Wrong to see your own work as great?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by allenspencer, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. I'm not saying that you worship every negative you turn out, but of the photos
    you take that actually are great, you realize their greatness.

    I take many photos, most of them (Vast majority.) I dislike because of some
    small imperfection that annoys me to the extent that I can't look at them, and
    loads are total crap. But a few, very few, turn out great (or at-least what I
    see as great.), therefor I keep them.
     
  2. Wrong not to.
     
  3. Hmmm. I think that "greatness" should be a pretty rare thing, lest that term becomes - like all politically correctified qualities - merely the periodically sparkly part of "normal."

    To paraphrase (of all things... WHAT am I thinking, here?) a Pixar movie's exchange between a mom and her son (who has super powers, but can't use them in sports at school):

    Kid: But, Mom, if I can't use my powers, what good are they?
    Mom: You're still special, Junior.
    Kid: How, if no one can see it?
    Mom: Honey,
    everyone is special.
    Kid: Which is another way of saying that
    nobody is.

    I guess my point is that greatness - as a quality in a photographer - is not something that we all have. I know that I don't have it, and I don't see it in most people at all, not even as a potential. Do non-great photographers sometimes cough up a photograph that is - to someone (perhaps even for themselves) - a great photo? Sure. But I wouldn't call a photographer great unless she has the ability to call upon that greatness at will, and put it to work in a consistent way. That's greatness. If I ever produce a great photograph, I think it will be similar to hitting the lottery. That doesn't bother me, I simply recognize it as a fact. And I'm not shy about saying that many, many other photographers - no matter how workmanly, technically astute, and passionate - aren't, and won't ever be great, either. Not unless we move "greatness" down the scale so that we can all use the word. But then what word do we use for the people that used to be great?
     
  4. Matt: Even the greats were not able to do something great on call. Something competent, yes. Look at the life's work of Edward Weston and you (or at least I) only see 8-10 great, original pictures. Ansel Adams did not even do that well. His only really great picture was Moonrise. His student, Bob Kolbrenner, had more great pictures in one show, a few years ago in Soho, than Adams produced in his entire career. But Adams is great and Kolbrenner unknown. Greatness is therefore obviously in the mind of the perceiver, and if your own work is not at least approaching the path to greatness, why do it, unless as a job.
     
  5. Why do it? For the same reason that someone unable to compose like Mozart none the less enjoys picking up an instrument and playing it. Photography doesn't have to show the signs of towering talent or an exceptionally insightful artist in order to still serve its purpose. I like to record and illustrate things in the world that I think deserve to be documented, or celebrated, or which are (for my audience) intrinsicly interesting. Not having a well of greatness to dip into doesn't mean that - used in the right context - useful images may not still be put to good work or contribute to one's world view.

    I don't mean to suggest that a great artist or talented observer of the world will have that talent or skill manifest itself sublimely in every (or even most) effort. But those efforts are informed, I think, by a more inspired approach, purpose, and vision than that which fuels most people who pick up a camera.
     
  6. Personally if you don't think your work is great you won't keep going out and shooting. Your own self confidence will tell you that you are good at what you do even if it is not every time.

    If you don't say gee that is great who else will, you make yourself happy first!
     
  7. Nothing is great until a consistent response of "WOW this is great!" is echoed by your colleague's or the media.
     
  8. No.

    "...if your own work is not at least approaching the path to greatness, why do it, unless as a job."

    I enjoy seeing the photo appear to me in the something that catches my eye in the moment. I enjoy it when what I develop confirms the impression I had when I made the exposure. I also like the happy 'accidents' that sometimes happen.
     
  9. About a month ago I took a photo of some geese that looked OK to me, seemed kinda interesting so I posted it. (Feb 9th Steamed goose...) It got the best response, comments, and ratings of all the shots I submitted here on photo.net for the past year.

    Every person who I showed a copy of it to said "Wow, is that ever interesting" or some similar comment. Even relatives who are tired of my endless parade of pictures liked it. The staff at the local photo centre were all talking about it... and they see thousands of shots every week.

    That finally convinced me to listen to what people have been telling me; try selling your pictures. The manager at the local museum's store had no hesiation accepting it for sale/consignment with a couple of my other photos.

    Does that make it Great? In my mind not really.

    Now, IF people actually start to cough up money to buy a copy (for $150), then I may change my mind :) {insert tongue in cheek}
     
  10. "and if your own work is not at least approaching the path to greatness, why do it, unless as a job."
    Perhaps because the journey is the destination for many people.
    Is the most important thing the item that you produce, or the enjoyment that you feel when in the act of producing it? Some will prefer the act, some will prefer the item. But for those who prefer the act, the "greatness" of the end result is far less important.
     
  11. It'd be wrong for me to think mine is great. Yet there is that evasive glimmer of hope that over the course of the next fifty years, I may discover some of that greatness. Then I develop my next roll of film and get the book back out on how to make a good noose. Best, JR
     
  12. Some defer to a consensus of spectators regarding the quality of their photography.
     
  13. if your own work is not at least approaching the path to greatness, why do it, unless as a job
    What a bizarre thing to say about photography. I have lots of photos that don't even approach greatness, but they're still very meaningful to me and others. Does being a photographer mean you should no longer appreciate the documentary and mnemonic functions of photographs?
    As for the original question, sure, it's fine to think your own photos are great. But please don't go on and on about it to other people--let them figure it out for themselves. ; )
     
  14. I think you and I must have seriously divergent views on the definition of greatness.
    I've never taken a great photo. In a decade I've never seen a great photo posted here (by the original photographer anyway). A lot of good, even very good ones. But great? Nope.
    Personally if you don't think your work is great you won't keep going out and shooting.
    Anyone on this forum who thinks their work is great probably needs to see a board-licensed psychiatrist.
     
  15. This is an interesting topic. Greatness. Where does it come from? Who says something is great? The person who makes a thing does not always see its value to others. The person who values a thing will describe its usefulness using appreciative terms like "genius" or "greatness." We have all seen mediocre ego-maniacs and humble people who demonstrate awe-inspiring abilities.

    The truth is that people who make things must have others tell them how good the result really is. The assessment of others changes with time. More than one artist we revere now was considered to be a hack in his own time.

    There is a dual nature to creativity. It's possible to feel that your own work comes from somewhere else as you get away from the decisions you made and the problems you solved to finish the piece. I often like my own stuff. If anyone had the interest, I could tell them about the lessons I learned from the project and how completing it helped me grow.

