The only thing I regret is the title of the post: the PHOTOMETER (we should know that!) is an instrument that measures the light, meanwhile what the empirical instrument should have measured was something else… so perhaps it would have been better to call it PHOTOGRAPHERMETER… but alas it is and stays a PHOTOMETER!
Anyways: what a crowd! Where the nerves that raw?
I have obviously read all the comments, as well as on FB and the various forums that have replied to my post. From my side I believe there is nothing to explain, seeing that everything in my post seems extremely clear, perhaps, given the infinite interpretations that have been given, it’s time that I should try ad clarify it a bit.
Firstly I would like to reiterate that I love the fact that the internet exists and that there is the possibility for thousands of young photographers to showcase their own work. Once upon a time the reference points where 5 or 6, nowadays there are hundreds, and this is a good thing for everyone. I confirm once again loud and clear that my point was not made on a corporate matter: the more photographers there are the better they get, and the happier I am. Ok?
I have many “amateur photographers” (I apologise to the ones that I will mention now and that they do not recognise themselves in this category) that are in my database and that I go and view with pleasure: for example I find very interesting this girl , this one , he is anything but an “amateur photographer”, I find luca
very good, I like matteo
, I find very interesting this
is extremely talented, this
is very interesting…francesca
is very talented… in short I like to see good work and I am happy when I get to, as in this case, share them: I am extremely convinced that we live in a universe which is expanding and therefore there is place for everyone and the more and better we are the better it is for everyone. If the quality of photography increases, it increases for everyone!
Are we clear? Good!
If you feel like listening to me now is the time that I would like to say something about photography, which I have already said many times before, but it is necessary to understand the sense of it all. Especially now, in 2011, taking a nice picture has no sense at all. None! Zero! Nada de nada! Sometime ago, and the more we go back the more it was like that, to even take a picture correctly it was a feat: now everybody can! I often talk about this and it seems a paradox but it is absolutely not: if we give a nice digital camera to a monkey, we teach it how to press the button, we send it around Milan in the morning and get it back at night, download the files, do a bit of editing, we retouch the chosen images, put them in black and white and print them one meter by three.. We can do a beautiful exhibition! Seriously! Its not a paradox!!!
Therefore it is fundamental to approach photography keeping well in mind this reality. It has never been enough to take a nice picture and it counts even less in our present day.
Now, as always but now more than ever, it is fundamental that the photograph tells us something. Behind the photograph there must be something.
Behind the photograph there must be a why! There, this is always an excellent “thermometer” to value the images, if behind them they have a motivation on why they have been taken.
The photograph of the old fisherman with wrinkles is not good or bad, maybe it is nice but you know what? Its useless!
Another example that I do often and that I think it could help me explain. You reading this, have you ever been.. Let see.. To Trieste? Lets say you haven’t, you have never been there. If I gave you 10 sheets of paper and a pen and asked you to write about Trieste what would you do? Exactly, nothing, you’d write three line at the most. And if I sent you to Trieste with your Canon around your neck you would go around and take lots of nice photographs, so nice… the square, the sea and the wind. But you would not tell anything about Trieste! You’d be like the monkey that takes pictures randomly! An editorial about Trieste makes sense if you know what you are talking about and you want to talk about it, otherwise it is completely useless, which, I reiterate, it is much worst than taking a bad picture.
Better a billion bad photos but that tell something rather than a nice photo that tells nothing.
Lets go now through the photometer step by step:
– signed photographs make you look like a Sunday painter. I want to give you some news: its been many years that artists do not sign their own work, photographers/artists included. Do you fear that they’ll steal them?!?! Seeing that there are photographs of Avedon without a signature I feel that if they are going to steal they will steal those first…
– HDR is a massive shortcut to get at great speed in a place where you didn’t want to go. (out of the metaphor: it makes anything look good, by increasing dramatically the sensation of having done something cool)
– You want music on your website? Perfect, no problem: know that 90% of the users which will go and look at your site (myself included) will leave as soon as the first notes start playing.
– Photographs of naked women in the factory: it is fundamental for someone who wants to be a photographer to have a new and original point of view. If something is done by everyone it is possible that it is shit. The women naked in a factory is the symbol of conformism and banality. In short, they are shit.
– The thousand euro for a photo is not to be cool, the thousand euro is to make a precise point: that your photograph served at something. As I have mentioned before, a photograph is good if it serves a purpose. If it is useful. If you have solved, by taking it, someone else’s problems. Its a bit like a glass of water, which has no absolute value nor quality: by the Niagara falls it holds no value, in the desert its everything. A photograph is the same, it has to solve problems! And the fact that it was payed doesn’t mean that it was good or bad but, what is more important, that it solved someone else’s problem…
– Sunsets, kittens, masks… all crap, useless and banal
– The fifty books: can one become a lawyer or a doctor or even a plumber or a fisherman without knowing more and better about pipes and fishes?!? Would you go and mess around on an electrical panel without knowing anything on electrical panels?!?! Obviously not. To take photographs it is exactly the same: before doing one must first know. As much as possible…
– Often photographers are sick with a terrible disease, technicalities, the obsession for useless details of technical nature, which have nothing to do with photography. To write about how the photo was taken with a 50 m Canon 1,4 at f8 and 1/250 shutter speed is utterly useless. Tell me what you where thinking when you took it, this is useful.
– To do fake editorials on your own site is just the worst. It is the I would but I can not. Also why give yourself guidelines that I have and perhaps you don’t and you have the luck not to have?!?!
– Workshops can only be held by who knows what they are doing. If you don’t know how to do it how is it possible that you know how to teach it?!?!
Anyways, I reiterate, everything can be summed into one simple little word, which is essential to evaluate one’s own work.
This little magic word is: WHY? You always need to ask yourself: why? Why did I take that photograph? Why did I do that editorial? If the answer is “I like it” “it excites me”, I have to give you some sad news: nobody gives a shit of what you like and excites you! If there is a story, if behind a certain photo you can talk about it for half an hour it is very possible that it is a good photo. If you took a photograph of a nice sunset because you like it… well you know the answer already.
The list above indicates the moon, if you stop to look at the finger it is of no use to you.
You can take a photograph of a naked woman in a factory with a venetian mask and a kitten in her hand, next to an old fisherman with wrinkles, behind a sunset all treated in HDR… and this image would be amazing, marvellous and perfect… it would be if this image would have a reason!
I hope I have been clear. The argument, evidently, stimulates a lot, and it was important to explain the photometer as best as possible.
If all this has not been clear enough there is one more possibility! Next Saturday, 10th of September, I will be at the SI FESTIVAL guest of NO PANIC by mr. ©hico for a personal and sartorial evaluation of the PHOTOMETER: I’ll be waiting!