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Quality control


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Quality control

22 Mar 2021 8:14AM   Views : 364 Unique : 246


What does the term ‘quality control’ mean to you? Is it just a small slip of paper in the box with a new camera or lens which assures you that someone has checked something at some point? Or is it something that really has a meaning for you, a reality?

As an auditor, I was very much concerned with quality, in terms of what we did. Most of my career was in organisations where we cared a lot about our reports being accurate, supported by clear evidence, and delivered in a way that made them acceptable to our auditees. Earlier on, we asked for a numerical rating of several different things that mattered to us: latterly, we asked for the feedback that they wanted to give, which told us far more about our work!


Is QC different from quality assurance? It probably shouldn’t be, but my impression is that QA is more about proving that you haven’t done anything wrong, rather than that you’ve done anything at all right. Popular with regulators, who often seem less concerned with the end-to-end times of their work or delivering something helpful than perfect internal process. Good advice delivered late is not a lot of help to anyone.

The idea that everything should reach a certain (specified) standard seems pretty basic to me, although the parameters may be a little flexible some of the time. And it’s massively difficult to see what you’ve got wrong than analyse other people’s pictures. For instance, there are times when perfect exposure and sharpness simply don’t matter: in news photography, obviously: but sometimes the perfect aesthetic moment means that either they don’t matter, or even – scandalous thought – getting it wrong is what makes it right.


Interesting and beautiful may end up mattering more than anything else…

I must add one scandalous story about Kodak’s use of the term ‘Quality Control’ back in the days when it was illegal to send explicit nudes through Her Majesty’s Post Office’s services. The company used the term to check that they were not committing an offence by returning processed slides to photographers: I believe that they contacted photographers and asked them to collect the film in person. A different ‘Walk of Shame’? – Or, possibly, a badge of honour… Janet Cook was a professional glamour photographer who worked for the Paul Raymond organisation’s magazines under the by-line ‘Fanny’ – in an interview in a camera magazine she complained that she’d never been asked to collect pictures, so she assumed that she’d never achieved ‘quality’…


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
22 Mar 2021 8:16AM
The shot at the top has always annoyed me. 16mp wasn't quite enough to give definition to leaves on the olive trees somewhere near Monolithos on Rhodes. Repeating a single picture is a jolly poor excuse for wanting to go back to Rhodes again - but there could be a few other good reasons, one day!

PaulCox Avatar
22 Mar 2021 10:05AM
I rather liked the first image from the moment I opened the blog, so to read at the end that you were not happy with it surprised me, but I suppose that is what photos/photography's is all about we all see things differently. Paul.
whatriveristhis Avatar
22 Mar 2021 10:51AM
Olive trees. I wouldn't hesitate to award that. Detail isn't the point.
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
22 Mar 2021 10:56AM
I'm my worst QA / QC officer, very self critical of my work Smile
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
22 Mar 2021 11:33AM
From the earliest days of BS5750 I woke up to the realisation that it was a Quality Management system rather than one that was to do with the Assurance of quality!
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
22 Mar 2021 2:24PM
Alan - I must post that, then!

But this version is heavily edited to make the most of the overall view, and softened rather, as I recall: it's not hte image I had in my head when I took the shot!
whatriveristhis Avatar
22 Mar 2021 3:09PM's not hte image I had in my head when I took the shot!

That applies to at least 50% of my images, probably more. I find that element of unpredictability quite exciting, and it's why I never plan anything. It's also why I keep taking photographs.
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
22 Mar 2021 3:33PM
I could go on for ages about quality, or lack of it.
But I shall keep it to a bit of photography. I'm very critical of my work and I guess I delete many images that some would keep. No point in holding on to something that you know won't see the light of day. It was something I heard said many years ago and something that should be heeded today even more so. Photo machine gunners take note but if you like wading through piles of dross to find that piocture to upload so be it, just don't subject us to the rest. Only show your best work and people will ask how you take good photos. I'd write a blog on that myself but I've got rid of the bad stuff...
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
22 Mar 2021 6:50PM
My wife accuses me of hoarding... So I can supply a bit of dross, Keith. No credits required.

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