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kevinos 07-03-2006 04:08 PM

A visit to limbo
I found two new interesting places on the TE today, which I would like to recommend. One was the welcome section, where the postings of new members are shown. This was very interesting and full of hope.
The other was a sad place: the limbo, where un-critiqued pictures are confined to the deep. I spent a long time wondering through here and I learned a lot. More, I think, than from anywhere else on the site. Down there the names of the superstars are unknown. Here our photographic failures are mock by silence and neglect. It aroused in me feeling such as I had experienced while visiting war cemeteries and I intend to visit often now that I have found it.
I was sad, however, to find none of my own pictures there, but that was only because I have deleted those that had been thus ignored. I did leave a couple on, as a kind of gesture of defiance; like shaking my fist in the face of TE orthodoxy and saying “I refuse to delete this even though you despise it” But when I revisited them, after so long, I discovered that even they had picked up the odd critique. How did anyone find them, right down there, and after so long? It seems almost a shame to have their virginity or rejection sullied. Like the wreck of a sunken battleship, perhaps, they should acquire the status of war memorials, secure from disturbance for all time.

However, many of my pictures had been spared from confinement here, by a compassionate crony, or by a newcomer, too inexperienced in the ways of TE to know that the picture was crap, who had administered the sacrament of the last rites by awarding a single smiley.

I did think it would be interesting to arrange an exhibition of pictures from among the un-critiqued. They are publishing a book, I understand, of some of the best of TE. Why not, I thought, publish a book of pictures from the rejects? But, however amusing, this idea seemed doomed to failure.

I would suggest, however, that the doors of limbo be opened just a little so that pictures that collect only one or two point could end up there. After all, almost any of my pictures, however mediocre, might pick up two points, if only by accident.

I would recommend a visit to this section to any member; it’s a very interesting and moving experience. After all, the answer to the question “why was this a failure?’ is just as informative as “why is this a success?

Homerhomer 07-03-2006 04:43 PM

Re: A visit to limbo
I see where you are coming from Kevin, not that it's going to make me go there since time is of essence my internet time is already streching as it is.

However I want to address the following:
"I did think it would be interesting to arrange an exhibition of pictures from among the un-critiqued. They are publishing a book, I understand, of some of the best of TE. Why not, I thought, publish a book of pictures from the rejects? But, however amusing, this idea seemed doomed to failure."

The best of TE has already failed as far as I know, any other book, including the "most unpopular" will do the same.

If someone is really interested in doing something like that why not follow pbase format where they have a downloadible pdf, still a hell of a project for anyone who is willing to undertake, but way more within a reach than a book.

You could have the best of TE, the worst of TE, periodical, any other theme, let's say soccer since it's a world cup time.

kinginexile 07-03-2006 08:10 PM

Re: A visit to limbo
You had me smile, Kevin, cool post, with refined irony. TE is not really based on critical analysis of a shot, be it good or bad. Time and time again, people have made a point that they are only interested in the subjects they "like", and favor for themselves. To add to the fact that there is too little time in one day to be interested in anyone but their favorites, who day after day, post superlative shots deserving of nothing shorter than the greatest accolade. And this, day after day. In face of such luminaries, how dare you bring the limbo-ites! (smirk...)

We just have to get used to it, some people need no retouching, no improvement, and others better get used to the "oubliettes", or write their 20 "sharing critiques" a day (at least), to become, finally, unfallible photographers too.


jrj 07-03-2006 08:39 PM

Re: A visit to limbo
Kevin: More than 1 year of membership to find a welcome section and an uncritqed
They are publishing a book, I understand
..asking me.. they are not

greg 07-03-2006 09:56 PM

Re: A visit to limbo
Also interesting is that after 40 days in limbo, you slip beyond the limit of redemption into the inaccessible page 101. Without any link to find you, you're doomed to an eternity of nothingness...

AdrianW 07-04-2006 01:38 AM

Re: A visit to limbo
Thanks Greg, I'd never noticed the 100 page limit before - it appears that room 101 really does exist, Orwell would be so proud ;)

simonekarl 07-04-2006 02:53 PM

Re: A visit to limbo
I have one posting in the uncritiqued section.

I took it, I still think that it's a good image, in my taste, and I will continue to share it with whoever wants to look at it, so far 409 of you have visited it.....

Many thanks to the 409 of you who visited.

kajenn 07-05-2006 03:06 AM

Re: A visit to limbo
I have one there too, which I think is rather good. I'll leave it in, mainly because I worked with the note.

