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11/24/2004 02:23:01 AM · #1
Since it was mentioned in another thread, and i had a conversation about it just the other day with someone, i am curious to find out why are people here so interested in making mass appealing photographs? And in general, what is it that motivates people to submit images to challenges here?

I was pointed out, and having considered it i totally agree, that any single photo from my portfolio is a zillion times better than any of my challenge submissions. I looked at a bunch of other people's works, and it's pretty much the same there too. Not always, of course, but as a rule of thumb. I personally don't like my 5 highest scoring shots at all, with the exception of the free study, but i knew it had some appeal because it had been rated on another site before.

Isn't it better to be creating something unique in your own style and with your own circle of fans, as opposed to be trying hard to make something that everyone and their dog likes?

I have heard a number of times that this site is for learning, and that submitting pictures into challenges here helps. But i am not sure i understand how exactly does it help you get better?

Scores? Probably not. Most of the time the score reflects an appealing subject with the quality of execution (composition, light, focus) being a somewhat distant second. And as was mentioned in another thread, a lot of times really brilliant or at least very good works end up being in the bottom of the pack because they don't have the required mass appeal.

Comments? Not so sure about that. The comments in the challenges seem to come in two groups. The ones where people like your photo, and most of the time they are just stating so. I'm not dismissing those, they are definitely appreciated, but at least for me it's more important to find out what people didn't like about an image in order to improve.

Which brings us to the second group, the negative comments. A vast majority are meaningless (yes, some of mine are included, although usually i'm trying to point out specifically what i don't like and how i think that may be remedied). Usually they just show that the commenter didn't really spend any time at all looking at your image (out of focus mens bad, period; talking about someone else's b/w entry). Only very, very seldom there is a comment that offers a more or less comprehensive analysis that proves the person has actually taken their time to consider your image.

Learning new things? I suppose i may have not been around long enough, but in the two months that i have, i can't say i learned a single new thing by making challenge entries... Yes, i have pulled off a few very non-trivial shots that i wouldn't even bother doing otherwise (one of them is getting about 4.1 right now in authority =) ), but i don't know personally whether that time wouldn't have been spent better on something different.

Forums are interesting, without doubt. They are helpful in a lot of aspects, from hardware and unpressured photo critique, to psychology and social science. But that's not related to the challenges.

Please keep in mind, i am not complaining about anything whatsoever, and i know i am free to leave and all that, and that i am not perfect myself when it comes to commenting, that's not the point and i can make my own decisions.

Just offering another opinion to consider and i'm really curious to find out what is it that keeps you here and makes you spend time and effort on submitting those challenge entries. Perhaps i'm missing something...

Would appreciate any comments. Thanks for reading this far.
11/24/2004 02:28:55 AM · #2
Competition.
11/24/2004 02:30:47 AM · #3
Challenge.
11/24/2004 02:31:19 AM · #4
I find comments (positive or negative) on my entries does show what most people think are flaws or benefits to that image, and overall, to technique. If you don't care about mass appeal, and just want to have your own style, learning here would be nearly meaningless, your own group of sycophants could say they liked it. I find I learn a lot about what I like, and how I would like to shoot by voting and commenting. I've been exposed (based solely on votes) to almost 2000 pictures in my short span of time here. Some good, some bad, some awe-inspiring. I take what I like and try to replicate. I try to avoid what I find I can't stand. simple as that.

As much as anyone, I suppose, I like a high score. But it doesn't motivate me. Coming up with an entry spurs some creativity, which is good. I've definitely come up with ideas I never would have if I didn't enter the challenges.
11/24/2004 02:33:27 AM · #5
If it weren't for this site, I wouldn't be doing *any* creative photography. I simply use the site as an excuse to get outside with my camera. In doing so, I've since met more than 10 people (actual human beings, not website acquaintances) also interested in photography, joined my local photo club, considered entering in upcoming county fairs, and setup a mini-studio in my garage.

But ultimately, the goal of submitting the site has to be to find a creative outlet. Getting a good score on submissions is only a single aspect of this site. Having someone select your shot as a favorite, laud your talents without provocation, and commend your bravery in submitting a shot you knew would get slaughtered are all elements of the DPC experience that I find just as rewarding as seeking out little colored ribbon GIFs.
11/24/2004 02:36:10 AM · #6
Hi Yura,

My answer can be best summed up by what I wrote in this thread:
Confessions of a Ribbon Hog

It is about the passion to learn, be judged by my own peers and drive forward to hone the passion.
11/24/2004 03:01:28 AM · #7
I have to agree with you. I shoot what I want to shoot, and sometimes I do get angry when it gets voted so low, but I'm okay with it. I know my photography isn't for most people- anyone other than myself for the most part.

I just shoot what I want whether anyone else is going to like it or not.

By the way, thanks for the comment on my b/w entry.  
11/24/2004 03:24:45 AM · #8
DPChallenge helped me learn. It helped me learn several important aspects of good photography.

1. You MUST have control of your camera and be able to use it to achieve a result rather than hoping the result you want happens. Therefore you MUST learn how the camera works.