    You can feel that your stuff is great with the caution that you do not take yourself too seriously. It's possible to see great worth in your own product only to have someone else openly disagree with you.
    Self-promotion helps get work, but you will do well to remember who is doing what. Now matter how good you think you are, it takes someone else to share the word that your work is well worth viewing. Public consensus is where the label "greatness" comes from.

    As for the picture itself: it is what it is.
     
  16. I'm seeing some very diverse responses. And it's made me come to some conclusion. Asking what makes a photo great is like asking what makes a landscape great, it's too vague to consider logically. What kind of landscape? Desert, forest, ocean, tundra? There are too many forms to choose what makes any landscape in general great.

    Where one photograph is great, it can be total garbage in another photo's field of greatness. As far as documentation of world events, Lange's work is supreme, where as far as documenting every day life, she sucks.

    To the work of Parr, Weston is trash. As to the work of Weston, Parr is trash. But each on their own are brilliant and beautiful in their own ways.
     
  17. Actually I don't think photographs have opinions about other photographs. Nor do I think photographers with differing styles necessarily see each others work as "trash."

    It's certainly news to me that Lange's photos of everyday life sucked. What in the world are you talking about?
     
  18. I would think that those on this forum who do not see their work as great have perfectionist issues and then should seek a shrink.

    Yes I agree that you keep that opinion to yourself, but there is nothing wrong with being happy with what you do.

    As to the statement that it is great when others say so is rubbish, what others think is irrelevent if you beleive it to be great in YOUR OWN eyes.
     
  19. I guess that because for me photography is an art form, it does not mean that it is that to everyone, something I tend to forget. The great passion of my life is just a method of illustration for others. For some practitioners, photography is just a pleasant way to spend a few hours, a simple means to communicate, a method of keeping records of family and friends. For some it is a technical challenge, for some just a hobby.
     
  20. I think 'great' is a loaded word. What I see as great may very well be seen as crap by others. I am personally a big fan of Ralph Gibson...but there are a very many people out there who think he is a passable photographer and don't get his stuff at all.

    In my mind to be 'great' something has to stand the test of time and be appreciated even by those who don't understand the genre. The Beatles were great...Oasis, well, they're pretty good but when people were calling them the next Beatles...let's see what they're saying in 30 years.

    But I think I know what you mean. I take lots of photographs. in the 'old' day maybe 200 odd rolls a year...now, countless digital but a lot of them are deleted within moments. Been doing so for 25 years and after all that time I finally have had a book published...just had the book launch last week. In it are what I consider my very best images from a personal project I was working on for the last 7 years and there are only 35 images.

    And though they are my best images, and they were good enough to be published and for a major gallery in a city of 1 million to host a book launch and month long exhibit...I would by no means consider them to be 'great'.

    It would be wonderful if 20 years from now they were thought of in that way by others...but it is way too early to tell.
     
  21. David:

    I would think that those on this forum who do not see their work as great have perfectionist issues and then should seek a shrink.

    Do you really see no distinction between the quality of work (technically, artistically, or in terms of the work's ability to suit its audience or purpose) between any one member of this forum and the next? People here aren't in any sort of real or meaningful competition with one another, but it's still reasonable to say that - by virtually any standard you choose to use, no matter how subjective or capricious - that most work is (by definition!) just average, and some smaller portion of it is routinely outstanding... otherwise it would not stand out. The Greatness-ometer is certainly a fickle thing, but it's the height of delusion for everyone to consider their work "great."

    Is everyone who ever tries to write a bit of prose or poetry great? Where, in your spectrum of greatness, then, is Shakespeare? Not only are most playwrites not Shakespeare and not great, they are aggressively bad, or at best merely average. Exactly the same is true of photography (it also being a creative enterprise, but compounded by also being a highly technical craft). It's possible that you're confusing aspirations towards greatness with an actual state of being so. I propose that it's only when you stop worrying about it that you can actually concentrate on your voice and your skills.

    Any evaluation of your work requires some sort of standard. That standard is set by your audience. If you are the only member of your audience, then you can of course label yourself as great, and consider your work to have achieved the pinnacle of the craft - for that one-person audience.

    As to the statement that it is great when others say so is rubbish, what others think is irrelevent if you beleive it to be great in YOUR OWN eyes.

    What others think doesn't matter if you don't care, certainly. But if your purpose is to amuse, inform, entertain, decorate for, challenge, or otherwise cater to the tastes of even one other human being with your photography, then don't you think that that other human being's reaction to your work should figure into your assessment of whether you were successful in communicating to them? Again, if you simply don't care whether or how well you have communicated, then certainly, you have the option of being Truly Great, all by yourself and for yourself. But what good is asserting your greatness when the audience you're talking to is underwhelmed by your work? That's delusion... but only if you care. I suggest that most photographers care, at least a little, or all they're doing is mumbling to themselves with a camera. If that makes you happy (and indeed, it does for many, and much of that introspective work can be very constructive), then there you have it. But what good is an adjective like "great" when there's only one point of comparison (yourself)? "Great" is a comparitive adjective. If you are the only producer and only audience in the spectrum of work you're looking at, there's nothing to compare your work to, and labeling it "great" is just a silly indulgence. Better simply to call it "yours."

    Perhaps you mean, David, that photographers who DO want to communicate to an audience should do so with an air of confidence? That's a much more useful thing to say, and doesn't rob the language of a useful word.
     
  22. For some practitioners, photography is just a pleasant way to spend a few hours, a simple means to communicate, a method of keeping records of family and friends. For some it is a technical challenge, for some just a hobby.
    From my perspective, the emphasis is reversed. I would say that for some, photography is a means to communicate, for some it's just a technical challenge.
     
  23. (I don't know how to activate the rich text to use italics, I hope this works.)

    Mike Dixon said above, "As for the original question, sure, it's fine to think your own photos are great. But please don't go on and on about it to other people--let them figure it out for themselves."

    Excellent point and I would like to add, Mike, one way that I find people go on and on about their stuff being great without actually saying so, is by telling you this and that piece of theirs is "fine art".
     
  24. I used some extremely loose examples, and my knowledge of the names of great photographers is very limited at the moment, so bare with me.

    What I'm saying is, the greatness of a photograph depends on its context and what the photographer is going for. Where one is great in one way, it could be crap in another. You can't take a universal photograph, just as you cannot find a universal landscape that contains the qualities of every environment on Earth.
     
  25. Sorry Spencer, but to a degree I think you can (take the universal photograph). I'm going to take this image of Salgado's http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/salgado/salgado_covers.html

    It was from a documentary series he did on an Etheopian refugee camp...and as a documentary photo is works extremely well. I've also seen it hung in a gallery as a piece of 'fine art' (and I too agree that is an un-necessary term). It works as a portrait.