So far it's been visited by 969 - hopefully some of them read the note...

kevinos 07-05-2006 02:09 PM

Re:Thought from limbo
Well Simone! I just had to look for your exhibit in limbo and was able to find “Land of Puppets and Dreams,” Since it made me think. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts. They relate to one of the reasons why a picture may fail to get a rating and are, no more, than the musings of a well intentioned and ignorant wanderer in the land of TE.
I must say that it is a challenging picture and one that I can understand why it ended up in limbo. Firstly, the color is far too sharp for my taste. Secondly, the color and incident are distributed too randomly around the frame. No single object (or set of objects) presents itself as a focus of interest (no duality is created) and the eye has no path through the picture (i.e. there is no perceptible composition) and the eye and the brain need to make order from an image in order to enjoy it.
What the photographer does is, I believe, to perceive an order, a sense, and a path, in the scene before him and tries to reveal this to the viewer. This is what we mean by composition and what makes an image, not just random objects, but ‘art’ Photography is, I suspect, is the art of seeing the meaning, or order or sequence and composing the picture in such a way as to present what he sees and what he feels to the viewer.

The little puppets, which could have formed the focus of interest and too randomly distributed to create a duality and, because the picture was shot through glass, there is a refraction, which presents them as vague and confusing (worrying) to the eye.

I see that your picture ‘We are Sailing’ got one critique. However, this one critique seems to me, to be very useful and similar to be reactions above. One perceptive critique is worth a thousand “good shots!” My feeling is that, this lack of order, or duality or path is a feature of a number of your pictures and so I am unable to connect with them. I was impressed, however, with pictures like your “Walk up to the light” which I see got good approval rating. Here, there is a clear composition. The eye follows a path through the picture and is not distracted by irrelevant objects. The eye and the brain are able to enjoy the picture.

Some pictures don’t have a path, of course, like all the pictures that follow on from Claude Monet’s water lily pictures for the later Giverny period. (Which, I suppose, comprises most of modern art!)? But here the surface must be covered with fascinating and enjoyable detail, over which the eye can wander and create it own path. Even in this seeming randomness, there is order.

I hope you don’t mind my thoughts from limbo.

oochappan 07-05-2006 03:06 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
Kevin, there are so many techniques on the level of shooting and on the level of postprocessing .... it would be nice to build out an example gallery of all differant techniques .... sometimes very old techniques are digged up and spot on as new or others introduced from contempory photographers.

With a good data-base of explicit techniques in mind, the most appropriate technique is to be creative at the spot that could result in a refined compilation of known techniques mixed with your creative mind.

What you talk about mainly is the technique of eye-travelling that can be invoked by several other techniques like perspective, light managing, geometrical structures, gradiants, colorcontrasts and so on ....

Short, the more techniques you are aware of in the back of your mind, the more creative and various your shots will become, tuned to the moment itself with a strong personal creative mind to enhance your target. It will create diversity in your shooting from the most simple structures to the most complicated each with their most specifique personal handeling to reproduce your most inner impression to convey and share this message or statement to ohters.

So be creative at the moment, don't pin yourself up to a few techniques you know but enlarge this techniques in the back of your mind to be functional to your creativity.

Most shots in the so called 'limbo' lacks a creative explicit technique that often still can enhanced by postprocessing, that will be done by your personal interpretation to enhance elements to a better readable structure, simple or complicated, as long it enhance some message.

oochappan 07-05-2006 04:09 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
About a data-base of explicit techniques I started already two

<a href="">TECHNIQUE - graphics</a>
<a href="">TECHNIQUE - simplicity</a>

Maybe it would be interesting to build this out with more really explicit techniques from the best shots as examples .... ?
(tilt,bokeh,lightmanaging,colors,geometrical structure,PP-colors,PP-light ....)

kevinos 07-05-2006 05:35 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
Thanks for a fascinating input, Henk. I look forward to exploring your data bases on specific techniques. My grasp of technique is very limited.
However, what I was discussing, primarily, with regard to these few pictures, was composition. That is, how the different elements of a picture are selected, ordered and arranged, within the frame, to communicate the photographer’s idea. Composition is perhaps part of technique, but technique is not synonymous with composition, I think. We often see written in critiques “nice composition” but what is good and what is bad composition? If the critiquers were asked to define the rules for good composition, could they do so? I gave my views on the composition of two specific pictures, There were also comments on things that I consider to be technical i.e. color saturation and sharpness. My ideas on composition, like all of ours, are drawn from the history of European and Asian art. Some creative photographers, however, are continually ‘pushing the envelope’, which is exciting. It’s a complex issue, but I offered a few thoughts on specific pictures. I will continue to think about it and I don’t think I will take any more pictures until I have done a lot more thinking.

