PetaPixel

Do People Recognize Great Photography?

In 2007, Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten conducted a social experiment in which he recruited one of the world’s great violinists, Joshua Bell, to play in a Washington D.C. subway station. Just two days prior to the experiment, Bell had played in a sold-out Boston theater in which ordinary tickets sold for $100 apiece. The entire experiment was filmed using a hidden camera:

In the end, of the 1,097 people who passed by Joshua Bell, only seven stopped to listen to the music. His 45-minute performance of six famous (though not necessarily recognizable) classical pieces earned $32.17 from 27 passersby, with some dropping pennies. As a result of his experiment and subsequent article for the Post, Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

I recently thought about this experiment, and whether the general public is just as blind to greatness in photography as it is in music. Our our fast paced lifestyles and millisecond attention spans, many recent trends in photography seem to be pushing towards delivering eye-candy and a quick “wow” factor rather than substantive work that will stand the test of time.

For example, consider the following photographs:

On the left is a HDR photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge that was a hit on Flickr, attracting 344,783 views, 1,097 favorites, and 248 comments. On the right is “Los Angeles, California”, taken in 1969 by Garry Winogrand. The image on the left may attract eyes due to its surreal nature, dark clouds, and over-saturated colors, but I would question whether it has any ability to “stand the test of time” and become significant as a photograph. Some might call it “eye-candy” (not to bash on HDR, since I do believe HDR has its place and can be done beautifully).

On the other hand, the photograph by Winogrand may not attract eyes as easily (and some may even ignore it due to it being black and white), but it provides a beautiful glimpse into a period of our history that is delicately mindful of framing, lighting, and timing.

Thus, I feel as though credit for “greatness” is often bestowed upon modern-day photographers whose work may soon lose its appeal and become utterly insignificant, while those who are producing great work may fly under the radar and never be noticed by the general public.

What are your thoughts? Are there any modern day photographers who are under-appreciated now, but have the potential of becoming the next Ansel Adams or Dorothea Lange?


Image credit: Golden Gate HDR by vgm8383


 
  • timothyhoov

    Photography is like most other creative fields. Quality creative will often be lost on the masses and only appreciated by others who have an education. Maybe our ultimate goal as creatives is to create something that can be appreciated by both the masses, and our educated peers. A tough task, the perfect combination of form and function is tough to achieve.

  • http://twitter.com/artofbs artofbs

    I’m going to comment down a ways however I just couldn’t resist… You sounded very hobbitish there for a moment.. are you sure you didn’t mean to say “Middle Earth” and One ring to rule them all??

  • http://twitter.com/artofbs artofbs

    I can see this can turn into a class discussion, the haves vs the have-nots, the “educated” vs the “un-educated”, the established vs the new-comers. Photography is an art like painting or music and at the end of the day it is what the individual sees or or hears that matters. It is up to the artist to decide what they want to portray and how.

    Just remember, the “rules” of photography weren’t just there, they had to be established through trial and error and exploration. These rules are not set and we will stagnate as an art if we live in the past and not keep exploring.

    I think the comments on this page may have been a lot different if the photos compared had been a lot similar (two black and white street scenes).

  • http://www.adamkoenigphotography.com/ adam

    Garry Winogrand was great. His photos have true meaning. No offense, but to me it’s just a bridge. A lot of people can take that picture and spend ages figuring out the technical sides of it and whatnot, but I would challenge anyone to recreate a photo as poignant as the wonderful capture by Winogrand. There’s so much subtle complexity to it.
    Of course I am the guy who gets yelled at for not acknowledging all landscape as art. I just think it’s pretty, and maybe art for someone personally, but in a more modern sense I think art has to say something. And even if you think a tree sends a message, or it reminds you of a wonderful poem or something, that’s great, but is that what someone is going to think, or are they gonna think “Whoa, cool tree”?
    In essence, no I don’t think people no greatness. Many great artists are appreciated more after they’re dead, at least outside of the art world.

