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Thread: To speak or not to speak?

  1. #1
    tomdinning's Avatar
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    To speak or not to speak?

    Since I have been somewhat challenged on the point I would ask of others to give me their valued opinion on words accompanying photographs either in this forum or elsewhere so I might be better informed and stand on safer ground.

    I have notices few if any photographs here are lacking some wording, be it a mere title, description, circumstance, or query. Others then spend their valuable time writing in response, some with wisdom, others with anecdotes, and a few with humour and good will.

    I wonder, in the light of the suggestion that my words are less than refined at times, if words are a necessary part of what we do as photographers or should we take heed of the adage 'a picture says a thousand words' or some such.

    Cheers
    Tom

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    I would suggest, first and foremost, that since this forum is a learning resource, then there has to be dialogue. There has been discussion before as to whether someone who posts an image without asking for C & C is a) expecting it and, b) should receive it.

    My own opinion is that the main forum isn't a gallery for merely showing off stuff. There are gallery facilities on CiC or you can of course showcase your stuff in other places (website, etc). I think that images posted up on the forum, if not in competitions, should be open for comment.

    In terms of seeking useful comment, the best post on the subject was put up by Frank Miller. You can read it here:How to Get Effective Feedback for your Posted Images?

    As for language, I think the subject is adequately covered in the CiC Code of Conduct, here.
    Last edited by Donald; 11th February 2013 at 07:00 AM.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Hi Tom,
    CiC is a forum for learning photographers and not an art galery where people go to be stunned by wordless images. I think we should look at this forum as a place we do not post images to impress but rather get some critique finding ways of improving our skill as amature photographers. As amatuers I do not think we are at the level where we can post images without words and get whe WOW'S and OO - AA's.

    All of us are trying to learn something and the way to do it is by using words.

    Edit: I was writing this as Donald must have been posting -
    Last edited by AB26; 11th February 2013 at 07:29 AM.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Thank you both for your quick response. It has clarified the situation for me as well as confirming what I had assumed in the first place. Of course, one can learn from what others have to say about their own photographs without the need for a critique or judgement. I would assume a photographer posting an image and providing a descriptor as to how, when and where it was taken and the story behind the scenes would be a valuable learning experience. This seems to be a common practise in some books I have read and have been valuable in my own learning.
    I too find the monkey sounds (ooo, arrr) as a comment quite invalid, even from those who might struggle for the words they seek. They serve little purpose other than often suggesting the commentee has no taste at all or has found something they have imitated in the past. Since content is the prime objective for most photographs on a forum such as this (and I can stand corrected if that falters from the truth), a comment regarding such can assist the viewer and also the photographer when presented by either party. I remember my Old Man in years gone by taking me to the galleries and asking me to describe what I saw and to tell me what story I could ascertain. That exercise prooved to be invaluable in the development of the love of art.
    I hope I can apply the same strategy to photographs.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Tom,
    it isn't what you say, but how you say it. I, for one -- and I know there are others -- do appreciate your writing style. But not everyone gets satire and irony. Some people take offense because they interpret your words literally, and fail to realise the humour in your posts -- which is often self-deprecating, but I think only aussies get that -- and that is their loss.

    Feel free to take a dig at me anytime and I'll respond in kind, but I don't think you should expect everyone on this international forum to appreciate where you are coming from.

  6. #6
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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by FootLoose View Post
    Tom,
    it isn't what you say, but how you say it. I, for one -- and I know there are others -- do appreciate your writing style. But not everyone gets satire and irony. Some people take offense because they interpret your words literally, and fail to realise the humour in your posts -- which is often self-deprecating, but I think only aussies get that -- and that is their loss.

    Feel free to take a dig at me anytime and I'll respond in kind, but I don't think you should expect everyone on this international forum to appreciate where you are coming from.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Greg. I did notice the approbation came from a fellow Aussie, though. What is our country coming to?

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    I personally find that an image without context is a bit hard to analyse, so I try to put a little information on location and what my thoughts were as to why, where or how the image came to be so as to give the viewer some insight that cannot be represented in the image that is shown on screen. I try to not go overboard, as I don't want to bore the reader.

    When making comments on other's works I have sometimes been accused of being too clinical in my responses. That too is a product of my background; I tend to stick to the technical, rather than emotional impact of the work. I realize that quite a number of the contributers and readers of this site come from a different cultural or language background and may not be attuned to my sense of humour or cultural nuances, so I try to not confuse the issue by chosing words or expressions that could be misinterpreted.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Dear Tom,

    I personally follow this forum because its is a forum about photography and not a forum about photos. Almost all followers are amateurs, and not pros, so atmosphere, at least the one I feel, is that of a nice conversation with friends where I can share experience and knowledge.

    The language is, or it can be, one problem with international forum. Sometime you find forums where English mater-language people uses a English-spoken style, of which, if comprehensible, humor and subtleties can be difficult to be appreciated from people with different language background. The CiC forum is free from this.

