A “good” and “bad” picture – 150 MC

What makes a good, or bad, photograph? That was the task we were given for this week. And to be honest, it was a very hard task. Because looking at any photo, regarding any content, becomes a very subjective thing. As to one person a picture could look brilliant, but to another it could be worthless. And that is what makes photography so interesting, as a picture could hold different messages for so many people.

So rather than waffling on about the idea, lets get on to the images I chose…

Good Image

110808_dogs-03_p465  (Dog Trainer, Old Delhi, India, 1979; Exposure by Mary Ellen Mark – Pages 50-51)

So you might be thinking, why on earth would I choose this picture as my good one? And the reason is simply, when I saw it, I couldn’t help but smile at the picture because it managed to raise my spirits, plus make me laugh so easily. Because when you have the serious face on the elderly man crouching down to his dogs, to be able to compare the dog’s faces to his is priceless, especially the dog on the left. It has such a comedic factor surrounding it that left me with a smile no matter what.

But what I also liked is how it shows a different lifestyle to what we have. As in the UK, it would be considered very weird and bad to be giving your cigarettes to smoke; in some cases some people could call the RSPCA! Yet in India, the dogs seem used to it which suggests that this must of been going on for while. In Exposure, Mary was capturing the more abnormal events that seemed to happen, but perhaps they were abnormal to her. Which could be why she wanted to show us these pictures, as I certainly found them to be a different lifestyle that I have experienced.
And I admire this picture because it actually makes me stop and think, because I wonder if the man knows what effects it could be having on the dogs, or was this just part of the show? There are so many questions going through my head, that I actually want to be there to see this first hand. And for a picture to make me do that, I really do value it.

Bad Image

the-seine-21-september-1983-paris (The Seine, Paris, 1983; V. Skrebneski Black, White and Colour 1949-1989 – Page 50)

I’m not a big fan of this picture due to the fact that it’s quite unfocused and looks like any general city. Now as a picture from a series, this picture works very well with Skrebneski’s work that is based on France. But on its own, seeing the blur from the focus gets to me.
This may be from the fact that as we have digital camera’s that can focus in a matter of seconds, I’m not as used with the idea that at that particular time, I would of have had to manually focus on the city. So I can sympathize from that point, yet it will continue to bug me because i wont be able to have a clear crisp image.

But what also annoys me is how the lights seem to be too full on in the picture; with it being in black and white, the lights are amplified to a fuller extent. now with it being night time photography, the exposure has to be on for a longer time in order to make sure everything is captured.  So this means that the lights are more in our face. And this glare, I feel, takes away from the scenary that Skrebneski is trying to show us because with there being various glare points, I can’t concentrate without my eyes drifting away. And if i want to focus on a picture, I want by attention to be fully place on certain points, unless the point of the photo is to distracted, yet I don’t feel like this was the aim.


So if we were to look at the two pictures, it would almost be impossible due to how contrast they are. One is leaning more towards portrait, whilst the other is more focused on landscape. However, I can see two things from the pictures. Firstly, they are both quite simple, as there is no special tricks at all, but rather it is just the photographer clicking the button to take the picture.
But leading on from this, I can leave from the “good” picture with a story, as I can understand to some extent as to what the picture is telling me, and leaves me with questions that are unanswered. But on the other hand, the “bad” picture in all honestly is quite bland. There’s hardly anything I can draw from the picture that has some importance about it, and if there was no title we wouldn’t have a clue about where it was as well.
But like I said at the beginning, opinions are quite subjective to what we like or dislike in general, with there being no “right” opinion at all. At the end of the day, this is my opinion on these pictures really and how I see them.


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