  • Anonymous

    Really interesting thread so far. Many great points I agree with and some I don’t. There are many dynamics to what makes art sustain time. It has been proven that “classical” lines exist. That we have a common sense of what is beauty, even if some expresses it better than others. Fashion trends come and go. A classic Savile Row is and will be for a very long time a cut that defies time. A shoulder pad jacket from the 80′s was a fad.

    But again, Art is cultural. Marcel Duchamps himself, believed that his art what pre-judged because if his name. Which consequently forced him to enter competitions under different name.

    Art is subjective – in theory, not in practice. It might be on the long term, but definitely not in the short term. Likes and Dislikes are contextual, influenceable, and manipulative.

    Art is also more than what is simply displayed. There are millions and billions of photos on Flickr and other websites. Are they all art because they are photos? Or is art a combination? Is the process as important? the intent? the goal?

    HDR is a new technological trend. It is big, splashy, in your face. Much like what 3D was a decade ago. Now, movies are using it in a more subtle way.

    I believe that subtlety sustains time. Not flashy. Because we live in a world saturated with visual stimulus, people feel that have to over do it. It might work on the short term, but it won’t make them stay there. A beautiful person might get a job because she or he looks good, but you need more than look to keep a job – you need to know what you are doing, you need talent.

    As you notice, the HDR photo on the left is associated to a pool of photos – Flickr. Not to someone, not to an artist, but simply to a data bank. Its recognition is impersonal. And will exist only until the next “flashier” comes around. It is the flavor of the month. The one on the left is associate to a name, a person, a collection of work. The photo itself did not make this artist sustain time, but it was his consistency to create it, his journey, his process.

    obviously I could go on and on but this was my quick comment.

  • timothyhoov

    Photography is like most other creative fields. Quality creative will often be lost on the masses and only appreciated by others who have an education. Maybe our ultimate goal as creatives is to create something that can be appreciated by both the masses, and our educated peers. A tough task, the perfect combination of form and function is tough to achieve.

  • http://www.thecorporatechick.com/ Alissa

    I actually liked the photo on the right better…the aesthetic appealed to me more. I think with the increased affordability and ease of technology many great photographers are going unnoticed. There's so much noise in the photography world, it's tough to filter it all out and look at a collection objectively.

    It's kind of like the music industry in a way – you try to get one great famous song, that cuts through the noise, rather than creating an album to be enjoyed for years to come.

  • http://www.shinyphoto.co.uk/ Tim

    Yes, well, quite. The HDR photo is garish and its sense of composition is all screwed: for something theoretically that simple, the proportions and sense of placement in the frame are ugly. Sure, the b&w street-scene is complex, but it's balanced: portrait of people centred in the frame, strong diagonal lines leading in, nice lighting, etc.

    On flickr the HDR groups are huge and invariably attract a lot of views to a photo. With a little luck, a photo can be uploaded at a slack time of the week (probably an evening in Europe, midday in the US – it'll be the best of the recent uploads easier if uploads are coming in slower), posted to a handful of such groups and the acceleration in view-rate will cause it to appear in Explore, from which it might take-off even further. It doesn't necessarily take a great photo, but it is a prime example of audience-selection.

    The Online Photographer has a classic article on this kind of phenomenon: http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2006/06/great-photographers-on-internet.html

  • ganeshaisis

    that is so true. people don't realize that overdone colors of HD can also ruin a picture as much as it can enhance it. I like the b&w picture on the right much more. I wish that more people would recognize true greatness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.hart.photography Tom Hart

    “Do People Recognize Great Photography?” Simple answer, no.

    But then again, why should 'the masses' appreciate good images? A sense of visual aesthetics is a skill and an ability – partly (probably mostly, IMHO) innate and partly learnt / developed – just like most other things.

  • harrisonwilson

    I think those that are photographers (most people commenting here) are going to have a better sense of what is “good”. The thing with the Joshua Bell experiment is that you are bringing the arts to a random people as apposed to hosting those that appreciate the music, but I digress into the topic at hand. It is not reasonable to think that those who were at the subway all had ears for music, enjoyed classical, and were not in a rush and had time to stop and analyze what they were hearing.