2. DPChallenge helped me significantly in the area of learning how to look for photo opportunities. Some of the challenge topics that have been presented in the past were quite inspiring at some level. Shooting for those topics helped me learn how to look at things differently.

3. DPChallenge motivated me to learn about good photography and use what I learned to score well in challenges where mass appeal is required. It didn't necessarily teach me 'good photography' but it made me aware of the fact that I needed to learn it.

When photography is used as a form of art, the 'artist' has to decide what avenues he/she wants to pursue. There is nothing wrong with shooting for mass appeal, and DPC is a great place for that. All that really matters is that the artist is happy with what they are doing. There are hundreds of photographers here who are very happy doing what they do.

Occasionally, some photogrpahers 'deviate' from the mass appeal pursuit and start shooting different subjects and themes. As our minds grow along with our abilities, sometimes we find ourselves getting outside the normal 'mass appeal' type photos. Our interests change over time. We learn to like things that we weren't so fond of when we started this hobby.
11/24/2004 04:57:24 AM · #9
Most people seem to be judging the technique and not really the pictures...

Technique is important but not an end, it is only a way to get to a certain point...You can be the most technical photographer in the world and still not make interesting pictures...

I don't really look at entering the contest as learning...What fascinates me is how hundreds of people take there time to look at your work, whether they like it or not doesn't really matter, but of course it is always nice when someone likes your ideas...

Also I like working inside the frame of a sentence or words that someone else comes up with...

Like your photos Yura Socolov...

Regards

Guðni

11/24/2004 05:04:24 AM · #10
I guess the challenges give you an opportunity to think outside the square, to find an interpetation that is different from others that you hope will stand out. Also to let youreself be creativeand try new ideas. They may not have mass appeal or perhaps be understood by others on this International site.
The points or ribbondns aren't an issue with me, I liketo see if others see things at all like me,.
11/24/2004 05:10:52 AM · #11
Why do I submit to DPC, even if my photos don't have "mass appeal"?

- it gives me an excuse to try out new things, play with camera functions I wouldn't have used otherwise, and go to places I might not have otherwise gone to.
- it gives me a diverse group of dissimilar people to show photos to, giving me much broader feedback than just the people I know.
- the challenge aspect of DPC (ie it's core function) allows me to try techniques or subjects that I'm not so familiar with, widening my photography skills in the process...
- knowing what's popular can be a useful thing too!

11/24/2004 02:28:00 PM · #12
Interesting. It seems i, at least partially, agree with all of you. Thanks for taking your time to answer.

(And consider this a shameless plug to bump up the thread in hopes of getting more answers, too.)
11/24/2004 03:00:54 PM · #13
As it seems to me ...

If you can learn/teach yourself to take images which score consistently highly on here, then you have mastered a certain element of the craft of photography - in the purely technical sense, to create a certain nebulous 'type' of photo, and to use certain skills of composition, understanding of your audience, and so on ...

This can then give you the understanding and conficence to pursue your won particular interests ... always given the necessary limitations of image size and web display that pertains here.

I for one do not only submit to this site to achieve ribbons. There are rare times when I have to choose between an image that is more interesting to me than the one I think will score better here (and I'm not saying I'm always right), and there are many times when I shoot deliberately to try to win (not always anything like sccessfully), and times when I submit what I think is the kind of image I find meaningful

119770.jpg 107338.jpg 102904.jpg

These three were submitted because they're shots that represent what my photography is really about ... and because I like the audience I get here, and like that a few hundred folks get to see my photographs this way.

120133.jpg 104396.jpg 107397.jpg

These three were submitted in attempts to win challenges, with moderately successful results.

One important thing is: I, and I'm sure this applies to many others, don't only take or submit photographs that fit to our 'style', for want of a better word. That's why I hate it when folks assess photographers by their average challenge score ... it's kind of meaningless.

Ed
11/24/2004 03:01:53 PM · #14
I just don't get why people think they're so original in their work.
11/24/2004 03:03:33 PM · #15
Originally posted by Jacko:

I just don't get why people think they're so original in their work.


Nothing new under the sun, Jacko ...
11/24/2004 03:09:52 PM · #16
Originally posted by Jacko:

I just don't get why people think they're so original in their work.


Paiting students copy the masters to learn how to paint. Writers read good books to learn how to emulate character development or plot or a myriad of other things.

Perhaps NOT being original is the best way to learn. Besides, being TOO original here hurts your score, so I bet many folks either don't try that hard to be original or when choosing between two shot go for the safe, conventional already been done shot.
11/24/2004 03:13:20 PM · #17
Originally posted by Manic:

Why do I submit to DPC, even if my photos don't have "mass appeal"?

