Does Photonet influence our photos ?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by ajhingel, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. I have a simple question that has been turning in my head for some time: Does photonet influence our
    photos to the better or to the worse? I'm not thinking about technical improvements but changes in terms
    of "novelty", "aesthetics", choice of scenes, composition, color management etc.

    I have a clear feeling that since I jointed Photonet, my photos have clearly changed. I have for example
    discovered that people appear more frequently in the scenes I see and shoot. I have also noticed that I
    seem to get nearer to the subjects than was the case previously. Theses changes I perceive as positive
    changes that I think find their origin in advice I have received from friends on Photonet or from benefits I
    have drawn from visits in numerous portfolios looking at hundreds of photos.

    On the other hand I also seem to have lost some of what I see as more subtile elements of my earlier
    shootings. One illustration of these changes is my more and more frequent use of relative strong
    saturation in colour photos and stronger contrasts in B/W scenes. My photos have become more violent, I
    would say.

    These changes I don't necessarily see as positive, but as a result of trying unconsciously to conform to
    what I perceive as appreciated and noticed on Photonet (whether I succeed or not). Given the obvious
    American dominance among members of Photonet, does that mean that I am/we are conforming to some
    kind of cultural dominance here on Photonet or are these changes just dimensions of what objectively are
    to be considered as more or less universal rules of what constitutes a good photo.

    Let me underline that my photos are surely not the subject of this threat, but the possible influence of
    Photonet, that makes us slowly adapt to some kind of common standards, is. Our cultural diversities
    might be lost in the process.
     
  2. Interesting question, Anders. From an evolutionary point of view, we're all pack animals, hardwired to tribal behavior. If photo.net is where you enounter most of the photographs that you really stop to think about, then it makes sense that the collective PN tribal customs would creep into your sensibilities.

    Certainly my time spent here has had a similar impact on me - a few inhibitions have been eroded, and certain themes/techniques have nagged at me enough to want to try them. To the extent that appealing to what rates higher here tends to get your images seen by a few more people (and thus spurs on more commuication, more critiques, and thus more learning), there is a certain urge to select (for sharing) shots that I suspect will be noticed.

    As for your sense, Anders, that your images have become "more violent," well - I suppose we have different understandings of that word. Bold, perhaps. Strong? When you know that most of your audience will be looking at a computer display, rather than at a print, it does change your notion of how to handle the image's contrast, saturation, etc. No question that if you refine your presentation sensibilities here, you might be doing your prints-on-the-wall sensibilities some damage! Thanks for a provocative post.
     
  3. Anders, yes, I am sure PN influences our photos. It does that in two ways _

    1) the small size of photos and even more the tiny thumbnail size encourages bright colours and simple compositions. Subtley suffers.

    2) Ratings tend to encourage dramatic and even lurid photos.

    I don't think the cultural dominance is specifically American though. If anything eastern Europe seems to have an influence out of proportion to the volume of posts.
     
  4. It may influence your images if you wish to emulate what you see on photo.net. I don't find any influence on my work from photo.net - but, I rarely look at any of the photos posted on this site.
     
  5. If I were able to use some form of filter to not have to view the computer art versus
    photography, I might allow my self to be more influenced by some of the photography on
    here. But since that is not possible, I simply don't even go there anymore.
     
  6. Anders. The influence of PN IMO is great and profound on every creative photographer participating. I do not see any cultural dominance here and I don't think PN directly influence my photography. Mostly because much of it has been done long befor web era.

    Matt. You may think of your self as a hardwired pack animal if you wish but to those who are not to share such a definition you owe an aology.
     
  7. Anders. The influence of PN IMO is great and profound on every creative photographer participating. I do not see any cultural dominance here and I don't think PN directly influence my photography. Mostly because much of it has been done long befor web era.

    Matt. You may think of your self as a hardwired pack animal if you wish but to those who are not to share such a definition you owe an apology.
     
  8. Anders, I think this might be a hard one because of the subjective definitions of "better" and "worse" and what context you're using them in.
     
  9. Arent color management and composition technical issues?
     
  10. Sure it does, but no more than any other photo intensive venue. I'll see new (to me) approaches to something and sort of file it away to consider next time. But I'll do the same in a gallery, museum, reading books, etc.

    Point is I'm looking for an end result, a print, that I like better...aren't we all?
     
  11. I agree with Colin C. to a tee! Daniel, you are old school and nothing wrong with that. Photo net has evolved from film only guys who posted straight scans to the digital shooters now, many of whom do a lot of manipulating. I enjoy excellent work however it is done if the subject is interesting. I do very little manipulating because I enjoy more of the "straight" look and am not really interested in learning how to fool around with an image. I enjoy and love the work of guys like Salgado, Haas, DeCarava, Carter and others whose work is pretty much straight out of the box. Even most of Crewdson's work is pretty straight, just extremely well lit and choreographed. My goal and strategy here on PN is to have fun, share and look at images from all over the world and work to improve my image making ability.
     
  12. Ilia! It's possible (no, it's certain) that you've taken my comment incorrectly. It's not worth debating whether primates are wired for things like facial recognition, fussing about hierarchy, evaluating and (sometimes) fitting into hierarchies, and all of the other things that we share with the rest of them. But just because our brains excel at quickly sizing up what the rest of the tribe is doing doesn't mean we have to tow the line, especially creatively.

    It just means that we're unlikely to look through thousands of images and comments and be unable to take them into account as part of the world and culture that we're processing. If I'd actually said that everyone here was just doing what everyone else was doing (logically, rather difficult when you think about it) then perhaps I'd feel apologetic... but I didn't, so I don't!
     
  13. I think everyone who regularily views photos, whether on PN or elsewhere, is affected by those photos. It is for each of us to decide whether we want that to be good or bad... I often find inspiration in the photos I view on PN, and ideas that I may wish to explore that I might not have thought of before. Others may be purely influenced by the desire for high ratings of course... To each their own.
     
  14. It does to some extent. Not all of it is positive either. Especially paralyzing is the question of why photograph. Instead of just photographing because I enjoy it, I worry too much about whether or not it really has any value, and sometimes this can be demotivating, as in why even bother. Other times I look at photo after photo and after a while I can see a pattern in photos I really like and photos that do not interest me. This I find helpful. I used to shoot bug macros, because it was fun to shoot bug macros. Now I realize I don't really like to look at bug macros, so why even take them? I see photos that I find too garish, or I find photos that are boring, and I try to avoid certain cliches, or overprocessing photos until they look unrealistic. If I see a monarch butterfly on some milkweed, I will feel compelled to not even bother, as if we need another. I also consciously avoid emulating certain photographers whose work I admire due to the fear of being unoriginal or being branded derivative. Yes pathetic, I know. Curse you photo net.
     
  15. How have your photos become more "violent,"Anders? That statement interest me if you care to elaborate. Is the pack animal getting to be a little predatory old chap? Or are we more of the herbivore/ cud chewing classificaton? Alright,the analytical class if you please..

