Open Photography Forums  
HOME FORUMS NEWS FAQ SEARCH

Go Back   Open Photography Forums > Photography Discussions > Riskit!

Riskit! Explore new areas. Critique will be tough love!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 30th, 2012, 12:46 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default What defines a good photo? -> Ebenen (Levels)

This is one of the few photos I got a 'so what?' feedback on.
There was no constructive criticism, so I do ask here.
No need to be gentle...

Here it is:

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old March 30th, 2012, 02:54 PM
Charles L Webster Charles L Webster is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Silicon Valley CA
Posts: 596
Default

Michael, I seldom post critiques here because I never post for critique. But, I have to agree with the "so what" reaction to this. The idea (geometric shapes, colors, and planes) is good and more exploration of this site (auto museum?) might yield a better view point.

The cars add nothing to the picture except clutter, as does whatever that is in the top right corner, and the lights? just below that. The people add scale, but if the photo was about shape, line, and form is size and scale necessary?

In a photo like this, where the emphasis is on line, shape, and form, anything that doesn't contribute is a detriment.

In fact that holds true for many (most?) photos.
__________________
<Chas>

Everything in the frame must contribute to the picture.
http://www.charlesLwebster.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old March 30th, 2012, 05:36 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,751
Default

First, Michael,

I commend you on putting up this image for discussion. When one visits a place, there's so much that makes it exciting. I can imagine the actual architecture is thrilling, but not the view you have used. When walking around, one is building up such a complex, multilayered understanding of the unique world the place presents. Here, perhaps, you might have done better photographing from a different vantage point or else using, for example, wide angle lens to bring out the levels you saw but can't demonstrate here.

In processing the picture, of course, you might be able to alter the lighting of different floors of each of the buildings and create an impressive new composition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
This is one of the few photos I got a 'so what?' feedback on.
There was no constructive criticism, so I do ask here.
No need to be gentle...Best regards,
Michael
Here it is:

I assume that a picture, unless stated otherwise, has been made under the control of the photographer and at some moment it seemed "right" and so the shutter was released. Here, there's nothing that gives it a title on it's own by virtue of what we see. So there's no one shot, there are no lovers kissing and the place is not on fire. All we see is a sterile modern construction of rectangular lit colored buildings with a pedestrian crossing bridge in the foreground.

So what to make of it. Well here we need the title and it says just Ebenen or Levels. Now there are figures to the left entering on to the walkway at the second level. So we'd expect, perhaps that what enters on the second level would somehow relate to the title levels. But that's just a car below. The are no levels obvious in the buildings. The theme of "Levels" is not engraved into the picture in any way I can see, beyond the obvious fact that there's entrance into the frame of machine on the lower level and people on the second level. Unfortunately, there's nothing special about either the car or the folk coming into the scene that distinguishes them from happenstance. There are no gestures or actions by the figures and no emblem or flag on the car or broken windshield to allow us to conjure up some meaning.

Now I mentioned meaning. Well there's no need to have meaning to have a great picture. Then one needs to have a demanding composition or pattern.

Now, let's start over. Imagine that we took the picture as folk were entering above and saw the car entering below and felt on implse that's worth capturing. We see that it's either about the buildings or about the folk, not important folk, just anyone, perhaps, entering this building complex.

Then what could the title be. Simplistically, one could say, "Entering", or "Entering the Crowded Workplace", after all it isn't crowded, or say on the "Entering modern nihilism" or something even smarter. If this was for an editorial, then the text would complete the composition.

As it is, it lacks a dominant thought or pattern or motif and the title doesn't belong.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old March 30th, 2012, 10:35 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,751
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
This is one of the few photos I got a 'so what?' feedback on.
There was no constructive criticism, so I do ask here.
No need to be gentle...

Here it is:

Best regards,
Michael

Michael,

Let me get to the separate but most challenging question, "What defines a good photo" Let's look at artists we know who make good photos.
  • Obviously if you asked Jim Galli, he'd look for some subtle way the subject is transformed agreeably by the use of the lens.

  • Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee consider that the photograph is built from structure seen on the ground glass prior to exposure of the image. The picture is only made when all the needed elements are where they should be and also it feels right, otherwise the shot is not made. So structure comes before meaning.

  • Tom Dinning might say "Balls to all that!! Here's'my picture, it was taken by my camera, I had nothing to do with it.

  • Edward Weston would work for months choosing his still life objects, balancing them and waiting every day for the right light and getting the esthetics as close to perfection one could achieve. He often succeeded!
So what are the common threads?

There is none but the sparking of our interest and then our satisfaction, and it's character, the levels of which determine the future of the picture. How you make that compelling interest is up to you.

Unfortunately, a picture can miss its mark if the viewers have no landmarks to understand it. Well, structure and content if impressive enough might save it, but it would not, of necessity be more than a good photo. A title, the right title, can limit out attention and allow us to insert the missing pieces to complete the composition and the content. from our own imagination.

So the challenge is really, for this particular picture, rescue me, I need a title to add context, structure and content.




Michael Nagel: What should my title be?




My concept of ART, which is based on the experience of the viewer or audience, would support the idea that there's a title that good make this picture work well as a "Good Photograph", despite any perceived shortcomings. I'd love to see some brilliant term that completes it. Then our brains will imagine what else is needed.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old March 30th, 2012, 11:55 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich, Germany.
Posts: 3,789
Default

What people mean when they say "so what" is usually that your picture does not tell them anything, that they do not see the point of the image. Here, there are too many elements scattered in the frame with no clear connections between them, so the viewer does not see which one is essential and the eyes wanders around. If you want to take pictures in the BMW World building, it is probably better to either select a detail, which then becomes your point or to take a general view, in which case the building and its vast space becomes the subject.

I can see why you took that picture: the colors are harmonious and the lines define various shapes. But it does not work because it lacks a point to give it unity. As it is, it is just a collection of colors and lines in a rectangle. With distractions: the cars, the people, the row of lights, the black ceiling with its top right triangle.

Note that some persons still appreciate this kind of picture, so do not take my words as final.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old March 31st, 2012, 12:33 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Darwin NT Australia
Posts: 2,088
Default

Tom Dinning might say "Balls to all that!! Here's'my picture, it was taken by my camera, I had nothing to do with it.
Such language and all that Asher, and you a professional man and all.
Michael,don't take too much notice of that lot above. Some days I think they want every picture to be a piece of art and a beauty to beheld.
People get a bit lazy. Firstly, if it doesn't interest the they pass it by pretty quickly. So don't take offense. You can't please everyone. Some days you can't please anyone. In the only exhibition I ever held in 45 years of this business the only thing I heard from anyone about my favourite print in the show was 'nice and sharp'. I stuck the bloke with something nice and sharp and have never held another exhibition.
As a photograph I find your view of whatever interesting as a viewpoint. I can well place myself here and think 'Mmmm. I could go there and have a look around. Looks interesting' and that's all you may want from the photo. It's what I might refer to as a spontaneous, explanatory photo and our lives are filled with such moments. It's the place from which we start conversations, collect our memories, share our experiences and develop. Our skills as story tellers. I have thousands of these on file and I bet the people here have a few as well, of which few would post here.
You're a brave man for doing so. Not because it's a bad photo but because you are among the wolves. I like the photo for what it stands for. Please take more and post them here. In this way we can get a sense of who you are and what you do.
Some people have no imagination!
Tom
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old March 31st, 2012, 08:15 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich, Germany.
Posts: 3,789
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
I can well place myself here and think 'Mmmm. I could go there and have a look around.
Tom, you are welcome to come to Munich and have a look at the building. Now: can you answer the question, which was explicitly about constructive criticism?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old March 31st, 2012, 09:39 AM
Helene Anderson Helene Anderson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: SW France
Posts: 175
Default

I like the photo! My first thought was 'Trafic' (the film from 1971). I like the clean lines, the minimalism. Sort of 1950s idea of the future.

