Sunday, May 18, 2014

Photographs - some thoughts on evaluating images

On Friday I gave a presentation at the Auckland Writers Festival (What's a photographer doing at a writers festival?) talking about my approach to evaluating photographs and the system I've developed to separate images into what I call the WTF ones, that is, those that work and the SW ones, those that don't. In others words, photographs that surprise and are layered with meaning and others that are dead in the water, boring with nothing to say.

I made a check list of fifteen things to consider. I thought the list would be worth repeating. Here goes:

1. The content, have an idea and think about what the pictures say.

2. The form, think about what the pictures look like.

3. Consider the context of the pictures, enough or too much.

4. Consider the sweet spot or punctum.

5. Consider the value of signifiers.

6. Avoid making decoration.

7. Don't make boring pictures.

8. Don't make a picture that somebody else has made already.

9. Don't make obvious photographs.

10. Avoid making cliches.

11. Don't make silly juxstapositions.

12. Avoid the one trick pony type of photograph.

13. Make pictures that are intelligent not clever.

14. Avoid fashion for fashions sake.

15. Make the work for yourself, if a few other people like the work, that's a bonus not a given.

I'm sure this list is just the start and there are many other things to think about as well. And finally to paraphrase what Duane Michals says, rules, what are they, break em.


Badr Safadi said...

An excellent list.

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