    In short I think it is a great photo because no matter how you wish to view it (context)...documentary, art, portrait, technical mastery of the medium it is a better photo than most people will take in their entire lives.

    It is why I feel the original question is, perhaps worded wrong. I take pretty good images, if I do say so myself...but I have no delusions that I take as good images as Salgado...maybe once in a lifetime I may come close...but not on the ongoing basis he does.
     
  26. Matt and Bob you have very good points and I do agree, however I am answering in the context I see in the original question.

    Wrong to see your work as great, No it is not wrong!
     
  27. I love what I do, I truly enjoy it, it gives me great prsonal fullfilment. I wake up early everyday with a smile to start work and still work all night. Does that make my work great? I don't know- It makes it great for me. I don't rely on others opinions of greatness to validate what I do. I just do it an throw it out there. Define greatness, define success. I already have in my mind and perhaps it has mothing to do with your definition of greatness or success. My work has allowed me to provide a womderful living for my family solely through my own creative self expression. Yes , that is great! How could it be wrong to see it any other way???

    See a small piece of the pie:

    http://www.randysantos.blogspot.com
     
  28. Wrong to see your own work as great?

    No, if it does something for you. But the only valuable opinion, now or in the future,
    is the response of others.
     
  29. "But the only valuable opinion...is the response of others."

    What about your own?
     
  30. Don, I think we all consider some of our own work as impressive. I guess that if we
    didn't, we likely wouldn't be doing it. Hopefully the person believing his work is great
    is not also one of those who is always telling everyone of his own auto-critique.
    Humility is often overtaken by enthusiasm (and more) in communicating one's work,
    while perhaps the photo itself is the better communicator of greatness or not. Are we
    not in any case normally empowered by the thoughts that I can do better or I can
    discover something new?


    It is interesting how others see our work (e.g., those seeing a work in person, or in a
    more studied manner than a computer "picture bite"). What we often consider great
    never sells, or impresses, and what we consider not so good or simply cliche (sorry,
    can't put the accent here) is often considered great by the viewer.
     
  31. If we've worked hard and are reasonably satisfied with the results, and if others like what we've done, I feel it's healthy to take a bit of pride in our accomplishments.

    However, if we start to feel that what we're doing is truly great, I also feel there may be a tendency to slack off and become less self-critical, to the detriment of our work.
     
  32. I think that it boils down to overuse and thus the ruining of a perfectly good word (great).

    My work isn't great...I have no self-delusions about that. It's good, darned good at times...but great...no.

    And Randy...you may consider it 'great' that your photography supports your family...in essence though you are doing (supporting said family) what 90% of the worlds population does...works every day to put food on the table. I read a book a few years ago (non-fiction) about a father in Sarajevo who every day had to cross a bridge that was covered by snipers. The snipers had a fairly high success rate...killed a lot of people...but this father braved the crossing everyday to go to work at his little bakery so he could support his family.

    He was great (IMO). Me driving to work to my office...or you going to your studio...not so much (great).

    So lets use 'great' for all our photos. Lets say it's great because we do what literally billions do every day...go to work.

    And for those that are trully outstanding...well I guess they are super-duper utterly fantastic.

    But pretty soon we'll all be calling our photos 'super-duper utterly fantastic'.
     
  33. One point that is removed from the thread as it pertains to photography.

    Many people today will tell you they don't know what has become of people in the last 10 years (particularily in the west).

    Road rage...people who cut in line at the supermarket...impatientence with a store clerk bordering on ignorance...all of it.

    Personally I see it starting with exactly what we are talking about here. Through the media and starting in particular with the 'me generation' 70's thinking we've been told that we are all capable of such 'greatness'...that our rights to express our individuality is paramount that we have, to a large degree become a society of self absorbed, thoughtless boors...

    If I or my work is 'great'...just what do you call someone like Mother Theresa?
     
  34. What's the matter with good or very good? Less controversial and more useful in
    discussing images we like.

    "Great" or "of unequalled quality" can probably be discerned with some confidence in
    100 to 500 years.
     
  35. Spencer, there is nothing wrong in seeing your own work as great, but it might not be very
    helpful. I think it is always more promising if you can see the limits of your own work. Next
    shots might be even better.
     
  36. I don't think it is important to consider the work as great. The important thing is to love the image.

    Jon
     
  37. Gee Bob- I guess you completely missed the point of my whole post. I don't think I'm great, I don't tout my work as great. But my work is great "FOR ME". Clearly you don't understand that concept so why should I even bother explaining, I certainly don't seek your approval of what I do. You seem a little bitter so keep me out of your conversation. Perhaps you just need to find something that is "great" for you.

    Sorry to hear about the baker and the sniper bridge. Tell you what I'd do, I'd probably move my business to the other side of the river and avoid crossing that bridge.
     
  38. Randy...read the original post at the head of this thread. The fact that you've responded as you did led me to believe that you agree with the idea therein expressed.

    I'm glad you get such a great feeling of accomplishement...I kinda look at it as you're doing more or less what everybody does on the planet...if that makes it great for you, so-be-it.

    Going out and providing for your family...even if 'soley through your self expression'...to me is the basic tenant of what everyone should strive for. In my opinion (and I have a right to it)...one has to go a step beyond the basic before it become great, even on a personal level...otherwise the truly great ceases to have meaning.
     
  39. No hard feelings on this end. I made my home on the sunny side of the street, Good Luck!
     
  40. There I go, spend my money on a nice cam; spend my time getting out there....

    Then some dudes tell me my photos are not great....cause I have to be dead for a decent period of time or have won a popularity contest or something. Then they tell me to eat lots of humble pie cause it will be good for me...sort of "please sir can i have some more".

    Listen on dudes my work is "Great" live with it....

    Why, because I say so.....enough said. Jeez,talk about a load of fading fairies on a christmas tree.
     
  41. Put the word "great" back into your photo.....no need to snivel and whimper about your work.....or, spend your time fawning over yesterdays men. A great photo.......
    00Ohhq-42143884.jpg
     
  42. I'm happy for you Randy...and I really mean that.

    I quess I prefer to say I am content...I've actually got a pretty good life, much of it due to photography...I just find I hesitate at the 'great' term.

    I think it is a personal issue, for me. I've been on the planet longer than I care to admit and I have found that in the last 10-20 years rudeness has increased, and compassion for ones fellow man seems to have decreased.

    Or so it seems.

