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Old 03-09-2007, 08:21 AM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default The value of a photo

An open question:

Should a photo be a demonstration of techniques focusing fully the photographer
should a photo share a unique moment where as well technique as photographer stays in function in favor to enhance fully his subject ?

some thoughts on the side ...

- Could it be that the first category is often a predicable sign of a revealing burn out, a withering interest of what stripped to only how.

- What do you reply in the third world when a man from the street tells you: "Before you came to steal our wealth, now you come to steel photos for your own profit !"

- If you are on visit, do you ask your host where his garbage can is ? How do you behave if you are visiting a country ... likewise ?
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Old 03-09-2007, 04:45 PM
nicoz nicoz is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

I'm not sure to get you here...
But I feel like writing something anyway...

I think that a photo of a rusted door knob or a window will always be mindbogglingly boring wether it's technically perfect or not.

On the other hand, the most decisive instant if blured, out of focus, badly framed, with bad colors or badly exposed wouldn't have much of an impact.
Photography is an art where technique plays an important role (like most arts in fact...), but then again, if the subject is bad... all the technique in the world won't make it good.

For me the value of a photo is direclty related to its ability in generating feelings/thoughts/emotions to the person who's looking at it.
Just like in music for instance.

Concerning your thoughts, I can only be perplexed...

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Old 03-09-2007, 05:16 PM
nika nika is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

Your level of sophistication , rant... overwhelms me so i m not sure of having grasped the issue in its whole sense .

A picture has the value of a memory , something to activate past chapters , polish them off , adding them colours , shapes , smells and travel back on time sometimes , as Nicoz has said , to dig into that spiritual dimension , springing feelings , emotions ...

About those thoughts ...

I try not to feel ashamed or guilty of belonging to the so called 'first world' as i go to the so called 'third world' , i try to avoid being harassed , treating as a 'euro with legs' , an object that buys , consumes ,a perfect white ... i also like taking pictures of those things i find relevant , calling , touching , new a global generic sense, without hurting anyone s duly respect , with the most refined correctness , being discrete and above everything snapshooting fast and trying not to erode the exotic space displayed to my eyes ... Do you feel we should feel guilty of taking pictures in those countries ? behaving as tourists filled with brochuresque platitudes , and looking for what s typical ? do you have the solutions to put justice in the world , anything new that me , slobbish and reckless had never heard before ??? are you trying to say we all have to feel guilty ? Sorry , it is the impression i get from your topic ...
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Old 03-09-2007, 06:12 PM
prezntime prezntime is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

Hello Henk.

First, I suppose that technical ability in photography is not bad at all...the greats in any art either learn or have inherent technical abilities. After they grasp these technical abilities, they learn how to forget them. The beauty of the precision of a well trained classical musician is amazing, but the great artists have overwhelming technical ability coupled with the sense of how to breath life (in the truest sense) into a work...This means sometimes abandoning the conventions that dictate technical expertise. The eye to take an otherwise uninteresting landscape and fill the frame with heart and punch...Someone with true talent can take the most simple pinhole camera and create a breathtaking photograph.
Photography is the ability to document a moment (or emotion) visually through the technical understanding of your instrument. You may abandon the technical knowledge or adhere to that knowledge, but I do believe you must understand how photography works. A technically good photograph with no soul holds no interest for me.

I always ask where the trashcan is located.

When posed with such a question by anyone I have photographed, coming to steal photos for profit, I would ask them how much they want for the photo? If it's something that I cannot commit to, I would delete the photo (if digital) or never use the photo (if film). This might not make this person feel any better, but it will satisfy the morals that I've set down for myself...I don't always ask for photos, but if confronted in such a way this would be my response.
I will say this, life is for profit...we exist to benefit somehow from our existance. To learn and refine our religous beliefs. To have children and profide a secure home. To make money. To be happy. To love your parents. Whatever you might think of any of these examples, people profit from all of these situations. So, yes, I have come to your country for profit. It might not be monetary though; maybe it is only for personal growth.

I do believe, "When in Rome..."

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Old 03-10-2007, 09:13 AM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

... don't know if the man from the street would be happy with your answer ....

It was mentionned on the side as people do ask those questions, sometimes very surprising. It could be handy to be aware and prepared how to reply them at that moment in a galant way ...
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Old 03-13-2007, 07:59 AM
AnimeshRay AnimeshRay is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

Chris has written thoughtfully on the role of technically, wilful abandonment of accepted techniques to paint a feeling in the mind of the photographer, and the role of style, so I will not add any more to that.

