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Art Theory: Idea workshop. Warning, not the truth here, just a venture. Examining what makes an image worthy of saving and what it does for us.

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  #1  
Old February 25th, 2016, 06:46 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Nailed it! No need for a series!

You come across a composition by chance. It's exceptional. You frame it and nail it.

Now what?

Is it shown in an exhibition by itself. With this in the bag, now what?

Asher
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  #2  
Old February 26th, 2016, 09:14 AM
James Lemon James Lemon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
You come across a composition by chance. It's exceptional. You frame it and nail it.

Now what?

Is it shown in an exhibition by itself. With this in the bag, now what?

Asher
Without a picture it didn't happen. Is there a picture somewhere in this question?
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  #3  
Old February 26th, 2016, 09:34 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by James Lemon View Post
Without a picture it didn't happen. Is there a picture somewhere in this question?
Yes, you have your camera and just the right lens and the light you like! You have bagged this shot! Now what?

Imagine that you have no previous image in your portfolio that relates to this.

Asher
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  #4  
Old February 26th, 2016, 12:48 PM
James Lemon James Lemon is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Yes, you have your camera and just the right lens and the light you like! You have bagged this shot! Now what?

Imagine that you have no previous image in your portfolio that relates to this.

Asher
Hi Asher

Interesting question it makes me think of The Most Beautiful Suicide. (see link below)

http://time.com/3456028/the-most-bea...mmortal-photo/

Best, regards
James
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  #5  
Old February 26th, 2016, 08:32 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Yes, you have your camera and just the right lens and the light you like! You have bagged this shot!

Asher
I'd like to think there was more to it than that, Ash.
JAmes's link certainly verifies that.

Exemplary photos are more than just camera, lens and light. They have more layers than an onion. Ie they generate more thought than the average.

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopo...ife-saving.jpg


It might be more challenging to discuss that which is entailed in an exceptional photo than what we might do with it if we had one. In that way we would know when we had one so we might then decide on what to do with it.

We could construct a course of action or we could rely on preparedness, good timing, the grace of one's god or sheer luck. By any method, its all a bit subjective.

Personally, I like to think of all of my photos as exceptional and not show anyone. That way I would never be contradicted.
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  #6  
Old February 27th, 2016, 12:30 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
I'd like to think there was more to it than that, Ash.
JAmes's link certainly verifies that.

Exemplary photos are more than just camera, lens and light. They have more layers than an onion. Ie they generate more thought than the average.

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopo...ife-saving.jpg


It might be more challenging to discuss that which is entailed in an exceptional photo than what we might do with it if we had one. In that way we would know when we had one so we might then decide on what to do with it.

We could construct a course of action or we could rely on preparedness, good timing, the grace of one's god or sheer luck. By any method, its all a bit subjective.

Personally, I like to think of all of my photos as exceptional and not show anyone. That way I would never be contradicted.
Tom,

Has there ever been an occurrence that I found a picture you were proud of to be "ordinary"? I doubt that! I do not worry about the ability of more than a few here to capture and make exceptional photographs. But if one has in one's mind an exhibition, then rarely will one picture suffice. So how does one get siblings of a picture that's unique and had already won your approval and satisfaction?

Asher
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  #7  
Old February 27th, 2016, 06:24 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Tom,

Has there ever been an occurrence that I found a picture you were proud of to be "ordinary"? I doubt that! I do not worry about the ability of more than a few here to capture and make exceptional photographs. But if one has in one's mind an exhibition, then rarely will one picture suffice. So how does one get siblings of a picture that's unique and had already won your approval and satisfaction?

Asher
I'm confused.
Was the original intention to have an exhibition?
Is an exhibition the only way to share a photo?
Is it necessary for an exceptional photo to be exhibited?
I'm assuming, when you refer to an exhibition, it's the standard pictures on the white wall, chardoney sipping arty farties protesting at the uncoothness of the general public.
One might simply hang their exceptions on their own wall and view proudly while having a shite or preparing dinner.
Exceptional achievement can be accompanied by exceptional pride. Having others make judgements might enhance that but all you need is one critic and you can hear the air expell from the pride balloon like a fart in an lift.

It might also be the case that the set of circumstances cannot be repeated. One hit wonders!
Reputations built on one title can be testing at best.
A search for another is a noble venture and should be encouraged but not relied on.