    And part of this is that we've come to believe in 'individuality' so strongly, that we've forgotten that the 'other guy' is just as important as we are. It may just be a case of semantics, but when I hear someone saying 'they're photos are great', or 'they're life is great'...they are setting themselves as above the average...above their neighbour.

    Maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning...
     
  43. , but when I hear someone saying 'they're photos are great', or 'they're life is great'...they are setting themselves as above the average

    Nothing wrong with a bit of self-believe and confidence, Bob. Don't you think having a benchmark as average is pretty boring...unless of course you have Karl Marx believes?
     
  44. Well Allen, everytime I get cut off in traffic by some bozo who figures he is just so damned important, with so much self confidence that he should be at the stop light first...the option to your so called boring life would be my fantasy of an Exocet missile up his exhaust pipe.


    It's that belief that we are buying into...lots of self belief and confidence, that seems to be translating, not into something positive, but as arrogance and self centered-ness.

    Sorry Allen, but if you think that's a good thing...as the old song says "stop the world, I want to get off".

    Gotta admit though, this is an interesting thread.
     
  45. Don't know about interesting Allen, but my Quebecois patois friends would call the
    more pompous, self-important navel gazing, just a lot of "Boulechitte".

    "A spade is a spade....".
     
  46. Arthur, it was the word "only" that caught my attention. I believe all photographers want and need a response to their work. Photography is not a performance art; nobody would be eager to watch me make an exposure or develop it. One method of performance is to exhibit our photos. But I can't give an all-determining weight of opinion to the viewers regarding the quality of the photographs exhibited. I'll stipulate to it being a major concern for those making a career (or those hoping to) in photography.
     
  47. who figures he is just so damned important, with so much self confidence

    Why would self-confidence equate to damned importance?

    Don't know about interesting Allen, but my Quebecois patois friends would call the more pompous, self-important navel gazing

    Why would self-confidence equate to pompous navel gazing?

    Surely self confidence and belief in what you are doing is a must for any endeavour in life.
     
  48. "Surely self confidence and belief in what you are doing is a must for any endeavour in life."

    True dat

    At least any endeavor worthwhile.

    An old saying I use all the time is,"The easiest thing in the world to sell is something you believe in."

    I know in some circles here "sell" is a dirty word. But that's their problem. Everyone sells something everyday. Better to believe in and sell yourself. What else do you really have?
     
  49. "Surely self confidence and belief in what you are doing is a must for any endeavour
    in life."

    "Put the word "great" back into your photo.....no need to snivel and whimper about
    your work"

    Allen, I agree 100% with the former statement, but being humble is not
    represented by the latter statement. Many great photographers were humble, not
    because they did not believe in their work but likely because as artists they realised
    the extent of the challenge before them and had very high criteria of acceptance.

    Don, you are right about my use of the word "only" (...valuable opinion). It is not the
    exclusive basis for appreciation of the work of someone. Each photographer has the
    right and privilege of judging his or her own work. And we have to.
     
  50. Gees, guys. There's nothing wrong with seeing yourself, or your work, as great, unless you, or it, aren't. Then it's just delusional.

    What's so hard about that?

    I try hard to hide my delusional fantasies from most people. They can cause problems if everyone knows.
     
  51. They've got this crazy new thing called a dictionary.

    Main Entry: great
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English grete, from Old English great; akin to Old High German groz large
    Date: before 12th century
    1 a: notably large in size : huge b: of a kind characterized by relative largeness - used in plant and animal names c: elaborate, ample
    2 a: large in number or measure : numerous (great multitudes) b: predominant (the great majority)
    3: remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness
    4: full of emotion (great with anger)
    5 a: eminent, distinguished (a great poet) b: chief or preeminent over others - often used in titles (Lord Great Chamberlain) c: aristocratic, grand
    6: long continued (a great while)
    7: principal, main (a reception in the great hall)
    8: more remote in a family relationship by a single generation than a specified relative (great-grandfather)
    9: markedly superior in character or quality; especially : noble

    So, if one personally feels that their work actually is markedly superior to other work, or feels that they actually are eminent and distinguished as a photographer, and don't think that crowing about themselves that way might make them sound a wee bit vain, well then perhaps "great" is a good self-label. To me, it feels like one of those recent school board programs that make sure that everyone makes the football team and everyone (or no one!) is the valedictorian, lest young minds become polluted with the evil notion that... just maybe!... some people actually are better at some things than most other people. The peril of the scholastic self-esteem movement, apparently, is that it actually sticks. What a disservice to students that might otherwise have discovered the joy of genuinely earning accolades as the fruit of actually doing something outstanding. When everyone's outstanding, no one is. When simply asserting your own greatness gives you the same feeling as tangibly producing something that you can point to as actually superior, then something's very wrong.

    If you can use the word great, then you have to be able to define or show that which is NOT great. Greatness doesn't exist without a majority of other things which are NOT great. We all hate to be lumped into the Not Great category, but denying that it exists isn't just silly, it implies the inability to understand that comparitive adjectives require you to actually make a comparison. Between two more more things. If you're great, can you point to that which is less great? And more to the point... have you really not encountered work that's better than yours? If you're uncomfortable comparing yourself to others, then you should also be uncomfortable using vocabulary that - absent a comparison and an articulated standard - is meaningless.

    So, for those that feel that seeing their own work as Great is essential to continuing on, I ask only that you say this out loud: "My work is much better than most other work I have seen or am likely to ever see - it defines Greatness." You have to keep your face straight, of course.
     
  52. That's par for the course. About once every five years I produce an absolutely perfect neg which just sings; everything is perfect - exposure, composition, development. After 25 years as a photographer it happens maybe a little more frequently. The best of my photographs (about 200 over 25 years), I'm happy to hang on a wall for public viewing, the rest stay in my files for old time's sake.
     
  53. "Surely self confidence and belief in what you are doing is a must for any endeavour in life."

    I think it is right, I simply enjoy and love phgotography, see it as a mediom to create what I want, I don't think of greatness, I do think of quality , doing it as best as I can.Learning all the time to improve my skills., I upload what I think is good.

    Greatness,is rare, and even the great names have good works, some medium , and a few great.
    and there is also as in any field in our life the market powers , that has their saying.
     
  54. "Surely self confidence and belief in what you are doing is a must for any endeavour in life."

    It's OK to be self critical, and desirable to get criticism from the outside, but I wouldn't make it a habit of beating myself up all the time. My photography is what it is. It's up to me to improve and seek guidance on how to be better.
     
