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Thread: What makes a photograph "good"?

  1. #61

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Substitute "successful" for "good". Why? Conscientiousness/intention of the taker. It speaks to talent, craft and longevity of an image in the context of billions of others. Other than from a moral perspective, or a culturally established set of behavioral paradigms, the term "good" has no intrinsic meaning. It's relative to the society in which is derives meaning. Adapting a concept of "good" to any art seems to me fruitless unless it is in the context of specific cultural criteria. Given the continuing dilution of cultural diversity, and the push for a global consciousness, the term "good" provides no sense of value to me.

    Think televised singing competitions, the last tier performers might all be described as good, one being courteous and culturally sensitive. But where the singer has extraordinary talent, and with the skills of a salient entertainer who attracts a wide array of praise, we might use the term potentially "successful".

    Alternative terms I might use are "relevant", "unique/distinctive", perhaps "instructive".

  2. #62
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    $$$ the only criterion

    money changers in the temple
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  3. #63
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    "Other than from a moral perspective, or a culturally established set of behavioral paradigms, the term "good" has no intrinsic meaning. It's relative to the society in which is derives meaning."

    That view is called "ethical relativism". It's certainly true about a lot of things, such as conventions about politeness. Many ethicists, though, don't think it applies universally.

    If interested, see: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-re...al-relativism/
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  4. #64

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Example of how / why Art (including Photography) is very telling of what any culture-society might be, what they values, their morals and much more. There is a National identity or what it means to be _ tied to all this.

    At this junction, bring up one example of Nazi art and what happened to Art in Germany during the Nazi era. Or, why Van Gough sold one or two paintings during his life time. Or why Shostakovich and many other artist were terrified by the "Black Sedan" appearing in the dead of night to take them away, never to be seen again during the Stalin era. Or what happened to artist in China during Mao's "cultural revolution"...


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    "Other than from a moral perspective, or a culturally established set of behavioral paradigms, the term "good" has no intrinsic meaning. It's relative to the society in which is derives meaning."

    That view is called "ethical relativism". It's certainly true about a lot of things, such as conventions about politeness. Many ethicists, though, don't think it applies universally.

    If interested, see: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-re...al-relativism/

  5. #65

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Resonance...

  6. #66

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Ya know, after thinking about it for a while, what really makes a photograph "good" is a well-written Artist's Statement.

  7. #67

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dugan View Post
    Ya know, after thinking about it for a while, what really makes a photograph "good" is a well-written Artist's Statement.
    … and title!

  8. #68

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Looking at Jim Huylebroek's Afghan images on the front page of the NYTs today, they are successful for the reasons I have given: high craft, talent and the ability to convey the human condition in a way which is immediate and impacts the viewer.

    Success need not be monetary (I'm a fishes and loaves guy myself). It is a perceived credible accomplishment by an artist/author/photographer/scientist recognized by others, whether during their lifetime or after. Van Gogh's primitive forms, lack of fine lines/details, and use of aberrant colors did not win him success in his lifetime, but with the advent of abstract expressionism, surrealism, cubism, fauvism, and Timothy Leary et al's quest for alternative realities, and the subsequent thirst for "freedom" in the 60s/70s, Van Gogh's paintings seem to work for 20th century audiences in providing accessible art (by its simplicity) and the freedom of expression from any established standards. One can say a mature child's work perhaps (without any intent to defame). Successful, yes. Distinctive, definitely. Accessible, without doubt. There are innumerable examples of counter culture artists who were rejected, ostracized, damned, or silenced by the then controlling moral authority. The fact that we recognize them post-mortem as historically significant places them in the "successful" camp, IMHO.

    Propaganda "art" which promulgates the themes of the then "regime" can be equally successful, perhaps not as art, but in conveying a message. Here success is realized within the context of the cultural standards of the time. Despicable, yes, effective, definitely, lifespan, short and hopefully, permanently lapsed.

    Regarding Moral Relativism, assuming a "civilized" society, one can argue that there are certain intrinsic and indelible moral foundations. However I recall a poignant episode of Star Trek in which the controlling counsel of a planet embarked on an "amoral" process to randomly select candidates over a certain age to be "eliminated, thereby maintaining a self sustaining population. In this way they avoid war, conflict and any competition for scarce resources. If one were to consider this option viable and that culture "civilized", I think any sense of moral certitude is vapid. But we are derived from those that have survived, whether by chance or innate ability. One can argue, that as long as homo sapiens are not wanting for the means for survival, moral verity can perhaps exist.

    I need to get back to the Illiad (been at this for few months now) and some low sugar limeade. Too hot for photography.

  9. #69

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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    One last thing Bernice: Leni Riefenstahl

    Amazingly successful for her time and in promulgating the superiority propaganda of the so-called "Arian" nation. Her technical abilities were top and until she came into disfavor in the 70s, her images were readily available.

    I found her Nuba work exceptional: color, framing, exposure and interesting choice of lenses (used a 400 Telyt for much of her work in Africa) were unique for the time. Other than Van Lawick's early work in Africa, she may one of the earliest using color film in Africa).

    So should she be eliminated from reference as an example of a premiere successful image maker during that now maligned period in the history of civilization? Assuming Ethical relativity, can one say that she was "good" as long as her work was culturally relevant, otherwise "not good" (or perhaps evil?) to the extent her images are shunned for content and purpose.

  10. #70
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a photograph "good"?

    Damn artists for not following orders

    Hunger Games

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