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  #1  
Old 4th April 2013, 06:40 AM
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MartyNL MartyNL is offline
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Default Playing it safe TOO safe

There's an old pro who sometimes comes to the camera club and every time without fail, he's dismayed by how unbelievably safe amateur photographers are about their work, their equipment but above all, about their creativity.

I must admit, he has a point. Pro's have clients and must fulfill a brief while amateurs have total freedom to take artistic and creative license with whatever subject matter and its interpretation.

You'd think given the opportunity we'd grasp it with both hands...
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Old 4th April 2013, 08:19 AM
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Hi Marty - I have thought this for years - I suppose that is why I chop and change developers/film/cameras etc - you've got to keep yourself interested () and moving around a wider comfort zone can often be a spark to new creativity.
I must admit I have actually given up looking at photography magazines - it is the same pictures again and again . . .
Phil
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Old 4th April 2013, 08:21 AM
Paulographic Paulographic is offline
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If I'm doing a commission I play it very safe. I was taught not to mess about with someone else's time and money.
If I'm shooting for myself then I often play around, particularly with lighting, at the great risk though of having some swinishly awkward negatives to print. Something I have learned to my cost recently which is now inclining me somewhat to playing safe with my own work concentrating on the subject more than the style.
Dodging and burning can get to be a real pain.
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Old 4th April 2013, 08:39 AM
PaulBJE PaulBJE is offline
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I agree Marty. I went to an Arts & Crafts exhibition in Basingstoke over the Easter week-end which included photographs on panels from the local camera clubs including mine and including a 'traditional' landscape by me. They were all boring!!! However a panel of photos by students at the local college were inovative different and interesting!!

Maybe the 'safety aspect' has more to do with ones age. Lets hope the youngsters keep producing non 'safe' work!

Paul
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Old 4th April 2013, 08:56 AM
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Isn't part of the "problem" the camera club competitions. Having sat through a few judging sessions, the judging is very formulaic - so members will create prints to match judges' requirements.
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Old 4th April 2013, 09:52 AM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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Back when film ruled the world, I was a member of the local Photographic club, not for long, as it was rather boring, If you new who the judge was and produced a suitable photograph to the correct formula your print was selected, produce something a little interesting, more daring and you were told it was rubbish, and I found I was starting and printing competition entrys and not what I wanted, I was thinking about the winning entry, so I quit, and my photography became more fun, more interesting and perhaps some images a bit different again.
Richard
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  #7  
Old 4th April 2013, 12:07 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Default My views on photo clubs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilp View Post
Isn't part of the "problem" the camera club competitions. Having sat through a few judging sessions, the judging is very formulaic - so members will create prints to match judges' requirements.
Quote:
Richard Gould: Back when film ruled the world, I was a member of the local Photographic club, not for long, as it was rather boring, If you new who the judge was and produced a suitable photograph to the correct formula your print was selected, produce something a little interesting, more daring and you were told it was rubbish...
I think that Neil and Richard have hit the nail on the head, especially when it comes to photo clubs. I'm not knocking them, as I belonged to one for about ten years and enjoyed it very much and then joined another when I moved a few years back.

In the first club I entered pictures regularly and won lots of prizes etc until I started getting 'experimental...'

Upon moving, in the new club that I joined, I now very rarely put any entries in as I'm not chasing judges comments any more. Doing a BA in Photography at Uni now takes up the majority of my time anyway, where I hope to get more realistic feedback on my work.

In both clubs I've always tried to stick to taking and producing work that I like and always tell new members to do the same = although they quickly resort to the 'formula.' BUT, it is true that the 99% of entries are usually very samey and formulaic with members chasing points for certificates and cups. But hey, if that's what makes them happy.

I still go along regularly, for the social side and to see others work, some of which occasionally inspires me, but of late I must admit to totally disagreeing with most of the judges comments and scores (and I was a judge for a few years myself) and will admit to closing my eyes and dozing off on regular occasions when the lights go out.

Even a lot of the visiting lecturers are nothing special IMO.

Maybe I should volunteer for the Syllabus persons post, as I did at the last club and make a syllabus of stuff that 'I' want to see! I did upset the boat a little when I did it last time but very quickly the majority agreed with what I was doing and commented on that the nights other than competition nights were really interesting, with talks about making bread, wine making and crematorium open days being just a few of the subjects introduced. A few moaned that it was a photo club and EVERYTHING should be about photography but they were in the minority to be honest and I think they would grumble about anything anyway!

Terry S
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Old 4th April 2013, 12:25 PM
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Interestingly, I was talking to a recent speaker at our club - who did have fantastic images, including some film ones - who told me that a club was a great place to start - to learn about techniques etc from others, before moving on to do your own thing

Another speaker came to do a critique night, and raved about my print - which was London Underground and high contrast, grainy and a bit abstract - recognising it was film, but said that in a comp it wouldn't do well. He was right, joint lowest score the following week, with the comment that there was "a lot of white in the picture"

Neil
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  #9  
Old 4th April 2013, 07:33 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is online now
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Sadly, most people are sheep

Follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing

Nice and safe

But the real question is - how do I know I'm not one of them in my own way ?

Martin
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Old 5th April 2013, 08:30 AM
JamesK JamesK is offline
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We've talked about this before, and without wishing to go over old ground, I think that camera clubs treat photography as a hobby, by which I mean a pastime, rather than a creative pursuit.

There's nothing wrong with this in itself, but, as has been said, it becomes very formulaic and usually boils down to some sort of competition, which ends up being an exercise in pleasing the judges by giving them what they want, rather than what you do.
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