  55. They've got this crazy new thing called a dictionary.

    They've got this crazy new thing called Colloquial English;). Sort of like every day use...Yes, it's wicked...but words are a living breathing, entity, not fixed in some sort of time warp.

    So, "great" is really a loose term, just an expression...no need to turn it into the "holy grail" of words.

    Perhaps believe and confidence would be a better turn of phrase.
     
  56. Allen: of course adjectives drift over time. But context matters. I'm happy to say to someone, "That was a great meal, thank you." But that's very different than saying, "I am a great photographer." The latter has an obvious connotation. Just like "I am a great musician," or "I am [implying, like Shakespeare] a great playwrite."
    <Br><br>
    The thread above is exploring - to a certain extent - whether it's appropriate to label your own work as "great." No matter how much that word might drift into watered-down usage, it remains a word that only works if you're comparing one thing to another, and it implies a position superior to other things. Regardless, that much is clearly stipulated by the OP, above. He's not questioning whether or not "great" means "superior to other stuff," he's questioning whether he should feel wrong about declaring his own work thus.
     
  57. It is more important to consider whether a given photograph or body of work has achieved
    what you wanted it to, whether it truly speaks to you personally, whether it can be
    considered really important or meaningful to you. Then, it is up to others to decide what
    they see in your work.

    Beyond that, I think that is it fairly safe to say that truly great photographers never refer to
    themselves as such.
     
  58. I hate that I'm not good at taking pictures. I wish I was great. I wish I could better photograph what I see. I look at "great" pictures and I think "why the heck can't I do that?" Or "how the hell did he/she get that shot?" Sometimes I think "yea I could take that shot if I was there...they were just lucky enough to be there" Often a great picture has nothing to do with the photographer other then he/she happened to be pushing the shutter release button.

    Occasionally I am truly satisfied with a picture I take. So I show it off, thinking to my self "I did good" and usually the response I get is "eh" Or I'll post one up here for critique and I'll get one or two responses and a bunch of average scores. I suppose for me it's good, but for some accomplished pro it's garbage. The important thing is it makes me happy to take a shot that I think is great. It does feel good to hear other photographers sing praise of one of your shots. Isn't that why most are here?

    There's nothing wrong with thinking a picture you take is great, I think that feeling is what gets most of us to spend all that money on equipment and time doing this?
     
  59. For me, the fact that my elusive 'great' shot is still out there is what keeps me spending money.

    Again, a lot of thinking along the lines of 'great' being an acceptable word in place of 'good' or 'so-so'...or the above thinking, that because it pleases me it is great, is what has got us in one of the cultural pickles we are in these days...that people yak on for hours without really communicating effectively.

    To me the misuse here of the word 'great' is just a step on the road to 'Iraq has WMD's'...you know, a couple of old rifles and a pipe bomb.
     
  60. "Greatness is therefore obviously in the mind of the perceiver, and if your own work is not at least approaching the path to greatness, why do it, unless as a job."
    I've never read anything more silly or pretentious in my life (except for most of what I type)! LOL.
    I think one or two "great" pictures per year suffices one to Stay in the Game whether you are a pro, semipro, top amateur, or merely a rank hobbyist.
     
  61. Wow, this guy Bob Kolbrenner was great, why is it he's not more famous !
     
  62. mg

    mg

    This topic is very boring - imho. :)

    Talking about what makes a great picture seems a lot more interesting than labeling our own pictures as "great". Labels never did anything good for Humanity: they separated people (or things) in several categories. Whereas talking about what people or things sharing the same category would possibly have in common would help develop the mind, and would prepare us to welcome a lot more people (or ideas) in our own land. Pictures can be great in so many ways. Do we know all these ways ? Do we understand them all ? That's a lot more challenging thing to discuss, rather then admiring our own little self-appointed "masterpieces" - which are probably not worth much anyway, and which are surely someone else's trash at any rate...
     
  63. jtk

    jtk

    "For some practitioners, photography is just a pleasant way to spend a few hours, a simple means to communicate, a method of keeping records of family and friends. For some it is a technical challenge, for some just a hobby."

    For others, photography is pursued passionately: not merely "pleasant," utilitarian, or for family/friends. For some it's more like poetry (to use Bill Brandt's word): inherently difficult, failing more often than it succeeds.

    ?I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*,? Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. ?I try to put the *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* in the wastebasket.?

    What's your photo wastebasket ratio?
     
  64. Pretty high.


    In the film days I was happy to have 1 'keeper' per roll. And many of these never saw the light of day (or a gallery wall...I exhibit in a number of local galleries)...they just weren't wastebasket material.

    I'm pretty ruthless in my editing. And what my friends really find hard to believe is that when I find that one frame, I cut it out (with the neg on either side as 'fingerholds')...and throw the other 33 negs in the wastebasket.

    It's the same with digital. This past week I recorded about 300 images in three separate shoots...about 30 have made the initial rough cut and I'll likely end up with 10 images I'll keep or print.

    And not one of them 'great' LOL
     
  65. I don't think it is wrong to see your own work as great. Personally I do take a large amounts of pictures as i go along but I can only accept one or two that I classify them as exactly as i wanted them to be. I mean what is wrong my claiming that a specific shot is just perfect just as you have imagined it, after all that is what photography is all about a n expression and if the photo really expresses what you have inside then it has reached its objective.
     
  66. Just 'cause it's reached it's objective does not make it great.

    Sheeesh...how often does this have to be repeated. Just about every 'advertising' photo reaches it's objective. So I guess all that crap out there is great.
     
  67. I don't think that we are speaking about ad pictures we are speaking about art about something that vibrates that gives energy so if a photo can give you the shivers if it can bring tears to your eyes, if it can make you forget time and talk to yourself then i guess you agree with me bob that it is a great photo.
     
  68. I guess I feel that only time can determine if a photo (or anything) is 'great'.
    I can think of a number of photographs that make be think of a particular time, or make me look inward...doesn't mean they're great...just that they've touched a chord in me (though they may very well be great).
    But I know what you mean Rueben.
    For me the point is that we trivialize 'great' when we call anything that is half-arsed good...'great' (I never did think Frosted Flakes were that much better than Corn Flakes)...also, as was stated by someone else, the truly great seldom use that term...it seems to me that part of 'greatness' usually includes being humble.
    But what do I know...I don't think I've produced anything great yet, so maybe I'm just not in the know...
     
  69. ...it seems to me that part of 'greatness' usually includes being humble

    Ha, that Mr Mohammed Ali has a lot to answer for. Perhaps in his greatness he was humble to.
     
  70. http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00Oo23

    Orville Robertson, Mar 16, 2008; 12:11 p.m.
     