For my own exceptions I wait anxiously for the sequel. Meanwhile I happy wandering my halls with a shot of whiskey in hand and a small sense of pride in my own achievements without the struggle to perform in public or compete with others.

But that's just one pathway. There are many roads to infamy.
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  #8  
Old February 27th, 2016, 09:13 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
I'm confused.
Was the original intention to have an exhibition?
Is an exhibition the only way to share a photo?
Is it necessary for an exceptional photo to be exhibited?
I'm assuming, when you refer to an exhibition, it's the standard pictures on the white wall, chardoney sipping arty farties protesting at the uncoothness of the general public.
One might simply hang their exceptions on their own wall and view proudly while having a shite or preparing dinner.
Exceptional achievement can be accompanied by exceptional pride. Having others make judgements might enhance that but all you need is one critic and you can hear the air expell from the pride balloon like a fart in an lift.

It might also be the case that the set of circumstances cannot be repeated. One hit wonders!
Reputations built on one title can be testing at best.
A search for another is a noble venture and should be encouraged but not relied on.

For my own exceptions I wait anxiously for the sequel. Meanwhile I happy wandering my halls with a shot of whiskey in hand and a small sense of pride in my own achievements without the struggle to perform in public or compete with others.

But that's just one pathway. There are many roads to infamy.

Tom,

That is your usual and expected. No cocktails. Just you and I.

Asher
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  #9  
Old February 27th, 2016, 10:19 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Tom,

That is your usual and expected. No cocktails. Just you and I.

Asher
It's meant to be.
This is not a proposal.

Xx
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  #10  
Old February 28th, 2016, 01:18 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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The original intention, Tom, in much of our photography is to come across or create that impressive composition and then record what's before the camera the details of the scene, before it's lost. In addition, we want to use our knowledge of the camera's technical capabilities to record that monent in a pleasing and impressive way.

So one's achievement in photography can be simply nailing the shot or we see that scene reappearing like magic in a developing tray. For me, most of the thrill is just actually managing to record the scene before it's lost. Today, one can get confirmation in a split second.

However, there is often more than that for me. Choosing from among the many shots, one's favorite or most significant images, allows one to visit again the results of all the countless choices that made each picture. It's there that one might discover and identify previously unrecognized, opinion-driven, criteria, ideas or motif that promoted the success of pictures taken at disparate conditions and purposes.

Also, one has, if one so desires, a somewhat coherent body of work to reflect on, share with friends or offer up for others to enjoy too.


These then, to me are the answers to my question, "what then?"

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; March 23rd, 2016 at 12:01 AM.
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  #11  
Old February 28th, 2016, 02:37 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
The original intention, Tom, in much of our photography is to come across or create that impressive composition and then record what's before the camera the details of the scene, before it's lost. In addition, we want to use our knowledge of the camera's technical capabilities to record that money in a pleasing and impressive way.

So one's achievement in photography can be simply nailing the shot or we see that scene reappearing like magic in a developing tray. For me, most of the thrill is just actually managing to record the scene before it's lost. Today, one can get confirmation in a split second.

However, there is often more than that for me. Choosing from among the many shots, one's favorite or most significant images, allows one to visit again the results of all the countless choices that made each picture. It's there that one might discover and identify previously unrecognized, opinion-driven, criteria, ideas or motif that promoted the success of pictures taken at disparate conditions and purposes.

Also, one has, if one so desires, a somewhat coherent body of work to reflect on, share with friends or offer up for others to enjoy too.


These then, to me are the answers to my question, "what then?"

Asher
An honourable path to follow, Ash, and totally legal.

Why donj't you post a shot or two of your own that you consider exceptional.
I promise I won't judge.
It will, however, give me a little more insight into Asher Kelman the person, not the photographer.
MAybe we can all do this as an interesting exercise.
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  #12  
Old February 28th, 2016, 06:04 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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I might have set a task beyond the capacity of each of us.
Firstly, if we consider exceptional as being individually unusual, a reasonable usage in any vernacular, we might consider any photo as such if we rely only on the content.
If we rely on the technical aspects only we detract from the subject matter and that isn't the point of photography.
If we consider exceptional to be something different to the norm then there may be little point in the pursuit of more, for once exception is repeated it is not longer exceptional but mundane.
If we consider exceptional as that of high quality, by what criteria do we judge?

