Would better technical execution help or hurt - and why?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by The_Traveler, Mar 22, 2014.

?

The picture would have more impact with better execution

Poll closed Mar 28, 2014.
  1. yes

    6 vote(s)
    37.5%
  2. no

    9 vote(s)
    56.3%
  3. don't know

    1 vote(s)
    6.3%
  1. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent

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    I posted this in Jaomul's Emotional Attachment thread and it struck me that a technically better picture might not have more impact and might even have less, just because the children would be more identified and then it wouldn't have a universal theme of brotherly affection.

    I am clearly too close to this, being both father and photographer, to trust my opinion for anyone but myself.
    What do you think?
    And why?

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Well-Known Member

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    I think they both will make as good of impact. If I have to choose, I probably will like it in focus more. The oof creates the "dreaming" emotion like you weren't there but you were dreaming about it. If it is in focus it will feel like you were there with them. That's my take.
     
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  3. bribrius

    bribrius Well-Known Member

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    affection dreamy, out of focus better in this case. Impact stating like starving little kids looking for food in a garbage dump in filthy clothes, detailed and crystal clear GRITTY.

    really depends on particular photo. my vote.
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Well-Known Member

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    viewing this as a non-family-member, I think it is fine the way it is. Only a close family member would be able to recognize them, so I think the oof works.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    When one sees at technically perfect shot they can always appreciate the quality of the skill that goes into it.

    However as a result of multiple factors a technically perfect shot (especially, but not exclusive to, people) can appear "fake" to some; or if not fake makes them think it could be. This is because of several factors;

    1) The average person takes rubbish photos. When they take a shot of their kid it can be blurry or miss-focused - heck the frame is often off and at an angle and chances are there's 1001 other problems. However they know that that is what "they" can get and ergo what is "possible" with a snapshot.
    When its something like kids doing spontaneous things they'll impose that concept of their own snapshot ability over the photographer - thus if what the photographers shows is "too perfect" they will view that as a possible constructed shot not spur of the moment.

    2) Media also presents this - consider how many "reports coming to you live" appear to have less quality than a typical webcam going over skype; how many photos of major events are (whilst oft decently composed) often weaker in technical areas. Again the authenticity is partly attached to those rough edges; to that imperfection of "real life".
    [it wouldn't surprise me if this is a trick the media makes use of to add authenticity to their works at times]

    3) It's bad, but its old so its ok. Like it or not if you take a blurry half focused shot that looks like or was taken on a film camera you'll gain an instant leeway; this is especially true if the contents of the photo are not contemporary to the viewers environment. Ergo showing a different society (yet still modern); or showing old times.
    Again this is imposing a concept of authenticity, this time the concept is that old cameras were bad, not capable of technical perfection and thus these "old" photos are fine.

    4) The one you've identified which is established emotional connection with the subject(s) of the photo. I've some pretty bad shots of the pets we have - nothing special and if I show them here most would be very unimpressed - I still like them; but that's because I've got the established emotional connection to the subject of those photos.
    The same is true of other subjects, children is a prime example when the emotional connection to the subjects (even if they are not the persons own children) can overrule other artistic concerns regarding the photo.

    Note that this is the same with all walks of art, but tends to be more prominently realised in photography. Emotional connections and awareness of the subject can be major elements that can both elevate and demote a photos overall "quality" without any consideration for its technical nor artistic merit. Traditional arts have this too, but in my view its often a more muted element, at least for productions made in general as opposed to those themed around major events within recent history.



    EDIT - consider also marketing - the above points all ring true - BUT present photos or a low artistic and technical grade in something like National Geographic and you'd be torn to bits unless you had a very good reason for it. So the medium and delivery can also be a major deciding factor in how people view and judge the works.
     