  71. You have to believe that your work is as good as anyone, including Cartier-Bresson, Winogrand, Frank, Weiss, Kertesz, Levitt (in my mind the best of this bunch) so you can shoot knowing that your contributions are valuable and add depth to the understanding and appreciation of the streets.

    Street or whatever.....
     
  72. The above was the words of Orville Robertson on the street forum

    Just a few thought..
     
  73. Hey, if you want to call it great.....well, go for it. Walk tall.....
     
  74. I am really surprised by how many negativeness exists. The more I find great photos the more i find the urge to capture more greater ones. I mean what is great in a Picasso or a Dali painting. Is it not the way a message is transposed through a picture, is it not the meaning and the way this is done through colors or shadows or postures. is it not the whole composition of the picture that translates from words to paint. Isn't photography the same?
     
  75. Some of you guys are arguing over the word 'great'... I dont' think that's the point here. I think the point is whether or not you can look at your photos and think "hmm, I like that one".

    Personally... when I was younger, I thought I had some pretty good pictures, when really... it was a perception of greatness based on the fact that those pictures brought back some emotion or memory that made them appealing to me. Anyone else would look at the same pictures and go... meh.

    Now I look back over my 3 years of 'serious' photography, and I still think I have a couple of good ones... but my perception of 'good' has changed. The good ones are also mixed in with a pile of ok ones, mixed in with a pile of total blandness, and that most of my old stuff (excepting out a few 'luck of the draw' shots) are pretty much crap, and nothing more than documentations of my life.

    Oh wait a minute... when it comes down to it, isn't that what photography is? Documentation of life (the quality of said documentation could certainly be up for discussion on that note).

    To me, a 'great' photo is all in the eye of the beholder. It sticks out, catches your eye, brings forth some emotion or another. Some people (some friends / family) think all my photos are great. I think they are crazy, and probably don't have a clue about photography. But who cares?

    I enjoy doing it.
     
  76. It's in interesting, Allen, that you should quote Orville. Anyone that actually produces work as good as his bears listening to, but also distorts this conversation a bit. He actually DOES have a reason to think highly of his work. I think that Kurt Holter's words, though, are more appropriate for this thread (and for reality, in general):

    In the minds of many of the respondents and lurkers, this whole process legitimizes the belief that "If this crap is good/legit/artistic, I must be a good street photographer too!" So, the circle of life perpetuates itself.
     
  77. Of course not, at least not for me. I don't mind to receive any kind of critiques and also I do criticize my work too. I like to show both results - the bad and the good one. The process of growing never ends.
    When I photograph I feel freed, feeling these moments like a new dimensions. I can really feel that something has change in me during photographing. Somehow I know will I make a good photo, or an interesting project. Everything depends on my inner states and how much I have deeply touched by someone or something.
     
  78. Interesting thread people.

    The original post asked about whether it is wrong to see one's own work as great. For me that single question has two distinct threads. One relates to a definition of 'greatness' and the other relates to an individuals ability to recognise the same.

    For me, 'Great' in a photographic sense means that the image stops me in my tracks - time after time... It means I'm drawn like a moth to a flame and want to spend time with this image. It means that every time I see it I 'see' more or it 'means' something else. You get my drift.

    Anyone, absolutely anyone, is capable of taking such an image with any kind of equipment in any kind of circumstance. What seems to have happened through the thread though is that 'Great' has become, for want of a better description, greatness which, for me at least, is the ability to identify, isolate and execute 'great' images time after time.

    I'll stick my neck out here and say that there are far more people who execute greatness than we recognise. It is only because they haven't been brought to our attention, maybe their work isn't in vogue, by those who dictate such things that they remain unknown.

    Back to point two, can we recognise 'great'? Answer is, 'Hell yes!' what we do have to do though is be brave and not let our view of our own work be tempered by what 'Joe Public' is told to think of as Great. We watch and hope and have to hold the faith because, hopefully, one day it will be our turn... My motto, "Publish and be damned..."

    David

    Just my two penneth.
     
  79. I simply enjoy creating something that evokes an emotion in myself and others. In the context of my own work, what is great to me now will be superseded by something new that I will create. Because no matter how emotional I feel about an image, that power seems to fade with familiarity.

    That's why I like the concept of Flickr and "streams". The new stuff is always out front so I can enjoy my own work a bit, and the old stuff is still hanging around in case someone who has never seen it can benefit from the kick of emotion.

    My definition of greatness involves the ability to create a strong emotion on a regular basis, better than the vast majority of my peers that attempt the same thing.

    With that, I do perceive my own greatness, as long as I don't worry about the thousands of current photographers I don't know who are much greater than I am. :) Also, If I haven't been shooting for a while, I feel my greatness subside. When we shoot often, obsessively even, that's when greatness washes over us.

    Just my own thoughts...
     
  80. So, yeah.. Why not admire your own work?
     
  81. Great... There are various reason for think you are great. I am great at figuring things out. I have strapped a number of techniques onto my belt. Digital, wet color printing, wet black and white, cyanotype, van dyke, gum prints, daguerreotypes. I have too many cameras, and have mastered none of them. But once in a while I take an exposure that shifts my focus. There are images that I see that inform my thought process and concepts. I scour every corner of my environment for new sights and ideas. In the end, none of that will make me great. To be great is a value that is affixed by critics, publications, exhibitions, collections and the like.

    Once in a while, I come up with a great image. Great is just a benchmark. It is something to surpass, it's not the end all be all, it is a tick on a chart. Will it be your only tick mark, will you sit back and gloat over your genius? Hopefully not, you need to suck it up, let it take you places and let those places find your next great image. It's good to recognize your work in positive ways, but you have to accept it, share it and move on. Push the concept, surpass you greats until they are merely a half way mark to where you want to be.
     
  82. How much I agree with you David Newton. The greatest things are the simplest things in life. Great words mate.
     
  83. It's as wrong as declaring yourself a genius. Besides, who needs that kind of pressure when
    even just good art or journalism requires an unstinting focus on what's going on? Adams was
    great not only for the worth of his images per se but because of the effects his work had on
    environmental consciousness in this country. We might not have the protected lands and
    national parks we do today if not for him. I also believe that greatness will out, no matter
    what the field of endeavor. If Adams had stayed the course as a pianist, I have little doubt he
    would have been first-rate.
     
  84. Thanks Reuben. How much do I owe you? ;-)

    The more I think about this the more complex it gets?