    “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” sort of becomes the mantra to follow here. I know lots of people that are blown away by HDR images. Heck, I think people forget what HDR is, and assume that the high color saturation tone-mapped images are HDR, and forgetting HDR can also be a shot where the wide range of luminance can prevent anything from being hidden in the shadows, yet the picture still resembles something we see normally, not when we are on acid. I know people that cringe at the thought of using filters such as a graduated Tobacco filter, because the photo produced appears too surreal, yet people who will use the filters every other shot.

    I think a big portion of photography is luck. That's why people now carry almost a TB worth of storage in memory cards and go nuts shooting instead of stopping and framing, hoping they will get lucky – and what pictures on Flickr show us is that the playing field is now level because costs of things like high ISO film and development fees are no longer a factor. I know a lot of people who say their favorite picture is one of my least favorites.

    I think there will be a lot of great conversation about this.

  • michaeldaley

    Interesting, I was looking for someone to quote but I didn't find my thought above.

    My feeling is that the comments here are focusing on the technical, and only other technicians will recognize good work, this is true for most fields.

    Between the two photos, people can recognize the Golden Gate bridge. People gravitate to what they can relate to, and that is a very common and comfortable image. The color is also big and saturated red. So, I think that it has a lot to do with clarity and subject matter.

  • http://twitter.com/coolnalu coolnalu 拿鲁

    I don't agree that the hdr on the left is a bad photograph, I think the perspective is quite unique and effective since it gives me an illusion of the bridge being a tower as oppose to the bridge I saw in many other pictures. Although I am not a big fan of ghostly HDRs myself, I think it's just a new genre with the emergence of technology. That said, many HDRs cause me headache and dizziness. If you apply the rule of figure-ground relationship to it you may find that HDR makes everything the figure and increases tension on my visual nerves so I am now refrained from looking at them at all. The best and subtle HDR and how I was introduced to it is http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/.

    It's hard to say whether ppl know what's great photography or not since no one has the absolute authority to make the decision. It's all subjective and changes over time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danericson Dan Ericson

    Art is weird that way. There is always a “fad” that people enjoy but true artists (whether paint, photo, music, etc.) stand the test of time on their own. Sure the color and surreal effect draws your eye to the HDR… but the B&W photo is a far superior photo even to most novice eyes.

  • Anna Z

    Its a competetive world out there and its hard to stand out as a photographer. I believe everyone who is a great photographer is great in their own way but to stand out you must have a unique kind of photography. Thats also why some people get into a certain subject of photography to narrow it.
    I am a photographer learning everyday. For me, I love take photographs and like to experiment. Practice makes perfect. I am into dog photography and really I photograph everything. I stand out to some people because I have an eye for dogs. I capture their look. To me it really depends on the certain person and what they like. If that person likes dogs and the way i photograph than my photography might attract them.
    Shoot what you like I believe and people will be attracted if they like that style. HDR is cool but I am more into a natural photo. I like the second photo because its more unique. Thats just my opinion though. Have a nice day.

  • http://sevennine.net/ marc

    Overdone HDR is a crutch and makes me throw-up a bit in my mouth. But that's just my opinion. If you are the type that likes it then you might also be more interested in the camera used to take a photo then than aesthetics of the actual photo taken.

  • http://twitter.com/streamlinedman Dave

    Great question. But first, I think the experiment with music was not well-designed at. In a subway station everyone is trying to get somewhere, plus a doorway is an inconvenient place to stop, plus if you don't play famous music that the general public is going to recognize, they won't even hear it as they hurry by. I don't think it proved anything.

    Photography is just like music. The hits are the ones that have an in-your-face hook, like a song with a really catchy chorus, or the immediate “Aw, how cute” response to Anne Geddes' work. The appeal of a piece of pop art generally doesn't last very long, but pop consumers don't care, they just move on to the next big thing. Great music and great photographs require greater focus, and the appeal of the work gets greater the longer you study it. But I've concluded that most people don't appreciate or care about the subtle nuances of great works. They just want the easy, quick emotional response.

