To pboehringer: Point of interest

  • Dear Peter,

    I want to take your comment to my photo as a chance to discuss, or explore, a more general issue concerning photography and our attitude toward it. I hope not to bore you.
    In our country we have two sayings: “tastes cannot be discussed” and another one when you find something you don’t like: “it’s like drinking ordinary wine after having drank malvasia” Malvasia is a refined dessert wine, so if your taste is used to it you’ll surely dislike a common ordinary wine. I think those two sayings are complimentary. Just simply browsing into TE galleries we find a variety of taste about subjects and also ways of composing the picture. I think that each one of us is compelled to follow one’s taste, good or bad, and rarely we are ready to change it.
    As far as landscape is concerned you chose to photograph the most beautiful and spectacular sceneries in the whole world, and your technique is superb. Of course you don’t see any point or interest in common ordinary wine or landscape! (:- Probably I’ll be like you if I had the chance and luck – as you have – to be able to access to those wonderful areas. But for a moment put yourself in my shoes: what would you do if you had no chance to travel to far and extraordinary places? When malvasia is not at one’s hand you should revert to common ordinary wine and make the best out of it, otherwise the alternative is not to drink at all.

    Again browsing throughout TE galleries we can see thousands of people – like me – who, just for fun, chose to photograph simple things one can find not far from home, maybe some of them have some universal interest, maybe they interest only the photographer. I think photography is ALSO that, i.e. to find or extract a good composition even from an ordinary scene. When I look to some friends picture I often fail – as you did – to find a real point of interest in the subject he/she chose, yet I try to see what kind of beauty the photographer’s eyes saw. I think beauty can be found even in humble ordinary things, and that is also a necessity in life otherwise we’ll get depressed to live all the time in a ugly city or place, or as an alternative, we run away from the ugly city to live surrounded by a landscape that satisfy us.

    I enjoyed very much what you wrote in the note of your last post, and I think your story confirms my idea that some people doesn’t develop a real sensitivity to nature but only follow someone else vision. If Ansel Adams had not photographed those wonderful places those crazy ladies – and many other people as well – wouldn’t have cared a thing about it. We need to be told what is fine and what is not unless we have an independent sensitivity and openness.

    Once I read and interesting story, it was in a fiction book but the story was real. There was a man expert in precious stones who ran a shop and sell them. He used to make a test with the people who came to buy gems. He showed them a number of gems of different kind and prices and asked them: what do you think is the most beautiful one? Invariably all the people chose the most expensive ones. But actually the man had changed the labels and the most expensive one was just ordinary glass! Nobody was able to spot the real precious and fine stones! Interesting, isn’t it?

    Sorry to having been so long but I thought that you might appreciate a friendly talk,
    All the best,
    Donato
  • Re: To pboehringer: Point of interest
    Donato,
    please don't exucse for your long and detailed comment. I wish we could have critiques like this for every post, but then we never ever would get to see shots and it wouldn't be a photography website, it would be a literary or poetry website.

    I don't understad very well your dilema. Believe me, I have to do some extensive travelling to get my shots. Just as an example, last month I had 5 days off from work. I packed my car with the photography stuff, my tent, my sleeping bag and food and off I went. The places that I was about to visit were picked quite before and I knew exactly what I was looking for. I slept in subzero temperatures in my sleeping bag and tent. I woke up at 5:00m in the morning with stiff and cold limbs. Fumbling around the camera with such temperatures is true torture, but the compensation in seeing the landscape being transformed by the light is absolutely worth it. The pictures that come out of such moments are the bonus.

    At the end of the trip I collected unforgetable moments and images. In these 5 days I drove 1,600km and that was actually just around the corner of my home. As you see, I invest a lot to drink Malvasia. You're absolutely right, once you had that flavor of such good wine you're not going back to ordinary wine and that is probably the only difference between "thousands of people at TE" and what I do. I photograph more or more the Malvasia shots and less and less the ordinary. At the beginning I took 1,500 shots during such 5 days. Now I take 200 shots or even less, but I now exactly what I got.

    I love Italy and I am sure that at some point I will return there to get some 'Malvasia' photos. It would be a pleasure to meet you then to take some shots together and afterwards have a good time with a true italian meal followed by true Malvasia while we can chat about this very interesting discussion that you started here. I never heard about this wine and you made me curious!!!

    Peter