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What makes a photo great?

This is a discussion on What makes a photo great? within the General photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Oh yeh. Discusssions like this are what help us to see things from different perspectives and the more views we ...

  1. #21
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    Oh yeh. Discusssions like this are what help us to see things from different perspectives and the more views we get the more perspective we get.

    As said before ... there's no one right answer or opinion here.

    I think we are back to that definiton of Great again and I think what I'll do is a) Keep the two lists BUT b) take 'Great' out of the second list and change it to something like 'Appealing' or something. More thought needed.

    What we need now is some of you others to jump in and give us an opinion or ten on Marko's point so we see what other viewpoints are.

    Am I leaning the 'right' way with I've said in this post?

    Are we getting any closer to finding out exactly what a great photo is?

    Who leaves the rubbish on the side of the highways?

    Do I ask too many questions?

    Why do you think that?

    Last edited by Mad Aussie; 01-25-2009 at 11:12 PM.

  2. #22
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    Just listened to the podcast, first thing I have to say is people DO NOT have an innate ability to what is good quality and never mind greatness, I found in general and through most of my life it is the one thing most people do not possess. How many great artists, that includes, painters, musicians, photographers, etc. who spend their lives in abject poverty and pass on penniless. Then you have someone who can market themselves, convinces others of his greatness or the greatness of his work or that of someone else's and suddenly you have heard mentality of what is considered great. It is now popular and popular is in no way synonymous with greatness like most people assume, greatness stands the test of time.

    What makes a great photo? usually a great photographer. I heard you and I have read this thread and what people think and now I will bore you all with my thoughts on it.

    Skill plays 99.99% and happenstance is the other .01%. Skill includes the ability to see where you are going with the photo, walked in or on upon, searched out, staged, the basic image is in the photographers mind, he knows what he/she wants to achieve.

    If I am out walking around with my camera and photo presents itself has nothing to do with luck but your brain is attuned to your surroundings at all times, so you did not luck out on the photo, because of your skills you were able to spot the photo and get the shot off..

    Happenstance is just you walk into a situation, and low and behold you inadvertently walked into the wrong lounge and something is going on that would make a great photograph, I don't think luck has to do with anything, you just happened to be in the right place at the right time and your ability to scope out the photo is part of your skill as a photographer.


    Subject is very important as well, you can be the best technical photographer but if you don't know what makes for a good subject well you will never have a great photograph. That again is skill, the ability to see something of interest in many shapes and forms.

    Having the knowledge to take a technically proficient photograph is also a skill the photographer must have, at that point if he uses them for the shot or knows which rules to break to achieve the image he/she has envisioned is as important as the rest of it.


    Greatness is so very subjective and it is a very over used term.


    I could go on but sure no one wants that ....... .. if it reads poorly just let me know, just one of my regular bouts of insomnia and I had to pair it down from 3 or 4 times this length so people might actually read my diatribe, so the editing may be horrid, my apologies in advance
    “I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost - that is important.” Jacques-Henri Lartigue

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

    "Vive L'Acadie, Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!"




  3. #23
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    Nope ... it reads just fine.

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    Nice job AL. I agree with you 100% on what you've said.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28054853@N08/


    Photography is more than just taking a picture and freezing the action, or leaving the shutter open. It is more than orchestrating the image with the stroke of a brush. Its the realization and explanation that reality is an isolated experience in which only a specific individual can comprehend during any given time period. - Your Truly!

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    a great photo is something that's superior in all aspects even tho the photographer was just lucky to press the shutter at the right time, and a great number of people's senses are affected when viewing it.
    .....remember this is only my opinion.

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    Your post is extremely well written A.L. and I agree with most of it except the ability to detect quality when we see it. I do believe most people have it. We use it when we make sensory choices all time. When we touch cashmere, it feels better than polyester and toblerone is better than dairy milk and Ansel adams is better than my cousin Vinny who always chops the heads off.

    Sure there may be artists greater than Ansel that live in obscurity, but that doesn't mean that IF anyone saw their works they would be any less impressed; they just haven't had the opportunity to see those works yet.

    And you are correct about the skill. Ansel spent way more time than my cousin vinny both taking and processing the pic....and the average guy on the street will like Ansel's shots better because of this skill.
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