Dogmatic about Street Photography - at least for myself

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by lewis_lorton|1, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. I hold very strongly to the belief that good street photography actually shows something or some moment that the photographer sees and wants to capture. I believe in the 3 Ms - Meaning, Mood and Mystery. I can't help being almost repelled by images that rely only beating up mundane nothing-is-happening images with processing to make them 'street'.
    (I came across someone selling LR presets to make any image look 'street.)
    I believe that the processing should support the meaning not stand instead of it.
     
  2. Huh? how would a LR street tweak alter the average image? And whats the difference if your are loading BW film? - Is it about exagurated contrast?
    Sorry for my lack of understanding. - Unfortunately I can't try the real thing (understood as "standing like a rock in pedestrian traffic and snapping away with a 35mm") around here due to legal limitations.
     
  3. The closest I get to being dogmatic about street photography is that it isn't literally just a photo of the street. And nothing else. Unless it's a really good photo of just a street and nothing else, although Brassai pretty much owned that subject decades ago. And unless the photographer is being ironic. In which case it still sucks because irony is passe and killing any thoughtful discourse in culture. David Foster Wallace said so, before killing himself to underscore the irony.
    As for post processing, a single damn I do not give as long as it suits the photo and meets my admittedly vague, nebulous and mutable sense of good taste.
    What's the difference between actually using gritty, grainy b&w film pushed into soot-and-chalk contrast, and a digital filter to emulate that effect? Or shooting through a scratched, filthy bus or train window, vs. applying the grunge overlay in post? Or using a lens with a lot of light falloff vs. applying vignetting in post? Or using real glass plates vs. the digital effect? And, yup, I've seen samples of actual street photography including candids of people in action taken with handheld glass plate cameras using those nifty little circular glass plates. They looked remarkably contemporary.
    When we pare away the B.S., most of the arguments over authenticity are about personal preferences for materials and process, based on a personal history of use of those materials/processes, or nostalgia by proxy, a longing for an imaginary era we never actually experienced but somehow believe was better. It isn't the image itself we're reacting to, but the materials, process and imposition of a notion of integrity based on following a set of rules.
    But our rules about "real" street photography were developed artificially, our philosophical equivalent to digital post-processing and faux-nostalgia filters. Brassai's photos look like that because (a) he was constrained by the technology available at the time, and (b) because he indulged in a lot of post-processing. Study his photos carefully and you'll see evidence of pencil work or other retouching to fill out details in signs, posters, newsstands and architecture that could not have been captured "naturally" given the limitations of the emulsions available to him.
    Similarly, some Winogrand prints show clear evidence of dodging/burning, and the technique was rather lacking in finesse (notably the anonymous outstretched arm giving money to a panhandler in NYC). Some might call it hamfisted. Others might call it appropriate for the image, to underscore the artifice of the genre, the very nature of observing and photographing a moment while pretending we're invisible.
    Most photographers of the eras we revere as somehow part of a holy history probably would gladly have used better technology if it had been available - faster films, digital rather than film.
    What about the use of harsh, direct flash by Weegee, Larry Fink, Terry Richardson, and some Mary Ellen Mark and Winogrand photos? Life doesn't look like that. While I find most HDR applied to street photography objectionable because it's too often used to fix a photo that wasn't worth fixing, the "look" isn't necessarily objectionable, any more so than direct flash. But there again we're talking about the nebulous concept of taste, not content, intent or process.
    I follow several street photography groups on Facebook and elsewhere. It's a well worn genre with some good and unique photos now and then. Mostly I see competent execution of familiar stuff, reminiscent of a technically proficient cover band doing a technically "better" version of someone else's song, while not surpassing the original in taste and feel. And that's okay too because street photography is communication at its core, an ongoing conversation, and just because we all use the same words and phrases doesn't mean we stop conversing.
    And hardly a day goes by without someone posting "This isn't 'street'," or "Is this 'street'?", without adding to the conversation by describing what they mean, or whatever they think they mean. Their concept of street photography is limited to the 5-7-5 haiku convention, an artificially imposed set of rules that completely miss the nuances of the original art form because something was lost in translation.
     
  4. What's the difference between actually using gritty, grainy b&w film pushed into soot-and-chalk contrast, and a digital filter to emulate that effect?​
    In at least some cases, time, a sense of craft, and nuance or shading.
    I took Lewis to be emphasizing trite and ready-made post processing that would be comparable to a kind of paint-by-numbers approach in the other arts. I didn't take Lewis to mean any use of Photoshop or digital post processing.
    Lewis, I kind of like your dogmatic approach. Whether I agree with it is not so much the issue, and I do agree with you to a large extent (with some of my own additions which I'll post later when I have time), because it shows passion and commitment, which I admire both in one's writing about photography and in their work. By the way, do you have any work on display on the web? I generally love to see such dogmatism and commitment reflected in or supported by a writer's photos because it adds dimension to these kinds of thoughts. Also understand many people don't like posting to the web for various reasons, so you may not have anything on the Internet.
     
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I believe that the processing should support the meaning not stand instead of it.​
    Processing can be meaning. Daido Moriyama's street photography clearly shows this at times. Worth taking a look, maybe it would make you less dogmatic and enjoy a wider range of photography.
     
  6. I'm not quite facile with the interface here so forgive me if my reply looks ragged.
    I tried Daido Moriyama's site and only the home page showed any photos, the rest just had whirling arrows.
    Huh? how would a LR street tweak alter the average image? And whats the difference if your are loading BW film? - Is it about exagurated contrast?
    Sorry for my lack of understanding. - Unfortunately I can't try the real thing (understood as "standing like a rock in pedestrian traffic and snapping away with a 35mm") around here due to legal limitations.​
    To be honest, I'm not at all certain what you mean here, Jochem, although I am certain there are street photographers in Germany.
    When we pare away the B.S.​
    I'm fairly certain you aren't accusing me of B.S. (let me know if I'm incorrect), my preferences are based on personal experiences. I am not against processing of any sort that supports the meaning but I have seen too many photos that are truly unexceptional and meaningless just beaten to death with post-processing and presented as 'street photos.' I refer you to http://www.theinspiredeye.net/street-photography-presets/ for good examples. Actually 95% of pictures posted on Flcikr as street photos are good examples of that.
    One can be full of crap with film also. I know two photographers who broadcast their love for their Leicas, short focal lengths and film - and then show meaningless crap but up close and in B&W, so their photos must be 'street photos.'
    I don't think that the photographer should be part of the scene; I try to take what I see without affecting it thus I don't take candids of people who pose for the camera and rarely ask to take a photo. I don't take pictures of street people unless there is something to say beyond 'here's a gritty, poor bastard, aren't you lucky you're not him.'
    I think, at least for myself, that good street photography is damn hard work. My failures outnumber my successes 1000 to 1 (at least). A good street photo makes me feel something, tells me something more than what I just see in the frame.
    I have a good amount of photos at my web site (Isn't there a rule against self promotion? but in any case the url to my site should be in my profile).
    It seems that I don't have a profile with a link so here is my web site http://www.lewlortonphoto.com
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I tried Daido Moriyama's site and only the home page showed any photos, the rest just had whirling arrows.​

    His site has never worked properly. Instead, try this page, keep on hitting "Load more" at the bottom because it includes a lot of his non-street stuff. He is known primarily for his street photography - the museum shows I've seen have either all street or some nudes mixed in.
     