    If we decide by choice to let ourselves get "homogenized" (my term not yours)_ by looking at photographs in PN,or in a book, or those that get raves, I would honestly say 'stand clear matey.' Unless a spirited comment from some thoughtful soulmate encourages,inspires, or steers one in a direction one is willing to embark,Anders. In that event, sure, it is part of growth and is likely a Natural Good. (Like the pines near Barstow. Add another ring each year, Look close with the scope and you can tell what the winter was like in the Sierras. Pine still grows, it can't stop until chopped)

    If I evolve-juicy and kind to myself term-or change,it must be unmeasurable ( I don't calibrate changes consciously and really do not seek a popular approval badge),It gets to be the environment,social,cultural, the acuity of my vision, biology, the political even and cultural climate around me which influences and conditions what draws my attention anyway. If you got into bugs,you learn about bugs. And vice versa,you buy a microscope and start reading E.O.Wilson. If you get excited by faces,you want to try different ones. If you see so and so do unusul self portraits,maybe you will have a go at it. And discard or continue...PN fits in as one element in an array and why should it do more. I have to then ask the in pursuit of this elusive Q--Why be anxious,as you appear, about what comes in to your senses and contours your imagination. I relax and seriously try to let it happen. And happen without judgment if possible. I continue as a member and participate still because for me it has to be some of the warm and cozy pack animal proximity but not necessarily more. gs
     
  16. A quick answer to the direct question of Gerry to how my photos have become more "violent".

    Every photo, if it is good, has some kind of message that explains to the viewer why it has been taken. The same goes for
    paintings, novels or poems. Well, some of such messages are delivered on thousand of pages and demand a real intellectual
    investment to be received by the "viewer". Others can be received passing by in a couple of seconds. I think that more and
    more a "good photo" is perceived here on photonet (and elsewhere) as a photo with a message that is perceived and
    understood immediately because of its simplicity and "violence": Death is picture a dead person; Happiness a smiling child;
    Wealth a picture of gold etc etc. Photos become fastfood.

    This development is produced for example by simple compositions, strongly saturated colours and sharpness. This
    development has been going on for very long and it is surely not only on Photonet but is it desirable? I would rather opt for a
    development where a photo can be a thousand pages with multiple layers. Maybe I'm just very very old fashion....
     
  17. Well, I know I've experimented a bit outside of my "normal" range as a result of participating in p.net. For example the attached shot was an experiment with digital "grain" that results from various discussions here. I don't think it's a trend to "slowly adapt to some kind of common standards"...
    00O8eP-41239384.jpg
     
  18. it certainly does and has me ... when i look back through photos of times pre-PN and wish that i could re-visit those places now, armed with what i have gleaned ... i am encouraged, though, when i do post one of those pre-PN images and someone notices it and leaves some positive feedback. further self-reflection might also tell me that maybe i hanker after the time that i previously had in some fabulous places ... and not just to take photos.
     
  19. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I don't spend a huge amount of time looking at photographs on Photo.net. I would spend more if the database was searchable by subject and location, so the absence of this means less influence on my photograph than might otherwise be the case. To that end, sites like Flickr have had a greater influence on where I go, in particular, than Photo.net.

    One thing has certainly had an influence- the high incidence of oversaturated, darkly dramatic landscapes with improbably darkened skies; means that I'm much less interested in this type of photographs than I might otherwise be. Also red rock landscapes from the USA southwest. Of course Photo.net isn't the only place I see such photographs, and the attitudes I have today may have formed anyway; though I suspect they'd have formed more slowly and less decisively. Still maybe thats a good thing, since it encourages me to search/use my imagination more in deciding what sort of photographs to pursue and where to go to find them.
     
  20. I think that my experience in PN( and not only, also exhibitions museums etc) was understanding better the medium of photography in general, being exposed to a large variety of forms of expressions. My ability to observe and appreciate, when I see a good photograph, or a file or a presentation was well developed , also by trying to comment and not with an WOW, and listen to what was commented on my photography. I don't think it has changed my way of photoraphing, and presenting my work ,it HAS enhanced my technical ability. I will connect much better to photos( everywhere) that has a significance, a message, composition etc.
     
  21. Inasmuch as my oppportunity to travel to the photographic "hotspots" is very limited, I find it hard to connect with the highly dramatic, oversaturated landscapes that seem to garner so much appreciation. The same applies to nudes and luscious portraits of beautiful people. So, the greatest influence on my work has been what I've gained on PN from the discussions of technique and gear.

    I feel that, although there's much to be gained from studying the work of others, there's also the danger of at least subconsciously adopting another's style. Maybe that's not all bad, particularly if it's adaptation rather than adoption. A real plus is the possibility of gaining fresh perspective and inspiration: I could use some of that right now.
     
  22. jtk

    jtk

    If someone's in "danger" I hope they will contact me: I have a bridge to sell in Brooklyn. If someone is "subconsciously influenced" it means they need to be influenced.

    Me, I've learned a tremendous amount from P.N.

    I'm concentrating on projects and ideas, abandoning found shots, emphasizing people and stories, becoming uninterested in objects and graphics.

    I've realized from the tens of thousands of this type of photo on P.N that I photographed far more than enough sides of buildings, rusty machines, and "nature"...long ago. I'm going to take those images down in a month or two, replace them with current projects.

    Simply assembling photos that I wanted to see for myself on P.N made me review my own decades, as well as photos I've scanned that go back to the 1800s. That was a big "influence."

    Fear is the reason people don't post photos here.
     
  23. John, when I said "there's also the danger of at least subconsciously adopting another's style," you replied, "If someone's in "danger" I hope they will contact me: I have a bridge to sell in Brooklyn. If someone is "subconsciously influenced" it means they need to be influenced."

    Maybe I'm a little more dense today than usual, but your meaning evades me: care to expand a bit?
     
  24. jtk

    jtk

    Dick, I think we are more likely to benefit by influence than be endangered by it. It's the essence of civilization, education, love affairs etc.

    Admittedly, some of us can be sold anything...the Brooklyn Bridge, for example. Does that matter?

    A person who has a center or goal or value system is less likely to be influenced without taking full responsibility to be influenced. A person without center or goal or value system is often said to be a threat or burden.

    I don't know why one would think the subconscious more subject to influence than conscious intentionality.

    I doubt Freud (identified "subconscious") thought one's subconscious influences actions as much as one's values and goals. He is said to have noticed his concept of subconscious was similar to Talmudic law, so he drew goyem, such as Jung, into his school to make his analysis and talking therapy seem more scientific, less Jewish-moralistic.
     
  25. jtk

    jtk

    Dick...I visited your gallery (again). I can only hope your work does put others in danger.

    P.N is overflowing with flower photos (for example) but yours are of another, higher order...and I don't mean to limit my praise to that group within your work.

    As well, your inclusion of historic photos is very much in keeping with my idea of "photography." They are part of your photography.

    Has influence brought you danger? That would suggest rewards flow from risks.
     
  26. John, you're most gracious and generous with your explanation and comments about my work. When they're from someone of your artistic talents, they really count. Thanks!

    The danger to which I referred was the possibility that one's own style might be subverted unwittingly by that of another, rather than being augmented by it.

