Great Photos: 1

By | January 3, 2007

Kill Your Darlings

I had some interesting conversations over the new year about what makes a great photo.

Apart from the subjects themselves, I’m particularly interested in composition which I’ve resolved to learn more about. Implementing some of the classic rules of composition does produce some fantastic results. I’ll post more about these as I explore further. In general terms, though, it always pays to have an inbuilt set of criteria by which to be objective in assessing the quality of work – especially if you are doing it for a customer. Straight opinions often aren’t good enough in a business relationship.

David Bailey, in a talk I heard him give, said that he didn’t like to get emotionally involved. He turned down photographing Picasso because he felt he would be emotionally overpowered by the experience (though he said he regretted it)

As a TV Producer, approving work has always been a challenging business. It’s stressful when you are faced with a creative bod who has just put their heart and soul into designing a piece of work and you have to tell them it can’t be accepted. What do you say?  Why?  Emotionally great, objectively rubbish! So, in the next short while I’m going to develop some ideas on what makes a good piece of creative work.

For starters please have a look at the attached word doc. kill_your_darlings.doc  This provides a check list by which to tick-box photos and a test for your gut reaction.

I’ve made the assumption that it’s a bad thing to have favorite techniques (darlings) and that these inhibit our ability to be objective. I don’t necessarily think suppressing emotion and passion is a good thing but it’s an interesting conversation to have.


PS Links to add to the mix

Joseph Rowlands on Obejctivity in Art

Michael R Nelson

Photography Composition Articles

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