So, maybe the future is to attempt a different approach each time, to produce exceptions to what each of us do on a daily basis. Something out of character possibly.

Then maybe it's not up to us to seek exception images but to record what we see and what interests us. Then others can see for themselves that the world is full of exceptional things. It's just that some take notice and take time to record it.

Xx
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  #13  
Old February 28th, 2016, 06:32 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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And what if no photograph was interesting, ever?

Let me elaborate a little bit. You are talking of photographs of exceptional events. These photographs would then indeed be exceptional, but not because of the photograph but because of the event. For example:






These examples are certainly exceptional pictures, but only because the event was one of a kind. They are not characterised by exceptional technique, composition, color palette, etc... So they are not "exceptional pictures", they are mundane pictures of exceptional events. Quite a different thing.

By extension, all pictures recording public or private events work in the same manner. They are not exceptional per se, the only interest comes from the event. For example, one's wedding or children pictures: the person concerned will find them interesting, even if they are fuzzy, underexposed or faded. The event is what is important, not the picture.

What if there was nothing else to this game? What if the only road to an interesting picture was simply to first find something of interest to the intended viewer and simply record it in a faithful way?

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Old February 28th, 2016, 02:15 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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All good, Jerome.
I wonder if we might catagorise exceptionality in photography.
Exceptional:
Beauty
Event
Object
Portrait
Timing
Processing

Feel free to add.

Cmon, you lot.
Surely you have a photo of your own you consider exceptional.
Don't be shy.

Since photography is about communication, is it possible that such photos might communicate to a large selection of people of all interests and backgrounds and not necessarily for the same reason.
Unfortunately this doesn't include those which are personally considered so. No might it include photos deemed to be of artistic merit.

On a personal level, we might just need to take our chances. Going with our own personal gut feeling and understanding of our own abilities, we make a selection of one image, display it to its best advantage and within our means, and with images that might assist in the display, then stand back while others cast their opinions.

And we might all be surprised at the results.
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  #15  
Old February 28th, 2016, 07:37 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
And what if no photograph was interesting, ever?

What if there was nothing else to this game? What if the only road to an interesting picture was simply to first find something of interest to the intended viewer and simply record it in a faithful way?

If all he knew was Andy Warhol, what did he know about Andy Warhol?


Cheers, Mike.
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  #16  
Old March 15th, 2016, 07:26 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Asher's original question deserved better answers than those offered so far. I think it's fair to infer that none of the contributors have poduced photos they consider exceptional on a big stage but all produced exceptional photos gauged on the stage of their own abilities. Asher's question relates to what one does with that knowledge - try to take more of the same? - use that knowledge as a springboard towards the development of a personal style, portfolio, message, whatever?

The responses so far avoided answers by raising further questions about what makes a photograph exceptional. Because nobody else provided a photo that they took, despite pleas to do so, I'll explain why the preceding photo - unexceptional though it is - provides a answer to Asher's question from my perspective. It's simply that it inverts the message in the Warhol photo. To my mind, unless a photo explictitly or implicitly conveys a worthwhile, interesting or provocative message, it's not much better than wallpaper. Now to date I haven't acted on this knowledge to develop my photography in a systematic way, being otherwise preoccupied with science over art, but maybe someday I will.

Cheers, Mike.
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  #17  
Old March 16th, 2016, 02:47 AM
Andy brown Andy brown is offline
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Mike, I'd love to post one of my exceptional images. I'm still waiting for something that fits the bill however.
I'm not being flippant, just honest as I reckon most of us are.
I will keep striving though.
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  #18  
Old March 19th, 2016, 11:15 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Mike, I'd love to post one of my exceptional images. I'm still waiting for something that fits the bill however.
I'm not being flippant, just honest as I reckon most of us are.
I will keep striving though.
Hi Andy

It’s about definition, isn’t it? How do we define ‘exceptional’? Unusual, extraordinary, superior are synonyms - but against what frame of reference? I gave answers in a book on expertise in sport, published years ago.

