Sunday, January 20

Fabulous Fotos - NOT!

To Everyone Whose Sites I Normally Visit: My MacBook Pro has crashed and will be gone for a week to the Macintosh repair shop. I do my site visits on that machine while I am near to wife/friends/people. I do my images up here alone on my "good" machine. So.. I hope until the laptop returns, you will forgive my absence from popping around?

And now for the rant-of-the-day...

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HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! - when I do this. See this perfectly exposed night time shot? See that it's perfectly framed? Perfectly colored? See the perfect reflection shimmering across the Tiber in down-town Rome? See how the composition is a textbook square? With textbook inner framing of the leaves? See how the mass of the boat in the lower left just balances what I think is Hadrian's tomb lit against the night-time sky? See how controlled, how .... how... perfect, perfect, perfect every little detail, including the color palette is?

And now see that it adds absolutely nothing to our package of ideas? The feeling's been captured a zillion times by anyone passing this point with an Instimatic. GRUMBLE!!!!

So why the hell did I waste my time taking this thing? And I've got dozens and dozens of images like this on my Italian discs. Why do we feel a compulsion to repeat what others have done at least as well? I could have walked forty feet to a tourist store and bought dozens of postcards with this view. Why is it that our own imagination becomes stunted at moments like this? All that I saw was what others saw more times than your Hollywood star goes to rehab.

I'll tell you why... Because our imagination leaves us at these moments. It's as if a mass of photographic ghosts suddenly SCREEEECH all together with such din that they overwhelm our own ideas and feelings. It makes me want to cover my ears and scream...

Instead... I take their picture rather than my own, and come home and grumble.....

The moral: When it isn't your idea in the viewfinder - Don't trigger the shutter.

5 comments:

bikejohn said...

Sometimes I wonder this myself. Obviously it's a nice view, but unless we're out shooting for a stock shot we may as well just admire it without the camera in front of our face.

Keep up the rants Ted. You consistently make me think and as a result I hope to get better at capturing the feel and not just the picture.

Brian Bastinelli said...

Sorry I missed this one the other day. I was a bit under the weather.

I agree 1000%. I find that there are certain locations that I visit over and over and I come back with the same image each time.

I know its going to happen and I seem to somehow mysteriously limit myself while I am there.

So why do it? It's almost as if I am paying homage to something or someone before.

Like going to the Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park. Here Ansel Adams took his classic shot. The trees have grown so the image is not the same but...

Each time I go I trudge out there haul all my gear and take the same shot. I can show you years of images that you couldn't tell if they were taken on different days.

But I do it every time I go.

This is interesting Ted. I am glad there are others out there who feel the same way.

mcmurma said...

Muhahaha!! Ted is feeling much as I do after every photoshoot in a heavily photographed area.

I guess everyone wonders about these things, and I was going to write about this very subject this week, but I didn't, I wound up choosing an equally horrific subject instead :)

For what its worth I like your image. It may not have as much "fiction" in it as most of your images, but I still like it. So it may be cliche, but it's your version of the cliche, not someone elses.

Besides, you can't exactly change the lay of the land in your images just so they look different from the postcards. And even if you could, it would be tough to mae it work. What you can do is put your own stamp on them (like I need to be telling you this!) And frankly, I feel that's about the best we can do.

Markus Spring said...

Right and wrong.

That others have photographed the same scenery is pretty much true of almost all places in the world - just see those gazillions of cameras, point-and-shoots and now photo-mobiles. So what - stop photography because of this?

That some sceneries just beg for a picture to be taken (or made) can be their inherent quality. Because others have done so already, should it be avoided then? And if some have done better than I am in the position to do so now at the moment I am there, should I refrain?

Photography has many levels, pictures do so as well. Not all photographers can do, not all pictures contain them. Photography is a learning process for me, interacting with my environment and myself. Sometimes the scenery works for itself, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it gives place for delving into my personal layers and helps me recognize and visualize them - I see no reason not trying to take a better postcard as long as I don't get stuck in cliche.

So *I* will carry on sometimes taking postcards because I enjoy the beauty of certain sceneries (and I stopped ranting about it...)

Beauty - which often leads to those postcards - can be a value of itself in I admit savouring it.

Ted Byrne said...

All of you, and particularly Marcus have synthesized the discussion that this image and comments kicked off on a number of photography forums where I posted it. Apparently great minds do run in similar channels. And as we get more focused upon the creativity that these tools allow us... each of us begin to worry about repetition, plagiarizing, and clichés.

In fact the depth of this concern is startling.