jinju 07-05-2006 06:14 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
For me anyway, good composition is simplicity. I look for situations or angles that exclude as much of whats not crucial to the shot as possible. This is the approach I usually take. Buit mostly, I just go on instinct and hope:)

oochappan 07-05-2006 07:08 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
some compositions techniques

- layering : the differant plans f.e. front-middle-background
- the 1-2 layers: plans that divides a picture in two f.i. a colored wall or publicity board to a person, this can be flat or layered in depht
- the explicit border compo where all attention points are framed at the border and the middle stays rather empty or linking those attention points
- the geometrical compo as example 3 attention points that are put in a triangle, can be combinated with plans with perspective depht.
- the sober compo where only one element pulls the attention towards a sober surroundings put on the golden cut
- the incongruous static centering of an dynamic action as a contradiction

and so on .....
you know others ?
examples enough
still the richness of a shot is being aware to know to combinate these techniques in a spontaneous creative way with the limits of the moment, in function to enhance a subject, not the photographer, the viewer has to get the feel of and to loose himself in to a scene where any distractive element would rehold him to enjoy it fully.

So experiments to go beyond conventional has the extra challenge of still not to distract the viewer . It should show itself as an evident logique creative approach of the moment still to enhance it.

There are so many techniques .... the study of colors/harmony and their impact on a viewer is already a science on its own, for us to see the harmony or use them functional to guide the eye(puller) or to evoke a feel.

I think for newcommers, such a pool of a specifique techniques could help them but such data should be really specifique with good examples that mostly will include other techniques of course.
You could start also a specifique technique, good exercise to find good examples

kinginexile 07-05-2006 08:20 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
plus what you can never learn. I think just about every photographer who is more than just a professional framer aggrees there are unexplainable, undefinable qualities, to sum up positiviely a "feel" that no one can teach us/you. I believe the confusion between good and unique is more pronounced in the "art" of photography than a many other arts. Especially as people look at one pix, then exult, but it's a body of work that really expresses indivuduality.
Think Salieri and Mozart. My feeling is we tend to find mozart in too many salieris nowadays. And salieri was a damned good composer, but Mozart, he was not.


kevinos 07-05-2006 08:32 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
Rafal is right, simplicity in composition equates with strength.
Both Rafal and Henk have highly developed instincts that serve them well and, after all, analysis is the handmaiden of instinct, not its mistress.
But, to return to the beginning; to the pictures that fail and sink into the depths of limbo, down here, instinct has clearly made some terrible blunders. Some analysis could shed a ray light down here.

oochappan 07-05-2006 09:13 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
plus what you can never learn
sorry, can't really agree on that .... cause
each person is genius unique in his being,
some have more natural talents,
some have to work hard to bring them out but even for the talented ones, nothing comes by itself, enviroment and creative education are so much differant ... tu use your image, Mozart wouldn't be Mozart without Bach .... the more feedback the higher level depending largly on your own motivated efforts cause so many talents are also thrown away !
intuitive feelings depends largely on your sensibility that can grow by learning to see but will increase and motivated by your love for it, the motor.

simonekarl 07-06-2006 12:59 AM

Re: A visit to limbo
Thanks for a really positive feedback. I take your comments and will try to learn from them.

I can't emphasise how correct you are, that just one critique can make som much difference. I have a 2 0r 3 single critque images in my gallery, and the feedback was really positive.

Thanks everyone.

kinginexile 07-06-2006 11:21 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
Sorry, Henk, but one can learn all one wants, no one will ever be Mozart, HCB, Bach. But given the skills (which are not genius, or even proof of uniqueness), and good PR or luck, quite a few professional composers can match salieri's body of work and position. Same with photography. I think you even wrote it yourself: Intuition matters, but intuition is not learnt, not one bit. what you learn is getting to know yourself, to get experience and confidence in recognizing your own path and following that intuition, with the technical means to bring it out of your imagination for all to share. Genius is a very precise term, which in its semantics indicates that it is simply not shared equal amongst all. You probably meant everyone has something to share, something to give. Yes, indeed.

oochappan 07-07-2006 03:02 PM

Re: Re:Thought from limbo
Indeed some have explicit talents like they say in our language
genius verges often on to lunacy, and indeed on other levels it is sometimes a real disaster by them :)) joking.

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