For purposes of comparing people, exceptional performance can be normative, exclusive or both. Normative exceptionality implies superior performance on a skill possessed by most people (e.g., a 10 seconds 100m run by males in open competition). A proviso is that those standards vary with restricted sampling (e.g., no less exceptional is a 13 seconds 100m run by a man aged 70 years). Exclusive exceptionality implies competent performance on a skill possessed by few people (e.g., an 8-mile distance for men in a 1-hour race walk). Finally, an expert is someone who produces exceptional performance on a regular basis.

I’ll dispute your claim, Andy, that yourself and others on OPFI have yet to produce an exceptional photo. My reasoning is as follows. (1) Compared to some other activities, photography has dubious criteria for what makes the end product exceptional. (2) This lack of certainty owes to an elitist culture created by fiscal interests. (3) Ongoing technological advancements have broken the stranglehold of that culture on the evaluation of photographs. (4) On statistical grounds, it is nearly impossible for an OPFI contributor not to have produced an exceptional photo.

Regarding my own workplace and main recreational activity, appraisal of whether performance is exceptional, normal or poor is easily made by reference to norms based on approved quantitative measures. These are citation frequencies for scientific impact and performance time or finishing position for athletic races. For both activities, I can evaluate my standings over a full career and for specific performances. However, photography lacks acknowledged criteria to differentiate exceptional from acceptable images. Why is that?

The main reasons relate to elitism created by the photographic industry. (a) The manufacturing sector promoted criteria related to technical aspects of image quality. The reasons were to sell more products by continually upgrading the equipment. (b) Professional photographers colluded with this bias in order to affirm their exclusivity - only they could afford the expense. (c) Curators and gallery owners promoted self-serving standards (usually based on subjectively defined ‘artistic merit’) in order to convince people to buy products. (d) Outcomes of the preceding included the creation of three classes of photographer: professional photographers, serious amateurs and snap-shooters.

Until recently, the undisputed arbiters of photographic good taste were professionals in the industry. Amateur photographers meekly acquiesced to professional opinion, being too humble to consider their own images exceptional. However, advances in the manufacturing sector, the Internet, and particularly the Social Media resulted in abundances of both good quality images by amateurs and opportunities for their dissemination. The consequences included frequent workplace replacement of professional by amateur (or semi-professional) photographers able to perform comparable work at lower cost. In other words, the old elitist culture in photography is breaking or broken. However, some amateurs have yet to realize the implications for what constitutes an exceptional photo.

Reports on Facebook and Instagram indicate approximately 250,000 photographic uploads per minute on each site. Even if only 1% of such images were to satisfy undefined criteria as exceptional, those two sites alone provide 5,000 new exceptional images per minute. On statistical grounds alone, you can bet your last dollar that most of those exceptional images were by amateur photographers. If this is true for Social Media sites, surely it’s more so for a site peopled by serious photographers.

Before finishing, let’s consider identifiable criteria to differentiate exceptional from normal images in this more egalitarian photographic culture. Although Social Media sites report the number of ‘likes’, more discriminable criteria are available. We used short-term memorability of images in an article a few years ago. The <pixabay.com> site includes information on the number of views and downloads for over 500,000 good quality images that are downloadable at no cost. Such data provide a goldmine for anyone wanting to develop and explore psychometrics related to image quality. Maybe I’ll do so after current research priorities are satisfied.


I hope that my closing comments won’t offend any OPFI contributors despite positive conclusions about your attainments. Simply that you recognize the existence of this new egalitarian photographic culture; throw off false modesty; come out of the closet; be forthright that your best photos are indeed exceptional. Finally, pay heed to Asher's opening question as a means to promote the frequency of your photos that are exceptional.

Cheers, Mike.
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  #19  
Old March 19th, 2016, 12:10 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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I am not offended, but I am not really sure that I understand the argument, Mike. Are you arguing that, in the age of social media, popularity defines exceptional images? Taking the example of pixabay, the most popular image appears to be this one:


and the least popular that one:


I am not sure I understand which of the two is exceptional.

Taking Instagram as another example, the most popular image appears to be this one:


Maybe Andy Warhol was right after all?
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  #20  
Old March 19th, 2016, 01:19 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Mike,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
Hi Andy

It’s about definition, isn’t it? How do we define ‘exceptional’? Unusual, extraordinary, superior are synonyms - but against what frame of reference? I gave answers in a book on expertise in sport, published years ago.