    It is true that sometimes the answer can be a little too technical, but if you ask for explanations you will get.

    Clearly this does not mean you cannot post pictures and the story of the picture, and it would be nice to have some of them posted. But this is, in my view, only a part of this forum and not the main core.

    Cheers
    Andrea
    Last edited by kris; 11th February 2013 at 01:37 PM.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    I tend to respond gently and positively, until I read some responses from the owner of the thread, to try and ascertain what level of critique and joking comments they are up for. My humour tends strongly to self deprecation,irony, sarcasm and word play so for some it may be a bit weird and off putting so I tend to rein it in unless I know it will be taken well.

    I rarely post images, and when I do it is because I want comments and critique. I am not aiming for the Ooh, aah responses. If I get them my ego is very welcoming however . The best stuff is when the respondent sees where the image fails and corrects me. Mainly I post if something is bugging me and I want feedback or help.

    I am an infrequent poster mainly because my critique skills are poor, but I am working on it. Often, someone will post the intent of my comment before I make it. Rather than join a chorus I will just read and move on. If I really like an image I will rarely post because "very nice" or "I like this" seems a little shallow to me. And if it is hideous, best not to alienate someone.

    I tend to think of this forum as an ideas sort of place rather than an image gallery.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Tom; please forgive me if I have misunderstood your point. If you mean the the original poster should write more information to accompany his photograph, then I agree.

    I would like to know his intent, at the very least. I would also entertain his questions if he has some specific questions regarding any aspect of his photography.

    Giving us at least the bare minimum of opening comments is a good way of soliciting the best kind of critique.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    I'd say, to give useful comments, it is helpful to know what the poster wanted to do with the image and where he is having doubts
    (e.g. what some consider high-key, others might consider over-exposed).

    Irony and satire in an international forum are always going to be difficult, as is idiomatic language: there are a lot of non-native speakers
    active here, so any figurative use of English can easily be misunderstood.

  12. #12
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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    All seems reasonable. I'm learning already.
    One thing that puzzles me.
    If the members are amateurs is it possible to identify those who have expertise in particular areas so a question could be directed to them in particular. It seems when a critique is asked for everyone jumps in and provides their penny worth without any visible authority on the value or accuracy of the comment. Could this not lead to misinformation or bad habits being passed on or reinforced? I for one am of the ilk that a piece of information or suggestion is only worth it's salt after verification. I have read with interest many comments here and often come across such terms as 'should' 'need to' and 'must', accompanied by the ubiquitous 'it would be better if'. These terms are quite definitive but seem to relate to subject matter of a qualitative nature.
    To be my usual blunt Aussie self; how the ... do I know you guys know what you're talking about? It does seem like anyone can hang out the banner these days and like my pain in the backside neighbor, become an expert on all things relating.
    Please don't take offense. I'm just talking out loud. I'm on my way to fame and fortune like all of us and just want to make sure I've picked the right forum to get me there. And since I am fast approaching my Best Before date I want to make sure I get it right first time.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    As a female Aussie myself, I have this special kind of humor, but this stops, when words are used " tits " etc. which are just crude.....

    I find it helpful when the poster of a photo let is know with which camera the photo was taken, F stop, location, etc.

    But I for myself have no need to read anything else which are not related to the posted photo......

    Griddi....
    Last edited by just me; 12th February 2013 at 12:22 AM.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Tom,

    Just hang around for a while and you will soon see that unlike other forums, the expertise naturally rises to the top. It doesn't need qualifications (but some are), you don't need to be a Pro, (but some are), some of the best advice also comes from experienced amateurs, and sometimes newcomers surprise us all, however the best experience is undoubtedly out there and you should benefit, as we all do. Regardless of background or experience. Use it as a Smorgasbord!

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    All seems reasonable. I'm learning already.
    One thing that puzzles me.
    If the members are amateurs is it possible to identify those who have expertise in particular areas so a question could be directed to them in particular. It seems when a critique is asked for everyone jumps in and provides their penny worth without any visible authority on the value or accuracy of the comment. Could this not lead to misinformation or bad habits being passed on or reinforced? I for one am of the ilk that a piece of information or suggestion is only worth it's salt after verification. I have read with interest many comments here and often come across such terms as 'should' 'need to' and 'must', accompanied by the ubiquitous 'it would be better if'. These terms are quite definitive but seem to relate to subject matter of a qualitative nature.
    To be my usual blunt Aussie self; how the ... do I know you guys know what you're talking about? It does seem like anyone can hang out the banner these days and like my pain in the backside neighbor, become an expert on all things relating.
    Please don't take offense. I'm just talking out loud. I'm on my way to fame and fortune like all of us and just want to make sure I've picked the right forum to get me there. And since I am fast approaching my Best Before date I want to make sure I get it right first time.
    Usually if an uninformed or erroneous observation or statement is made someone else will correct it or dispute it with another post. In all phases of life now we have to filter information vigorously to sort out the truth or what is relevant to our objectives. I have to do it every day as I search through the junk mail and bills looking for a love letter. Valentines day is approaching but I am not holding my breath (best before date?).

