Monday, 3 January 2011

Advice to newbies asking “is this photo good”?

Some random thoughts that occur to me when I look at photos that newbies show:
  • When anyone shows a photo, we look at the photo in its entirety. It's very difficult to look at a photo for "exposure" alone and not assess composition. It's like one bangs the keys on a piano and then one asks, was that a good piano? Without playing a recognisable tune, the banging of the piano overcomes any aesthetic appreciation of the quality of the piano.
  • Aesthetic appreciation varies with the person and with his mood.
  • Some people are more direct, some less. Sometimes you learn more from a direct remark, sometimes an ego gets hurt. That's life.
  • Just because someone buys a camera does not mean that someone is an artist or wants to be an artist. Cameras are no longer expensive now and everyone can choose to get one. People buy cameras to fulfil a need and that need may not be artistic. They may simply want to record and event, a memory. They may indeed want to “show” or “show off” to family and friends where they were, what they saw and they did not plan or did not have the opportunity to take more than a second to point and shoot. Or they may want an artistic shot but decades of mind numbing mundanity has grimed its patina onto their consciousness.
  • I've also noticed that cultural environment / economic environment / geographical environment / opportunity means that people point the camera at something quite different with quite different sense of aesthetic. Some of the photos look downright ugly to me but it may well be that I do not view them in the context that the shooter views them.
On the other hand, you want standard, good old fashioned classic advice and criteria, then have a look at this Kodak Tutorial.

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