As a child of the 'third' world who reached adulthood there but spent the rest of his life mostly in the 'first' world, I will reply to that question with,"Give the first world back your ideals of democracy, your medicines made by pharmaceutical companies, your green-revolution seed grains made by radiation-hybrid breeding in cyclotrons, your television, your phones, your tailored pantallons, your mass-produced platics threads with which you make those flowered garlands that you offer you temple deity, your blue-green-red plastics garbage bins...then ask about what you lost to the first world.

In my experience as an Indian, none who is wise and sensible would ask such a question, one who does is neither and therefore not worth my while to take seriously. He is merely looking for some money but is being uncivil and aggressive about it. He could simply tell me, "Do not take photos, or pay me something first." I will respect that, and I have. I have never heard those questions before.
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Old 03-13-2007, 01:59 PM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

I have never heard those questions before.

I wonder ... only a few times this question was posed straight to me in very remote areas and once on the street
accompagnied by local friends they often hear these remarks,
even yesterday in a photoshop by other local photographers ... lucky my friend replies then that they don't have to fear since it is only a hobby and any reward goes back. In that way I never have or will pay for taking a photo keeping it as a shared dialoque having fun together, often giving a copy.

The one who pays for taking photos makes this hobby simply impossible for someone else.

So be prepared ...
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:02 PM
rafid76 rafid76 is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

i love your criptic message here on this forum, were you trying to ignite the conscious of photogrophers? I dont think you can people are glued to whats opposite, different and mysterious.
the concept of 1st, 2nd and 3rd worlds are western classifications, rasciest in nature dew to the fact that they elevate the westerner over the superstitious asain, barbarian arab, and ape like african. in order to claim superioirty you must have a class of inferiors. unfortunatly for 1st world citizens, they seem to have cases of amnesia in looking back at history and how the inferioirs in 3rd world countries influenced the world from religion, art,sceinces to the failling human state.
I beleive the so called 3rd world citizens are bleesed in not being a counsumer society, living to BUY, pay taxes and watch sports they are not part of the 'BEWILDERED HERD.' they are not slaves owned by their car payments and visa cards.
in my experiances in going to these lowly countries, i have experianced an ignorance of worldy wealth that has been replaced by pure joy, historical pride, and and over zelous welcoming kind spirit......who's the 3rd world really and whats defines them?
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:20 PM
nicoz nicoz is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

Interesting POV Robert. I think that the concept of 1st 2nd and 3rd world has nothing to do with the value of the people but rather with the level of developement of a country's industry and technology. In fact nowadays you don't hear "3rd world" much, but developing countries instead (it's more politicaly correct...).
I didn't know that everything is white in the "1st world" and everything is black in the "3rd world", thanks for clarifying.
After reading your reply, I feel diapointed to live confortably and am worried to be a terrible tyrant who patronizes poor people by giving to charities. Maybe I should go to Somalia and starve to death instead. Maybe life is better this way...
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:27 PM
sowhat sowhat is offline
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Default Re: The value of a photo

I think the answer is more simple than we think: the photo has to be true.
Apart this it depends, if it's a landscape or a life scene or a portrait.
And for the technique side : it matters very much, but again it depends on what is the destination of a photo. A blured, even not well composed photo may have a sentimental value for somebody, but the person will not show it to the world, only to his or her friends eventually. A perfect photo in its technique may be misleading or having an untruthful meaning or a specific intention (think of political photos, promotion photos ...).
And for the PS: even the amateurs should have their own ethics, if a photo makes you feel that it should not be taken don't take it. It's not about searching for the garbage can, it's only about respect. But again if there are things to be shown, respectfully, don't hesitate! Of course, if it's about persons you should have their consent, ideally speaking.
There are countries with marvelous landcapes but very poor or traumatized people. I think we should see both! Because this is the truth, and because this may, in time, help that people, arise awarness, simpathy and good actions.
And again, a very poor man can have a very rich light in his eyes, we should see both!
I'm from a country that is pictured quite differently in the world, I thing that the photos and video shown on the news are biased, it doesn't look like our own perception of it. There are poor people, and problems and everything, but also there are good things not quite shwon.
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