content/message to viewer is what separates an artistic image from say a plain perfect image with no content.

    Rob
     
  6. ksmattfish

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

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    I doubt there is a "general consensus". I think I would buy a technically imperfect, but emotionally dramatic photo over a technically perfect, but boring photo. Then again it could depend on subject matter.

    If purposely achieved for the look/emotion of the photo are technical imperfections actually imperfections?
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Does the image work without having to be explained????? That is the yardstick I use.
     
  8. meotter

    meotter TPF Noob!

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    if you only look at the top half of the pic, it looks like he might be umm... receiving gratification. if you look at the whole pic, it makes no sense... why is he making that weird face otherwise :p

    you've already pointed out why the photo is technically unsound, and i agree with what you've said in regards to that
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    A lot of my favorite images are technically imperfect. I think the trick is knowing what's important for the shot, and sometimes "imperfections" can actually create a better image. That's why I'm a firm believe in learning the so-called "rules", so that you can break them effectively. Those who ignore them tend to go about it in a haphazard way and simply get random results. Look at some of Picasso's early works to see his skill in realism. He went beyond all that and was able to capture the sensuality of a woman's body in a single line. He knew what he needed, what he didn't, and what to twist where.
     

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