  8. Will do, thanks.
    Let me clear up something. I don't think of myself as a great street photographer, just as one who is committed to that part of the art.
     
  9. "I'm fairly certain you aren't accusing me of B.S. (let me know if I'm incorrect)"​
    Nah, nothing personal, just debating some ideas. It was a general observation about one of the two most common factors in street photography: (1) most are cliches (including my own); (2) most complaints and criticisms about cliches in street photography are themselves cliches (including my own).
    "I have seen too many photos that are truly unexceptional and meaningless just beaten to death with post-processing and presented as 'street photos.' I refer you tohttp://www.theinspiredeye.net/street-photography-presets/ for good examples."​
    So have I, but the post processing choices have little or nothing to do with it. Those are merely tools. Choosing between b&w and color is no different in any way from post processing choices and the subjective, interpretive perceptions of what makes good street photography.

    Sometimes a photo that seems to present nothing interesting can indeed be transformed through creative interpretation in the choice of media and tools: whether to choose color or b&w; sharp or soft focus lenses; the use and modeling of light and shadow; and a dozen other factors. Choosing post processing styles is not significantly different from choosing to photograph the very same scene on a different day or time when the light seems "better".

    As Jeff observed, processing can be meaning. We bias our photos and possible interpretations with every choice we make. Years ago I mostly pushed b&w film, even when it wasn't necessary, specifically to get that gritty, grainy, contrasty look. The processing was foremost in mind. The rest was forcing the image to fit the predetermined process. In retrospect, that was the ultimate in artifice.

    In the 1970s dozens of skilled, experienced reporters covered news from the Middle East. Richard Ben Cramer won a Pulitzer for his reporting because of his unique point of view and interpretive narrative - it was more akin to the "you are here, at my side" style of spoken narrative used by some radio reporters. His writing changed my view of journalism in the same way photographers like Peter Turnley have cited Robert Frank's "The Americans" as milestones or standards that influenced their perceptions of what is possible with candid photography of people and life. At the same time, I've never heard Turnley declare anything dogmatic about what is or isn't street photography. He does what he does. We do what we do.
    "Actually 95% of pictures posted on Flcikr as street photos are good examples of that."​
    Sturgeon's law says 90 percent of everything created by humans as entertainment is crap. Why should Flickr be any different? Stephen Shore visited Flickr several years ago and said "it was just thousands of pieces of *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*." Oh, well. I like Shore's work, enough to emulate it for some stuff as an exercise, like a musician practicing scales. But I can see why some viewers consider Shore's exploration of the mundane to be pointless, boring, and, given his rather ironic dogmatism about what is or isn't "good" photography, incomprehensible in any conventional context.

    Why not flip it around? So 5% of it is actually good? That's not bad at all, considering the virtually uncurated nature of the internet.
    "I don't think that the photographer should be part of the scene; I try to take what I see without affecting it thus I don't take candids of people who pose for the camera and rarely ask to take a photo."​
    That's a more recent evolution in the cliches about street photography: the whole notion of "not affecting/disturbing the scene." I can't figure out where that notion came from.

    I discarded my own misapprehensions about that aspect of street photography years ago for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I'd already done the "I'm an invisible fly on the wall" thing for so long it didn't seem like a challenge anymore. For another, I had an epiphany while trying to explain the concept of the observer effect in physics to a junior high schooler. He liked some of my photography but was baffled by my street photos - why would I want to take pictures of strangers like that? And he wondered whether my act of observing and photographing a scene didn't affect it.

    I realized he was correct. The very presence of the photographer, the act of observation, changes things. After decades of immersion in the celebrity culture - movie stars, television, pop stars, people who are famous for being famous - most people in public are always posing, always on stage, always playing roles in their own movies, complete with soundtrack. Cameras are ubiquitous. You can't walk a block in a city without being recorded by a surveillance camera.

    The notion that we're not part of the scene, not affecting or disturbing the scene by our mere presence, by our choice to observe and record, is a fallacy. If people seem not to notice us, it's because they've made a choice to disregard us. The street photographer collecting visual trophies on an urban safari is such a cliche that it's almost laughable. We've taken the Kodak Fiend of the 1890s to the nth degree.

    If my own documentary photographies give the illusion that I'm invisible, it's only because my family and friends have learned to ignore me. And I only show the photos that reinforce the "fly on the wall" illusion. I don't show every third photo, in which my family members and friends are mugging for the camera, sticking out their tongues, gurning and flipping me off. After all, we have an illusion of integrity to maintain.

    While I don't personally disparage any photographer who chooses to pursue that style, I do reserve the right to be snarky about the assertions that it's somehow purer.

    Also, it's kinda fun to get caught in the act. Usually it presents a great opportunity to chatter with someone, share some stories and learn their interests. And it's more of a challenge for me. There may be times when I'd rather not get into a conversation... or at least I thought so until the opportunity arose. And then I realized how much I'd been missing by pretending I was invisible, a fly on the wall, not affecting or disturbing the scene. It's easy to remain isolated, even alienated. It's more of a challenge to be reminded that we're not meatpuppets grasping surveillance equipment, but members of an ever-evolving community, like schooling fish and murmurations of birds.
    But I still enjoying seeing good examples of all kinds of street photography by other folks. I may be skeptical about some stuff, but I'm not cynical. My views and approaches are continually evolving.
     
  10. Thanks for getting back. - I wondered what the plugin you mentioned does.
    I also tried to ask what we define as street photography . - My rough sketch of "standing like a rock in pedestrian traffic" refered to some "Winogrand in action" footage I watched.
    From my limited understanding: Its not recommended to shoot recognizable people as the main subject of a picture in Germany without their consent. There are a few exceptions but things can easily get messy. I believe subjects' faces inside give a picture life while doing a nice composition of backs and OOF to honor everybody's privacy rights looks comparably lame.
     