- it gives me an excuse to try out new things, play with camera functions I wouldn't have used otherwise, and go to places I might not have otherwise gone to.
- it gives me a diverse group of dissimilar people to show photos to, giving me much broader feedback than just the people I know.
- the challenge aspect of DPC (ie it's core function) allows me to try techniques or subjects that I'm not so familiar with, widening my photography skills in the process...
- knowing what's popular can be a useful thing too!


that would be most of why I am here, and it also gives me soething to think about during the week besides work, screaming kids and bills;)

Unfortunately I have little time to go and shoot for myself. i did some this past weekend and got an entry for low tech...i have very high hopes for it, score wise. I also like the shot and the time (alone) I spent just out taking pics.
11/24/2004 03:30:26 PM · #18
My reason for submitting to this perticular site, is that it gives me something to do. I was in a car accident awhile back and dont have full function of one of my hands, but I can work my camera. :) I am still learning about photography and get a good deal of learning from this site. I like the fact that there are weekly challenges as I can get out of the house and find stuff that meets the challenge to photograph. I could care less that my image was well recieved or scored well, it's just knowing I did it. Even in the 'negative' comments there is something to learn. What they dont like, or what they saw that you may have missed.
11/24/2004 03:31:38 PM · #19
Since first arriving here back in September, I have witnessed what purists consider a macro and what non-purists will accept as a macro (close-up). I have felt the pain of a challenge that says, "Black and White II (Reduce the world to a palette of grays, and focus on light, shade, line, texture and form)" that those who are judging this literally, will look for patterns, shading, lines and textures and that a high key picture is most likely going to score low as may even a portrait. I have stopped to think more about Time Passing realizing that if an ad exec had given me this assignment that (s)he is most likely looking for some form of motion even if it is only a second hand ticking away or a blurred effect as someone walks through the scene.

I have been blessed to be guided by people who's work I enjoy and others who's work I would never buy, to look at the world (landscapes) a bit differently, to see the little things (macros) from another angle or even more closely and to find ways of expressing an idea that someone else has suggested in the most ordinary of objects.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then each challenge could be the starting or ending point of an entire story. I have read a lot of the stories people are telling with their art and now I look at the stories I have told - and will tell - very differently now.

Regardless of mass appeal or ribbons, if the challenge's suggestion can force me to look at something a new way or push me to become creative in expressing those few words in a staged setting or a naturally occurring event, at least I am searching the real world again with wide open eyes, ever seeking to capture something that I and hopefully someone else will find a connection to.

Message edited by author 2004-11-24 15:33:22.
11/24/2004 03:48:07 PM · #20
This and one other thread going on right now really show why I got involved with DPC in the first palce. The positive exploration of our shared passion seems to be back in force this week and I for one am very happy to have it back! I think Arcanist summed it up well for me, too.
11/24/2004 04:26:38 PM · #21
Originally posted by bestagents:

...being TOO original here hurts your score, so I bet many folks either don't try that hard to be original or when choosing between two shot go for the safe, conventional already been done shot.


I find the opposite to be true. Lack of originality is the fastest way to a mediocre score. With few exceptions, I live or die by creativity and it's easy to pick out the shots without much thought behind them simply by looking at my scores.

As for Yura's question, I covered my experience in a later post this thread.
11/24/2004 04:37:29 PM · #22
In answer to Yura's original question, I need an outlet for my creative side.

I want to present what I can create to other like minded people and if I get any positive reactions then that's a plus.

As already discussed in the other thread, I learn by way of other peoples examples. We don't always agree but that's part of the learning too.

Having the chance to comment and critique other people's work forces me to think more about my own and what I'm trying to achieve.

In the time I've been on this site I've realised, (once again), that there is more to my life than work and money and other materialistic things. Although they are needed to allow the pursuit of art / photography.
11/24/2004 04:43:19 PM · #23
Originally posted by Blackdog:

In answer to Yura's original question, I need an outlet for my creative side.

In the time I've been on this site I've realised, (once again), that there is more to my life than work and money and other materialistic things. Although they are needed to allow the pursuit of art / photography.


And doesn't it take us out of the ordinary, stressed world for a while, too? Into a whole different community? That is why I hate to see it undermined by the negative stuff - this is my escapism!! LOL
11/24/2004 05:21:05 PM · #24
Originally posted by Kylie:



And doesn't it take us out of the ordinary, stressed world for a while, too? Into a whole different community? That is why I hate to see it undermined by the negative stuff - this is my escapism!! LOL


Are you sure we're not twins, seperated at birth by some cruel twist of fate?
11/24/2004 05:26:02 PM · #25
I take lots of photos and i know people aren't very fond of them but what really matters is my taste. I know that with this site i've grown a lot. I look at some peoples photos and try to interpret them my own way but with the same basic ideia. Like multiple exposure i see photos i like in this site then i do it my way.

About the ribbon i would like to win won. But if i don't i'll be learning while i try, because i'll try to make my photos better and better. Like having a theme lets your mind go to places you sometimes can't imagin you could come up with that ideia, even thought people don't get it. But you the photographer get it, photography is art people look at it a recreat it.

People many times don't like the photos but here back home i've seen peoples reaction on my photos, at first they said it was nice but not very convincing but know i see and feel what they tell me and that feels really great.

These are my thoughts. can't remember anything more to say. :)
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