Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dumb Flickr Users Get Punk'd

Mario's Bike
Mario's Bike, originally uploaded by André Rabelo.
This classic Cartier-Bresson photo was submitted to flickr's deleteme pool without any indication that the photo was by a world famous photographer. The deleteme pool is intended to be (and notorious for) no-holds-barred critique. Unfortunately, that too often means idiotic comments by entirely uninformed people.

The comments made me scream with laughter, and made me feel a whole lot better about some of the insistently out-of-it comments that I've gotten. Some highlights:
  • What's his subject, the in-focus stair case or the blurry biker?
  • When everything is blurred you cannot convey the motion of the bicyclist. On the other hand, if the bicyclist is not the subject-- what was? -voted as "deleteme"
  • hard to tell at this size but is everything meant to be moving in this shot, all seems blurred -voted as "deleteme2"
  • Why is the staircase so "soft"? Camera shake? Like the angle though. -voted as "deleteme3"
  • so small, so blurry, to better show a sense of movement SOMETHING has to be in sharp focus -voted as "deleteme4"
  • Nicely composed, but blurry -voted as "deleteme5"
  • This looks contrived, which is not a bad thing. If this is a planned shot, it just didn't come out right. If you can round up Mario, I would do it again. This time put the camera on a tripod and use the smallest aperture possible to get the best DoF. What I would hope for is that the railings are sharp and that mario on the bike shows a blur. Must have the foreground sharp, though. Without that, the image will never fly. -voted as "deleteme6"
  • yeah and? grey, blurry, small, odd crop -voted as "deleteme7
  • I very much like the crop and all the wierd angles in this, the patchwork of textures in the street is great, I like the grey grainey look it has but I'd like to see it much bigger
  • Fantastic composition, but the tones and the graininess keep the photo from being great. -voted as "deleteme8"
Some people understood the reference. Others defended the all-American right to say anything stupid at any time.
  • our master is "shaking in the grave". so shame on you 'deleteme ppl'..
  • please don't post to this pool if you can't deal with criticism. read the front page of this pool. duh
  • oh, hang on now I get it, it's not a problem with the shot, it's our opinions which are lacking, this photo is of such an intrinsically high quality that there could be no other explanation. Dalbegaria - you seem very attached to this photo or poster, but when it is submitted to a public group for criticism, then, well you get what you pay for. None of us claims to be an expert but our opinions are valid here, feel free to post a comment detailing why you like this shot...
  • Nice form, AR. You have fished out all the reasons I dont come around hyeres any more. How could I not save this!?! I claim masterpiece! -voted as "saveme4"
  • this is the day deleteme has entered the history of photography as the worst (not in terms of being mean, but in terms of being mis-informed, mis-educated, un-cultured, and all other things that can be summarized by the word STUPID) critics this art form has ever seen. you guys have just proved that all your votes aren't worth the least of all considerations. thinking that deleteme criticism will improve the way we photograph is BULLSHIT. it'll just turn us into advertising/stock photographer wannabes, gadget show-offs that only care for the technicalities. you guys are full of yourselves (in other words, full of shit!).
  • thanks for all this fun, andré! i'd thought about doing something like this before, but didn't want to go through the hassle. it was definetely worth it! made our monday a lot more fun!
And some interesting food for thought to finish us off:
  • André Rabelo, I want to point out that you're not the first "clever" person to add one of the master's photos here. In fact, Chalkstar used to add HCB photos as well. Just to play devil's advocate though, what was a masterpiece 20 years ago might be considered shite today. Quality and art is (and is rightfully so) judged through the lens of time. If "Citizen Kane" came to the theatres today it wouldnt be nearly as special a film as it is - because it would have no new ground to break -- nothing new to offer. Likewise, if you were to duplicate this shot exactly today, it would likely never get published or considered to be a good (much less great) shot. Thats just the way it is - its been done, redone and improved since the time HCB did it. That said, I think this group often excludes great shots merely because of some minor nitpick. A perfect photo doesnt need to be technically perfect. It doesn't *need* to be - but it should help.
  • if that guy had a seagull flying into his head, and there were neon blurry lights all over the place, with no sense of style or composition at all - it would be 10 straight saves (check the safe ...) this really shows how skill at composition is easily overlooked and irrelevant "technical" factors can over ride appreciation of true art

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