[Fred G gets credit for this topic -- I'm just facilitating his suggestion that it might make for an interesting discussion.] In Julie H's thread discussing W. Eugene Smith's photograph, The Walk to Paradise Garden, this quote came up (bold emphasis mine): Today, some photographers, particularly the young, consider this photograph to be Smith's worst lapse in taste, but the general public still loves it. [from Let Truth Be the Prejudice: W.Eugene Smith, his Life and Photographs (1985)]When looking at any given photograph, how do we determine the difference between "good taste" and simple prejudice? Is there a difference? (My initial instinct is that there is a difference, although taste and prejudice can easily overlap and one quickly falls into a confusing area of gray.) Many factors can go into this. Some of it can be based on knowledge of both the photographer and of the genre of photography. For example, looking at a family snapshot taken by someone we know to not be an experienced photographer, certain prejudices, or applications of our criteria for "taste", may be held in abeyance. But this is not really the type of discussion I am hoping to have. I am not talking about passing judgement, so much as how we determine whether a given judgement (by ourselves, by the "art world", or by the general public) is primarily based upon prejudice, or based upon taste. Feel free to use any examples (if you choose to use any). A quick one from me -- I happened to log into 500px this morning and the page defaulted to the currently most popular photographs. The vast majority were highly saturated landscapes, or portraits of attractive young women. My lip curled back in an involuntary sneer. A combination of both prejudice and taste. I have an admitted prejudice toward "popular" photographs on the major photo sharing websites (flickr, google+ and, yes, photo.net). That's hardly fair because it's possible that a closer examination may reveal some greater significance (possible, but doubtful, based on my experience.). But some of this also comes from taste (which was acquired through experience and study). In 2005 or 2006, it was just such "popular" photographs that I appreciated and primarily looked at. But at some point I started looking at a different class of photograph -- documentary, street, less easily categorized photos by Minor White, Man Ray, Joel Peter Witkin, Cindy Sherman, etc. Who were these people? What had critics said about them? A completely different world opened up to me. My taste in photography changed. And my prejudice changed right along with it. Is a photograph that I deem to be more significant (depth, meaning, aesthetic approach or philosophy) truly so based on taste, or is it merely a prejudice? The more I try and analyze this, the more I realize how large a can of worms this opens. Is there an overriding objective standard of taste? Or it all just a morass of anarchic relativism? Does time/posterity have the final say? Critics, galleries, museums and collectors all go through their own phases of popularity, taste, and prejudice. Does their taste supercede populist sensibilities? Or, in the end, is "taste" really nothing more than an informed prejudice? Have at it....I'm interested to hear what the rest of you have to say on this.