    Tyler. Whilst I agree that Great can be defined is simply A point, one has to remember that photography as a medium has as many observation perspectives as there are photographs? I?ll explain simplistically. You may look a an image and feel that ?great? is a technical issue; so if I showed you an out of focus shot of my son in front of a warehouse in downtown Dallas where you clearly see a man pointing a rifle the day JFK was shot, you?d might feel it was rubbish. However, Reuben may see it as the greatest image in the world politically and socially?

    For me the above answers the original question. If, from YOUR perspective, the image is great then it IS great. All you have to do is find a body of people who agree with you?

    Jeff. Sorry, but I don?t agree with your first sentence. History is littered with people who have flown in the face of their peers, current thinking and paradigms and been ostracised (even killed) for daring to be different. Thousands have subsequently have been proven to be 100% right. Part of the make up and drive of such people is a massive self belief which can easily be externally misinterpreted as them believing themselves to be a genius.

    Great is indeed a point in time/experience. It is also a matter of context as I allude to above. If you look at something in total isolation it can appear trivial and insubstantial which is why some people feel Adams is so-so and some feel as you do he was far more. I see it a bit like land seed records. In the beginning some complete nutter (read dare devil) got on his wheels and reached the crazy speed of 30mph. People thought your skin would fly off etc etc. Today any half decent cyclist gets up to that speed on his daily commute to work (I wish?)

    Our trouble as human beings is that we are very inwardly focussed. Instead of looking at the world in an empathetic light (i.e. seeing it from the perspective of others) we take entrenched and belligerent stand points where everyone else is deemed ?wrong?.

    Maybe the message from this thread should be one of ?Look at what others do and are proud of and appreciate it??

    David
     
  85. Oh how I wish! But what would I do then if I did get that Great shot? I would hate to make my everyday good shooting forever fall short of my Great piece. Great can be the dream to constantly strive for, that photo that will be remembered by nearly everyone for generations to come. Who would not like to leave something like that in this world? But I am quite happy with Wonderful! I love to make my work look wonderful, you know, full of Wonder. And that I can do often enough to make me incredibly proud of what I do. I always shoot the absolute best I can, each and every time I press the shutter. Why would I not? Most of my shots don't reach 'Wonderful', and none have ever achieved Greatness, but the joy I feel in looking at my own shots can be no less than what Ansel felt when looking at his own. If you don't love your own work, I think it would make shooting a terribly empty experience. Taking photos should be incredibly fulfilling. To arrive at that breathless moment when looking through the viewfinder that time seems to stand still, the breathing stops, the world disappears around you. Now that is what is great about shooting, every time I press that little black button. Perhaps that is the Zen of it all. Great? I guess it is nice not to need it.
    00OrhA-42413184.jpg
     
  86. "A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. So, dear sir, I can't give you any advise but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at it source you will find the answer to the question of whether you *must* create."

    "Works of art are an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is as useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights."

    -- Rainer Maria Rilke

    I stopped writing poetry 25 years ago, when I no longer needed to. But I need to take photos.
     
  87. I take a multitude of pics, keep the technically good ones and archive them.
    I have learned to leave them be, not view them for a week or so because i'll go back and see them fresh and am often happily surprised, seeing them as if it isnt mine.
    and that fresh view and thinking the picture is great is a rewarding feeling because others often back that up
     
  88. Anyone remember the movie "Dead Poet's Society"?
    Substitute "photography" for "poetry"... (emphasis is mine)
    Neil (reading from the introduction of a poetry book):
    A sonnet by Byron may score high on the vertical, but only average on the horizontal. A Shakespearean sonnet, on the other hand, would score high both horizontally and vertically, yielding a massive total area, thereby revealing the poem to be truly great. As you proceed through the poetry in this book, practice this rating method. As your ability to evaluate poems in this matter grows, so will - so will your enjoyment and understanding of poetry.
    Keating:
    Excrement. That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. We're not laying pipe, we're talking about poetry. I mean, how can you describe poetry like American Bandstand? I like Byron, I give him a 42, but I can't dance to it. Now I want you to rip out that page. Go on, rip out the entire page. You heard me, rip it out. Rip it out!
    Keating again
    Thank you Mr. Dalton. Armies of academics going forward, measuring poetry. No, we will not have that here. No more of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. Now in my class you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
    Does it really make sense to try and measure art? I looked at the Salgado image Bob Todrick offered as a "the universal photograph", and personally it doesn't work for me. If I took that photo, it would have ended up in the bin, unless I had some connection with the people in it or it triggered some memory for me. Bob, I'm glad for your sake that it didn't end up in the bin and that you've been able to enjoy it, but it certainly wouldn't get my vote as a great photo.
    As others have already expressed, sometimes I take a photo and think to myself, "wow - that's great", only to find others I show it to disagree. So, I'll keep that image to enjoy myself, but won't keep showing it to other people. And other times I'll give people a photo I think is average, and they say, "Wow - that's great!"
    I understand the dictionary definition of the word "great", but what is the context of comparison? In everyday usage it's very rarely "compared to every other photo ever taken in the whole world". If I take a portrait and the subject says it's great, the implied context is "compared to every other photo of me I've seen". As far as I can see this does not destroy the meaning of the word. If you disagree, then my counter-argument (with tongue firmly in cheek) would be, "Fine, let's remove all restrictions on context - but how can you really say Shakespeare is great compared to what the aliens in another galaxy were producing 2 million years ago?"
     
  89. "how can you really say Shakespeare is great compared to what the aliens in another
    galaxy
    were producing 2 million years ago?"

    A contextual argument. All the way down to 'Gee, this ice cream sundae sure is great.' (with tongue firmly in cheek) But to stretch it a bit, if aliens came to Earth and their
    literature made every human laugh and cry with self-recognition, Shakespeare would still
    be great. To put it another way: the alien's flying saucer would not obviate the
    achievement of the Wright Bros. or the Apollo program.
     
  90. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Is it wrong to see your own work as great?

    No, of course not. But it might be inaccurate.
     
  91. Response #1: ("I'm not saying that you worship every negative you turn out ...") Uhhhhh ... what's a "negative"?

    Response #2: Mr. Allen, your original posting contains many small imperfections that annoy me. Could you please edit your spelling, punctuation, and grammar? Thank you.

    Response #3: You can like, love, enjoy, critique, improve, learn from, share, brag about, discuss, donate, publish, and/or sell your own photos. But neither you nor any other person can determine if a photo is great within a day, a week, a month, or even a year after first viewing it. Greatness is detemined by the majority opinion of many people over a long period of time.
     