  11. Jochen:
    Whatever other people define for themselves is ok; for me it is what an Internet friend of mine said:
    "Street shooting is perhaps the hardest niche of all in photography both to explain and to do successfully. The photographer haunts his chosen environment where, perhaps, nothing is happening - people may be just quietly going about their business - and yet he/she to select tiny moments when an image can be snatched which is more than the sum of its parts - where some fleeting coincidence of expression, gesture, positioning, and movement come together to create an instant which holds some undefinable meaning."
    I've always liked that and take it as my mantra.
    @Lex Jenkins
    I think I won't engage in this discussion with you. You've attempted to foreclose any discussion - and win - by taking a position implying deep experience, proclaiming deep cynicism, being insulting to any other opinion or position in advance by calling them cliches, being faux-humble and then declaring your intent to be snarky.
    There is no room in there for me to say anything, any opinion I might have having been dismissed already as a cliche, so I won't, except that your allusion to Heisenberg doesn't wash at all.
    Lew
     
  12. Sorry you feel that way, Lewis, but you've mistaken my own strong personal opinions about what is right for my own photography for a negation and dismissal of what is right for your personal photography. My opinion does not negate yours, unless you choose to believe so.
    However you opened up the subject with dogmatic declarations of your personal preferences couched as universal truths. This is a discussion forum, not a blog or manifesto page, so we assumed that you were inviting an open ended discussion, including a debate about ideas. Did you actually want a discussion, even if it means challenging some of your assertions? Or did you want only agreement and affirmation from those who believe as you do?
    And regarding the fact that I find many street photographs to be cliches, I'd say the same of most rock and pop songs, movies, TV shows and books. Most good street photos are tropes, rather than cliches - continually evolving explorations of common visual themes. And even when they are cliches, I still love some of those cliches anyway, for the same reason I'm a sucker for Eddie Cochran songs and for the ironic juxtaposition street photo - camping out near a store display, billboard or sign and waiting for just the right person to walk by. Even though I also take frequent pokes at the ironic juxtaposition street photo, I also shoot 'em myself, and enjoy good examples done by others. Like the 3 minute rock song, there's always a fine line between just another cliche and the perfect pop culture stew. It's a matter of timing, nuance, luck, and the right key.
    And I'd still rather spend a half hour over coffee perusing the latest street photo offerings on Facebook than looking at landscapes, bikini/glamour pix of pouty chix, or other cliches. Well, I might make an exception for Steve Coleman's landscapes. He consistently has a fresh take on the genre, a sort of street photographer's sensibility brought to the landscape and seascape subject matter.
     
  13. Lex, regarding those chix, how pouty?
     
  14. @brad,
    Sorry, I must be too sleepy or dense this AM.
    What chix?
     
  15. Hmm... like, at least Hope Sandoval pouty. Anything less than Chrissy Amphlett pouty is just pretending. Her mouth was nuclear pouty. Gawd, I miss that woman. She's one of the very few rockers I'd have wanted to spend time photographing for a documentary project.
     
  16. I believe that the processing should support the meaning not stand instead of it.

    Assuming that I may agree with your assertion, Lewis, doesn't it apply to all genres of photography and not just street work?
     
  17. Totally agree, Michael.
    Too often I see pictures where the processing totally overshadows the content.
    That makes my skin crawl.
     
  18. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Too often I see pictures where the processing totally overshadows the content.​

    Processing can be the content. Once again, see Daido.
     
  19. So, Lewis, what would you say about abstract photographs? The abstracts I create are the result primarily of processing. In fact, processing is the key element in making such images. I guess you harbor disdain for them.
     
  20. Michael, what if he did? Would it harm you in some way? Harm your photos?
    People are passionate about photography and about their tastes. Thick-skinned artists know that. Most serious artists don't expect everyone to appreciate, like, or care about their work.
    I'd rather see a photographer take a stand, especially in his or her work, than expand their horizons according to what their audience or fellow photographers think is liberal and open enough. Expand your taste too much and you just might be a generic hack so busy trying to be open to everything that you focus on nothing. Not that one can't narrow their tastes too much. In any case, what makes for polite conversation on the Internet doesn't necessarily make for individualized and passionate art, though they're not mutually exclusive either, of course.
     
  21. Michael, something from Alfred Stieglitz:
    "It is high time that the stupidity and sham in pictorial photography be struck a solarplexus blow... Claims of art won't do. Let the photographer make a perfect photograph. And if he happens to be a lover of perfection and a seer, the resulting photograph will be straight and beautiful - a true photograph."
    Such disdain!
    [I'm not saying I'd adopt his position or even that of Lewis (who has said something close to what I've said when looking at over-the-top processing that seems non-integrated—Moriyama's seems integrated to me, which is why I like his stuff a lot.) I'm saying I have no problem with Stieglitz's or Lewis's point of view, especially because those strong and focused points of view are backed up by their work. I feel no pull to be open to everything and would find it debilitating to try to be all things for all people.]
     
  22. Speaking of Moriyama and what qualifies as a street photo, here's one I did awhile back. I'm not too concerned with categorization, though it can have its place especially in academic and art historical settings. I put this in the street category on PN, mostly for lack of a better category. Maybe it exists at the fringes of street. Mission Creek is a small creek with houseboats running through a very urban portion of San Francisco. There are freeways nearby, kids playing on a basketball court, passersby, and the downtown ballpark right next door. The location and the two people in the small boat, for me, suggest elements of street. It could have been more of a landscape shot. And here's where the post processing comes in. I wouldn't have taken this shot, which otherwise could be a postcard shot of water and boats, if I didn't envision it graphically and with a tribute to Moriyama in mind and if part of my vision didn't include the city feel I felt at the time and wanted in the photo. So the loose street sensibility I had about it integrates with the post processing I did. Interestingly, "integrate" may be a bad word here because, as Jeff says, in this case the processing helps give it meaning, the meaning I saw in it from the start, though I took several unexpected turns along the way when I was post processing. In some ways, it integrates with the content by flouting the content. Now, whether anyone looking considers this a street shot would be interesting to me, as a discussion like that could lend itself to sharing some good ideas. I would not be offended if some folks resisted its being placed in the street category, since it certainly lacks in some elements of a street sensibility. And I would also not be offended or feel disdained by some who would say the processing is too much or feels like it goes against the content. Because, as I said, I think it does go against the content to some extent, by design. And I think the processing is a lot here. It's how I saw the image. In this case, I like the "alotness" and I imagine others won't like the "alotness" or other things about it. C'est la vie.
    00cwl9-552426284.jpg
     
  23. With respect to "street photography," I have found the longer I've been shooting on the street, the less need I have for "rules" limiting how I go about that. It seems many times these rules are set by others (some very vocal), for various reasons, including the need to justify their own approach as "the proper approach," sometimes based on personal limitations, and in the end often to the exclusion of other street shooting approaches.
    If someone wants or needs to limit how they go about their street shooting photography, either to tighten their vision/focus or to accommodate personal comfort limitations, that's fine and does not bother me at all. But, like Lex, I take exception when people go further and proclaim their manner of street shooting is somehow better or more pure, especially when it is couched under the guise of trying to protect the genre (as if it is under attack).
    .
    [​IMG]
    Market Street, San Francisco • ©Brad Evans 2014
    .
     
  24. If someone wants or needs to limit how they go about their street shooting photography, either to tighten their vision/focus or to accommodate personal comfort limitations, that's fine and does not bother me at all. But, like Lex, I take exception when people go further and proclaim their manner of street shooting is somehow better or more pure, especially when it is couched under the guise of trying to protect the genre (as if it is under attack).​
    Since this quote above is in the thread I started, I assume that 'people' above refers to me.
    This below is the entirety of what I wrote about what I thought and hold to in street photography. Perhaps you can point out where I said that others should do any different than what they do currently?
    I hold very strongly to the belief that good street photography actually shows something or some moment that the photographer sees and wants to capture. I believe in the 3 Ms - Meaning, Mood and Mystery. I can't help being almost repelled by images that rely only beating up mundane nothing-is-happening images with processing to make them 'street'.
    (I came across someone selling LR presets to make any image look 'street.)
    I believe that the processing should support the meaning not stand instead of it.
    I can say that my beliefs inform how I respond to other photographers' images. On photo.net, although there seems to be a fairly high quality of images, when there are 'critiques' they are usually of the attaboy genre and rather than be the obnoxious new guy, I have chosen most of the time just to ignore pictures where I would say anything negative, unless it is of a strictly technical nature.

