Sunday, 23 December 2012

Socratic Racer

Paris iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Socratic Racer ~

Socratic Racer by Paris Set Me Free
Socratic Racer, a photo by Paris Set Me Free on Flickr.

BONUS: For Street Photography Fans!

I've been thinking about different types of photography, and techniques and approaches and whatnot, and it occurs to me that there are three main types of photo: crap, normal and artistic.

I would argue that most people take either normal or crap shots, with artistic being the elite category to aim for. It's what I aim for. However, if you were tempted to place the above photo in the 'crap' category I wouldn't be surprised.

It's actually very difficult to take a 'bad' photo, which you'll notice wasn't a category, because there's a difference between 'bad' and simply 'crap'.

'Bad', I would suggest, is a sub-category of 'normal'. 'Normal' is a typical tourist shot and there's nothing wrong with that - it's what most people do and what most people enjoy looking back at as part of their cherished memories from wherever they've been. Cool. 'Bad' is when the pics are out of focus, lamp posts growing out of people's heads, rubbish bins framing the main action, that sort of thing.

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So 'bad' is when people lack certain basic techniques or concepts. As far as sharpness is concerned, you have to try pretty hard these days to actually take a blurry photo, as most devices are programmed to prevent you, as far as is mechanically possible, from doing so, intransigent human stupidity notwithstanding.

'Crap' is a whole different ball park. If 'bad' is when 'normal' goes wrong, 'crap' is when 'artistic' just... isn't. It's a sort of glorified 'bad', if you will.

I know about 'normal', and I'm pretty good at avoiding 'bad' these days. Which leaves 'artistic' and 'crap' as the two categories my photos are most likely to fall into. Percentages? Hey, don't push it!

The photo above has a lot of issues, mainly linked to the lighting being dire - late at night, no street lamps, final pic pushed to oblivion to try to get a usable image...

So 'grungy' effects are one thing, but this may be taking it a bit too far, I admit. There is artistic merit, with the mass of vertical lines, the jaunty angle, the bizarre racing-helmet-holding guy off to the left, the enigmatic 'What' and is that a sneaky 'wank' I spot - probably not. But the lack of overall quality might push it over the edge from the artistic into the purely crap category.

Not that there's anything Socratically wrong with producing crap - it means you're aiming for artistic, and hopefully learning from your mistakes.

They say that being aware of something (such as a weakness) is the first step in being able to do something about it, so I draw comfort from that at least.

And why not...
© 2012 
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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