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Tuesday, 16 June 2020


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What I particularly appreciate is when you work really hard on something and then you're also incredibly lucky.

Like when I took this photo in Marrakech, which I also wrote about back in 2011: https://dave-morris-blog.tumblr.com/post/16574121007/medersa2011

...Was the universe particularly kind to me because it saw that I'd thought hard abnout the shot and wanted to give me some extra luck? Or was I just able to take advantage of the lucky break because I'd already been thinking so hard about it?

Either way, as a more famous person than me used to say: 'I love it when a plan comes together'.

re: working hard on a photograph ...

The curmudgeonly Bill Jay said it best:

"...photographers who carry 60 pounds of equipment up a hill to photograph a view are not suffering enough, although their whining causes enough suffering among their listeners. No, if they really expect us to respect their search for enlightenment and artistic expression, in [the] future they will drag the equipment up the hill by their genitals and take the view with a tripod leg stuck through their foot."

…and even if a picture may be hard to get/arrange/snap, it´s not supposed to LOOK hard to get. Or else the the result will inevitably look "skitnödigt", as my late grandmother used to say. I suppose the first part of the word is understandable even for non-swedish speakers. The second part means something like "needy". Anyway, we don´t want a result that makes a Point of the effort behind the picture. Rather, most of us likely strive for a result that looks, well, easy as opposed to difficult.

[You have stumped Google, not easy to do. What does "skitnödigt" mean? --Mike]

As the expression goes. Sometimes you are just trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

Hit or flop takes the same amount of work. No one but those involved care. Nor should they.

Just playing devil's advocate here. When it comes to our family, friends, pets and other things meaningful to us, we're often inclined to appreciate photographs that show us those subjects with an identifying gesture, facial expression or that connect us with a memory. These types of photos aren't nearly as interesting to strangers.
So as Lulu's owner, you may not care how hard you worked on those, because they're you're three favorites pictures of her. But to me, the one you worked on looks intentional and interesting, while the other two look like what you described - snapshots. They aren't as interesting to me as the better composed, better lit shot.
I recall that article and agree with the point that if the photo isn't interesting, then telling the viewer how hard you worked doesn't make it better. But I suspect there's a fair correlation between effort and result.

As for the grinding thing, there was an article at 538 about the fact that people *expect* random things to turn their way, rather than staying, well, random.

It seems that some video games tweak the rules of probability in the game to make it conform to this reality.

And that can also apply after the picture is taken. There are times when I'm pressing the shutter on a possible sure shot, and my mind's already dreading... that's gonna be one hell of a mother to get done right!

All three pix are good, but the one in the middle, I really like. It's the look in the eyes of both boy and dog, I think.

I've never agreed with that Ctein column. I think many people care about how hard an artist worked to get the final image, painting, sculpture, etc. Lay people care because it makes the work seem more impressive -- a 20' x 30' realistic painting by Gericault or Raphael is going to be seen as more impressive than an abstract or a smaller painting because it's perceived as more technically difficult. On the other end of the spectrum, experts and professionals care because they'll be interested in the technique and how the work was created. Perhaps there's a band in the middle who appreciate the work for it's own sake and are not impressed by the technical difficulty or interested in the act of creation, but I don't think it's a large number.

I once did a series of images of an old historic and much loved bridge in the community that was soon to be destroyed. Due to logistical reasons of my erratic work schedule, I don't do my own printing as it can be 2-3 months between opportunities to print. I work with a custom printer to create my prints onto Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308. I had 12 images printed from the series, 11 of them were right after 1 or 2 proofs. The exception, and probably the "hero" shot of the set, I had printed about 10-12 proofs before getting it right. It paid off a year or so later during a local exhibition wherein some of the viewers actually had to wipe tears while viewing the one image that gave me fits.

I've been reading things either about or by musicians lately, both "classical" and "jazz." I'm impressed by two things. One is how willing they are to give credit to others and not pretend that everything was the result of their own genius. The other is just how damn hard they work. Every day. I find myself wondering how many photographers work that hard.

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