     
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Perhaps you can point out where I said that others should do any different than what they do currently?​

    You told us what you think qualifies as "good street photography." Of course nobody goes out to do "bad street photography" but rather than tell us what types of street photos you prefer, you choose to dictate what is "good."
     
  26. >>> Since this quote above is in the thread I started, I assume that 'people' above refers to me.

    No, it does not refer to you. The thread has turned into a discussion about "street photography"
    where people offered their views and beliefs. I offered mine.
     
  27. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    And just for the heck of it, here's one on Haight Street, mother and daughter I think. Lots of post.
    [​IMG]
     
  28. You told us what you think qualifies as "good street photography." Of course nobody goes out to do "bad street photography" but rather than tell us what types of street photos you prefer, you choose to dictate what is "good."​
    So you have decided that because I said 'I think' rather than 'I prefer', that I am 'dictating' what others should think and do? Perhaps you could create a style book on how people can couch their views here in an acceptable, non-threatening, non-upsetting style.
    Well, I think about my choices and use my decisions to form how I work. I also try to be honest and straightforward and say exactly what I think, rather than use weasel words.
     
  29. I am usually happy to discuss substance and opinions but the tone and manner of these comments are more antagonistic than educational and leads me into an attitude I don't want to take.
    So you can go on without me as a contributor.
     
  30. Fred, I simply am trying to ask Lewis to clarify his position. I've seen previous comments on other forum threads to the effect that an image has to be spot on in all respects when it comes out of the camera. Even though this may be a bit exaggerated, I wonder whether it's Lewis' position.
    As for my work, I think you've seen ample evidence that I'm not trying to win any popularity contests. I'm just as passionate about what I do as anyone else.
     
  31. Lewis, it's really a shame that you haven't critiqued any photographs or posted any photographs for critique. Merely stating that you don't want to be the "obnoxious new guy" is a copout. I probably am not the only one who feels like he's flying blind without seeing your work.
     
  32. Michael, HERE'S a link to Lewis's web site, which he posted above.
    .
    Fred, I simply am trying to ask Lewis to clarify his position.​
    Michael, when I read this from you . . . "I guess you harbor disdain for them." . . . it felt to me like you were guessing at clarifying his position for him. Sorry if I misinterpreted you.

    .
    As for my work, I think you've seen ample evidence that I'm not trying to win any popularity contests. I'm just as passionate about what I do as anyone else.​
    Michael, yes, I hope I didn't come off as questioning your passion. Like Brad, I was talking about people in the post in question, about photographers at large and not about you specifically. Sorry if that was unclear. Boy, there sure is room for miscommunication in these threads!
     
  33. Figures. I get ready to join the party and everyone is leaving. I hope you come back, Lewis.
    I hold very strongly to the belief that good street photography actually shows something or some moment that the photographer sees and wants to capture. I believe in the 3 Ms - Meaning, Mood and Mystery. I can't help being almost repelled by images that rely only beating up mundane nothing-is-happening images with processing to make them 'street'.
    I don't see anything that restrictive or dogmatic in the 3 M's that Lewis Lorton mentions above. But it always comes down to a subjective call, doesn't it? One person's significant M's are another person's "there's nothing there!". I've looked through monographs, galleries, and exhibition catalogues of a number of the so-called greats and near-greats of street photography and I always come across some photographs that have me scratching my head and saying, "Why?", or "What am I missing?", or "How did they get away with this?".
    I'm not sure whether Lewis meant that "good" street photography must have all 3 of those M's, or if only 1 or 2 will suffice. It would be interesting to know for the sake of discussion, but beyond that I don't know that it matters. We all have our own ways of digesting photographs. My personal aesthetics for street photography allows that mood and mystery can be the meaning. Again, it all becomes terribly subjective and can lead to endless and convoluted digressions and qualifications as we each try to clearly define what we mean. (As an example, I would say that extreme banality and/or not knowing what's going on does not normally qualify as "mystery". On the other hand, mystery does not always equate to darkness and menace either.)
    Personally, I don't get repelled by heavily processed street photographs. I will either look at them, or I won't. I am very fond of Igor Posner's work and, like Moriyama but in a different way, he does a lot of post processing in terms of dodging and burning. Subjectivity raises its head once more.
    And no offense to either Fred or Lewis, but I don't really care whether a photographer has very strong opinions, or whether they are very dogmatic in their statements or approach. Their artistic opinions will show in their work. Opinions and dogmatism expressed outside of that work might make for an interesting bull session, but it's not what matters to me. Nor do I care whether or not someone's spoken opinions are in accordance with their work. There isn't a cosmic scoreboard somewhere that awards points on the basis of consistency. Who gives a rat's derriere?
     
  34. Who gives a rat's derriere?​
    I do. So there! :) But you knew that since you referred to my statement. [LOL, smiley face, etc.] I tend to take what a photographer says a little more seriously, especially about their own work or genre, when I see it evidenced in their photos. That doesn't mean I discount everything said if it's not consistent with their work. It's kind of like the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. Sometimes ideas are very important, aside from photos. And for me, it can be about more than consistency. It can be about substance. I do like when I sense someone is committed to an opinion, theory, or point of view as opposed to trying to be everything to everybody, at which point a lot of ideas can get watered down or start feeling generic.
     
  35. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Steve, the problem is that people make statements that are intended to determine what something is or isn't for everyone. Then an attempt is made to claim otherwise by use of the phrase "I think." The problem is that nothing is changed by that statement, why would someone write it if they didn't think it? If I say "I think the earth is flat" and everyone jumps on me, should I be able to say that they can't jump on me because I used "I think?"
    That's very different from a statement of preference. "I prefer street photos that ..." carries no implications for what other people prefer.
    It comes down to whether one accepts that there are a variety of valid "likes" and "dislikes" or one chooses to make absolute statements about "good" and "bad." That statement is made with or without the preface "I think."
    My own statement on this is that people should be able to do and enjoy whatever they want. However, if someone wants to show me ("show"=pictures) why they prefer something some way, that's a useful and valid exercise, I could learn something new. Being told what is good, regardless of the source, is not useful.
     
  36. It can be about substance.​
    True. But doesn't the substance exist, or not exist, in the work? Regardless of what statements are made by the photographer? If they say, "I believe in X and my work is about X!", yet it clearly appears that is about Y, or G...what then? That's what I mean about that poor rat's hind parts...it doesn't matter to me what they say, or whether or not they are consistent. I mean, yes, it can have an impact on what I think of them, but ultimately the work is the work is the work.
     