    Perhaps that isn't really a danger, and it may not happen at the subconscious level, but it does seem that some artists, without perhaps realizing it, adopt the style of an instructor. It may be that they do this because their own values aren't firmly enough structured, but it would seem to dilute what artistic values they may have developed apart from the experience. That said, I suppose part of the reason for receiving the instruction would be to selectively absorb whatever parts of the instructor's style might best augment the student's.

    As I see it, though, the "danger" might be that the student wouldn't realize what had happened and that his work might appear to mimic that of his teacher and give him a false sense of accomplishment as an independent, creative artist.
     
  27. For me the danger is not that we obviously are influenced from what we see, but that rapid
    consumable imaging takes over and replaces more profound work. The first is easier to sell
    and to understand and the latter more difficult but also more profound. All these used
    concepts are understood different by each of us and we experience therefor also very
    differently what ever "danger" being around here on PN. The challenge in this threat is to put
    words on these dangers if they exist for the individual.
     
  28. Anders, thanks for explaining about the violence business. Words and their abundant flavors sometimes get in the way of communication,don't they? I do believe you have a point that I can understand. That photos have become a kind of fast food (good you used that). And that
    you have a higher (loftier maybe?) goal in sight or based on your past values in the art of photo. One that would be something like the novel rather than the short short story. I agree with something you wrote about multiple levels of communication in an image you would hold dear.

    My final thought here I guess is to say that I like to think slash hope I can appreciate a well textured, subtly aprroached, carefully crafted,show respect for same, subject when I see it.

    Versus the throwaway punch line photo which sells the viewer at what realtors call the "curb appeal" level and makes a statement that is shallow at best and manipulative at worse..oh those have a place for sure but who needs?.. I like to think that I can accept the quick and powerful punch line. If it makes me laugh, especially. Sometimes a photo essay, like Rachel Foster's poignant series on her illness that I just viewed,works on multiple levels, can be a punch in the face as well as a surgical illumination of our common humanity,the heart or essence of personal expression.

    I think you and I are in basic agreement now that I myself better catch on to what you are expressing about your reaction to the personal impact of being a part of a worldwide photo domain,so to speak. Best,gs
     
  29. "Fear is the reason people don't post photos here."

    Can we therefore assume that choice has nothing to do with it?

    The former statement sounds like the opinion of some totalitarian entity that cannot
    fathom independent thought.
     
  30. jtk

    jtk

    The profundity Vs fast-food line of thinking is crucial.

    However... the potential for profundity with a sequence of digicam images seems far higher than what we've seen over the past century with still film - just as cinematography has accomplished far more profundity than has still photography.

    Still film's potential has rarely been approached, Ansel didn't even try. Magnum photographers own the benchmarks IMO, and they're evidently going digital.
     
  31. P.net definitely influences my photos, for the better. I see mostly the common pitfalls to be avoided and occasionally discover a technique that enables me to produce an image that I have imagined but could not realize. <p>I am currently enjoying a delicate application of a high pass filter when doing B&W conversions that is well suited to a particular subject. I made the photos a few weeks ago with a particular end result in mind, but have only this evening finalized the processing formula, which includes that filter discovered in a thread on the Lighting Forum (of all places)... t
     
  32. Thanks Gerry, I agree with you that the use of international English becomes rapidly a problem for our common understanding here on PN but, as
    you write, we are getting nearer expressing what is at stake when referring to the difference between photos as fastfood and photos as lengthly
    novels.

    One of the problem with photography is surely that the medium does not permit to communicate directly the intention of the photographer and
    that it is the viewer that decides whether they are in-front of a fast-food product, a short story or a lengthly novel when looking at a photo. Just
    to give an example. I have on my PN front page three photos which according to my intentions are examples of each of these three types of
    photographical works. Some viewers would probably see them all three as fast food and they are in their full right to do so. Others would maybe
    start wondering. The answer according to the photographer's intentions, is from the left to the right: fast food, novel, short story.

    The reason why I started this threat is that I personally feel that we are rapidly moving towards the fast food type of photos and that PN is
    pushing in that direction for example by the central role in PN of "click-clic rating" - if you know what I mean. I have stopped rating all together
    because of it.
     
  33. Although I have not read all the posts in a depth required to fully appreciate them,
    what Anders is referring to I have much sympathy for. Especially the rapid critique,
    and perhaps also the often too facile praise.

    Billions of images are made each year. Each has its own life, some very short, others
    quite long. The omnipresent camera lens and digital capture, now even in cellphones
    of increasing photo-optical quality, suggest that the increase will be exponential. At
    least until the boardrooms of organisations devoted to products for the amusement
    of people will come up with another device to occupy us.

    Photo camera clubs and their periodic salons or competitions have created in the last
    few decades a desire to produce images that will above all impress the judges. With
    200 to 300 images to view in a short evening, the three external judges at our local
    camera club rarely had the time or the inclination to look more deeply into an image
    to appreciate its more subtle aspects (they have exhausting 9 to 5 jobs as
    professional photographers or artists). We all quickly learned that certain types of
    images or subjects were more successful than others in getting the judge's attention,
    provided that the images were also at a reasonably high technical level.

    This leads to many fast food photographs and tends to devaluate the more
    profound image (although not completely dismissing). I cannot complain to much, as
    I played that game, locally and nationally, for about 15 years, and was very happy to
    do so. It has had the benefit of a good learning experience, the camaradery of fellow
    photographers, regional and national prizes to stuff into my photo CV, and even a
    request to write a regular column for two photo journals.

    Those experiences, based largely upon a desire to please the criteria or expectations
    of others, motivated a change in my approach which is now much more personal, and
    free. Perhaps I will never become the artist I would like to be, but I believe that the
    effort has to be a concerted and personal one, not one of continual show and tell.
    Abody of directed photographic work is probably not unlike the approach to writing a
    novel. One page is often out of context, but all can communicate better.

    If the newbie photographer has a good eye and approach, he or she can learn from
    the posted Photo.Net images. What works and what doesn't. What is made to "impress
    the judges", and what is a great photograph, even though at first look it may not
    proclaim that quality.
     
  34. Interesting questions, Anders. For my part, it is certain that PN has not influenced my choice
    of subjects one bit, but that is because I tend toward monomania. The work on PN has
    introduced me to subtleties of coloration, saturation, and processing that I have
    experimented with. But most of all, it has made me more aware of the little things in the
    photograph, made me more precise and accurate in my work. One of the great things about
    critique (not necessarily the critique forum, which tends to be "Great work", "I like it", and the
    like) is when a serious photographer takes the time to evaluate a shot. Inevitably I learn
    something worth learning, most of all that you cannot stint on the detail.
     
  35. jtk

    jtk

    It's a mistake to confuse "camera club" evaluations and "P.N." ratings with "our photos" (by which the OT appears to mean "photography generally").


    Camera clubs are good fun for a tiny minority of hobbiests, like cooking classes or book clubs.

    Similarly, a certain population needs P.N rating system, for whatever personal reasons. It's fine for them to have their needs met, they doesn't hurt anybody else.

    Worry about "influence" is fun for people who aren't actively engaged in photography. The worry meets their needs, it makes them feel like "artists". The concern is amusing.

    Serious photographers, whoever they are, use photography to learn what photography can be, recognizing that influence is nutritious.
     
