February 22, 2014

evaluating an image as others might see it


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Admittedly, I love praise and feed upon it perhaps more than I should; but to be honest, I have never been able to advance my skills from admiration of my work. I know the truth--when compared to some of the "greats" I am more or less of a "hack", and after the initial sting--it has been criticism, constructive or otherwise, that has advanced my technique.

Self-criticism is also a cornerstone of my development as a photographer, so when I look at this photograph (above) I try to see it as others might. After all, I was there, and my familiarity with the experience of having been there tends to skew my own evaluation. That said, I can imagine some viewers wondering why the water has an overall yellow cast. Well, yes, it was just prior to sunset, but there is nothing in the photo to suggest a sunset. If I wanted to re-process this image I'm sure I would have toned-down the color temperature of the splash, making it a glistening white, replacing the yellowishness.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

And although it wasn't a terribly spectacular sunset, I did have a good time shooting it. And despite a high-tide with a dicey approach to the south end of Rodeo Beach I found myself part of a plethora of photographers late Thursday afternoon. Perhaps you can see the silhouette of a fellow photographer in this image.


Photographing Marin County - the exhibit and book       


8 comments:

Zoomie said...

Hank Wessel once told me that he shoots, then puts the film (he was still using film at that time) away for two years, so that he sees the images separate from his experience of taking them. It helps him to see the flaws and the strengths of each one. I can't imagine being that patient, but then I'm not Hank Wessel, either.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

It's not all about the photograph, it's the outdoor experience.

AphotoAday said...

Hi ZOOMIE -- Well, yes, waiting a while before looking at images is a great way to disassociate so they can be evaluated with detachment. In my case, it often takes a day or two for me to "warm up" to my photos, just because often what I expect to capture, or exactly what I was seeing, rarely lives up to the memory. --As for Mr. Wessel, well he certainly has accomplished a lot, but truthfully it is a style that I have never appreciated. All the rage now, of course.

AphotoAday said...

And hi JOHN (SINBAD'S DAD) -- Wise words to remember the next time I am struggling, not being able to put together one image in a world of incredible beauty. Almost happened this morning but I managed to save the day at a spot I have never been successful before. Sometimes photography just whips my butt, so that is a good time to just stand back and soak it all in.

Zoomie said...

His work is more urban, more surreal, and more humorous than yours - completely different. But I admire his work for the careful tonality, the tongue-in-cheek view, for the composition. Not picturesque, but true nonetheless. Yours makes me gasp at the beauty; his makes me laugh and shake my head.

AphotoAday said...

THANKS ZOOMIE -- I've had my tail between my legs ever since I wrote in my comment that I have not really appreciated that sort of style. Not within my "pay grade" to criticize someone more accomplished than myself, but I regret that this general style of work has become much more popular in recent years with galleries and museums, while celebrations of beauty in the style of Ansel Adams seem to be on the way out.

Zoomie said...

I didn't take it as criticism, more as an expression of personal preference. You're right - "beautiful" art seems to be out of favor right now, and whatever is ugly is in. I think Hank's work sees human frailty for what it is, but not in a nasty way. (Also, I know him so I know he hasn't got a nasty bone in his body).

AphotoAday said...

Thanks, ZOOMIE…

 
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