Please help me decide if this pic is any more than a holiday snap

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by zoltan_arva_toth, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. Title says it all, really. I took this photograph almost 10 years ago, on a trip to Italy. Ricoh TLS 401, Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f:1.8, Kodak ColorPlus 200.

    I cannot, for the life of me, decide if this pic is any more than a holiday snap. It sure takes me down memory lane. But does it look any good to you guys?

    michaellinder likes this.
  2. Ha ha! I know the feeling, Zoltan!

    What I like most in this photo are the successive 'waves' (or horizontal lines) created by:
    - the tops of the lighter green treens in the foreground
    - the tops of the trees on the ridge in the middle ground
    - the line of trees in the background leading up the moutain
    - the line created by the tops of the mountain range

    I also really like the craggy structure and contrast (light/shadow) of the bare rock.
    The brown building left doesn't add much for me. In fact it distracts me from 'the vista''.

    In this digital darkroom thread, @tom_r made a crop from a photo and post-processed it to give it a different 'look and feel' from the original. Your photo reminded me of this.

    So if it was my photo, I would emphasize and strengthen the elements (listed above) that interest me and remove/replace the building. This is just a quick illustration. of what I mean. Further 'finishing is optional.
    michaellinder likes this.
  3. Thanks Mike - it's [mostly] the building I was unsure of too. I think I originally composed it into the frame as a counterpoint to the mountain. However the way I cropped it looks almost random and the whole thing is just too brightly lit - as you say, it's more of a distraction than a useful element of the composition.
    mikemorrell and michaellinder like this.
  4. I agree that Mike's crop makes it stronger, but I still think it no more than a memory shot. Colors seem a bit off, the sky has no interest and the woods in the foreground have no interest. It has too much haze and the light looks like midday, rather than any other superior time for light.

    Try this, go to and search for the name of this mountain, sort the findings by "Interestingness" and see how yours stacks up.
    michaellinder likes this.

    As numerous cutting-edge photographers demonstrated in the mid to late 50s, sometimes camera pictures can be both snaps and art.

    What are called "snaps" by "outsider photographers"* often document whatever "reality" is better than constructed and contrived images and are especially useful to social scientists (who do not scorn Avedon and such like either). It's all grist for the mill.

    * I thought that maybe I had created this idea, but of course and as usual, many have been there before me (A Pioneer in Outsider Photography | Raw Vision Magazine
  6. Yes, good point JDMvW.

    Ask yourself, "Can you imagine anyone other than the photographer printing this and putting it on their wall?" I can't imagine that scenario. If others can, then I'd like to hear why.
  7. I assume you're trying to decide for a reason. Do you want it to be more than a holiday snap or more than useful to social scientists? If so, do you want it to be a typical "stunning" landscape photo or something else? If the former, look through landscape photo books and Flickr winners. If something else, the haze isn't a bad thing. It's something to work with. And the building isn't a bad thing. It's something to work with. Somewhat awkward as you've shot it because the building just doesn't seem to know what it's adding to the photo. Perhaps shot from a different angle, you could have suggested how it relates to the landscape or contrasts with it.

    Many directions to go in, including a very documentary approach for record-keeping.

    As it is, it may be a vacation snap, and there's nothing wrong with or less than about vacation snaps, but even as such it could have been improved.
  8. Keep the building, but make it small. It should be overwhelmed by the mountains.
  9. Thanks everyone for your contribution.
    dcstep likes this.

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