<snipped>

Before finishing, let’s consider identifiable criteria to differentiate exceptional from normal images in this more egalitarian photographic culture. Although Social Media sites report the number of ‘likes’, more discriminable criteria are available. We used short-term memorability of images in an article a few years ago. The <pixabay.com> site includes information on the number of views and downloads for over 500,000 good quality images that are downloadable at no cost. Such data provide a goldmine for anyone wanting to develop and explore psychometrics related to image quality. Maybe I’ll do so after current research priorities are satisfied.

I hope that my closing comments won’t offend any OPFI contributors despite positive conclusions about your attainments. Simply that you recognize the existence of this new egalitarian photographic culture; throw off false modesty; come out of the closet; be forthright that your best photos are indeed exceptional. Finally, pay heed to Asher's opening question as a means to promote the frequency of your photos that are exceptional.
Well said. Thank you.

As for me, I am too busy these days to ponder which of my works might be "exceptional". And, as I so often say, if I knew, what would I do with that answer?

Now, some of my images are probably "odd". I wonder which ones.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #21  
Old March 20th, 2016, 12:15 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Hi, Mike,



Well said. Thank you.

As for me, I am too busy these days to ponder which of my works might be "exceptional". And, as I so often say, if I knew, what would I do with that answer?

Now, some of my images are probably "odd". I wonder which ones.

Best regards,

Doug
Doug, your photos invariably make me feel happy and smile. Whether thats because they're 'odd' or 'exceptional', who cares, eh!
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  #22  
Old March 20th, 2016, 04:07 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I am not offended, but I am not really sure that I understand the argument, Mike. Are you arguing that, in the age of social media, popularity defines exceptional images? Taking the example of pixabay, the most popular image appears to be this one:


and the least popular that one:


I am not sure I understand which of the two is exceptional.

Taking Instagram as another example, the most popular image appears to be this one:


Maybe Andy Warhol was right after all?
Jerome, you're like me. You find data relevant to an issue and go from there. Kudos to you! Your question was "Are you arguing that, in the age of social media, popularity defines exceptional images?" The answer is that popularity has relevance but doesn't define an exceptional image. I’ll illustrate with two examples.

First, common indexes in Social Media to evaluate an image – ‘Like’, ‘Dislike’ – overlap with the former of two dimensions that describe peoples’ reactions to photographs. These dimensions are Valence (i.e., Unpleasant to Pleasant) and Arousal (Calm to Aroused). If one feature of an exceptional photo is that it is among the most memorable of a set of photos (e.g., over a day or week), the most memorable are arousing photos that are very pleasant or very unpleasant. Least memorable are photos that are neither arousing nor pleasant nor unpleasant. So based on a criterion of memorability, popularity (i.e., based on a high frequency of ‘Likes’) is a limited predictor or whether a photo is exceptional.

Second, consider images from <pixaby.com>. Lee, my wife, has a small photo card business. She sometimes downloads photos from that site to satisfy custom orders (e.g., a recent customer wanted cards that featured Schnauzer dogs). Also, some schoolteachers I know regularly download photos for use in their classes. Maybe your fox photo is more popular than your diver photo for similar reasons. So for users of <pixabay.com> and similar sites, exceptional photos may need to possess practical utility in a thriving egalitarian culture. I suspect the excellent Andy Warhol would approve.

Cheers, Mike
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  #23  
Old March 20th, 2016, 11:36 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Now you are confusing me even more. First you had that theory about social media displacing professional curators and how to develop and explore psychometrics related to image quality based on big data on social photo sites, if I had understood correctly. Now you are telling me that it is not so simple.

Probably it is indeed not so simple. This being said, we already know what is popular on social media: celebrity, scantily clad young women and landscapes in garish colours, as if Thomas Kinkade was painting under the influence of acid. And kittens, of course.
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  #24  
Old March 21st, 2016, 02:50 AM
Andy brown Andy brown is offline
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Mike, my own definition/s of exceptional are fairly clear and they are in line with the notion of normative you describe.
As such, I don't think I reach the level of 'exceptional' in any area of my life. I'm completely OK with that BTW. I would love to become exceptional in photography or have but one exceptional image and part of me likes to believe that I have it in me (I think I have twenty cognitive years left in me to realise this ambition or care. After this I probably won't give a toss either way so it's a win/win situation as I see it).