  36. "Serious photographers, whoever they are, use photography to learn what
    photography can be, recognizing that influence is nutritious."

    A very good point, John. All of us are in a learning stage. We choose where to get our
    nutrition.

    "Critique (not necessarily the critique forum, which tends to be "Great work", "I like it",
    and the like) is when a serious photographer takes the time to evaluate a shot."

    Right on, Dennis! One line comments have often been made in these columns, and
    are of little benefit to the serious photographer.




    Contribute an answer
     
  37. Arthur

    I'm in full agreement with your citations.
     
  38. Very interesting thread here. As a newbie to photo.net and an very amateur hobbyist, I can tell you that the reasons I joined were because I was inspired by some of the great photography here, that I wanted to learn the difference between "snapshots" and "photography," and yes, to be influenced by other photographers. I want to know why some photos are good and some are not. The rating system has been great for me. I'm able to quickly scan through hundreds of photos and record my visceral reaction and learn what I like and what I don't like. I'm very grateful to everyone who posts their photos and digital art for review.

    I think it's safe to say we have all been influenced in some way by great photography or we wouldn't have picked up a camera in the first place. And NOT viewing other's work (and letting them view yours) is kinda like being single...when you have no one to bounce ideas off of or to tell you your nuts, you start believing your own opinion of yourself.

    I don't think it's an admirable thing to say "I'm never influenced by any one else's work" and in fact, I think it's dishonest. It would be like Eric Clapton saying he invented music when in fact, there are many influences that made him the great, original musician that he is today.
     
  39. Christine the immediate answer to the original headline question: "Does Photonet influence
    our Photos" is indeed a big YES. The difficulties come if someone invites you to describe
    HOW Photonet influences your work as a photographer and whether you are totally confident
    that the influence is fully positive to what you strive towards in terms of artistic expression.
    As you can see mostly the answers above manage to to answer the first part of the question
    but leaves the second part rather untouched.
     
  40. Anders, I think you have stimulated very well this reflection on the impact of Photonet
    (which can be applied to other exhibition venues as well).

    As you rightly say, the second part of the question is not fully answered and I hope it
    receives further thought, here or in a fuure post. Some of the pictures posted today
    are quite amazing, perhaps in some cases a bit overblown (colour, light, etc., but I am
    being subjective), but revealing of a photographic intelligence at work at a high level.

    There does seem in some cases to be some sameness of purpose, which may or may
    not be part of the photographers own "baggage" or of well defined objectives. I
    would say that the photos show a somewhat universal photographic culture, and
    cannot be attributed to an American bias in that sense.

    What distinguishes Bill Brandt from Salvadore Salgados may be cultural, but may also
    be circumstance or also the materials (i.e., subjects, situations, period) they each had
    to work with. They have different approaches, that's for sure (personally, I like both
    very much, despite that).

    Does the photographer lose something by exhibiting single photos? I think there is
    certainly a risk there, as making highly creative single photos does not necessarily
    illicit the same mental process that we would have in following an approach to a
    series of images that seek to communicate something of importance to the artist.

    Perhaps one problem with exhibitions (like the photonet galleries) is that the
    photographer may be thinking more about the quicky result, albeit forceful, rather
    than a body of creation that both helps him or her in creating a photographic
    personna and in pushing his or her exercise of the medium to greater lengths.

    Notwithstanding the benefits of single picture-single subject exhibition of
    photographs and the education of seeing the attempts of fellow photographers, there
    is an aspect of personal development that is not developed by participation in
    Photonet galleries and which we should be concerned with. Thanks again for raising
    the question. It is one a lot of us one-time exhibitors in salons and/or camera
    association exhibitions have posed and which led to our disassociation from (or
    reduced activity in) such events, and our adopting a more singular approach to
    personal development as photographers.

    "Le Douanier (Rousseau)" never was influenced by direct viewing of African jungles,
    but his self-developed approach to painting jungle scenes was developed without
    that 'advantage'.
     
  41. Anders,

    here is what I think. I have been having the same question in my head for a while and I am
    glad you posted it. I believe Photo.net does influence our work a great deal and in a
    negative way, even though we learn a lot technically speaking, especially if we participate
    to discussion forums. I will be more clear: I strongly believe that today, the digital age, the
    average technical skills are much higher than 20 years ago. "Thanks" to the digital world
    photography is the new cool thing to do (so people can feel like they are artists, painting is
    too difficult...). However I also see a strong "standardization" of style, subjects, taste. It
    seems to me that today pretty much anybody with some proper training can produce
    technically-close-to-perfect images but they all look the same. If you use a Nikon F2, you
    must be able to read the light or you will throw out most of your shots. With a digital
    camera you just look in the viewfinder and check if you need to take another one or not.
    Anybody can do that. On Photo.net I see specific critiques to composition, color balance or
    whatever and then I see those same "mistakes" done by Cartier-Bresson! I think that the
    best way to look at great photography and learn something is by buying some great books
    of really great photographers (I say "really" because not all famous photographers are
    great in my opinion, just great and smart business men...) and going to live expositions. If
    you want to solve this problem, don't post your photos for critique. You will not have a
    chance to win POW but who cares? Or, even better, get your own gallery with a free web
    hosting site. I am thinking about canceling my membership here to tell you the truth...
    Regards,

    Antonio
     
  42. Anders,

    Good question.

    Well, I can only speak for myself here, of course, but yes, my (very brief...) time on photo.net has already had an influence on my photography. Mainly because it's made me realise that the only photographs I really care about are my own, those of people I know personally, and those of people I don't really "know", as such, but that I've at least had some brief correspondence with.

    That's not to deride the work of others. There's certainly some very impressive/interesting stuff here. (Although most of what I've seen hasn't appealed to me, TBH...) Nevertheless, the truth is that I've found that I simply prefer looking at my own pictures, and those of my friends/aquaintances. That's just human nature, I suppose.

    How has this affected my photography? Well, it's made me less interested than ever in certain overly-familiar-to-myself "categories" (more specifically, styles) of photography... Landscapes, sports, animals, B&W studio nudes, macro bug shots, fashion-style pics and so on... So I guess that's already pushed me a little further along my own personal photographic path, rather than be sidetracked by certain others.

    For that, I'm genuinely thankful.
     
  43. Antonio and Paul. 7/7!
     
  44. Just thinking about this matter a little more...

    Strangely enough, when it comes to music I often seem to have the opposite reaction... I mean, in many cases, the more I read/know about the lives and opinions of the musicians and singers concerned, the less I seem to get out of their music, for some reason... I find it often colours my own reactions and interpretations in a negative way, somehow.

    With photography, however, it seems that I often feel the need to know the real-life "story" behind the image... Perhaps the music of strangers somehow becomes the soundtrack to - and hence an integral part of - my own personal story (in a way that the photography of strangers simply doesn't) and I want to protect my own personal interpretations, feelings, experiences, memories, and so on, from the external influence of others.

    I suppose the fundamental difference is that I often find myself experiencing various aspects of my life with a tune in my head, whereas I rarely do the same whilst looking at (or thinking about...) the photos of total strangers.
     