  37. However, if someone wants to show me ("show"=pictures) why they prefer something some way, that's a useful and valid exercise, I could learn something new. Being told what is good, regardless of the source, is not useful.​
    Jeff, absolutely. I don't want to speak for Lewis, but I suspect he was expressing a preference (albeit a strong one)rather than proposing an absolute. But generalist statements about what any type of photograph should or should not include, or be like, is subject to a potentially heated discussion. It's hard to reduce the irreducible without providing examples -- which again gets back to what you said about "show me".
    I have sometimes thought about starting a thread on this Philosophy board about prejudices in photography. What we like, what we don't like. But a bit more deeper and thoughtful than just creating a list of pet peeves or creating an "Academy of the Overrated". How our prejudices affect the way we view the work of others and how it impacts our own work. Are we embarrassed by certain of our prejudices and do we struggle to overcome them? If I had more time and energy I'd post it right now.
     
  38. Thanks for clarifying, Fred. Just in a sensitive mood, I guess.
     
  39. I dunno. Here's my take-away...

    Lewis starts a thread to express certain views of his about sp which he himself characterizes as dogmatic. That's fine.

    Others weigh in, some sharing *their* thoughts where rules/limitations are not a part of their street shooting. Lewis feel insulted and
    attacked by Lex, and probably by myself because we express views that aren't aligned with his. There may be others as well, but
    there's only so much I can read and process.

    What I get from this is it seems Lewis is fine with sharing his beliefs, but is not very interested in hearing what others have to say
    about their views and approach to street shooting. To the point where it looks like he again feels insulted and needs to bail as a result.
    Too bad, because from checking out his website he has some really good photos - I was hoping he'd stick around.

    I'm sure I've missed some nuance, but for me my take-away is a shrug and a big oh well...
     
  40. Steve G: But doesn't the substance exist, or not exist, in the work? Regardless of what statements are made by the photographer? If they say, "I believe in X and my work is about X!", yet it clearly appears that is about Y, or G...what then? That's what I mean about that poor rat's hind parts...it doesn't matter to me what they say, or whether or not they are consistent. I mean, yes, it can have an impact on what I think of them, but ultimately the work is the work is the work.​
    Steve, all good points and I agree on one level but disagree on another. Here's the thing. PN is a place I come, in part, to learn and grow as a photographer. Others have said they use it that way as well. So, there are times when what I say and what others say has been very important. Though it's probably ultimately about the work, work, work (that's work cubed, right?), it can very much be about what I and what others say. I've said things about what I'm trying to show and, in fact, some people have told me over the years that the work doesn't really show that. Talking that through has allowed me to see more clearly that in fact my work wasn't showing what I thought it was and has helped me to better home in on what I wanted. A recent example with another photographer. He had said in response to someone's critique that, much like Lewis said here, he really wants and likes a light post processing touch and a "naturalistic" look and his photo looked really far from natural and very over-processed. If we had all just let the work speak, there would have been no way of knowing that he had missed his mark by so much. He really was not seeing what was there. And I've experienced that, too, especially when I look back at some of my earlier work. That's one of the reasons I asked Lewis to see his work. To make sure he wasn't deceiving himself as I have deceived myself sometimes. He wasn't. His work bore out what he'd said. Anyway, the photographer in question was a little taken aback but by the end of the discussion seemed to be seeing what some of us were seeing. By speaking clearly, articulately, and sometimes even dogmatically, I can put myself and my work on the line. Yes, it's taking a risk. But I'm willing to take that risk in order to be very clear and sometimes dogmatic about what I think will work for me and what my goal is. Maybe once a photographer or artist has "arrived" and has developed a voice and the ability to really see and see well, what he says could be less important (though I'm still interested and think thoughts accompanying work can always be of value). But I'd venture to say a lot of the folks I've run into on PN have not quite yet "arrived" and do benefit by verbalizing stuff and getting some feedback on their work in terms of their goals or what they think it's doing. I know I have.
     
  41. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    but I suspect he was expressing a preference

    His last post would indicate otherwise.
     
  42. This thread is going in multiple directions now...Lewis' comments, Jeff, me, and others talking about Lewis' comments, and Fred and I talking about work.
    Getting back to Lewis talking about an LR preset giving a street look to so-so photographs (or any photograph). I am not an LR expert, but I have been using it since close to its introduction and am particularly familiar with the Develop module. I think anyone who has similar experience, and who has created and used LR presets, knows that no preset (unless it's extremely simple, as in a slight boost of clarity or exposure) will work the same on all photos. I have many presets that I really fine tuned for certain photos and certain situations and on some photos they may look good and on others they look like total crap. The point being that, like almost everything, there is no "one size fits all" solution. (Just as there is no such thing -- and here I am being dogmatic -- as only one way to approach street photography.) So for anyone to bill a preset as giving any photograph a "street look" is just plain silly.
    Jeff -- I think I missed the last post you're talking about. Yes, it's probably a little stronger than a preference but I'd rather Lewis came back and wrote for himself. Like Brad, I would have liked to have heard more from him.
    Fred -- I see what you mean. I was thinking more in terms of established photographers talking about their work than photographers in a learning situation we might find on PN or elsewhere. I understand how someone who thinks their post processing is light and natural-looking could learn from others who see that it does not truly appear that way. But I was thinking in terms of less easily discerned aesthetic or philosophical nuances: certain critics decrying Frank's "The Americans" for being an intentionally "ugly" and bleak portrayal of American culture, with Frank maintaining that he just documented that which he found, with no preconceived agenda playing a role in the editing process. While I am interested in what a given photographer says about their own work (and it might even initially influence me), I will eventually come to my own conclusions based upon how I interpret the work and how it affects me. I care about helping another photographer in a learning situation if I can, and I appreciate constructive criticism of my own work, but I see that as being distinctly different from, say, an artistic statement made by an artist for their gallery opening. In the latter situation I will rely on the work -- cubed or otherwise ;-) -- to make a determination.
     
  43. Yes, Steve, understood. Since we were reacting to Lewis's comments about his working style, and we're on PN, the PN environment seemed like the situation I would concentrate on in this context. In a gallery setting, if there's an artistic statement, I will often be interested to read that as part of the experience. It may or may not influence me and sometimes I save it for reading after I've viewed the work and then go back and look at the work again. Many times, looking at the work after reading the statement adds a whole new dimension for me. Sometimes, reading the statement does nothing for me at all. I can't generalize on the subject, for myself.
     
  44. I'll tell you another thing I'm dogmatic about. My intense dislike for the one stupid photo of mine that pops up in the threads in which I post. ;-)
     
  45. It's likely the only one you ever submitted for ratings. Put some more up for ratings (if you can bear it . . . you don't even have to look at the ratings), and you'll see more of a variety down there.
    On artist statements, I've seen so many good ones. A good one, to me, is not necessarily one that tells me how to interpret the work or even how the artist interprets her own work. It's one that may talk about the personal life of the artist, the motivations of the artist, the artist's history and process, even the artist's own influences. For me, art is a sharing. And it's an important form of human expression. As a kindred spirit, I'm interested to understand and feel more about how the lived experience and the humanity of the maker gets expressed in the work. So knowing things about the maker, especially from his own intimate and inside view, can really broaden how I experience that relationship between maker and what's made. The work itself is of great importance to me and there is a level at which I take it for what it is and what it presents to me. But, at another very important level it comes from someone and tying together things about that someone to the work can really open up worlds for me and actually helps quite a bit with my own ability to express myself and to allow my own life experiences to find a voice that can be heard in my work.
     