It's an interesting conversation to have with one's self "what am I exceptional at?".
Turns out I think I'm a bit above mediocre in lots of areas and exceptional in two - I bodysurf like a dolphin (that's a good measure, dolphins bodysurf exceptionally well) and I am an exceptional scunger at squash. I was only ever a good squash player, never even made state rankings but I could scrap and scunge as well as anyone (if you are not sure what I mean, think of Novak Djokovic reaching balls he has no right to, that's the bit I could do - exceptionally).

In my head, I have an exceptional photograph just around the corner. More likely, really, I have a pretty good set of images in my sights, an underwater set taken without flash that reflects the feelings of the underwater world.

Just need to get myself a housing. Oh and some more skills.

Sorry for the self indulgent bizzo, I'll give myself an uppercut and move on.
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  #25  
Old March 21st, 2016, 02:04 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Now you are confusing me even more. First you had that theory about social media displacing professional curators and how to develop and explore psychometrics related to image quality based on big data on social photo sites, if I had understood correctly. Now you are telling me that it is not so simple.

Probably it is indeed not so simple. This being said, we already know what is popular on social media: celebrity, scantily clad young women and landscapes in garish colours, as if Thomas Kinkade was painting under the influence of acid. And kittens, of course.
Sorry to confuse you, Jerome. Nothing is black or white, just a shade of grey. What I wanted to communicate was that gaps between professionals and amateurs narrowed in recent years due to developments in hardware, software and opportunities for photographic display. Implications are that more photos by amateurs should be within a range of outstanding images. Analysis of data from selected photo sites may kick-start investigation into why/how people consider an image exceptional. The <pixabay.com) site includes data on number of views, number of downloads, content categories, time on the site, order of presentation, etc. I'd love to elaborate on why such analysis could prove informative but that would put readers to sleep.

You might know but I don't know what's popular on social media sites. The few I visit mainly feature my relatives posed fully dressed against dreary Texan, flat Manitoban or rainy English landscapes. The photos include dogs galore but not a kitten in sight. Do I need to get a life

Cheers, Mike
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  #26  
Old March 21st, 2016, 07:48 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Mike, my own definition/s of exceptional are fairly clear and they are in line with the notion of normative you describe.
As such, I don't think I reach the level of 'exceptional' in any area of my life. I'm completely OK with that BTW. I would love to become exceptional in photography or have but one exceptional image and part of me likes to believe that I have it in me (I think I have twenty cognitive years left in me to realise this ambition or care. After this I probably won't give a toss either way so it's a win/win situation as I see it).

It's an interesting conversation to have with one's self "what am I exceptional at?".
Turns out I think I'm a bit above mediocre in lots of areas and exceptional in two - I bodysurf like a dolphin (that's a good measure, dolphins bodysurf exceptionally well) and I am an exceptional scunger at squash. I was only ever a good squash player, never even made state rankings but I could scrap and scunge as well as anyone (if you are not sure what I mean, think of Novak Djokovic reaching balls he has no right to, that's the bit I could do - exceptionally).

In my head, I have an exceptional photograph just around the corner. More likely, really, I have a pretty good set of images in my sights, an underwater set taken without flash that reflects the feelings of the underwater world.

Just need to get myself a housing. Oh and some more skills.

Sorry for the self indulgent bizzo, I'll give myself an uppercut and move on.
Not at all "self-indulgent bizzo": good plain speaking in an expressive and witty way. I played squash for years but only now learned about "scrunging". Thanks for that . I'm following your footsteps with regard to exceptional photos, which for me, too, seem somewhere around the corner. Although what makes a photo normatively exceptional varies with frame of reference, there's also a subjective criterion that applies to most things I admire. Whether photos, paintings, books, poems, scientific articles, ideas, etc., the exceptional ones for me overturn conventional thinking, particularly if I was the person thinking conventionally. If that makes me a maverick, so what, I enjoy being one.