  45. Paul,

    Music is a continuum, much more intricate and communicative on that basis, whereas
    single photos are an instantaneous cut from life and not always apt at communicating
    anything beyond their composition or human appearance (if the latter is a subject of
    the photo). The photo can trigger some subjectibve response from us, but is
    disadvantaged when compared to a continuous musical "image".
     
  46. YES! I must say I'm pretty well influenced by photo net. For sure, I'm discovering myself, building an identity and recognition with a kind of ease when I'm here with my gallery. PN is having an important role in my developing, indeed.

    But when it comes to migrate to Digital, I'm stubborn, because I like to photograph with chemical films. I prefer more natural transparency and points than pixels. Well, I'm planning to buy Leica instead digital.
     
  47. Maybe I was a bit to harsh on my previous comment... At the end I believe that the media
    used is not that important if our work is interesting. What is of vital importance is the
    individuality and singularity of everything we do. Photo.net is a great place for exposing
    our works and meeting some interesting photographers. However, it also has a great
    responsibility in creating "models" to look up to. It's up to us to find a way to avoid being
    influenced from the "standards". I personally learn a lot technically speaking by asking the
    creator how some of his works where done, if he used filters, PS editing, what kind of
    editing, and so on. Then I analyze the info I receive and see if it could help my work or if
    it's something for me totally useless. Artistically speaking... we can't learn that but we can
    be influenced and guided by the work of great artists that we like and that we feel "in-
    sync" with, in order to discover and express ourselves. So far, to be able to find the work
    of such inspiring artists, I still have to go to a gallery or buy a book.
     
  48. Antonio, I fully agree with the way you formulate what I would describe as an intelligent way
    of using PN. The central question is then for me whether one can be part of the rating
    system, which is the structural backbone of PN, and still use PN as you describe it. My answer
    to that question is a NO ! but that might just be me and my personal artistic fragility
    expressing itself in clear daylight.
     
  49. Anders,

    I think the rating system is what create this standard quality. You can choose not to be part
    of that rating world by checking the box "submit for critique only". A lot of people do that
    and still receive many interesting comments on their photos. I will definitely comment your
    photos! Think about it.
     
  50. Antonio, my experience is that I receive something like one to two comments when I
    upload for critiques only so mostly I don't bother. I receive more comments when leaving
    the photos in the portfolio only. If it was an option only to ask for ratings from members
    only I think I would reconsider my practice of not participating in ratings.
    The problem of rating is however i my view two-folded. On the one hand we have the fast
    ratings of by-passers that I personally value less and on the other hand the mate-ratings
    which is nice but insignificant as concerns the quality of the photo. Then you have a third
    category of serious critics of your wrk which is drowned in the rest and therefore
    unidentifiable.

    The only solution I see is in my opinion totally unpractical at a place like photonet: Teams
    of designated evaluators chosen for the quality of their critics. This latter approach could
    be based o additional payments and would therefore attract only a limited number of
    members with a sincere demand for receiving qualified critics.
     
  51. Anders,

    that would be great actually, I like your idea. I hope some Photonet guy is reading this
    forum and taking under consideration your proposal. Why not hire and pay DISTINGUISHED
    professionals from all styles (fine art, wedding, landscape etc.) and different every time to
    rate our pictures? Only four pictures a month allowed to the critique forum in order to
    give equal chances of getting a good critique to all members. Or something like that if this
    is not realistic...

    In the mean time, I'll tell you what you can do (that I did): go through your pictures
    carefully and evaluate which images are genuinely yours and which ones are influenced.
    Delete all the non-genuine pictures and the ones that you are not 100 percent convinced
    about. You will be surprised how many pics you'll find that are not "yours"!
     
  52. "Why not hire and pay DISTINGUISHED professionals from all styles (fine art, wedding, landscape etc.) and different every time to rate our pictures?"

    Hey, don't forget "fashion", "sports", "wildlife", "portraits", "street"...

    "In the mean time, I'll tell you what you can do (that I did): go through your pictures carefully and evaluate which images are genuinely yours and which ones are influenced."

    Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking...?
     
  53. Anders, on the broad continuum betwen 'utility' and 'futility', I think the mass photo
    forums come too close to the latter and really are not the best place for serious
    criticsm. Best thing is to find a local group of like minded photographers (not in the
    sense of artistic approach, but in the sense of their willingness to impart honest and
    constructive criticism, with a certain integrity). Not very easy to establish, you have to
    get to know the approaches and values of those involved and weed out the ego-
    trippers or thosewith minimum of integrity, but to my mind this is the only really
    valuable forum one can find.
     
  54. Arthur--

    Sage advice. Local critique and personal striving is the way I've progressed.
     
  55. Paul,

    I am curious to know what you are thinking...

    In music having a great teacher is so important because there is so much to understand, in
    order to be able to play the violin for example, that if you don't have a guide it will take
    you forever and than you'll be too old to start performing. Nevertheless, there is a good
    number of self-thought classical musicians that turned out to have a good career. I guess
    in photography is the same thing, even though the amount of "improvisers" is probably
    huge today. It is important to have an experienced "teacher", besides ourselves, that can
    guide us on the right path and help us to develop our talent.
     
  56. Paul, it is a good idea, to delete influenced photos. But I'm not ready yet. I'm band with it. Maybe during some time. But I like the idea.
    I don't know what you 're thinking.
     
  57. Antonio, then we are at least two supporting the idea of hiring (or voluntary members of PN but on the basis of a secrete pick
    of the elves. I agree that the number should be limited but I would limit it to maximum one photo per photographer per month
    and the critics should available for all. One could make it an option for the photographer to stay unknown because the interest
    is the critics not the photographer.

    I like your suggestion (supported by Christina) of "go(ing) through(one?s pictures (and) carefully and evaluate which images are
    genuinely yours and which ones are influenced" although I believe by definition that all photos are indeed "influence" but some
    are expression what you try to expresss and some are expressing something outside yourself. The problem of deleting is that
    for most photos you have remarks from friends on PN and you would not like to delete those, but one could have special
    folders for selected photos after the proposed exercise of course.

    Paul your support to the idea of a group of selected critics here on PN make us the number of supporters into three . you write
    ?Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking...? What are you thinking Paul ?

    I agree with Arthur and Fred, that small local groups of critical friends is optimal but it does not solve the problem of what we
    do here on PN.
     
  58. Anders--

    Remember, if you go into your folders OPTIONS, you can hide from view any folder you like.
    That is my solution to your dilemma about deleting photos. I don't delete photos because I
    want to maintain the comments that were made on them. But I have put them in hidden
    folders so that they don't appear in my portfolio.
     