    I think an underrated photographer is the late Galen Rowell. People criticize his saturated images for being too gaudy (for some reason, a lot of people think B&W photography is more “artistic”), but he insisted that the print represented what he saw—he was all about showing how spectacular natural light could be. I spent a decent amount of time in the mountains but never quite saw such color, until one day I was passing by Mono Lake, and when I stopped for gas the whole sky turned a fiery orange-red. At that moment I realized he wasn't exaggerating, and he really was showing us rare displays of the highly saturated grandeur of nature; and because of his mountaineering skills, many of the shots were from unique perspectives. Rowell wrote extensively about light and art and perception, so I recommend reading his books.

  • http://twitter.com/samisin samisin

    I agree with both coolnau and harrisonwilson. Who is to decide what great photography is? Isn't a photo great when it speaks to the masses and people love it? Or is it only “educated” that can say what a great photo is? Or maybe it is in the eye of the beholder? I think it would be kind of totalitarian and “middle age” to say that there is one rule to to rule them all: this is what makes a photo great. Personally though I doubt that the number of views decide if a photo is great.

    Both examples in this post are great photos, but I must say I prefer the b/w one because it got more personality. IMHO.

  • http://twitter.com/Powitsjj James t

    agreed, the composition is much more interesting on the black and white picture. HDR can be done well, but you can't ignore composition when using HDR.

  • http://twitter.com/digitalforge Charles J Conner

    The interesting part of the experiment to me is thinking about the relationship of visual arts and music to the “masses”. To a large extent, people are exposed to art and music through an intermediary such as a gallery, museum, concert hall or through a media outlet such as magazines, newspapers and web sites.

    Many casual art or music fans will view the art and listen to the music that is recommended to them by “experts”. These experts might be critics or writers at magazines, newspapers, or internet sites. They might also be institutions such as galleries, museums, and major concert halls.

    How many people went to see Joshua Bell at the Theater for $100 because he was playing at a prominent venue and his artistry was touted as being worthy of adulation. How many of those same people would not stop to listen to him play in the subway station because they had no frame of reference concerning the quality or value of his musicianship. Of course this experiment would be impossible to conduct, but it would be interesting.

    Assuming that many people did not stop to listen to him play because they had no frame of reference (that is, they did not know who he was, what he was playing, and that this was in fact quality music) answers the question. People often do not recognize quality art or music without being told that it is quality art or music.

    To quote from a comment on the post referenced above by Tim, “The bald fact of the matter is that, at least during the latter half of the 20th century, one of the distinguishing factors between “famous” and “who cares” was representation in New York galleries and publishers.”

    That being said, I like to think that quality music and art will rise to the top and will be lauded by the “experts” and appreciated by the “masses”. The fact that many artists and musicians create work of high quality without appreciation from the bulk of society is well documented.

  • http://offwriting.org/ Ben Lindstrom

    Each of the two pictures has their flaws and their strengths. Unlike others I don't mind the composition of the bridge, but I get turned off by over processed HDR images. The street scene has some very interesting lines caused by shadows, but it feels cluttered.

    I'm not sure what the 2008 Bell experiment proves or disproves. These days people have schedules to keep. To expect people to crowd around him for 45 minutes is rather a silly notion. The final amount he was paid for playing doesn't say much either. Most people don't feel comfortable giving random people money for public (non-sanctioned) performances. As a culture we pigeon hole such people. I'd rather see him repeat this in a downtown park (e.g. Meers Park in St Paul) where they are designed for such events, and most folks coming there are not rushing to get somewhere else.

    Getting back to photography, I tend to place it with the rest of the “arts” (drawing, painting, etc). One person's crap is another person's perfection. I suspect people are also tired of high school teacher, college teachers, and some cases “professionals in that field” telling them what is good or bad. Mainly because if they don't like it they feel guilty for “not getting it.”