  92. Truly a great thread!
     
  93. No, it's not wrong. Now let me explain.

    There have beena myriad of responses on this thread and as a photographer who's been shooting for the better part of a decade and has run the gamut of subjects (from forensics in the military to weddings to car shows) I think that what this really comes down to isn't definition, it's context.

    For example - "That was a great dinner, thank you." Was that the greatest dinner? Maybe for that point in time. Will there be others? You'd better believe it, and from that same chef too I'd be willing to bet. Are other 'great' dinners diminished because of the labeling of that one? Not in the least - there are many great dinners from both professional chefs and simple people cooking at home on a regular basis.

    I sit in my office and there is a large print by Irving Penn on the wall next to me. Do I feel that image is great? Oh yes, I do - very much so. It's been great (to me) since it was first published in Vouge all those years ago. Now, having said that, do I consider any of my images great? Yes. Do I think I'm Irving Penn? No. I hope to one day be close, and strive to be thus, but no, right now I'm not at Irving Penn's level. Nor am I at Steichen's level. But Steichen is also great.

    To me, greatness isn't a cheap word but it's also not an unattainable word. It's the context in which it's used. I know playwrights that are great - they're not Shakespeare but they are great. "Some women/men are born into greatness, and others have it thrust upon them." And in my mind, others acheive it. I think that if you'd like to call your images great, then do so. I think that if other people choose to call your image great, don't contradict them. Accept the compliment. And if still more people tell you that the image is great then youcan rest assured that they see in the image what you see in the image - and that is greatness. Greatness is a benchmark, a measuring point that we can hold our images up against and say "Did I get there with this one?" And if the answer is no, then move on to the next one. And when you run out, go take more and come back. There are great images everywhere and the word isn't cheapened by using it, it only means that more people are striving for that. If you don't see "what's so great" about an image, that's fine! There are other people in my office that look around at the Penns and Steichens on the wall and don't understand that they are great images. (the hell of the art dept bordering the acct dept) But does that diminish the greatness of the photographs? No. They are great to someone and that's what drives photographers to keep shooting - to see if they can take a picture that's 'greater' than someone else's.

    If we didn't have that, how bland would our craft be? Too bland for my taste.

    So yes, I think that some of my images are great, and I express that to people. If they agree then I keep shooting. If they don't I keep shooting. Either way, my craft is spurred on so nothing is lost, only gained.
     
  94. Have you seen Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy? In the film, a perennial stalker and
    pest, Rupert Pupkin, kidnaps the host of the Tonite Show. The ransom is an opportunity to
    perform live himself. The substitute host introduces him as one who is 'destined for
    greatness, of one kind or another.'

    One kind or another could mean greatest hero or greatest fool. Take your pick. It's all good.
     
  95. Yes Erika you certainly hit the point of it all. Greatness is all around us, its just relative, it is the way you see it that changes everything. I do sometimes receive compliments on some of my shots and to say the truth sometimes I do not always accept them but then I remember this relativity thing and holla I see that greatness in that shot.
     
  96. Still don't agree Ericka.

    So what do we do with the word 'good'? There are a very large number of 'good' photographers out there...just as I've had many a 'good' meal.

    But great.

    Not so many, in my opinion.

    I've noticed you've been shooting for 10 years. You must be a far better photographer than I because, after nearly 4 decades of shooting I have yet to produce an image that would be considered by the majority to be 'great'.

    Good yes...great, again, not so much.

    I guess the problem I have with the whole issue (and for such a seemingly minor issue it sure has garnered a lot of responses) is that it is just another indication of our current western society where no one is a failure, no child in school is told they are screwing up and everyone has an excuse when they do screw up..."I had to shoot the Quikee-Mart clerk because I wasn't loved as a child".

    So now good has become 'great' and no bad photographs are made.

    A sad world in my opinion.
     
  97. Since photography and art are entirely subjective, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    I think a lot of posts here assume that greatness in photography is something more than a popularity contest.

    I can call a photo of the inside of my lens cap great, and you can't prove me wrong. But if thousands of people call it great, then it adds weight to my claim. And if a few really popular people call it great, then it's in.

    So again, if you think your own work is great, then by definition, it's great to at least one person.

    Go out and shoot!
     
  98. Bob,
    I'm sorry that you don't agree with me but I can agree with you on some of your points.

    Yes, it is a flaw of the western world that we don't tell children that they're good or bad, the whole "no child left behind" project was doomed from the start and yes, some children are more special than others. It's a tragedy that we're not more realistic with our children. The world isn't so coddling as our educational system.

    Now, having said that, I have to make the point that "greatness", as the word applies to things of extraordinary nature, is attainable by every photographer who tries. There is no qustion of that in my mind. Should every image be called Great? No. Is every photograph called Great? No, they better not be. But can, occasionally, one photo stand out as greater than other works by that one photogrpaher? Yes. Can that image, in among the many in that one photographers portfolio be called great? Yes. Does that make it Great in the grand scheme and history of Photography? No. Does it make it Good? Possibly.

    Do you see the distinction there? For one photogrpaher, against his or her own work, and image can be great. Against the masses? Probably not. Would I dare call any of my images great when talking to my peers? No. And I didn't, if you read that again. Inside the confines of my own portfolio, showing fellow photographers along with my friends and family (my mother, by the way, is a curator of American Art and has told me without hesitation when a shot doesn't cut it) a few images stand out as great. Those are the images I then present to the masses, to garner their critiques, comments and criticisms. And I never expect anyone here to say my images are Great. I know I'm not to that level yet on the world stage. But that boost that I get knowing that among my group one or two images stand out as great... it spurrs me on to work harder and create more images, to expand my vision and to strive harder to be a "Really Good" photographer. When I'm there, eventually, then I'll strive to be Great. But not yet. I know I'm not there yet. But that's what this is all about for me. One phrase that sums up this whole thread.

    I'm not great - but I'm working on it.

    It makes sense to me...
     
  99. Erika,
    you are saying very objective. I agree with you.
    Can I see some of your photos? The link on your web site isn't working.

    I'm still using chemical films and as long as the photo looks OK and nice I can sell it here in Croatia.
     
  100. People say it is wrong to think one's work is crud. This leads to dillusion and self-lie.

    People say it is wrong to think one's work is great. This leads to dillusion and self-lie.

    Be objective about your work! If it sucks, then you need to think the truth: that it sucks.

    If it is great, then accept that fact too.

    Using dillusion and self-lie to somehow make one feel better about their work is really
    immature and is indicative to other more important issues about one's character. ;-)

    Looking at one's own work, it is what it is. Don't make it what it is not. I think one should
    be objective about one's own art, even if art is a subjective "condition".
     

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