  59. Since I got into Photonet I started more and more to feel "lost", like the ideas and creative
    moments I used to have were fading away every passing day. Part has to do also with the
    fact that I changed equipment, going from a P&S camera to a Canon 40D with decent lens,
    and this change affected my photography because I started to explore and understand my
    new machine. With the old one I knew what to to, I was quick to execute once I saw
    something. During this new period my photographs were nice looking but kind of trivial
    and boring and some of my commenting friends noted that, so strong and visible the
    change was. Now I understood that I don't care about ratings and comments anymore,
    although I am grateful when somebody leaves a useful and honest one, and I don't need
    2000 bucks lens to create MY photography and I am learning how to make my beautiful
    camera fit my expressive needs instead of letting her (it's a she...) tell me what to do...
    After I read your question and I wrote my first answer I took time to think and realized
    what was happening to me. It helped me to get out. I must thank you for that, I never
    thought about the influence this site was having on me in a negative way. However, if I
    hadn't experienced this negative and boring period, now I would have never known what it
    means. What I'm trying to say is that anything good can create negative energy if we are
    not in control of ourselves, even a better camera or a website where we should be learning
    new things and get other people's opinion. Cartier-Bresson said that photography is a way
    to understand life.
     
  60. "I am curious to know what you are thinking..."

    Based on what I've seen and read here, I don't think that this web site is an appropriate place to explain some of my thoughts.
     
  61. Paul please explain yourself to the benefit of others
     
  62. "Paul please explain yourself to the benefit of others"

    OK, Anders, since you asked so very nicely.

    On Jan 27, Antonio said:

    "However I also see a strong "standardization" of style, subjects, taste. It seems to me that today pretty much anybody with some proper training can produce technically-close-to-perfect images but they all look the same."

    Then, on Jan 29, Antonio said:

    "I hope some Photonet guy is reading this forum and taking under consideration your proposal. Why not hire and pay DISTINGUISHED professionals from all styles (fine art, wedding, landscape etc.) and different every time to rate our pictures?"

    In the same post, Antonio then said:

    "In the mean time, I'll tell you what you can do (that I did): go through your pictures carefully and evaluate which images are genuinely yours and which ones are influenced."

    Interesting stuff, eh?

    Anyway, I thought about Antonio's words, and wondered how his idea may apply to the meagre offerings in my own photo.net portfolio. I currently have five photographs on this site, of which the last one in the set - "Forensic Scene" - seems to have received the most views and ratings, thus far. At the time of writing, those all-important stats are:

    "8 ratings, Aesthetics: 3.75/7 Originality: 4.50/7"

    No 7/7 for me then, folks... :( Bugger. Thought it may have scored a little higher in the "Originality" scale, TBH, but OK, I guess I must have missed "Dildos, Flies and Dirty Dishes Monthly" somewhere along the line... Still, no crying over spilt milk, eh...? A valuable photography lesson learnt.

    Hmm, but what if Antonio's suggestion was implemented...? I could then submit this photo to "DISTINGUISHED professionals from all styles" and get their "professional" ratings and critiques... Great! Just wondering how many distinguished professionals there are out there specialising in dildos, flies and dirty dishes... Could be a bit of a problem... :( I dunno, maybe it would just be easier for everyone concerned if I were to submit a nice shot of some mountains, after all...

    The strange thing is, I was clicking around this place earlier tonight - just casually checking out the portfolios of those who had responded to Antonio's recent "Why are you a photographer?" post - and came across a photograph entitled "My dog Amber":

    http://www.photo.net/photo/5951001

    I couldn't help noticing the stats:

    "5 ratings, Aesthetics: 5.20/7 Originality: 4.60/7"

    Not bad scores at all, I thought... I mean, according to me, that shot has a healthy 2.222% higher originality rating than my own sorry effort...

    Arse.
     
  63. Paul,

    I really don't understand where all this anger is coming from. Hey, I'm with you with that
    dog by the way... You sound a little bit like those artists that feel misunderstood or not
    comprehended and they get pissed because people don't like their works... C'mon man! I
    will be very honest with you: your "Black Tea" is a gorgeous picture and your dildo one is
    definitely strong and makes you stop and think for a moment. What impresses me about
    that shot is the title combined with the graphics. I don't necessarily get scandalized by the
    dildo, I have seen a lot worse... You could make it look better but, by doing that, you
    would ruin it. The very pail and non-appealing colors and the absence of contrast
    combined with the title turn the image into something very interesting but the reason why
    you don't get comments or good ratings on that kind of photography is probably because
    the kind of people that can understand that are not many and don't really like to waste
    their time with Photonet rating or critique system. With some that I consider my best shots
    I have done worse than you as far as ratings (3.50 and 3.00) and comments (none). In
    addition, I have posted over a hundred images but if you calculate the average rating of all
    my pics you will see that it's not very high. Stop by my forum on "Why are you a
    photographer" and drop a comment, I'll be happy to hear your story. In the mean time,
    check out the picture that I was telling you about and that got bad ratings and no
    comments... Take it easy.
     
  64. Paul, ...forgot to attach the pic, I always do that... Here it is
    00OF1A-41419484.jpg
     
  65. Antonio,

    Erm, I'm not angry, or bitter, or frustrated by the ratings system...

    It's there for a very simple reason: people want/like feedback. Especially of the positive variety... Human nature and reasonably civilised society being what it is, people are generally polite/pleasant when making comments on other people's creative efforts - particularly to total strangers - or they don't bother making any comments at all. Then, of course, they tend to receive similar comments/thanks back. This makes them feel good about themselves, so they stick around on the site. Result? More cash from subscriptions... (Or is that just me being overly-cynical here...?)

    I have no problem with people making a few bob out of this site. That's business, after all. I just think it's a laughably pointless - yeah, yeah, you know what I mean - system. So I was just taking the piss... I often do when I think something is clearly ridiculous.

    I also happen to think that asking "professionals" to rate/critique people's work on here is likely to stifle creativity. Sure, successful "professionals" are good at selling photographs. They know their market, and supply a product. As you yourself said, "not all famous photographers are great in my opinion, just great and smart business men...", and I totally agree. Making some cash out of any form of "art" is quite an art, after all... :)

    The problem is, what would happen if a complete beginner submits yet another average "sunset at the beach" holiday snap to one of these professionals...? What feedback will they get? The professional is not a professional critic, and has a customer-friendly image to maintain, for obvious reasons. So he's more than likely to just give a few polite, carefully-worded morsels of gentle encouragement, not an honest critique of the image. The beginner goes away happy, and no harm done, eh...? Except another beginner thinks "Hey, I have one like that... That pro seemed to like that other guy's, so maybe I'll show him mine too..." And so it goes on...

    What a total, utter waste of time that would be for everyone concerned.
     
  66. Paul, can you tell me a little more about your "Forensic scene". I found it interesting, but I can't understand the story behind. Where did you take it? In the real laboratory? Are you doing scientific photography?
     
  67. Paul, if you are still out there ! thank for explaining yourself. I think it was very useful so
    something good comes out of PN.

    Paul, by the way I did not read the proposals on professional critics by the word but saw
    the possibility of "hiring" the most active and well formulated photographers here on PN
    inviting them to engage themselves in a certain number of substantial critics of photos
    presented by Members. The important thing would be to get as far away from the present
    rating-by-a-glance system that sometimes is indeed "a utter waste of time".

    Like Kristina I would also like to know more about your "Forensic scene".
     
  68. Anders, yeah, still here, just been quite busy...

    To be honest, I think the numerical rating system here is a waste of time, regardless of who is doing the rating. My main motivation when uploading a "portfolio" here was to have a bit of a giggle at the sheer silliness (stupidity?) of it all...