  46. "PN is a place I come, in part, to learn and grow as a photographer. Others have said they use it that way as well."​
    That's why I've been here so long as well. There wouldn't be any other reason to stick around if I didn't experience some personal growth.
    Part of that growth has resulted from reconsidering my opinions after others have challenged my assertions. While I don't believe that growth always needs to be a consequence of debate, confrontation or dispute, those types of situations do offer unique opportunities. We can choose to be put off by a bit of friction or choose to consider it another opportunity for learning and growing.
    I grew up near NYC in the 1960s in a horrible little burb a short train ride to the north that was such a hell hole the city seemed like a safe refuge in comparison. That's where I started in photography, although as a kid I had no concept of "street photography". I just wandered around taking awful, timid, poorly composed and exposed snapshots of whatever caught my attention, generally annoying the Central Park horse drawn carriage drivers and people on the subways. It was a great experience. Everything I learned about street photography came later, and most of it turned out to be wrong, mostly urban myths and tales distorted in the retelling.
    More than 10 years ago (yikes, over a decade - has it been that long?) I recall a debate with Jeff over my rather dogmatic assertions about what was and wasn't "real" street photography. At the time I was stuck in that puritanical mindset that real street photography was of the "don't affect/disturb/disrupt the scene" variety.
    I didn't feel alienated, discouraged or unwelcomed by challenges to my beliefs. I took some time to re-examine those beliefs and opinions, to study more contemporary street and documentary photographers, and to reconsider the process behind the classic examples of street photography I'd grown up admiring.
    I discovered that many of those classic photos were as much the work of master printers like Pablo Inirio of Magnum Photos, as they were the art of the photographer. As my own b&w darkroom techniques improved I began to recognize the telltale signs of manipulation in prints by other photographers and their printers. Some museum prints I saw of photos by Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand showed remarkable indifference to technique - the same prints, had I made them in class, would have been marked up with notes to reprint. Yet their photos retained an impact because of their content, intent and intangibles, where mine seemed like academic exercises.
    And I discovered that while Robert Doisneau is often quoted for saying "If you take photographs, don’t speak, don’t write, don’t analyse yourself, and don’t answer any questions," he was also a contradictory character, very outspoken about photography, and that some of his most notable street photos were actually posed or staged, not unposed candids.
    Watching documentary videos of photographers doing their thing - Winogrand, Meyerowitz, Klein and others - they're not invisible, "not affecting the scene". They're right out in the open, right in front of people. They may not be right up in people's faces with direct flash like Gilden, but they're not flies on the wall or surveillance cameras either.
    These were liberating experiences. It was a relief to be freed from unnecessary constraints, artificial rules imposed by misguided notions of purity that mostly evolved from misapprehensions about how the "masters" actually worked.
    And I learned to adapt from that liberation. I read voraciously, studied other people's photos and anything they wrote about how they took those photos, how they approached people or handled chance encounters, friendly or confrontational. I begged, borrowed and stole ideas and inspirations from folks in this forum - Jeff, Brad, Fred, pretty much all of the regulars. Ditto TOP columnists, folks on Flickr, Facebook, photographers profiled on the NYT Lens blog - everywhere and everybody. Personal documentary photographers like Jim Mortram, Zun Lee, Angelo Merendino. I get only one or two opportunities a month to do this so my approach is continually evolving and, hopefully, growing and improving. I'm more likely now to chatter with folks and snap folks as we talk than I might have done 10 or 20 years ago. And I like my photos more now, if only because the experiences and memories associated with them feel closer to where I want to go.
    Fort Worth, Texas, isn't NYC. Even with the ubiquity of cell phone cameras around the touristy areas, and a prominent local lifestyle photographer celebrating the upscale downtown lifestyle with society page type posed snaps, there aren't many "street photographers" here. People on the bus aren't going to be indifferent to the guy snapping photos of them without introduction or explanation. But people in my hometown are a gregarious bunch, open to conversation and almost always willing to let me snap photos with only a cursory explanation about what I'm doing and why. Often folks will see my camera and actually ask me to photograph them, without any expectation of ever seeing a copy (I do try to email copies and carry prints in case I see them again).
    And I still get a kick out of the unposed, spontaneous and ambush type street snaps by folks like Marc Brown in NYC and many others. There's so much going on now, so much to see and learn from, shared experiences that weren't available years ago, or were garbled and misrepresented because the stories didn't come directly from the photographers themselves. It's a great time to do this thing.
     
  47. Lex, a little stunned, all I can say is "Awesome!" Great reading your post and knowing someone else gets
    "it"* and is living, enjoying and soaking in all that shooting on the street has to offer. Some people never get
    beyond the "going out to take proper street photography photographs" and in the end miss a much richer
    experience that's right in front of them. Tip-o-my-hat for an excellent writeup on what street shooting can
    be about, along with how you came to where you are now. Not surprising that Jeff has influenced me as
    well, meeting every other week or so for lunch for the last 13 years...

    * For those in the room squirming in their chairs: Yes, there can be many "its," and everyone is allowed to have their personal it.
     
  48. It seems that people write a lot more willingly than they read.

    "What I get from this is it seems Lewis is fine with sharing his beliefs, but is not very interested in hearing what others have to say about their views and approach to street shooting. To the point where it looks like he again feels insulted and needs to bail as a result. Too bad, because from checking out his website he has some really good photos - I was hoping he'd stick around.

    I'm sure I've missed some nuance, but for me my take-away is a shrug and a big oh well..."​
    I wasn't insulted, I quickly realized that this wasn't a discussion so much as a chance for others to wax generously - and off topic - about themselves and it was a waste of time for me because I didn't hear anything that made me think my philosophy should be changed. (I did appreciate the link to Moriyama's work.)
    I stated the way I worked and then it became a discussion where people wanted to make me back off those points - or took offense because I didn't choose either to work or like the way they chose for themselves. I said exactly what I think about my own work and the attitude I take to others.
    Also I said exactly why I wouldn't engage with Lex. He bloviates, takes every position, insults indirectly and actually doesn't respond but just waits for a space so he can start talking again. That's a waste of time for me; he wants attention and space and he can take all he wants without my cooperation.
    .
    I stopped engaging with the thread because. altho this is the 'philosophy of photography' forum, when I stated mine, people were insulted that I didn't take care of them by using acceptable words and somehow be polite, cordial and accepting of the entire world. I am unused to being falsely congratulatory and I would rather be known as honest than easy to be around.
    .
    But I do want to correct a clear misreading of what I said.
    like Lewis said here, he really wants and likes a light post processing touch and a "naturalistic" look and his photo looked really far from natural and very over-processed.​
    I did not say I liked a natural approach; my attitude towards post-processing is always that it should spring from the content rather than just be tacked on to make the picture somehow look more important or more genuine.
    I believe that the processing should support the meaning not stand instead of it.
    These Instagram-like pictures may seem attractive at first in the 'oh cool, it looks so old and like film' kind of way, but then looking at the pictures one realizes they are incoherent, there is no connection between the content and the way they are edited. They then become for me, irritating rather than engaging, like seeing breakfast cereal that touts its goodness but is really empty calories.
    .
    I did notice that, although a couple of people made the point that it was somehow important that a photographer should walk the walk rather than only talk the talk, I didn't see anyone actually looking at my work on the link provided and verify that I practice how I talk.