Along these lines, my current best hope of something exceptional to do with photography is a book I hope to complete by spring of next year. During the past couple of winters, I've photoed a 'Frozen Shoreline' series that needs a few more photos and accompanying prose to make a story. The story will be a version of the Cinderella folk tale. In my version, the cold breath of winter magically turns shoreline debris into objects of amazingly beauty. Then the wicked sun breathes horrid warm breath and those gorgeous objects turn back to debris again. Somehow I doubt that the product will be exceptional, but making it will be fun.

So Tom Dinning, you wrote earlier in this thread:
"Cmon, you lot.
Surely you have a photo of your own you consider exceptional.
Don't be shy."

Give us an example of what you think exceptional.

Cheers, Mike
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Old March 21st, 2016, 09:21 PM
Andy brown Andy brown is offline
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Michael, I love the sound of your book.
I look forward to seeing it and believe it will be quite beautiful.
I have one book to my name so far. It's quite nice and it still sells quite well (if only in the local area to which it is angled).
Coincidentally and interestingly, I am working on a kid's book myself which looks at Koori (Aboriginal ) spirits in the landscape.
Jerome Marot quizzed me some while back about what I was planning to do with a particular series of image of rock faces. At the time I wasn't sure but felt it had a Koori bent to it. Since then I have connected with a fantastic local Koori artist and we are down the track towards publishing. I won't self-publish this time, I need the distribution networks of a bigger publisher. I've just started the pitching campaign, today as it turns out.
Longer term I am looking at a book of nature photography of the south east corner of Australia where I live and longer term, a book on a particular Fijian island with which I have an affinity. This has potential to be exceptional, it's an exceptional place with outstanding beauty. I have some existing exceptional images in my mind's eye, I just need to convert these to 2D and the printed page.

Publishing a book is a great and very worthwhile endeavour and I wish you well with it.

Show us some pics.
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Old March 23rd, 2016, 12:14 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Since photography is about communication,

Really, Tom! I am not sure that this is necessarily so! It is more likely about scavenging, hunting and storing compelling or significant observations. Even constructed scenes might be just a way of guaranteeing that one's hunt is successful.


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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
..........is it possible that such photos might communicate to a large selection of people of all interests and backgrounds and not necessarily for the same reason.
Unfortunately this doesn't include those which are personally considered so. No might it include photos deemed to be of artistic merit.

On a personal level, we might just need to take our chances. Going with our own personal gut feeling and understanding of our own abilities, we make a selection of one image, display it to its best advantage and within our means, and with images that might assist in the display, then stand back while others cast their opinions.

And we might all be surprised at the results.
Well said!

Asher
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Old March 23rd, 2016, 01:41 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
Sorry to confuse you, Jerome. Nothing is black or white, just a shade of grey. What I wanted to communicate was that gaps between professionals and amateurs narrowed in recent years due to developments in hardware, software and opportunities for photographic display. Implications are that more photos by amateurs should be within a range of outstanding images.
That particular theory probably would need its own thread, I will simply give an example. Vivian Maier was, by all account, an amateur photographer. She used a Rolleiflex, which was standard for professional photographers at the time, so there was already no real gap in camera equipment at the time. Many people agree today that her images are outstanding, so indeed she is a proof that there must be outstanding images in the unseen photographs of amateurs.
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Old March 26th, 2016, 06:02 AM
Jean Henderson Jean Henderson is offline
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That particular theory probably would need its own thread, I will simply give an example. Vivian Maier was, by all account, an amateur photographer. She used a Rolleiflex, which was standard for professional photographers at the time, so there was already no real gap in camera equipment at the time. Many people agree today that her images are outstanding, so indeed she is a proof that there must be outstanding images in the unseen photographs of amateurs.
I quite agree, Jerome, on both counts. As to the second, I think there are more than just a few who are producing outstanding images as amateurs. This reminds me of a woman I know locally who, when asked why she doesn't do more with her work than post it to social media replied, "I have no interest in doing what it would take to monetize my images."

Also, among my local photo club friends are several who are quick to note, "How can X sell a photo for that much? I have images that are just as good!!!" The difference becomes quite clear to me: some amateur photographers gain interest in exhibiting their work in any of several ways (exhibitions, greeting cards, calendars, etc.) only to become disillusioned when most of it doesn't sell after having gone to considerable expense to try selling it at even lower prices than most here would think to be reasonable. They either forget, or don't know about, the statement which claims poor photographers easily outsell better photographers due to being better marketers of their work.

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