    And I find that sad. It turns people off, and the last things as photographer (or artists) we should be doing is shoving our view of perfection down someone's throat as “great photography” or “example of perfect art”. It isn't our place to tell others what they should or shouldn't like. It is our place to show the world as we see it, and if others like that view then good. If they don't.. That doesn't invalid your view of the world nor their preference in art.

  • elldub

    Art by nature is subjective. It's impossible to predict what will and will not stand the test of time. Photography is a unique artform, but an artform none the less. As someone who appreciates music, photography, painting, sculpture, etc. I think the worst thing about each of these (and others) is when people, pretentious people, try to define “Good” and “bad” as if each were a universal truth. If people like something you don't, who cares. Keep doing what you enjoy/appreciate and try not to judge people for appreciating something different; something you feel is beneath your expert opinion.

    The problem(s) with society is much bigger than this. I agree that attention spans are getting shorter. This is due to more sources competing for our attention. I would agree that it can contribute to some debilitating problems (voter participation, education, etc). Art is art and should remain undefined.

    p.s. I like the one on the right, but understand why people appreciate the one on the left. Party on.

  • elldub

    amen.

  • http://qwertyphoto.com/ Richard Seipp

    7:51 a.m. on Friday morning 99% of those people will be on their way to work, so yes they don't stop to listen to music, even though maybe for a large percentage it wouldn't be their thing anyway.

    The parallel with pictures is interesting, but you are not comparing like with like. In 1969 flickr did not exist, and though I know nothing of Garry Winogrand, I am sure that his image was not previewed to the public in a format equivalent to the 75×75 pixel format that flickr offers for preview today. At that size, Winongrand's pic what is it? It lacks the eye catch that the bridge has, in fact it looks like nothing much.

    The bridge picture, just because it has 300K views, doesn't mean anything other than those people had to look. Some gave comments, sure, no doubt with flashing gifs.

    If you are selling pictures on the internet if they don't catch the eye at less than 800px no matter how detailed and wondrous they look at 4000px, you are doomed.

  • http://twitter.com/danmiami Danny Garcia – Miami

    People recognize great photography just like they recognize a great car, home, vacation or other artwork – it is great if THEY enjoy it.

    Last night before heading off to bed, I found Trey Ratcliff's Facebook page and posted a message to him. I will re-post it here and for those interested, I am posting the link below as well.

    Here it is….

    Trey – ever since that Saturday HDR Workshop in Tampa, I have been reading and working on improving the process. More significant, I look at things much different. I am enjoying every sunrise and sunset I see more and… more every day. Most surprising is that although I have a rather nice collection of fine art in my home (Peter Max, Marcus Glenn, Linda LeKinff, and a millennium edition Rembrandt etching among other pieces) I have a new found appreciation for color and texture that wasn't there before. Thank you for sharing so much with us!

    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/StuckInCusto

  • http://www.sassyshutterbug.com/ Samantha Decker

    Interesting commentary. I think the title of the article, however, begs the question, “what constitutes great photography?” Everyone has their own definition. I personally really appreciate the HDR photo for what it is, and although the photo on the right is very nice, it's not the type of photography that I personally find very appealing.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexduff/ Alex Duff

    Interesting article. History shows very different experiences for different artists during their lifetimes versus their perception afterwards. For example, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are now regarded as artistic masters and some of the most important people in the history of jazz, but most younger musicians regarded Louis lightly and Duke Ellington actually played a high school prom in North Dakota in his 50s because he had fallen completely out of fashion.

    Seems like the critics, academics, and historians eventually work out an orthodox view of the artist's relative merit, and then the “mainstream” attitude (of those interested in the art form) generally adopt that view.

  • http://jrclinephotography.blogspot.com/ jr cline

    I'm sure there are many modern day photographers who are under appreciated, lost in the vast sea of photos being taken and shared in the world today. As time passes it will be interesting to see whose work floats to the top.

  • http://richardashe.me/ Richard Ashe

    Excellent post. I've always questioned the awareness of those who say they appreciate art on any level. As an artist myself I've learned to sit with artwork and allow myself to engage.