I'm intrigued by the building.

While . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Tom Dinning might say "Balls to all that!! Here's'my picture, it was taken by my camera, I had nothing to do with it.
I would say, or ask, what is, where is the story, tell me about the building.

So, a like from me then.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old March 31st, 2012, 09:53 AM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,330
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
This is one of the few photos I got a 'so what?' feedback on.
There was no constructive criticism, so I do ask here.
No need to be gentle...

Here it is:

Best regards,
Michael
Michael,

to answer the question - the viewer defines a good photo.

what was the subject for the maker in the work you posted?

for me I enjoyed it - it will not change my life in great way but it did provide me with a moment that was outside what is around me.

cheers
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old March 31st, 2012, 09:53 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich, Germany.
Posts: 3,789
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hélène Anderson View Post
I like the photo! My first thought was 'Trafic' (the film from 1971).
Jacques Tati was a true visionary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hélène Anderson View Post
I'm intrigued by the building.
You would be even more if you knew the building. BMW had lots of money to spend.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old March 31st, 2012, 10:22 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Thanks for all the critique and reactions - it will take some time to answer all.

Before I start with individual answers, here are some general remarks about the photo.

As I compose in an intuitive way, some thoughts on why I framed this way came up when looking at the result.

There colors are in the way I saw them that afternoon.
The two people on the walkway were important for me - I would have liked them more to the middle, but this was the only shot possible as a crowd populated the walkway a few seconds later.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old March 31st, 2012, 12:42 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles L Webster View Post
Michael, I seldom post critiques here because I never post for critique. But, I have to agree with the "so what" reaction to this. The idea (geometric shapes, colors, and planes) is good and more exploration of this site (auto museum?) might yield a better view point.

The cars add nothing to the picture except clutter, as does whatever that is in the top right corner, and the lights? just below that. The people add scale, but if the photo was about shape, line, and form is size and scale necessary?

In a photo like this, where the emphasis is on line, shape, and form, anything that doesn't contribute is a detriment.

In fact that holds true for many (most?) photos.
Charles, thanks for the detailed critique.
The photo was - for me - about two people lost in a clean, mostly empty envorinment.
The bit of differently coloured ceiling (Two years ago when I took that photo I decided against cropping, now I would crop just above the two lamps on the ceiling) and the cars add clutter to the picture, but the cars add context as well.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old March 31st, 2012, 01:34 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,361
Default

BMW Welt is to be seen to be appreciated. And I can imagine why one would take an image in there similar to the one that Michel has posted.

' So what ?' does not bother me as much as when I ask myself ' is this what I wanted ?'.

Are you satisfied with the result? That's all that matters. To me at least. But then again I do not have to market my photos as ' art '.
__________________
koffee and kamera
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old March 31st, 2012, 01:40 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Asher,

thanks for your elborate comments. I do not have an answer on all your comments, but here are a few observations that sparked from your comments.
Apparently the moe complex the picture is, the more contect information is required.
The title could be better - at least the translated one.
Ebenen could be translated into 'floors' as seen at the different walkways, but also levels in its different declinations.
Maybe I find a better translation..

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old March 31st, 2012, 02:28 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default It is actually the BMW Museum

Jerome,

I understand that you feel distracted by the details you describe - I simply did not see them as these are just part of the enviroment I did not consider as other viewers might do.
The cars are important, as these provide context.

BTW - This is actually the BMW Museum, the new part to be precise.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old March 31st, 2012, 02:54 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,751
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Jerome,

I understand that you feel distracted by the details you describe - I simply did not see them as these are just part of the enviroment I did not consider as other viewers might do.
The cars are important, as these provide context.

BTW - This is actually the BMW Museum, the new part to be precise.

Best regards,
Michael
Michael,

Sometimes, a picture cannot be shown in a corner or on aback background or anywhere else it doesn't belong. I have experienced certain pictures differently when they are seen in the context of images that we see before and after that particular image. That was the case with a recent series by Mitch Alland of Bangkok, where the ordering of photos made the pictures work very well.

