What makes the photograph? - In persuit of perfection.

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by nossie, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    What makes a photographer?.. http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=95092

    Ok so it's argued by some that Photographers are the people that push the button or the people that work the hardest, the people that make the most money and so on...

    So let's then consider the photograph, the result of the button pusher. A kiss in Paris, a plate of food, the Grand Canyon, a girl on the catwalk, can anyone make an outstanding shot from those subjects? If we could predict where lightening was going to strike could we all setup for a perfect shot? And I mean that super worldwide acclaim for its class. Even after years of practise can you be enlightened enough or practised enough to be considered a world class photographer?

    Let me put it in another art form. I can teach anyone with fingers how to play guitar. The student can master every lick and style of playing but will that guarantee I will create a musician? Will he play a composition that we’ll all want to listen to, or at least appreciate and respect for its brilliance? Louis Walsh sells millions of CDs with musicians like Westlife and Boyzone. Personally I hate it but people like it so people buy it, but is that good music? Technically correct in mix and composition and subject matter for the amorous 12 year old but will it be respected in the history of music?

    So what happened with SilverPenguin on TBF... http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=81490
    He won a BBC contest, that to me is an awesome achievement but could anyone have done it? 1st shot I see a clear shot of a bird, 2nd shot another bird, 3rd a sea lion or something like that, 4th another bird, 5th Crikey mate it’s life and joy and spring and happiness captured with a camera.
    So now we’re getting into the thick of things, was Richard born with that natural talent that makes him a success or was it hard work, perseverance and patience that paid off thereby meaning that any hard working person could have pushed the button?
    Can I simply learn the functions of the camera, depth of field/ shutter speed, light and shadows etc and put myself continuously in enough situations to be there finally to capture the moment when somebody zaps a lamb with a stun gun? [Joking of course Richard] Or must I have natural ability?

    I feel like I get too many shots that lack vaa vaa voom! So what do I need to do to make them sparkle?
    I'll bet nobody said "Hey that's really crap quality video! And the guy totally screwed up on the rule of 3rds there! And he's got no natural talent." when they looked at the 911 attack videos but everyone's jaw dropped open, so in that case it's not the camera or the photographer but the content that makes people look again and again.

    So if you know where lightening is going to strike, where that car accident will happen, where that spring lamb is going to jump are you guaranteed to have a contest winning shot?

    Ray.
     
  2. CDG

    CDG TPF Noob!

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    I think the real question at hand is what makes an artist? Anybody can be a good photographer - it's a matter of knowing how to use a camera. Pick up a book, drive out to Sedona, take some pictures at Slide rock, use all of the rules of composition and guess what? You have the same damn photograph that everybody has at least one of in their scrapbook. Not that these cliches are bad things - it's how we all learned the technical part of the hobby.

    Just like anybody might learn to be a welder, a silversmith, a guitarist or a motorcyclist.

    When you start welding, you start by drawing beads, not making metal sculpture. As a silversmith, you might start by learning to solder rather than setting stones, and most guitarists I know learned how to play Let it Be, Smoke on the Water, Day Tripper, or some similar simple song. A guitarist is what I am - I get some friends together and I play "Knocking on Heaven's Door" until my roommate just can't stand us anymore. An artist is what my friend Mikey is, when he comes to a jam session with me and starts making up new songs.

    To make a photograph a work of art, you have to bend the rules a little bit. Use the tools of composition in the right order, and sometimes get a little lucky. Find a new way to look at things. Change the ordinary into the extraordinary. A plate of food is boring, but a photograph with a plate of food may become a masterpiece. Photography is for me a way to break through and show the world a way to see things in a new way.

    Other's opinions may vary of course, and I should mention at least that I'm not a very good photographer.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Creativity. That's all. You can teach the guitar all you want but if the student is unable to at an instant pull a funky solo out of his... er creativity, then he's simply not much of a musician.

    The same goes for those people who know every technical detail of lighting and camera. It amounts to nothing if you can't picture a creative awe inspiring photo in your mind first.

    I am a bit like this myself. I do come up with creative things every so often and they are by far my best photos, but the majority of the time I browse this forum or flickr and see fantastic images, know exactly how they were made and think I could have done that if only I came up with the idea.

    In short a photograph I think needs creative expression producing some kind of a mood or emotion in the viewer. Anything from wow what awesome dynamics, to bringing a tear to people's eye.
     
  4. The Phototron

    The Phototron TPF Noob!

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    New/rare things often strike us as creative simply for the fact that we either haven't seen it or don't see it often.

    But once we get over the novelty, only it's actual composition holds value. And if that it is not adequate then we won't see it as creative or even pleasing anymore.

    Composition does not necessarily mean scratching your brain for ideas, it could be instinctual through practice. Even if a scene jumps at you. You need frame it at an angle, anticipate when to click in that split second. And that happens so fast, there's no way you could compose as if it's a static landscape. Instead your habit kicks in, so the shot reflects your style.
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The answer to your question can only come in the form of a question.

    Dose the Photograph meet the criteria to serve the purpose for witch it was taken?

    With a wide range of particulars as to why an image gets taken there is no definitive answer. You will find that the factors that make a photograph actually don't revolve solely around the one point. Not all Photography is artistic in nature, nor is it all down to earth.

    The two things that definitively make a photo go wrong is lack of knowledge (be it photographing or the subject) and attempting to cross/merge fields. That much I can tell you, but the rest depends greatly on the particulars of the picture at hand.
     
  6. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    We all ask ourselves this question from time to time. The idea is to form your own relationship with photography. Whatever path you choose is going to be fine. The idea is to learn and progress. And above all have fun.

    Love & Bass
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    It's a state of mind - along with a little luck.
     

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