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Why are the Polish photographers so good?

zby 19 4
27 Apr 2004 9:32PM

you are definitely right about the file size and image quality issues. If I were Pete the Governor, I'd set quite different limitations for submitting. Say, one pic up to 150 kB per two or three days. It could filter out some garbage.

However, I can't agree on the sentence that anyone can learn taking photos submitting to an Internet photo forum. This is not true. One can anly learn bad habits that can be site-specific or general.
Site-specific I mean that each photo forum has its own aesthetics, a profile for images which are considered very welcome. Some sites, or better majority of users of those sites, prefer macro, animals and plants in bold colors, while the other sites love B&W classic nudes or portraits. I am far from judging what kind of profile can fit this site. This was just my observation made over years visiting different forums, both Polish and English speaking.

I'd like to thank kelart for his comment. He pointed a very important issues about aesthetics and anti-aesthetics. He can be right saying that you, British, like our photos because they are exotic to you. Exotic in terms of subjects, lighting and presentation.

I also like orchard's point of view. He seems to understand, and likely he does understand, that technical limitations in the gear can positively influence one's creativity. I own an AF SLR tough AF is turned off almost all the time (well, except when shooting with a wide angle lens). I got zoom lenses but prefer an old 50 mm prime. I like the matrix TTL light metering systems and camera's fuzzy logic but I can't control them, so I always keep an old Russian handheld lightmeter with me. No cash for the fancy Pentax spotmeter Sad *sigh*. I love versatility of 35mm SLRs but often use 30+ years old TLR which gives me wonderful images seen through its Tessar-like lens. And this is not quite true that I don't think of technical aspects at all. I do, since I want get well exposed negatives. And that's it.

So, the mutual learning is OK when done face to face, practicing, and watching and discussing prints. But first of all, to take good photos, one ought to 'eat' tons of old and contemporary masters' paintings and photos. Then analyze them and try to copy. Yes, copy them. IMO, this is the best way to figure out all the tricks with lighting, composition and so on. Then if your technique is perfect (or close to perfect), you can free your brain and show your ideas to the world.

FYI, I am only an amateur, have almost no time for shooting, not mentioning the development and printing.

I hope this helps Smile

IanA 19 3.0k 12 England
27 Apr 2004 9:42PM
Zby, I was not meaning that the internet site was the only thing to learn from, just that it was one of the tools that can be used toward learning, and because this site is so diverse, and the discussions so open, that this is a good tool. I am an amateur also.
kelart 18 570
27 Apr 2004 10:29PM
i think i know why some of our polish fellows mastered photoshop trickery togheter with monochromatic medium. correct me if i'm wrong, but i think it's because it's simply cheaper way to achieve desired artistic result. quality negatives and transpariencies, modern medium format cameras, specialist filters are very expensive. i'd prefer to concentrate on the subject of my photography, proper exposure and focus. the rest - corrected light, mood, texture we can recreate with patience using specialist software. i remember that only few years ago, fuji velvia or hoya filters for example, were out of my financial possibilities. photoshop wasn't. this can stir the s*** a bit, but it's not a big deal to get pirate copy of desired software and put it in a good use. you can't say the same about fake negative, can you?Wink i started my photographic adventure (ok, i'm still learnig) having choice of two russian cameras - slr zenit with 50mm and medium format lubitel - and handfull of eastern german b&w negative (luxury item back then). i didn't think what can make a great photo. i was more concentrated on chasing interesting shapes, faces with attached history to them, strange lightning conditions. colour negatives from east europe were useless - yellow&red. i used to envy all tose juicy photographs with intensive colours i found in western fashion magazines, though. "what are they doing to make them look so different from my dull snaps?" - i was asking myself. and when eventually i had chance to use the same photosensitive materials and camera with AF i AE i almost forgot what photography is all about. i didn't care that much about the subject of my photo as long, as colours were bold and there was lots of detail. shortly after i stopped taking photos at all.
and now i'm back to square one. monochromatic portraits, simple shapes, cleaned-up frame. of course i've learned a lot from british photoamateurs and pros. i'm more conscious about filtration, composition and tonal balance. hope one day i'll be able actually use all that knowledge at onceSmile so far, i've got rid of all automatic functions in my digital camera. next step is medium format - fully manual. i'm not very scared, because i've been there already, almost fifteen tears ago, with those russian cameras and their strange ability to leak the light inside:-/ uhm.. i forgot what i wanted to say... what's the point? don't think about some of my polish more talented friends as some sort of whizz-kids with their digital cameras, photoshop and long legged beautifull models. i can bet that most of them had proper crash course with b&w medium and manual cameras (and perhaps romance with drawing and fine arts). maybe this kind of classic approach makes their works stand up form the rest.
and don't be fooled by work of just handfull of polish photographers. yes, they are really good. and i mean this (if my opinion is in any way important), but in general british amateur photography represents much higher level of skills.

oh, it's so hard to express myself in written english. i'd prefer to talk about this with a pint of guiness in my handGrin
agoreira 19 6.0k Wales
28 Apr 2004 7:39AM
"oh, it's so hard to express myself in written english. i'd prefer to talk about this with a pint of guiness in my handGrin"

Precisely the point I made earlier. Someone's language skills might be quite high, but it's still very difficult to say exactly what you mean in a second language.

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