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Thread: Boring Photographs

  1. #1

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    Boring Photographs

    What makes a photograph boring?
    I've heard the term used in critiquing photographs so I was wondering what is that makes photograph boring? Are there rules to follow to make boring photographs and by therefore should be avoided so as not to make boring photographs?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Boring Photographs

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    What makes a photograph boring?
    I've heard the term used in critiquing photographs so I was wondering what is that makes photograph boring? Are there rules to follow to make boring photographs and by therefore should be avoided so as not to make boring photographs?
    I clicked on this thread right away because I make boring photographs. I try to avoid making images of people smiling and dancing around, or images that look like "stock photography" or anything that a layperson might want.

  3. #3

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    My definition is that a boring photograph is just there. It's not really bad but it's not good either. You take a look at it and it just doesn't grab you. We all make them.

    I'd rather make bad photographs. At least when you make bad photographs it was either a mistake or you tried something different that just didn't work. Boring is the kiss of death!

  4. #4

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    Boredom - like beauty - is in the eye of the beholder.
    One man's meat is another man's poison.
    It is easy to avoid being bored by an image if we ask ourselves what do we think the author intended.
    Trying to understand the author's point of view is a good start
    T

  5. #5

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    Quote Originally Posted by Toyo View Post
    It is easy to avoid being bored by an image if we ask ourselves what do we think the author intended.
    I, for example, get easily bored if I come to the understanding that the author was just trying to make a pretty picture.

  6. #6

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    I guess I think of "boring", as a negative attribute rather than as a positive one; that is, boring represents a lack of something. So just as "cold" is simply a relative lack of heat, "boring" is simply a lack of interesting elements.

    If you wish to make a boring photograph, ensure that there is nothing interesting in it. And that surely lies in the eye of the beholder, as Toyo said a couple different ways. While you could attempt to have a boring composition, boring light, or boring tones or colo[u]rs, somebody else may find that as somehow restful. :-)

    For myself, I often find the photos of foliage that people take in the woods boring. I like being in the woods. I like foliage. And yet, without some kind of structure, order, or organizing principle to the subject, I just find myself looking at a mass of branches and limbs and wondering what the point was. But that probably says more about me than it does about the photographer! And every now and then, rarely, one of these photos grabs me and I quite like it. Probably some kind of resonant frequency between a particular set of entwined branches and my brain, who knows?

    Robert

  7. #7

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    Since photography is totally subjective, it is impossible to make a photograph that is not boring. I just made a photograph of a technical problem, a cable that has improper clearance between 2 housings in order to show the folks who made the article, why it does not work. Totally and irrevocably boring, except to the 2 people to whom it's better than a thousand words.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #8

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    It depends, the picture is at least two things, the subject and the way it is photographed. These produce a response in the viewer.

    Perhaps there are boring subjects?

    Perhaps there are photographic approaches which might create a boring image when the subject itself is not?

    Perhaps there are no boring pictures but only bored viewers?

  9. #9

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    Since photography is totally subjective, it is impossible to make a photograph that is not boring.
    Although all art (including photography) is subjective, nevertheless there is very often a consensus about a work's value, acknowledging that there will always be outliers, who think the work in question is either terrible or great. The same can be said with respect to the quality of boring. The outliers generally carry the burden of proof as to why the consensus is wrong.

  10. #10

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    Re: Boring Photographs

    A viewer may be bored by a photo, but a photo is not intrinsically boring.

    A photo of an unremarkable subject from a normal or common point of view may not excite many viewers. However, there are still technical aspects such as focus, exposure, and composition, as well as the existential construct of context. Why was the photo taken? How or why was this subject chosen? What is the interaction or juxtaposition? What isn't in the photo? What is this photo the antithesis of?

    On the other hand, I find most "snapshots" to be utterly boring.

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