    .
    On a more general topic, I find this site rather confusing; the interface really is terrible. Critiquing seems to be at a minimum and the limitations on image size means that beginners, who could use a hard look at the details of their work, can't get it.
     
  49. I know where Lewis is coming from, I too see a lot street photography which looks over-processed and/or relies on visual puns, gimmicks or bright snappy colors and I also think as I look at these pictures that they must be as Jeff mentioned the content itself. Such pictures don't stay with me for any longer then my eyes are on it but really, who cares? It's a big world, plenty of room for everyone to add their contribution, like eating a loaded pizza I simply pick off what I don't like and leave the rest on my slice to eat. I think that human nature being what it is, many people feel they have to have their beliefs validated by others. Eventually I think people also reach a point where they realize that there are many more problems in the world then what kind of street photography is "legit" and they grow more confident because of this. I'm lucky in a way I guess because I never reached this point because I never considered myself to be an expert or my photographs to be anything more then photographs. I mean, my photographs aren't going to change anything about the world we live in so why not just enjoy the ride while it lasts?
    On a side note since Moriyama was brought up: I have several of his books, I go to see his pictures whenever some show up locally here in LA (there are a handful right now in the Getty Center as part of a group show of Japanese photographers) and there are a couple of pictures of his I'm fond of but really overall I just find his work to be lacking in content once you get past his high contrast approach. Yes, they are nice to look at, but there's just no substance beyond it for me anyway. Moriyama gave a talk at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art a few years back. I attended it and was very excited to because I thought that he might offer an epiphany of some kind that will make me see what I might be missing in his work. After all, he has a huge following which I knew even before that day as I sat in the bookstore that was packed so much (with no air conditioning mind you) that people who arrived late simple had to stand outside the door and stretch their necks to see anything. Anyway, for about an hour Moriyama spoke about his background, his influences, and so fourth. Basically, he gave the same statements that he's given in so many interviews over the years; it was nothing I hadn't already heard about him. After the talk was complete and he hung around to sign books, I left thinking that I would have learned more by doing my own shooting instead. I do respect Moriyama in the sense that he developed a very personal style unlike anyone else's at the time but his work just doesn't get to me like the work of some others.
     
  50. >>> I did notice that, although a couple of people made the point that it was somehow important that a photographer should
    walk the walk rather than only talk the talk, I didn't see anyone actually looking at my work on the link provided and verify
    that I practice how I talk.

    How do you know that? Several people referenced your website. I suspect most here visited it.

    >>> I did not say I liked a natural approach; my attitude towards post-processing is always that it should spring from the
    content rather than just be tacked on to make the picture somehow look more important or more genuine.

    Looking at some of your B&W images, to me, the post processing feels overbaked and heavy-handed, to the point where it appears
    the photo's power comes more from the B&W post processing, rather than the underlying image. Which is totally fine, but is very
    inconsistent with your position of objecting to post processing making photos look more important or genuine.
     
  51. Which is totally fine, but is very inconsistent with your position of objecting to post processing making photos look more important or genuine.​
    Again, as I said before (see quote below) , I have no problem with the amount of the editing or the intent but only that the PPing be consistent and spring from the content rather than be essentially arbitrary.
    I am not against processing of any sort that supports the meaning but I have seen too many photos that are truly unexceptional and meaningless just beaten to death with post-processing and presented as 'street photos.'​
    That you thought my pictures overworked is a matter of taste but my choice of 'work', of editing, springs from the content.
    Again, I can't imagine that this issue has more to be chewed over than has been done already.
     
  52. Lewis, you missed my point (not surprised). I don't see it coming from the content, rather it feels tacked on to give power artificially.

    >>> I didn't see anyone actually looking at my work on the link provided and verify that I practice how I talk.

    Again, how do you know this?
     
  53. Lewis, you missed my point (not surprised). I don't see it coming from the content, rather it feels tacked on to give power artificially.
    >>> I didn't see anyone actually looking at my work on the link provided and verify that I practice how I talk.
    Again, how do you know this?​
    Not surprised also that you would root around to find something to criticize.
    Since your photography isn't bad, I had hoped you were better than that but if this is the kind of antagonism that typifies the way you and the others treat people who don't agree with you, it is not surprising that most of the critiques are you guys giving back rubs to each other.
     
  54. >>> Not surprised also that you would root around to find something to criticize.

    Huh? Where's the criticism? Just up above you made a point of no one looking at your site in
    the context of verifying that you actually practice what you preach. I'm just genuinely *curious* how you determined
    that. So please, if you will, let us know. I believe most here have looked at your site.

    >>> Since your photography isn't bad, I had hoped you were better than that but if this is the kind of
    antagonism that typifies the way you and the others treat people who don't agree with you, it is not
    surprising that most of the critiques are you guys giving back rubs to each other.

    You seem very sensitive and become easily upset if people express views not in alignment with
    yours. Why? Again, genuinely curious.
     
  55. this issue has more to be chewed over than has been done already.​
    It is not uncommon here to have a discussion generate a number of side discussions -- some of which may go on for many more pages than the original topic.
    I did look at your website (most of us here will do that), I just didn't mention it yet. As a general summation, I'd say it's good work overall and I think you definitely have an eye and a feel for street photography. It can take a lot of time to really digest any one photographer's body of work in order to do it justice so a general summation is all I can offer right now. (Not that you asked for, or need, my opinion.)
    Do you "walk the talk"? Well, I'm the guy who said that I don't give a rat's ass (in general, not your talk in particular), and that I just look at the work. And I'm not even sure that I know what the "talk" is anymore. That PP should only be used if it serves the work? What I think that means may be totally different from what you think it means. The majority of your work fits that statement, a few minor exceptions do not (the selectively colored tent pitched in the off-ramp barrier comes to mind -- too great an effort to call attention to it in my opinion, my preference would be to leave it alone and let the viewer discover it for themselves -- a risk, because that requires a viewer who has the patience and desire to discern such subtleties). So now look what I've done -- I've only called attention to one of many images in a critical way. Balance it with this: http://lewlortonphoto.com/p242688167/h253afc52#h5045b9a0 which I find a very good use of color, ambiguity (I prefer the nuance of that word to "mystery"), light and shadow, in a street photograph. And, as I said, more good stuff than stuff I could be picky about.
    I'll continue one of the "side discussions" in a separate post.
     
