Coincidences, synchronicities or just cool s#!+ that accidentally appeared in your pic!

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by beegeedee, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. I would be surprised if there is anyone who has never been surprised by something that was caught in a picture that was not planned, maybe not even noticed until post processing.
    When I have time (?!), I plan to read a book on exactly this subject: "Photography and the Art of Chance"
    Has anyone read it?

    To start, I'll post this picture in a Paris restaurant this summer where I saw that the mix of setting sun and indoor light looked appealing, so, I just turned in my chair for one, only one shot and a waiter blurred perfectly in the corner!
    [​IMG]_170806_130942_DSC2441 by BG Day, on Flickr
  2. I inadvertently photobombed my own shot of a whirligig beetle under ice.

    P2280107 whirligig and I WEB.jpg
  3. Through a window, I was appreciating the coziness of this group gathered for breakfast amid the surrounding reflections. As I snapped the shutter, the cook surprisingly, and happily, entered with a tray of goodies.

  4. I've read it. I disagree with almost everything Kelsey says, but it's intelligently argued, so I won't kill it for you.
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    There are a couple of factors IMO -- the more complex the environment eg: more going on, or the more focused you are on the "particular" that you are after, the more likely it is to happen. There has been discussion here in the past about "Mining" your images when you can't go out (weather or other). Can be a lot of fun in this era of "lotsa pixels".

    Note: while the prior post was in process.
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  6. Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  7. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

  8. Was timing when to trip the shutter for this kid to dive straight into the foamy rapids but instead he got up and jumped to the right to avoid it and ended up getting a more interesting composition. I almost missed the kid completely because I had centered the frame for the rapids but just happen to drift to the right as I always end up doing by mistake. This time it was a mistake I'm glad I made.

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  9. I was planning to photograph the roots of this interesting tree by the Mississippi and as usual I was also biking through this park with our Border Collie, Lily. I took a shot of the tree and moments later Lily trotted by into the scene, so I naturally took another shot. It's one of my favorites. 16x 20 lily roots 0011.jpg
  10. walking in town, i see a drone near a tower about 75 yards away.
    was surprised later to see its shadow on the tower, especially how the shadow looked like the windvane on top!
    [​IMG][​IMG]_COC8694 by BG Day, on Flickr
  11. Sometimes I'm amazed at what shows up in the frame upon review.
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  12. Edwin, that is a gorgeous photo!
  13. " … An automatic process sandwiched between the chance encounter and the accidental inclusion, photography combined immense depictive capacity with weak intentionality. It dispensed with the godlike designing powers of the artist in favor of aesthetic sensibility, serendipity, and the play of chance. Like the new social statistics, photography tended to shift the production of meaning away from design and toward analysis after the fact." — Robin Kelsey in the book referenced in the OP
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  14. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Now I'm lost - I thought I understood until that.
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  15. the Hindis have believed for centuries that our mind can manifest reality. so sometimes, things happen because of our thoughts; perhaps our higher level consciousness plays with us by interacting in our photo process.
    sounds nuts if you have not experimented or studied, but there is lots of empirical evidence that we all can do it sometimes, some more able than others.
    before caller id, how many times did you know who was going to be on the phone?!
  16. The reason I might have known who was calling me before the days of caller ID, I suspect, had to do with some combination of guess and quick deduction rather than my thoughts manifesting reality.

    Can you offer some more convincing empirical evidence than my having a select group of friends and family who might at any time call me on the phone and my almost instantaneously deducing who it is at the moment. I also figure for every time I was amazingly right, I was probably wrong three or four times but conveniently forgot those, preferring to remember the more rare occasions on which I guessed right . . . I mean . . . manifested reality. :)
  17. I can imagine why you disagree with much of what Kelsey has to say. In his last line I don't think he's accurate with regards to both photography or social statistics. He just paints with too broad a brush in his sweeping pronouncements.
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  18. This is an interesting topic, and when I want to make some interesting shots in a photojournalistic vein, I often work on getting things to "accidentally" appear in the scene. Mainly this just means spending some waiting for some undetermined sequence of events to fall into place, then take the shot. Of course, unless you are using models, the exact thing and how it works out are something of a crap shoot. But with the food servers, you know they'll be going back and forth every few minutes or so; it's just a matter of waiting (while avoiding making them self-concious).

    Something I do occasionally, at events when I have a very limited camera in dim light, is to try to pick up other photographer's flash. This is not that difficult if there is some "peak of action" with a numbers of camera users present. If you can brace your camera well enough to get a longish shutter speed of, say 1/20 second or longer, you might get some interesting shots. Some years back I was at a big-dollar drag race with a small-sensor digital camera. As evening came on, I ended up panning at about 1/20 second; the blur was largely terrible. But every 4 or 5 shots, the track photographer's flash (he is up close) would superimpose sharp detail onto one or both cars. So it is an interesting effect that you don't often see.
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  19. I don't think he can be dismissed that easily. Some more from Kelsey's book (let's see if we can make Tony's head explode):

    "Cartier-Bresson's famous theory saddles users of photography with two disabling forms of cognitive circularity. First, his theory would have us judge a photograph by its success in capturing the essence of its subject, but we often know the subject proper only through the photograph. The second form of cognitive circularity surfaces in Jung’s theory of synchronicity.

    [line break added] According to Jung, if an event very much seems significant, then it cannot be the product of chance, and if it is not the product of chance, then it can be significant. The problem with this circular logic is that chance inevitably produces coincidences that very much seem significant, and so the fact of seeming significant is a poor guide to what has — or has not — been caused by chance."​

    He says photographers have "intention deficit disorder."

    He writes:

    "The lie of the photograph has nothing to do with honesty. It resides in a belief that the world reveals itself to the camera that is wielded by the seer. It resides in a belief that pictorial rhetoric stems from and reveals an underlying reality that surfaces momentarily when the shutter clicks. It resides in a faith that the world dreams itself into the photograph, overcoming the play of chance."​

    That's the core of my disagreement with him. I do believe something like what he says is a "lie" in the above. I don't think it's a lie. But I think you can see that his arguments can't be dismissed out of hand. On the other hand, I agree with the chapters where he notes that photography does find power in the aggregate, i.e. in series, sequences, photo-essays or books, etc.

    He's further annoying by being patronizingly 'nice' in his introduction to the book:

    "… There is one claim, it should be clear from the outset, that this book does not make. That claim is that art is the essence or sole fulfillment of photography. With respect to social value, photography as a means of knitting people together in rewarding associations, or of alerting them to atrocity, or of enabling them to convey the significance of their existence, or of amplifying their visual experience to encompass new scales or temporalities, takes no backseat to photography as art."​

    Gee, thanks, Robin. There's enough truth in that to make it sting.

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