    Just to be clear though, I wasn't mocking the picture of Amber. That picture almost certainly means far more to the person who took it - and possibly other dog owners - than most of the more overtly "original" work on this site ever will. I merely used it (and my own photo) as an example, to illustrate how little value the rating system is.

    Anyway, my pointless point duly made, I've removed my portfolio from this site. There's now simply a visual reference to the monthly set I put up on my personal site. I feel more comfortable with that.

    Sure, I'm as interested to hear what people think of my photos as much as anyone, but there's certainly no absolute reference on which any photograph can be judged. At the end of the day, you either appreciate a photograph or you don't, for whatever reason. Each of us has his/her own criteria when evaluating a photograph.

    Oh, and the "Forensic Scene" pic was taken in the kitchen of someone's apartment. (There's a real-life story behind it, but I'd prefer not to discuss that here.)
     
  69. Paul

    You perhaps didn't received a 7/7, but I know for sure you got at least one 7 for originality for your "forensic scene" photo. Which now unfortunately went back to limbos.

    About the rating system : Of course, a photo highly rated only means that it is a photo which is pleasing the majority of the people, meaning the photos which are the most consensual, meaning of course the less powerfull in term of originaly...

    But what the rating shows really still is important IMO, as it shows a certain "fashion" in photography, especially when you see the top photos years after years, and you can see some differences.

    That is why I think one of the really best part of PN is the ability to leave comments, and exchange ideas. I tried to start some dialiogue with you about this specific photo, but unfortunately you didn't had time or wish to answer...
     
  70. Well, it seems that some people want to display their photos - along with the comments - permanently on here... I prefer my own stuff to just come and go, I guess.

    I read your comments, Laurent. Thanks for taking the time to write. And no, I didn't answer, simply because I wasn't aware that you were expecting me to :)

    I suspect many of my photos are not particularly interesting/appealing to the majority of PN people. Or people in general... Hard to say. But OK, they're not intended to be...

    Or maybe they're just crap? :)
     
  71. Paul and Laurent, as you might have understood from what I have written above I find PN a valuable place or exchange of comments and ideas
    and surely my photos are improving because of efforts people make to formulate themselves on my or other's photos. I agree on your comments
    on ratings and find it a great pity that PN's whole system of appreciation is build on it. The best thing I can do is not to participate in the rating
    exercise.

    I don't agree on the general message we see over and over again that the quality of a photo is totally subjective. I'm convinced that certain
    quality criteria can be defined and are available and that there in some objective terms are great differences between good and bad photos. I
    admit that I'm somewhat elitist in my approach and think that only rating of people who carry a great knowledge, competence and experience in
    the field can give qualified critics of photos in terms of artistic value of a photo and that very few, but some, individuals on PN have such a basis.
    Democratic voting of the quality of a photo gives information on what people like but not on the quality of a photo in artistic terms, in my view.
     
  72. Anders

    "I'm convinced that certain quality criteria can be defined and are available and that there in some objective terms are great differences between good and bad photos."

    I totaly agree with you on that. But then these criterias may be different for different people : some will have more thechnical knoledge than others who will have more theoratical knowledge, for example.

    They also have to be adapted to the camera, lenses etc. used by the photographer. When, for example I shoot with a simple P&S ( and as it is the only camera I have at the moment, all my photos presented here are shot with a cybershot ), I know very well, that I won't ever be able to reach certain criterias in term of pure visual quality : exposure is not that easy to get right, no DOF possible, tricky jpg colors etc. BUT knowing that, I'll always try to use the criterias I can use with it, and mostly subject and composition are extremely important, and I'm focusing on that much more i believe than if I would have a "better" camera. But I also know that most of the street shots I can have with this very discreet camera could never have been done with a huge lens which would have scared people away.

    Then of course, if somebody see without looking one of these photos, and doesn't check the camera used, and will rate only based on exposure and DOF, he can't think it is a good photo.

    But still, if I also think that the comments and discussions will always help much better and be more constructive than just ratings, still the ratings are showing "popular" photos. I'm absolutely sure we would get lots of very surprising, if we would start to ask people to rate not known canevases from some of the most well known classical masters of painting for example.
     
  73. I agree with most of what you write Laurent, but I personally would not think that equipment
    and tools used for making a photo is important for its artistic worth unless you want to
    evaluate the photographer and not the photo. What matters is the end product and never the
    process or tools used. Knowledge of tools is important for us that want to learn but not for
    evaluating the photo.
     
  74. Well, we're all free to evaluate a photo how we choose, Anders...

    Some of us may well find ourselves considering the role of the photographer. Similarly, some of us may sometimes consider the nature of the equipment used to create the image.

    Example: imagine a B&W shot of an elderly homeless woman being urinated upon by a homeless drunk as she sleeps off the effects of a bottle of vodka...

    It could be a moving (or distasteful, or unpleasantly voyeuristic, or highly amusing, or entirely worthless...) image to someone who evaluates the photograph based on the subject matter.

    Or it could be a poorly-composed, unimaginative, ten-a-penny snapshot to someone choosing to think of the photographer's contribution to the aesthetic qualities of the image.

    And, well, it could be viewed as horribly noisy and lacking in dynamic range to someone thinking about the the technical aspects of the image and the type of equipment used.

    Who's "right"...?
     
  75. "I'm absolutely sure we would get lots of very surprising, if we would start to ask people to rate not known canevases from some of the most well known classical masters of painting for example."

    I'm sure we can all imagine the "Wow, great colours!!! But I think you made the model's hips look weird..." comments. And why not? :) Each to their own, eh...? :)

    I mean, for every person who appreciates Picasso's "Cubism" stuff on some kind of artistic/intellectual/academic level, there's probably far more people who would say "Perhaps it was a new style in its day, but to be honest I still think it's just crap."

    Go to any gallery (or museum of modern art), and ask a few people for their opinions/reactions/"ratings"...
     
  76. Paul, the examples you give are all, I'm sure you will agree, opinions and totally justified and
    acceptable opinions. That does however not make them into qualified statements on the
    artistic qualities of the photo. The whole question is whether we recognize that there is
    something more out there then subjective opinions. I believe firmly that there is and that
    museums are filled up with the results of the process. Art is something more than artistic
    work appreciated by my neighbors - with all respect to my good neighbors.
     
  77. I didn't have a time to find here the method of rating. How does it work? I don't know how to rate, but I'd like to. (I was busy in learning English.)
     
  78. Kristina click "Photo.net FAQ" below (written in blue) and you will see the instructions. Good
    luck with the English.
     
  79. Anders, to be honest, I'm no longer sure what you're trying to say...

    Could you please give me - and other readers of this forum - a simple, clear example of an objective statement regarding the artistic qualities of a photograph...?

    Perhaps your understanding of the terms "objective" and "artistic qualities" is somewhat different to mine, so a clear example would be very helpful.

    Thanks.
     
  80. Paul as you would expect I have no such statement but I'm convinced that any subjective
    appreciations is not a valid statement on art. Appreciation of photos as art demand
    knowledge, competence, experiences that few of us have acquired. What most of us here on
    PN use as thumb-rules when evaluating photos i indeed a question of whether it is agreeable
    to look at. That is how we end up with photos of dogs, flowers and sunset as photos with
    high ratings.
     
