September 25th, 2010

Macbeth the Usurper


One of my dubious pleasures is seeing friends of mine tagged in RenFest pictures. Sometimes they are wonderful pictures. Often, the truth of them is far worst.

There's one guy out there who has a very nice camera kit. The technical fundamentals of his pictures are absolutely sound. I envy every dollar of his kit. I just wish the bastard had an ounce of artistic merit to his soul. You see, the kit enables him to produce some potentially beautiful pictures, but he can't tell an angel from a buzzard. He simply does not know how to choose which pictures he puts on display. So rather than show off his skill, he winds up showing off his poor judgment.

When you are photographing, there are a number of different forms of photography. If you are doing a portrait, you have someone sitting still and looking wonderful. If you are doing action photography, or man-on-the-street stuff, you want people doing something interesting. He succeeds in doing neither. He captures portraits of people looking odd or distant, or on-the-streets stuff of nothing interesting, leaving 95% of his work utter crap.

The thing that he needs to do is to throw out more photographs and only show those 2-3 which actually work. Choosing which photos to display is a huge part of photography. That's what makes a pro a pro. That's what makes excellence. The difference between awful and amazing is often .1 seconds.

Here's the rules that I use:
- Does the photo tell a story?
- Does the photo engage my emotions?
- Is the photo aesthetic?
- Has the photo been done a zillion times already?

Kit doesn't make a photographer (although it does make it easier). Judgment makes a photographer.