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Old 07-01-2006, 01:21 PM
indiatraveller indiatraveller is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4
Default Re: India by Dariusz Klemens

naturally Claude has every right to express his opinion not because he’s a good - or a bad - photographer, but because he’s an individual. However, Claude did not express a reasoned opinion; saying that the pictures “aren’t all excellent” and that he “likes them better on the site” than in the book are broadly negative comments that tell us nothing at all about ‘why’ Claude feels this way about the images - either in the book, or on the site.

I thought this was unhelpful and turned to his pictures to understand where Claude – as a photographer - might be coming from; what he might consider to be an “excellent” photograph. There would be no “logic” in the thought that “someone showing his work about the same subject cannot express his opinion”. My logic is that someone showing his photographic work AND expressing such a vague, unsubstantiated opinion means to let his own work speak of his photographic criteria. Perhaps I was guilty of assuming that Claude’s photographic standards were exemplified by his own work.

I found his pictures to be comprehensively dull and I said so, specifying that his framing and his exposure made his work bland, and therefore IMO uninspiring. I am not sure why you find this so unacceptable; I simply said what I liked, what I did not like, and why. I thought that’s what discussion forums were for. Astonishingly, not a single one of the replies to my comments addresses the points I was hoping to throw into the debate; we still don’t know what Claude – considers an “excellent picture”, or why he prefers one medium over another.

Ultimately, the problem is not that I don’t recognize Claude’s right to express an opinion - the problem is that you believe that only photographers have a right to express a view on the work of other photographers. That’s like claiming that only musicians have the right and the ability to pronounce on music.

While it may be frustrating to think that the person judging your work is not a photographer, in real life, photography is not about what you “have in your portfolio” – an expression used mostly by photographers - but what images you have that grab the imagination of ‘the public’. Sadly perhaps, the public is not made up only of photographers.

In real life, what makes a ‘great photographer’ is not the occasional good shot, or even the multiple - but unrelated - good shots. A great photographer is – amongst many other things - one who can present a coherent body of work that is consistent in both quality and style. That’s why discussing quality and style is – or should be – important on a forum such as this, which aims to foster critical debate about photography.

Perhaps my intervention was unpalatable, but neither “cowardly” nor “anonymous”. As for the accusation of “blind idolatry”, you confuse admiration with adulation, forgetting that a ‘critical view’ need not be a ‘negative’ view. Unfortunately, to a non-photographer, criticisms put forward in the absence of a reasoned critique, inevitably end-up sounding like “sour grapes”.

I hope the above clears up the cowardice matter. It may surprise you to know that there are people like me, who join discussion forums for the pleasure to ….well…discuss! I did not realise that on TE you had to show a portfolio in order to comment. Perhaps someone could clear this point for me?
If on TE a “worthless coward” is someone who does not take pictures, then I am one. But if on TE the general rule that a coward is a spineless, fearful person applies, then you might look closer to home, to all those who area afraid to engage in an open debate.
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