  81. "Does photonet influence our photos to the better or to the worse?"

    Dunno. I pay attention to some forum posters. They've taught me things I hadn't considered before.
     
  82. OK, Anders, I think I see your point now...

    So, what you really mean is that you'd like to receive the subjective opinions of people whose opinions you happen to respect, for whatever reason... Yes? That's a very different point indeed, to my mind.

    I'd say that appreciation of "art" is simply a personal reaction to - and sometimes the interpretation of - "stuff". We may then choose to express our personal opinions regarding that stuff, if we wish.

    So, to my mind, the real question is how do we deal with the opinions/statements/reactions of others, and what are we really seeking to gain from them, if anything...?

    Before asking for an opinion on your photographs, perhaps you should ask yourself the following... Do you accept the opinions of certain people as more "valid", somehow...? Do you respect the opinions of people you don't know personally...? What value do you attach to certain people's words, and why...? What are your own personal criteria when evaluating someone's opinions/statements?

    And - being as honest with yourself as you can - what are you really looking for...? Artistic evaluation? Well, I would that argue such an evaluation will always be inherently subjective. Technical tips? Sure, they can be objective, but very often aren't...

    Or are you looking for something else? Appreciation, perhaps? The respect of your peers? Approval? Inspiration? Conversation? Attention? A mentor? Friendship? Customers? A job? A bloody good laugh? Anything you can get...? Nothing really, but hey, it kills some time reading people's words...? All are perfectly valid answers.

    It seems to me, Anders, that by being a self-confessed "elitist" you are simply seeking the opinions - and almost certainly a degree of appreciation and respect - of those who you happen to respect yourself. No shame in that, whatsoever, of course. That's human nature, after all.

    But I'm pretty sure you're not seeking objectivity... Well, not what I call "objectivity", anyway. Yes, it's perfectly possible to describe a photograph objectively, in factual terms, but it seems you didn't mean that...

    In which case, you are, in fact, seeking subjective opinions.

    Yes?
     
  83. Paul you are totally right when it comes to what I'm looking for when it comes to critics of my own modest productions, but you are off the track when it comes to critics
    of art. We have in fact two discussions here so it is not strange if you are getting confused.

    The whole threat has been a question of what happens about our own production here on photonet and what is the role of ratings and comments. All very interesting
    discussion in my eyes. However the last couple of days I saw discussions that were directed towards a more general question on objective/subjective criteria of art. I
    jumped in because I'm convinced that the general message here on Photonet that all is art and that purely subjective appreciation of a photo are equally important, is
    false. In my knowledge and experience ART is elitist and by definition we have very few examples here on Photonet, if any. Surely my photos cannot be considered in
    the category. That does not mean that my photos cannot be very personal expressions, when I succeed, but I don't believe that it is art.

    So back to the subjective critics. They are important because they tell us what is liked. When such critics come from someone I know and admire it means a lot to me. But
    there is a art profession out there with more objective criteria . I know of course that such professionals also are marked by subjective appreciations and that professional
    rarely agree between them selves but they are part of a system that produces messages on what, at least at a given moment of history, is art and what not (the border
    line is anything but sharp, of course). You can have thousands of artist that produced like Joan Miro but a real Miro can be identified and separated from the many
    imitations. You can have millions of photos out there, but only a fraction get anywhere near ART. To identify what is ART and separate bad, good photos from photos that
    are ART, demand more than most of us (any of us ?) are able to do despite our subjective appreciations. I know that here are differences between many of us on the
    existence of "democratic art" and "elitist art", but as you can understand I belong to last category. That's why I spend so much time in museums and reading ART books.

    Back to the quality and critics of photos here on Photonet. Ratings tells what, at a "snapview", is liked but I think it is not a candidate for a serious and helpful critique of
    our work. Comments and written critiques can be extremely helpful especially when they come from people that you admire from the quality of their passed critics or
    from the quality of their photos. Where I think Photonet can help in order to improve the quality of critiques would be to improve the guidelines on quality criteria so
    that written comments become somewhat more based on an analysis of certain elements and dimensions of a photo (composition, decisive moments, novelty, aesthetics,
    technical quality...).

    I hope that it now is clearer what I wanted to express earlier in the threat.
     
  84. Anders, I'm not confused at all.

    I was, in fact, trying very hard to be patient and polite with your lack of analytical reasoning, in the hope that you would think about your own words and see that you are merely expressing your own personal opinions here. And that others are perfectly free to disagree.

    Your apparent failure to understand and accept certain very simple concepts ("objectivity", "opinion") is why you are confusing yourself with terminology that you clearly haven't defined in your own mind, let alone to myself or others on this forum.

    "To identify what is ART and separate bad, good photos from photos that are ART, demand more than most of us (any of us ?) are able to do despite our subjective appreciations."

    If I (truthfully...) declare that I consider a photograph (or anything else...) to be "a work of art", then it is. To me. That is a fact. I can assure you that neither you or any author of any "art" book will ever be able to convince me otherwise. (I can. You can't.) And, well, if anyone were foolish enough to even try, I'd simply laugh at them, and dismiss them as an idiot.

    Other people are free to tell me if they consider the same work to be "art", based on their own subjective opinions, and interpretations of the word "art". Then, if someone else happens to declare something to be "art", I may or may not listen to what they have to say, depending on countless factors... In general, unless I know - or feel it would be interesting to get to know - the person personally, I simply don't bother.

    As you say, your own interest is in becoming an art "elitist". That's fine. You may well find you appreciate some things in a different way by doing so, and you may feel you gain some form of insight and enjoyment from that.

    Alternatively, you may (unknowingly) find yourself being effectively brainwashed by the pleasantly-packaged opinions of others, and then oh-so-generously offering your words of artistic "wisdom" to anyone that will listen...

    I won't.
     
  85. Calm, calm Paul, just accept that we have different opinion on this - if you still listen !!

    You are free to believe in what ever you find pleasure in - me too. The reason we communicate here might be that we are
    interested in what others write about a subject and not only on imposing our own beliefs.

    I believe that art is elitist and you believe that it is democratic. I think it is clear for all and without any confusion, apart from
    your misreading of my own interest. I'm not striving "to become an art "elitist"". I have an elitist understanding of what is art.
    My own photos and my own artistic expression would never become art according to such an understanding.
     
  86. I'm not sure what point gets made when declaring that anything one says is art is art. I might
    declare the table in front of me to be a door and not allow anything you say to convince me
    otherwise. Where does that get me?
     
  87. Fred, the answer is: Nowhere ! and that seems to be the point people that express
    themselves so categorical might like to make. Art, for them means nothing, so it is anything
    !! I see it like that at least.
     
  88. I haven't really thought about how much I am influenced by PN. I have learned from PN, but I haven't considered if I am subconsciously influenced by the site's photos. I do feel like I am more daring with some of my photos. Perhaps that's why.
     
  89. I would hope that it does... The entire idea of sharing photos is to share ideas. Photo.net provides an inspirational outlet and we are all learning from each other whether we are aware of it or not.
     

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