  • http://twitter.com/Zartiss Astié

    Comment ce fait-il qu'à notre époque il soit beaucoup plus difficile d'apprécier l'art actuel.Les critiques vont bon train. Une recherche permanente vers un art nouveau à base d'ancien comme le B&W pour la photographie, Et pour ce qui est de la musique, des percutions primaire. ferons réagir votre système émotionnel tout entier, alors qu'une innovation de couleurs ou de tempo demanderait de la part du publique une intense concentration. Les origines, nos origines en sont la cause. La reconnaissance d'un code ancestral facilite l'attention et qu'importe l'image car notre cerveau à reconnu le style. Quel monde superficiel n'est-ce pas! Ou les valeurs prennent valeurs que lorsque l'on vous l'a dit et répété, dit et répété, dit et répété, dit et répété.

  • http://mute.rigent.com/ Miles

    There's no such thing as an objective measure of art. Whether it's music, art or photography people's reactions are based on two things, an individual emotional reaction and, in a much lesser sense, experience and knowledge of the medium. Photography isn't an area where experience and knowledge adds much a person's connection to an image (beyond being emotionally connected to the subject of course), as opposed to poetry for example, where understanding of the form definitely helps appreciation and the depth of one's reaction.

    There's no right and wrong here, no one can say definitively that the HDR shot above (which isn't my cup of tea at all) is any “better” or “worse” than the Winogrand shot. The only thing that makes one image or photographer “great” is recognition. If enough people with influence say something is great then it will be.

    People need to make up their own minds and feel secure with their gut reactions. If you don't like a recognised masterwork it doesn't make your opinion any less valid as long as you are being honest with yourself.

  • http://www.focx.de/ Christoph

    The question also leaves out the many faces of great photography. A picture can be totally un-artistic but have enormous historical value and enter the halls of great photography by its historic significance. Another picture might depict something mundane, a scene anyone could take a picture of any day and yet be art by having a unique visual touch or style. Cultural photography, nature photography, macro, history, portraits – great photography exists in totally different forms, just as we eat different kind of food and listen to different kind of music.

    Some kinds of photography or music might sell better, but sales or popularity do not make a good photo. We also rely on critics to filter through movies, restaurants and music for us – petapixel is a one of the sites filtering photography for us, so are other sites posting “50 amazing macro shots”. Great photography may be recognized independently, but as with paintings in museums, “This is a great picture”-signs have their place.

    Coming back to your question – I believe there are many photographers whose pictures I would enjoy looking at but who I never heared about. Flickr helps me find a lot of them. Yet, noone can save them the work of promoting themselves and me the work of looking around to find them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kimberly.MyPets Kimberly Morris Gauthier

    I was surprised to read that the photo on the right was so old; I love it and immediately thought it was better than the photo on the left, which is eye catching, but I love the story the one on the right is telling. Every person who looks at the photograph will create a story very different from the person who looked at it prior. I love that aspect of the photograph.

  • mijonju

    I am a fan of some other flickr member's that doesn't get any comments, i really like their work, im usually the only who leaves comments on their photos and faved, i usually ask myself, these are really good.. why arn't they on explore?

  • Pingback: Rammen for kunsten | Mashed Potatoes

  • http://www.focx.de/ Christoph

    There is a certain formula for getting on Explore, consisting mostly of a lot of comments and favourites. There are even howtos for Explore, along the lines of “1. Write hundreds of comments. 2. Upload your picture.” – not really a sophisticated method of selecting good pictures.

  • Arjen

    (Un)fortunately art depends on the taste of the public. It can make it or brake it. It is also, in part, dependable on what is considered beautiful in todays world (look at the women in Rubens' paintings and the models of today. Both are considered beautiful in their own days).
    To the masses, the right picture probably looks outdated, and the left one looks more modern and cool.
    Personally, I like the one on the left more. It is timeless and well executed by a talented person, without the use of Photoshop.
    In short, the left one looks like I could have done it (I have made similar pictures), the right one is a picture I hope I will be able to make one day ;)

  • Arjen

    Of course I meant to say I like the RIGHT one more… :)

  • http://beckyandeli.blogspot.com/ Becky

    I second this!