I wonder whether you might have other pictures that reinforce the ideas you have expressed about the two people entering the scene or the stark modernity of the place.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old March 31st, 2012, 03:08 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Asher,

I cannot show another view with the two people as this was a singular occasion, but I can show more of the interior (you asked for it). I will stick to the new part of the BMW Museum.



Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old April 1st, 2012, 02:43 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,558
Default

Hi, Michael,

I find the difference in hue (green-ish vs. blue-ish) on the two orientations of large surfaces somehow disturbing.

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old April 1st, 2012, 11:47 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,751
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Asher,

I cannot show another view with the two people as this was a singular occasion, but I can show more of the interior (you asked for it). I will stick to the new part of the BMW Museum.

Best regards,
Michael



Michael,

Having seen you additional images, especially this one, I can imagine a series with just two figures in each and the ordering would then perhaps give the meaning you intend. Sometimes, (as in the Bangkok series I mentioned above), an complex idea might be covered very well by pictures, each of which are insufficient to stand on there own. I know a lot of folk would demand that each picture be worthy of being exhibited alone, but I'd say they were mistaken.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 12:31 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Darwin NT Australia
Posts: 2,088
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Tom, you are welcome to come to Munich and have a look at the building. Now: can you answer the question, which was explicitly about constructive criticism?
Was I being less constructive? How constructive would you like me to be, Jerome?
Might I suggest that criticism isn't always about telling people what they should and should n't do. It may well be about talking to them about their motives. How about you answer the 'question' your way and I'll do it mine. That way well get our say and people aren't bullied into doing as you say.
I haven't got time to go to Munich this week. Maybe next week.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 11:33 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,751
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
It may well be about talking to them about their motives.

Tom,

Yes, we do deserve a light rap on the knuckles for ignoring motivation for the image and for sure it doesn't have to be intended for ART to earn one's living, selling it in a fine gallery!

I admit, myself, when someone asks me , "Is this photo working?", I can say to myself, for what? "Documentation, Fashion for Vogue or what?" Sometimes, the very nature of the photograph gives a clue.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 12:34 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Tom,

thanks for the encouragement. Don't worry - this is a good occasion for me to learn and as I do not have to earn my money with photography, I enjoy the freedom I have to take the photos I like, may these be good or bad

And yes - if you happen to come to Munich be sure to tell and we can make a tour in the museum.


Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 12:48 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Hélène,

Thanks. Tati is a flattering reference.

Reading your comment I thought of the late Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. He used in his drawings sometimes similar sets of colors.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 12:57 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Mark,

thanks - especially for the description on what impression the photo made on you.
This is very helpful for me.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 01:07 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Fahim,

thanks for looking in. Yes - I got the picture I wanted.

I was there quite a few times - maybe I should show some more.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 01:16 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,289
Default

Asher,

yes - a series containing this picture could make sense - I have to figure out which order.

Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Posting a few photographs, wondering whether I should pursue a photography degree Tasha Pinheiro Entry Digital Photography 36 November 12th, 2010 04:54 AM
Why is Editing as Important as the Photo Shoot? Benjamin Kanarek Layback Cafe 3 July 24th, 2009 04:22 AM
Free kittens to a good home (good photo props) Will Thompson Buy and Sell Photo Equipment: Excess gear by participating members. Pictures please! 0 May 3rd, 2009 09:10 PM
OPF/LA Los Angeles Zoo Photo Day sunday October 15th 2006 Asher Kelman Layback Cafe 6 October 17th, 2006 07:53 PM
Insect Photo Show and Tell Mike Spinak Close-up & Macro 22 September 19th, 2006 10:42 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:28 PM.


Posting images or text grants license to OPF, yet © of such remain with its creator. Still, all assembled discussion © 2006-2017 Asher Kelman (all rights reserved) Posts with new theme or unusual image might be moved/copied to a new thread!