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Friday, 29 December 2017


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What strikes me as odd/humorous is that if you take a "popular" B&W photo from social media and look at the histogram you'll see that oftentimes they restrain the highlights. Like holding them to 175 out of 255. This makes the picture "art" as compared to using the entire range of tones ;-p

"three pictures that have nothing in common with each other suggest that the photographer has no coherent vision or style, no concerns that distinguish him or her from the crowd"

I appreciate that you are honest about this, but I feel obliged to tell you that it irks me a little that this is the case. You asked for submission of up to three single photographs that fit a certain requirement. This is quite different from a series of up to three photographs. I guess it is good to hear you elaborate on what your expectations really were, and this is a good example for what photographers are up against when they submit for any call for photography submission in general.

I find David Adam Edelstein's trio particularly appealing. It would be good to see more of his work.

I like Chris Fuller's shot but didn't understand your learning point about it. However I did get the learning points from the other shots you picked out and found these very interesting and instructive. In fact, I'd love to see more posts like this from you - please?

Thanks for the advice Mike. This is why TOP is the best photography blog: so much photographic wisdom packed into bite sized daily readings.

I have to agree with Bernd Reinhardt's comments. I thought the "exercise" was to submit images, up to 3...without any criteria that they had to tell a story or be related in any way, sharp, manor or form. Also, I thought that the story behind each image was of importance, meaning the submission might be telling 3 different stories. So your criticism that the photographers who submitted 3
unrelated images puts them in the class of having "no coherent
style or vision" is wee bit over the top. Harsh words. As for the examples you have selected....lovely work. I would be proud to have them in my portfolio.

[You're both making the mistake of believing in the myth of objectivity. Photographs are always in context...some context.

In any case there's no guarantee that I would be more likely to pick a photograph for inclusion if the three pictures go together, or unlikely to pick one if it's accompanied by two weaker pictures. None of the examples I shared in this post were picked for the final set, for instance. (Although you could argue that the treatment they got was just as good as being picked.) With ~400 submissions for 13 slots it's "throwing darts" past a certain level, as one commenter said.

Plus, all "judges" are subjective, as anyone will attest who has been involved with any contest or award with multiple judges. I once presided over a contest with three judges, and I solved the inevitable arguments by letting each judge name one inclusion that was automatically included with no vetoes from the others possible. Like a "franchise player" that can't be traded. That way, everyone got to award at least one favorite without having to fight for it. None of the judges liked the personal pick of the other two! And over the rest of them, we argued and negotiated and then argued and negotiated some more.

I'm just talking here about how photographs worked for me in the context of this exercise. It can't be avoided...there's always that context. --Mike]

These are all lovely images. Your eye leans toward surrealism. (Although one could argue that b&w is intrinsically rather surreal.)

So you'll now have shown a baker's 23 ?!

I envy your experience in seeing the full raft of submissions for this week's Baker's Dozen, Mike - the examples you show here indicate that there's a lot to inspire and educate us in the work of our peers this time around.

For me, I just threw three pics that I like from my current one-man show ("The Nichols Arboretum in Black and White", on display at the Ann Arbor District Library downtown until Jan. 10th) in an email and sent them in, two landscapes taken with short telephotos (85 and 105mm Takumars) and a wildlife photo of a seriously moulting young goose with a thoughtful expression (via a Carl Zeiss MC 135).

There are 47 pics in the show - so, go figure, which to send to you? I simply chose three that I especially like and there you go.

They do provide a nice, though very small, sample of how I have come to approach landscape and nature photography after a couple years of photographic efforts in the Arb. Short telephotos help me find and isolate subjects that otherwise get a little muddled-together in a place as full of trees, shrubs, paths and various environmental-study micro-environments as the Arb. Anyway, hope you like 'em too!

Jeff Clevenger

[I did like them, Jeff, and I also really enjoyed seeing everyone's pictures. Quite a great Christmas present for me, actually. I've really enjoyed it. --Mike]

Context. Yep, that's what I was hoping for in my winter shots. The description of the day that all three shots were made on were important to me and that context. I don't know if any of them will win (given the talent level here I doubt it but actually don't feel bad about that - if one did, I'd be ecstatic).

Photos are always a frozen moment in time and that sometimes is a fact that's fun to play with in wintertime...

"I find David Adam Edelstein's trio particularly appealing. It would be good to see more of his work."

Search engines are your friends. Lots of hits, lots of photos.

I would have send you three of my images, but the truth is, I couldn't choose from my small, dubious black and white collection, for the simple reason that I don't really know what I'm doing! I'm useless when it comes to converting colour to B&W, so I mostly shoot B&W by choosing the monochrome option on the camera settings and just shooting jpegs in camera and not manipulating them at all.

Sadly I sent my set to the wrong email address, .co instead of .com, I now realise.

Was never going to make the 'dozen' anyway...

"Search engines are your friends. Lots of hits, lots of photos."

So true. Just ask the personnel officer at any company or any cyber stalker. 8-o

Dammit. I've got a whole folder of candidates and I didn't send a single one in.

Stupid holiday bustle!

Looking forward to the B Duz!

I got back from Christmas with the family to find I’d missed the deadline. Good thing though; my planned submission was just three photos of clouds :)

Looking forward to seeing the thirteen, and thanks for sticking with the blog for another year. Best to you in the new year!

The popularity of your B&W Baker’s Dozen call is no surprise to me Mike. You’ve touched a nerve! My hunch is that many TOP readers are very serious amateurs who crave recognition and want an audience (whether or not they’ll admit that!), but aren’t satisfied with collecting “likes” on Instagram. Personal websites are mostly a dead-end for attracting an audience and recognition. Gallery shows are out of reach for almost everyone. What else is there? Then along comes your “fun” call for photos! Being selected for your Baker’s Dozen will put 13 peoples’ images on the screens of 1,000s of fellow dedicated photographers, and give them a degree of legitimacy. Of course you got hundreds of submissions! I shall definitely enjoy the results of your efforts.

I had selected two images for submission. Then I saw some very nice B+W images on some other site and began to realize that I don't understand how to see in B+W. So, no submission from me. I'm actually more interested in seeing and learning from your Baker's Dozen.

Happy New Year, Mike. Some years, I think I percieve that you are up moderating posts on New Year's, and I usually try to wish you a happy one. I think, most days, most years, TOP is the first website I read in the morning, and the last one I read at night. That might be true tonight as well.

Good wishes, God's blessings, and may you be happy this coming year!

I missed the deadline. I came home very tired and couldn't get warm for hours, and forgot everything else. I should have sent you some photos before the deadline; I have no excuse.

Oh well. I look forward to seeing the Baker's Dozen.

I know you don't like to post bad examples, but how about if you do a baker's dozen of *bad* photographs, where the submitter's know they are bad images? Then you can post bad examples without embarrassing anyone.

Beautiful exercise Mike,

I like your approach at teaching by positive examples only and how it allows us to discover new photographers too ! If possible, it would be nice that you provide links to their online presence if any.

By the way, it also popped "Mark Surloff" to my mind, a photographer you once featured and that I somehow expected to see published in that printing partnership that came a couple of months later. Turned out to be something else.

Can't wait for the winners.


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