    Furthermore, a huge problem with the Bell experiment is that it assumes that the buskers who are normally in the Metro stations are not talented, and/or don't ever play classical music. For people to stop — especially in the morning, on their way to work — the violinist would have to be orders of magnitude more talented than the normal musicians in the subway. That probably wasn't the case.

  • http://beckyandeli.blogspot.com/ Becky

    I don't like the particular picture of the Golden Gate Bridge (not least because I dislike HDR), but I wouldn't say it's “just” a bridge. It's a marvel of architecture, and capturing its essence in a picture is non-trivial.

  • http://twitter.com/velofille Liz Quilty ✔

    the 'HDR' on the left in my opinion is not just an HDR but a full photo manipulation, Its no longer a photograph when its so heavily edited and therefore not even in the running.
    Can we compare 2 actual photos good/bad ?

  • http://twitter.com/247arts Paul Pomeroy

    I'm not sure you can ever count on the “wisdom of the crowd” to discern what is or is not great art of any kind. Still, I use the following rule-of-thumb on Flickr: IF a photo has more than 2000 views AND 10% or more of its viewers have marked the photo a Favorite THEN it is a good (and possibly great) photograph. That's not to say that a photo with 10 views and no favorites is necessarily not great, only that you'd have to use some other criteria to figure that out.

    If you look at a lot of photos on Flickr you know that VERY few get more than 2000 views, and of those VERY, VERY few have a 1:10 or better Favorites-to-Views ratio. There are a few photographers I'm aware of that do get those kind of numbers, though, such as

    Emmanuel Smague: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmanuel_smague/

    and

    Rui Palha: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruipalha/

  • teer63

    I feel a lot of great photographers fly under the radar because of the way they go about to market themselves. I feel they should take those great photographs and submit them to as many social sites as they can (with a watermark and copyright!!) to get a little more exposure. That, and being lucky helps.

    http://www.mystopphotography.com

  • http://pomeroy-photography.com/ Moira Pomeroy

    Michael – great article! I appreciated the comparison of the two images; I've seen very few HDR images that I actually liked. I guess I'm more of an “au naturel” type. And what a fascinating experiment with Josh Bell (and kudos to him for agreeing to it). I used to be a violinist myself, so this was pf particular interest to me.

    Paul – shout out to another Pomeroy! ;)

  • http://scottmansfield.com/ Sara

    I think one problem is that EVERYONE is a photographer these days…whether they've taken a class or it's a serious hobby, or they shoot snapshots with their cellphone…so people see a shot like the winogrand and think they could shoot it, where as the HDR requires a little more technology. It's hard for all these 'photographers' to step back from 'i could do that' and appreciate the context, skill, and beauty of a great photograph. BUT it's good to have so many people making images and experimenting and looking at images…it fuels the creative fires.

    I'm a little biased, but here's your modern Ansel Adams: http://scottmansfield.com

  • Photoguru

    I agree- HDR is way overdone and as a 20 year pro traveling the world to capture amazing shots, many think it's easy and fun- sure it beats a ton of jobs I could be doing, but by no means is capturing a great image easy – and luggin' tons of gear is just as tough- but when HDR is done well as you mentioned, it has it's place- here's one I did last week in Yosemite: http://twitpic.com/10s57y

  • http://twitter.com/evelayn evelyntehlayhoon

    Personally, great photography (if that is what we like to call it) are those shots that I can pull out from the drawer after so many decades and still tells me a story, fresh like it was back then. It is one that conjures memories that tugs at my sleeve/heart. No matter what photography technique that was applied, the great ones have more than what meet the eyes.

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  • jermaineamado

    I feel a lot of great photographers fly under the radar because of the way they go about to market themselves. I feel they should take those great photographs and submit them to as many social sites as they can (with a watermark and copyright!!) to get a little more exposure. That, and being lucky helps.
    http://www.denverportraitphotography.com