"What We Value Most" is not a good enough theme for a portfolio?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by raeanana, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. raeanana

    raeanana TPF Noob!

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    For my photography final we are doing a portfolio and I came up with this awesome idea of shooting what people care about most in their life. It goes well with the upcoming holiday(s).
    I would think that would be an obvious theme but my teacher says no.
    I guess I'm not understanding this concept of "theme." Apparently every picture has to be related to each other in a physical sense. He gave me an example of shooting someone's favorite car or vehicle. So every picture would basically be the same. I'm not particularly fond of that. This is a 10 photo portfolio... I don't want to shoot that many things that are basically the same.

    Is he right? If so, can someone maybe explain to me how "theme" works?

    The photos I was thinking of putting in this portfolio for what we value most are along the lines of family, their dog, and love, and .. other things people find important in their life. I thought it was a cool idea.
    He did say that "family" would work better as a theme.


     
  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Your teacher is right. Different people can care about very unrelated things and it may not be in any way obvious from the things themselves that there is a relationship or theme. Some examples:

    music.jpg

    Musical instruments are closely related.

    wood_wind.jpg
    But the subset of musical instruments woodwinds are even more closely related and it's obvious from just looking at them -- the theme: musical instruments you blow into.

    unrelated.jpg

    On the other hand here are things people care about. They couldn't be more unrelated.

    1. "I've made the study of reptiles and especially monitor lizards my life's work. I've even traveled for months at a time around the world in search of monitors."
    2. "I live to skate. Every waking hour of my day is spent on my skateboard."
    3. "If it were possible I'd spend the rest of my life on a cruise ship."
    4. " I make my own beer. It's some of the best beer you've ever tasted. I love beer!"
    5. "Little Scampy is my life. We do everything together; he's my best pal."

    Joe
     
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  3. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Looks to me like the point of the exercise is to show your skills. If you can shoot 10 different objects they could all be shot in the same way, shooting one thing in 10 different ways is challenging as it takes the subject out of the equation (almost), forcing you to get more creative in order to produce different shots, and you'll need to use a wide variety of photograhic techniques to produce a strong set. That's pretty good for an assignment.
     
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  4. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Staff Member

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    One variation on the theme is not to think of the subject as the theme but the photographic style. I have no idea if you have a preferred or your own style but this could be used a s a theme or combined with the subject for a theme.
    One that easily comes to mind is tirediron's vet portrait series. Both the subject and photographic style make for a unique photography set.
     
  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A "theme" needs continuity between images. That is the definition. If the "things" in your proposed theme were somehow related to each other, then that would be a theme. Remember; the viewer will be the judge of whether you have achieved the goal of "theme".
     
  6. snowbear

    snowbear Oh Hai I iz Bear! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I chose "Pathways" for my digital class; it's a theme that allows a lot of interpretation and fit in with my Geography major.

    Or pixmedic's highly immobile ferrets.:p
     
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  7. Piccell

    Piccell TPF Noob!

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    Your teacher is right.
    The teacher is always right because it is the teacher that makes the rules that he or she thinks will do you the most good as a learning exercise. To find out what the teacher means by 'theme' and how that works with the assignment, ask the teacher.
     
  8. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Staff Member

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    Yes. Best and most accurate information to guide you would be from the instructor.

    I teach now for a living and I'll say hell no! The lesson plan is always right. The teacher is just a means to pass on the knowledge.
     
  9. Piccell

    Piccell TPF Noob!

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    I also teach for a living. ;)
    The teacher creates the lesson plan. At least I do in my classes.
     
  10. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    FTFY! :p
     
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  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Your teacher is right because he/she is the teacher and sets the rules. I actually like your idea, and I think it could be an excellent theme, but it would be a challenge to find a way to make a cohesive set. You could do it with lighting, or a common set, or common pose, but it would be a challenge. I think the ideas above represent a much easier approach.
     
  12. Piccell

    Piccell TPF Noob!

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    I think if you refine it to people I care about, or places I care about, or animals I care about, or something less general than just things.
     

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