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Objectivity in Photography

TheURL Plus
2 20 1 United Kingdom
12 May 2022 8:53AM
When you look at one of your own photos, you see an icon of the event. When others (who were not at the event) look at the same photo, they see a rectangular image in total isolation. Often viewers’ impressions of my images vary greatly from my own, largely (I believe) because of this. I would have dismissed some images that others were impressed by, and vice versa. When uploading images to the gallery (or anywhere else) I guess you have to accept your inadequacies as a judge of your own work, and hope that you have not involuntarily discounted potentially worthy material.

What do others think?
clicknimagine Plus
13 1.3k 105 India
12 May 2022 10:02AM
Whenever i view an image or a photograph, i try to understand what makes it special for the eye behind the camera to record the light...I do it because it helps me to develop my own eyes as a photographer...

Photography is my passion, i try to express a statement or an emotion through this form of art...
chavender Plus
12 568 2 France
12 May 2022 12:19PM
My favourite genre is close up and macro of insects in their natural environment.
I strive for sharp, well exposed images with a pleasing (as far as possible) composition but accept that this does not always make for a pleasing image.
Sometimes I do indeed find that my favourite images do not please other viewers, this could of course be because of subject matter as not everyone likes bugs and spiders.
But as I take photographs primarily for my own enjoyment it is never a problem.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
12 May 2022 2:10PM
For me photography is partly about capturing the experience of the moment (which covers a lot more than just the visual), and partly about conveying that experience to others, outsiders; the two aspects are related but not the same.
So I try to work on images as soon as I can after the taking, while the experience is fresh in my mind, and to be true to it. But then I'll leave the pictures for maybe a week or two, go back and see if they still work for me. If they do then there's a chance that they will work for others.
Once an image is in the public domain then it becomes partly the property of others, they can read what they like into it, we have no control over that.
saltireblue Plus
13 14.0k 86 Norway
12 May 2022 2:40PM
This is an interesting topic, as it was only yesterday or the day before that I was viewing an image in the main gallery where the poster said something along the lines of that he liked the sense of urgency, or the energy (I don't remember the exact words) portrayed. I couldn't see it. I merely saw a static image with none of things the poster saw. It just shows how difficult it can often be to pass on what you saw and experienced to others, with only a single image with which to describe what was seen and not least, felt at the time. The emotion of the moment is very difficult to represent through the eyes of someone who did not experience it themself. When viewing your own image, you often remember factors you experienced, which are not represented in the image itself, but which are no less real for your total memory of that moment in time.
sherlob Plus
17 3.3k 133 United Kingdom
12 May 2022 5:39PM
Your question has connections to philosophy - to be more precise the notions of ontology and epistemology (the nature of being and knowledge respectively). Objectivism is an ontological perspective where it is believed that things exists independently of our consciousness of them. IMHO the objectivist perspective of a photograph is simply a series of data/pixels on a screen or a piece of printed paper that forms a coherent image - it exists as a real thing and can be known outside of our conciousness (an example of realist epistemology). However, the image itself isn't anything more than a series of data or printed patterns.

My point? I've gone a long way around to try and argue that a photograph is always subjective and interpreted relatively by those that view it (subjectivist ontology and relativist epistemology). This means that that images will be interpreted by those who view them in different ways. It also means that what a person sees in an image may differ when they look at a different time.

To me the subjective and interpretive nature of photography is part of the fun. Like others have stated above, I try to use my photography to communicate something. This might be a feeling or a sense of something I noted at the time I took the picture. It might be an idea or a thought. Or, it might simply be a record of something I saw or happened - albeit, to me it is never an objective record but a subjective one.

Ok enough philosophy for one day - well done if you got to the end of this post!
SlowSong Plus
14 10.8k 30 England
12 May 2022 6:15PM
An interesting discussion. It just illustrates that there's no wrong, right, better or worse. It mostly seems to depend on what you like, or not. Quite wide ranging criteria really.
TheURL Plus
2 20 1 United Kingdom
12 May 2022 6:59PM
Thanks for the interest and replies to date! I don't disagree with anything said here, but what the dilemma translates into is this: I get back from a trip with a few thousand images. I chuck what I think was crap, and show people what I think was good. Then it turns out someone wants to buy something I deleted yesterday. Well it's not quite that brutal but not far off - a visitor once offered to pay me to do a large print of a photo that I'd flicked past while looking for a particular image. It was a photo I had originally considered average, though I later decided it was actually pretty good - better than the one I'd been trying to find for him. Maybe my post-trip photo validation should be done by someone who wasn't with me at the time!
Carabosse Plus
20 43.7k 270 England
12 May 2022 9:26PM
Fascinating discussion. Smile

I find my photography has become more functional over the years/decades. It generally serves a purpose as an addition to a message (email, WhatsApp, whatever) or more rarely a posting on social media.

The philosophical, psychological and metaphysical aspects are only rarely at the forefront of my mind.....
Fenfotos 7 36 3 United Kingdom
15 May 2022 2:28PM
Quite by coincidence, I was thinking about what I want from a photograph when I came across this topic. I had just come to the conclusion, that, more and more, I tend to award images that intrigue me, make me think, or arouse an emotional response. In short, the longer an image keeps my interest, the more it pleases me. This tends to the more abstract end of the spectrum.

But as others have said, it is all very personnel. My attitudes are almost certainly a result of my being a person on the run from science. I spent a lifetime in science, taking the world apart, and examining in great, objective, detail. I decided I needed to look at the world in a more visceral and irrational fashion. But it has taken a long time for me to begin to leave science behind.
DaveRyder Plus
9 6.9k 20 United Kingdom
15 May 2022 3:20PM
Sometimes you do things that may not develop as you originally planned.
Some years ago I built a model railway, with the intention of 'playing with it' on completion.
However it transpired it was about the building more than anything.

Now photography fulfils past, current and ongoing 'developing (no pun intended)' interests.
I've been surprised by the reaction to some images I've uploaded, those that I didn't see merit in.
These comments help develop ideas and projects that continually peak interest in new areas.
A simple day out with a camera, a planned event or just sat in the garden there's always something to photograph.

Then there's the achievement aspect, a little like golf.
I'll next be able to play football like an international player or run a race in a world record time.
Like a golfer who could get a hole in one, I may well get 'that image' from time to time.

If my uploads amuse or entertain that's satisfying, who doesn't like a pat on the back
While I look at other in the same way but also for ideas and stimulation into different areas.

Carabosse Plus
20 43.7k 270 England
15 May 2022 3:57PM

Quote:Some years ago I built a model railway

So did a good friend of mine. He now makes model railway videos he puts on YouTube. Shows how one hobby can lead to another. Smile

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