  6. mishele

    mishele Moderator Staff Member

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    I love the shot just the way it is. The softness really adds a lot to the emotion. That may be because I don't know these children and seeing detail doesn't matter. The emotion comes from the body language. I see 2 young brothers looking out the window after maybe getting a bath together. =) Love the innocence of being naked. hehe Oh and that kiss!! So precious! Are these your children?! If they are I hope you have this hanging somewhere. =)
     
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  7. limr

    limr Well-Known Member

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    I think the softness creates the effect of seeing a memory. How many of us remember in perfect sharpness? This memory quality adds to the emotional impact. Perfect sharpness, lighting, etc would make the picture seem too posed, too perfect, which in turn would make it sterile. In my opinion, of course.
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The message, the tenderness, the closeness, comes through. Doesn't "need" to be super-sharp to convey its meaning. It probably would not hurt if it were sharper, and as Robin and Leonore have mentioned, the softness might actually work FOR it...it has a sort of pictorialism/impressionism vibe, due to the simplicity of the picture's very few elements. This image has a broad light area, a large dark area, and two age-differentiated human figures, both turned toward one another, with the taller one kissing the littler one on the forehead; this picture "works" based simply on human figure recognition...if this were a silhouette, we could grasp the interaction just as well, so, no it doesn't need technical perfection. This is a big kid/little kid interaction; a kiss on the forehead is a comforting gesture; the meaning comes through loud and clear.

    The body posture/height difference/towels, all of that stuff could be blurred even more, and maybe even rendered in a watercolor effect, and it would still convey the basic message. There really is not much fine detail in the image...it doesn't need any fine detail to convey its meaning...it's at the root level a GESTURAL/POSTURAL/HEIGHT type of message...basic human stuff...and there are no clothing styles of household items to give any clue as to the date or country...it's really an interesting type of photo. It doesn't have much "context" to explore, so no fine detail is required.
     
  9. oldhippy

    oldhippy Well-Known Member

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    Great as is. Norman Rockwell'ish, warm and nostalgic. Ed
     
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  10. manicmike

    manicmike Well-Known Member

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    I think the softness adds to the emotional connection. I think it's good the way it is.
     
  11. rexbobcat

    rexbobcat Well-Known Member

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    The thing about this photo is that it appears to be so candidly and spontaneously shot that it really feels like an intimate moment in one's life.

    I think this "feeling" is what is driving some of the trends today, especially among the hipster (yeah yeah I know, I should watch my use of that word but...I assume y'all know who I'm talking about) photographers. They're trying to create the feeling of the intimate candid by breaking the preconceived notions of what a good photo should look like. The thing about these photos is that it's not about the photo. Yeah, the subject matters, but it's secondary to what they're trying to evoke in the viewer.

    On the other hand, commercial photography is all about what's in the photo. This is what the viewer should be looking at. Sharpness and impeccable execution are two very important aspects. They're probably not trying to make people feel genuinely connected with the photo.

    Those are just my opinions though. I'm not a commercial photographer in a typical sense so I can't attest to how the industry as a whole does it. :p
     
  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    I would say that this image is technically correct. A sharp, clear image, without the large blown area would not have all of the attributes that make this image, as-is, the excellent one that is.
     
  13. minicoop1985

    minicoop1985 Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna say this, and probably get eaten alive, but do your wurst. As in bratwurst. Because I'm hungry.

    Here goes. Better technical execution will create better technical results, but can better technical execution create better emotion in a photo? I don't think so, not by itself. Emotion CAN be a stroke of luck, as with the kids in the OP. Because of the amusing subject matter (I could see my son getting free after a bath and his mom telling me to get a picture), there's an emotional quotient to this photo despite the lack of technical perfection. That being said, I've seen some photographers who can add emotional drama to a photo like it's second nature. Unbelievable. I don't know if that can be taught, but if it can, someone sign me up. Sheesh. As for me, I'm striving for better technical execution at the moment, then plan to focus on the emotional aspect later on.
     
  14. sleist

    sleist Well-Known Member

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    Technical flaws are only important when they distract. I think the impact would be the same with a technically better shot, but there is a line that you cross on either end that will eventually detract.
    In other words, a good subject has a wider range between clinical and crappy execution that allows the viewer to connect emotionally and not get distracted.

    As for the shot presented, there is a lot of headroom left on the technical improvement side of the scale, whereas if this were any less technically correct it would suck.

    Of course, each viewer defines these lines differently as well - which is a another topic all together.
    Personally, I find certain types of subjects benefit from a less clinical presentation while others demand it.
     
  15. jaomul

    jaomul Well-Known Member

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    I would not change it. It tells its story as is.
     

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