View Full Version : Photos of Cute Kids
I want to make a general comment on the recent spate of "cute kid" photos. Like flower photos (which have been discussed here ad nauseum), they have a universal appeal. However, like flowers, they also often fail to help us "learn about the world".
Unlike TE's flowers shots, which are usually technically good (if not instructive), many of the kid shots I've seen recently rely too heavily on the cuteness of the subject and are *not* executed with technical precision. I think that, regardless of whether a photo teaches us about the world through photography, it should still be technically decent.
I think it should also have an appeal to a viewer who is not personally attached to the subject. It is a common photographic mistake to take a photo at a time/place that is inspiring, and assume it fully captures the mood of the time/place. A photo (e.g. of a cute kid) has to tell a story and be aesthetically/technically inviting (or at least not repellant). Just capturing a cute face recognizably within the borders of the frame is inadequate.
As a general comment, I encourage "cute kid" photographers to try and work more on the instructive and technical precision of their photos. I would also generally encourage moderation when posting isolated portraits. TrekEarth's goal is to "learn about the world through photography", so the great majority of photos should show some context.
06-26-2003, 04:59 PM
I fully agree but, I think the ones that should be reading this are not going to. Maybe it is time to send those persons an e-mail with your previous post and a reminder about the TOS of trekearth. Just my opinion.
06-26-2003, 08:10 PM
What I'd like to see very much is the notes along with the photo. The notes can make any photo to a travel related photo (cute kids included :-)). I strongly beg everyone to try to include a little note.
On the technical aspects, they come with experience of taking picture and not all beginners knows about rules of thirds, golden rules, etc... (If you are interested in basic compositions, <a href=http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/composition-2.shtml>this site has a tutorial</a>) so demanding a technically perfect shot from a beginner might not be possible. And who else but the better photographers on this site can give them some hints, that's why they are here to learn. Though not very technically competent, I try to give comments to avoid the mistake I made in the past.
Another thing is perspective of the world, when I look at a portrait of a Vietnamese girl in her "ao dai", I said to myself "that's a travel related shot". Yet I do not have that same feeling about a Canadian teenager in tanktop. Sometimes, I wonder what a countryside farmer in VN think about my photos. Maybe he would think I am crazy taking all these pictures of non-special things. Any S.E.A farmers on TE? :-)
06-26-2003, 08:37 PM
I agree that with photos that seem unrelated to travel, comments by the photographers can explain how that is infact a travel related shot. With a comment, I think it is possible to enjoy in the proper context some shots which might otherwise not seem to belong.
ok, I've just posted a photo of a <a href="http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/photo8160.htm">cute kid</a>, and I've read the TOS. I agree with Thien, that there's something not quite right that any subject in Asia qualifies as a travel shot, but western ones should be more rigorously classified. We have many photographers on this site who are posting great pictures from their home countries - is that travel? For sure the site would be poorer without them. As for me, the site's more to do with 'learning about photography through the world'. It's great that the shots are coming from everywhere - there's no limit to the subject matter, but we enjoy the good ones because they're good. Nobody ever asks Olli what his beautiful images have to do with travel. It's a mistake we've all made - to snap a beautiful thing hoping for a beautiful picture - kids, friends, famous landmarks - they're all easy pitfalls. But really, there's no such thing as an image that isn't connected to travel. If we didn't move, we'd never see anything. Show me a cute kid, but try to make it a picture that I like...
06-27-2003, 02:35 AM
I think thien has nailed a very important factor.
"Another thing is perspective of the world, when I look at a portrait of a Vietnamese girl in her "ao dai", I said to myself "that's a travel related shot". Yet I do not have that same feeling about a Canadian teenager in tanktop. Sometimes, I wonder what a countryside farmer in VN think about my photos. Maybe he would think I am crazy taking all these pictures of non-special things. Any S.E.A farmers on TE?"
When it comes to animals, kids, insects flowers and people shots in general, these are all subject to the same issue. For someone in VN, some of the pics from SE Asia may have that person scratching their head saying "what's so special about that" Where as a person in lets say Ukrain, saying "wow..this is so cool"
I think the key word here is tolerance.
06-27-2003, 06:18 PM
I think I'm a prime offender for cute kid shots. But I had a quick look at my portfolio, and it seems to me, in my subjective opinion, that very very few, if any, of my child-shots are there just to say "this is a cute kid". All except one are showing the child doing something - banging a drum, walking through a temple, etc etc. So I don'thnik it's entirely a metter of children in photos. Photos of other people's children can be interesting or not, depending - and what it depends on is largely a matter of creating an additional reason for us to look at the photo. Cuteness just isn't enough!
06-27-2003, 07:36 PM
> that there's something not quite right that any subject in
> Asia qualifies as a travel shot, but western ones should
> be more rigorously classified.
True but nobody is saying this to be the case (just Thien's feeling).
> We have many photographers on this site who are posting
> great pictures from their home countries - is that travel?
> As for me, the site's more to do with 'learning about photography
> through the world'.
Nobody has claimed that the photos should be taken while traveling. There is nothing wrong with posting shots from your home country or your own neighborhood. Your view I believe jives with the intent of this site although you could also say the inverse also -- that is, "learning about the world through photography."
> But really, there's no such thing as an image that isn't
> connected to travel.
This part I disagree with. One reason I like this site is that 98% of the photos are directly related to the place in which they were taken. So we don't get shots taken in a studio or artsy photographic experiments. Examples of images not connected to the locale: portrait studio shots, artsy macro shots of household objects, typical family/pet snapshots, etc.
As for your shot probably of it was mine, I wouldn't have posted it but the fact that you have doesn't bother me. I definitely agree that if you are going to post a borderline shot, you should make it a good one!
As for Olli's shots, if you look at them (& read their descriptions) just about all of them have some direct relation to the place & time where they were taken. Even a close-up shot of an ice bubble tells me what the seabed in Western Finland looks like. The same subject matter would look different in another location.
Nobody has brought this up yet but now that we've discussed about Cute Kids I must raise the question of what we should do about pictures of Ugly Kids?? ;-)
I am a newcomer here and I really enjoy the site. At first I did not grasp the "TrekEarth" concept and thought that the site was more about photography than geography. I posted a swan picture (btw, it is one of the swans at Charles River, Boston) and Mark Skorj's comment to the picture made me realize that this site is not about "just photography". Maybe this should be strongly emphasized to educate newcomers like me.
07-06-2003, 03:36 AM
When I read this post, the first thing I thought was of this shot of two or three kids with some marshmallows in the backyard of their Canadian house.
Cute kid shot you might think? NO! one of the best PhotoJournalism shots I've seen of a NON-Asian subject on Trek Earth so far.
So, even though the photographer contributed DNA to the subject(s) and certainly was not far from home, the shot captured an essence of a midsummer in North America. The kids were not clowning or posing for the camera, the exposure was technically good, great composition, etc.
Bottom line is: I hope people continue to post shots like that one. Though I do agree that portraits of fuzzy(out of focus) imps who are mugging for the camera aren't appropriate to this site.
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