    I think the only verification you have available on any comment or suggestion is your own judgment - just take it, leave it, ask for clarification or do some research.

    While thinking of research I am supprised at the number of questions that are asked on the forum that are so easily and comprehensively answered by doing a search on the internet.

  16. #16

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    All seems reasonable. I'm learning already.
    One thing that puzzles me.
    If the members are amateurs is it possible to identify those who have expertise in particular areas so a question could be directed to them in particular. It seems when a critique is asked for everyone jumps in and provides their penny worth without any visible authority on the value or accuracy of the comment. Could this not lead to misinformation or bad habits being passed on or reinforced? I for one am of the ilk that a piece of information or suggestion is only worth it's salt after verification. I have read with interest many comments here and often come across such terms as 'should' 'need to' and 'must', accompanied by the ubiquitous 'it would be better if'. These terms are quite definitive but seem to relate to subject matter of a qualitative nature.
    To be my usual blunt Aussie self; how the ... do I know you guys know what you're talking about? It does seem like anyone can hang out the banner these days and like my pain in the backside neighbor, become an expert on all things relating.
    Please don't take offense. I'm just talking out loud. I'm on my way to fame and fortune like all of us and just want to make sure I've picked the right forum to get me there. And since I am fast approaching my Best Before date I want to make sure I get it right first time.
    tomdinning, here is a bit of my Aussie humor for you........I am just glad that I am NOT YOUR neighbor, because you would for sure be " mine pain in the backside neighbor " as you wrote about your neighbor.......

    Just my Aussie humor......

    Griddi.......
    Last edited by just me; 12th February 2013 at 12:22 AM.

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by just me View Post
    tomdinning, here is a bit of my Assi humor for you........I am just glad that I am NOT YOUR neighbor, because you would for sure be " mine pain in the backside neighbor " as you wrote about your neighbor.......

    Just my Aussi humor......

    Griddi.......
    I promise I won't move in next door, Griddy. Now that you've laid a bit of manure on me I feel like we are talking the same language and we are old mates.
    But you may be missing out on something. I live in a small street with only 6 homes. I'm the only retiree so I have taken it on myself to assist my neighbours however I can. I mow their lawns, take in the bins, keep the rubbish out of the street, throw rocks at small, noisy children, turn the hose on dogs who choose to defacate on our lawns, keep an eye out when people are away and help the kids with their homework. As a reward for this we have the most peaceful, friendly and safe neighbourhood in all of Darwin. If a house becomes available I'll let you know. Mate!

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Tom, I think just by hanging around here you can learn a lot. Also check out the tutorial sections - they are quite interesting and worth taking the time to go through.

    One thing I'd like to say - I personally really enjoy your photos and would like you to continue posting them here, but... I do hope you will follow the spirit of the forum code of conduct which Donald linked to earlier. If you'll notice respect is very important. "Speak" all you want, just keep it respectful and we'll all be happy.

    One thing I immediately loved about CiC is the friendly comradery and helpfulness exhibited by the members. There are lots of places on the internet where abrasiveness is the norm.

  19. #19

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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    I promise I won't move in next door, Griddy. Now that you've laid a bit of manure on me I feel like we are talking the same language and we are old mates.
    But you may be missing out on something. I live in a small street with only 6 homes. I'm the only retiree so I have taken it on myself to assist my neighbours however I can. I mow their lawns, take in the bins, keep the rubbish out of the street, throw rocks at small, noisy children, turn the hose on dogs who choose to defacate on our lawns, keep an eye out when people are away and help the kids with their homework. As a reward for this we have the most peaceful, friendly and safe neighbourhood in all of Darwin. If a house becomes available I'll let you know. Mate!
    Naah tomdinning, I would not like to live near you, perhaps I would even sue you, because as you wrote, that you throw rocks at small, noisy children, also I would not like that you help the children with their homework, who knows which words you will teaching them.......

    Griddi.......

  20. #20
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    Re: To speak or not to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    I promise I won't move in next door, Griddy. Now that you've laid a bit of manure on me I feel like we are talking the same language and we are old mates.
    But you may be missing out on something. I live in a small street with only 6 homes. I'm the only retiree so I have taken it on myself to assist my neighbours however I can. I mow their lawns, take in the bins, keep the rubbish out of the street, throw rocks at small, noisy children, turn the hose on dogs who choose to defacate on our lawns, keep an eye out when people are away and help the kids with their homework. As a reward for this we have the most peaceful, friendly and safe neighbourhood in all of Darwin. If a house becomes available I'll let you know. Mate!
    You sound like the ideal neighbour but your description of Darwin deters me.

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