  56. Lest it be lost sight of, the forum here on P.net is "Street & Documentary".
    You can take whatever kind of picture YOU want.
    Just don't try to tell me what I can do.
    00cwx2-552460684.jpg
     
  57. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    This is in the Philosophy of Photography forum.
     
  58. Lew, it's not clear from the overall content of your posts here what exactly you're wanting from this discussion. You appear to have rejected every attempt anyone has made to interpret your intent, or to engage in an open ended discussion. For instance, this is the philosophy forum, aka the bloviation forum. That's what participants do here. Had you posted to the street, casual, beginner or other forum, the replies might have been nuanced a bit differently.
    The only consistent, readily identifiable, actionable theme in your comments is about critiques. Did you want a critique of your portfolio? It seems as if that's what you were wanting, but you rather ungraciously rejected Brad's effort - which was direct but not personal - by responding with ad hominems and impugning the motivations and character of people here whom you haven't even taken the effort to get to know better.
    I'll just conclude by saying that some of your photos are very good, but your portfolio is too large and diverse to offer any other feedback. And your own photo editing choices contradict your written assertions. Just from looking at your website's auto-slideshow a few times, it's a hodgepodge of:
    • Neutral b&w and color processing (the b&w of the older couple embracing is wonderful);
    • some more dramatic interpretive b&w editing (the single figure walking along a shining trail is very good and while the processing is obvious it serves the photo);
    • some rather tacky tonemapped or pseudo-HDR color stuff;
    • and at least one trite example of spot tone of a red or orange tent in a b&w urban highway scene. You should trust the viewer - spot color is like shouting GET IT? SEE? Yeah, we get it. It's a good photo that takes a moment to appreciate. Trust the viewer.
    Your homepage slideshow should probably be more coherent in look, theme, and be consistent with your own assertions about editing serving the image.
    More importantly, you're not ready for a peer review critique. You probably won't enjoy photo.net because it's a peer discussion site. It's mainly a good fit for folks of diverse backgrounds and experience levels who are tolerant of differences of opinion, differences in skill level, capable of mutual respect, and enjoy open ended discussions. And, yeah, we can seem a bit cliquish, but that's common to any mature community - keep in mind that photo.net is the oldest photography site on the web, and some of us have been here a long time. It's not right for everyone. It appears you'll only accept feedback and advice from someone you consider to be your superior. You'll have to look elsewhere because you've already dismissed us.
    Best wishes. You have some excellent individual photos and some potential. You should sign up for a workshop and critique with an internationally acclaimed photographer whose work and/or critique style you respect.
     
  59. This is in the Philosophy of Photography forum.​
    Yes, so?
    Nonetheless, the forum on street photography here at P.net is still for documentary as well as street photography. I said what I meant and meant what I said.
     
  60. JDM, I was looking at your photo up above and was wondering what makes it "documentary." Can you elaborate?
     
  61. No, it's not documentary-- it's the kind of 'street photography' that some disbarred (a picture of a street).
    It is, however, another entry in my Carbondale Polyspheroid Water Tower series...
    I guess I am being too subtle or too obscure. Either way, forget about it.
     
  62. Lex Jenkins -- "mature community"​
    I want to lodge a formal complaint that I resent the implication of this term.
     
  63. I knew that would be a mistake. Okay, we're an old community of immature curmudgeons. Senior netizens. Annoying Aggregate of Recalcitrant Photographers. If we were birds we'd be a Bluster of Bloviators.
     
  64. Much better. ;-) "Immature Curmudgeons" -- That will be the title of a book, written some years hence, by some 20-something hipster whippersnapper about a loose collective of senior netizens who hung out at various internet locations together, bloviating, snarking, and sharing photographs. A sort of Cyber Photo League of the early 21st Century. Nurse? Nurse? What do you mean what am I writing about? I'm passing wisdom...or was that just gas?
     
  65. . Okay, we're an old community of immature curmudgeons. Senior netizens. Annoying Aggregate of Recalcitrant Photographers. If we were birds we'd be a Bluster of Bloviators.
    No, we are a mixed community of thoughtful folk who like to share their thoughts and photos. Nice folk.
    The problem with the community is some folk like everyone to agree with them otherwise they will burst into tears. They do not like a challenge to their thoughts! Indeed, the challenge is where the creativity of thought and Art comes from. The creativity in Art has always been about challenging ideas and thought.
    Fred G, if you do not agree with any of my post please do not do the "nm thing". Just say what you think or say a load of BS...no offence will be taken. Otherwise I will rip your privates off and spoil your love life, So there...with a smile. Because, you are challenged, and some folk disagree, no need to cry. We are all nice folk, and like most folk we have our ups and downs. And on occasion we like to throw custard pies at each other. Sort of a fun thing to do.
     
  66. To answerer the question is simple.
    Do your own thing....
    But keep an open mind to others and try to understand what they are trying to communicate. A closed mind, and a dogmatic approach is insular and few truly creative folk have that approach.
     
  67. Lewis, after rereading the private messages we have exchanged and reading the last 2 or 3 pages on this thread, I have concluded that your expectations of how communication is supposed to work - especially in honest dialogue - are quite unrealistic. No one who has posted anything to this thread has attacked you, insulted you, or used an argument ad hominem to try refuting any arguments you have advanced. Pardon some trite metaphors, but it seems to me that you have rather narrow shoulders and thin skin. But it's ok with me if you want to take your ball and go home because you don't like how the games is played.
     
  68. Lewis starts a thread on:
    "Dogmatic about Street Photography - at least for myself"

    ...and tells everybody, who care to read it, a few personal viewpoint on what HE considers "good street photography": I hold; I believe, I cant help - and off it goes ! ! !
    I'm highly dogmatic on street photograph too, like Lewis, although my dogmatism is different, but after having read the tirades above, I don't think this is the place to elaborate. A pity, it could have been interesting to discuss.
    By the way what has this to do with philosophy ?
     
  69. `

    Was just now reading the whole thread and
    was struck by *The Three Ms* aka Meaning
    Mood and Mystery.

    There is/was a "Fourth M", who is/was rather
    reknown for proclaiming that "2 outa 3 ain't
    bad", and I got to wondering if this held true
    even for the 3 Ms of Street Photography.

    `
     
  70. `

    Substance, Situation, Spontaneity

    Context, Content, Cohesivity

    Honesty, Humanity, History

    Reality, Reaction, Revelation

    Insight, Imagination, Instant

    Thematic, Dogmatic, Catmatic


    Hey all !!! Seems like almost
    anyone can be dogmatic and
    spin these triplets out by the
    alliterative dozens.
     
  71. `

    Truth, Tension, Transformation
    Action, Anticipation, Aesthetic


    Soooomebody help me, I just
    can't help myself. Is there a
    12 Stepper Program for this ?
    "Hello my name is Golem and
    I'm an alliteraholic .... "

    `
     
  72. http://www.citysnaps.net/blog/
    To help with some street stuff before we are all lost in the world of weird and wonderful...
     
  73. A Christmas present from me.
     
  74. Merry Christmas, Allen.
     

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