July 13, 2010

What makes a good picture?

When I was a kid and we took the roll of film to Rexall Drugs ( On La Cienega and Beverly Blvd -across from Kiddyland or what's now the Beverly Center)  to be "finished" it took about a week. 

We'd anxiously open the envelope and look at the photographs that came back. Then we'd make a pile of bad photographs and the keepers.  The keepers were worth putting in the scrapbook. The others went into the envelope with the negatives never to be looked at again but they cost money and we didn't want to waste them so we kept them. They were blurred because the camera moved, or were dark because they were taken when there wasn't enough sun out or because people blinked.

So fast forward to the digital era. We have cellphones and digicams - also known as point and shoot cameras and we have professional gear and movie/video cameras too. You can hardly go anywhere without someone whipping out their iPhone or Blackberry to take a photo. A wedding, a business meeting, a restaurant. I am guilty of using my Palm Centro.  And then there is facebook. We mobile upload those photos. We post photos of the oddest things aside from the kids and pets and whatever tickles our funny bones.I have Rye Bread from the Deli and feet from the parking lot at Pink's Hot Dogs on my cell phone gallery.

So what prompted me to blog is that on facebook I see the Good Shot post again. It was a portrait. Supposedly taken by a professional photographer. It has no technical merit. The colors were pix-elated and over sharpened and it didn't resemble a portrait. It was out of focus. The subject was not even recognizable.

I am going to go through some of my photographs and show you some of the outtakes with some of the keepers. There is a time for photography that is fun and yet has some technical correctness. I was to see everyone raise the bar for what to keep and when to hit DELETE. We're inundated with stuff we don't want to dispose of. But we really should but we can't.

So we have to agree that: 

A Good photograph has some ability to use a camera.
They don't all need photoshop.
They don't need too much photoshop - less is more sometimes.
They don't have to be taken in sunshine with your face toward the sun so you squint.
They do need to have focus which is not necessaribly the blurry background from "shooting wide open" with your lens.
All children between 3 and 8 automatically show their teeth like a dog who you are taking their toys away from them.
People in the photos are recognizable and clear
They photographs tell some kind of story to them about the subject (they DO have a subject)
Just because you have a camera does not mean you do not have a reason to photograph something..

That's what I am thinking about. So lets take the journey together to show some befores and afters. One day the Jpg might go the way of the 8 track tape. And what's not printed will be in the envelopes never to be retireved or viewed again.

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