Friday, February 18, 2011

Millions of Photos

There is just too much photography in the world now. Everybody and their great-grandmother has a camera now, and more and more have the equipment that just 5 years ago was considered professional. Alas, my proposal to restrict sales of digital SLR cameras only to individuals with at least 3 referrals from professional photographers fell on deaf ears...

Thankfully, to at least somehow orient oneself in this photographic barrage, I have a solid system of photo ratings, which I am, as always, happy to share. So, here it is.

1. Shit Photos

95% of photos out there. Some of these pictures are just total shit not worth a second look, others are of some interest to small groups of people because they have their friends or family in them, but are still shit to everyone else. Some photos were shot as shit right away; others were actually supposed to come out OK but turned out shit. Regardless, this is the absolute majority of photographs in the world - shit.

Porta moñera de Sarah key

2. Gallery Shit

These are the shit photos that somehow got recognition. Usually, they are taken by already established photographers, who may or may not have intended to display them, but the gallery or even museum curators like to go gaga over these guys, so they just take whatever they bring. A typical Gallery Shit photo is shot with film, sometimes even medium or large format, but I am seeing more and more Gallery Shit shot on digital hanging out there, confusing visitors into thinking that it is, in fact, photography. A lot of Gallery Shit is hanging just because it's old, and that seems to be merit enough for some curators. To see Gallery Shit, just visit any "conceptual" or pretentious photo gallery in any large city. Thankfully, Gallery Shit is a very small percentage of all photos.

3. Nice Photos.

Most of the rest of the pictures taken by the world out there. These are the photos that make people look for more than a second, and sometimes even go, "Nice!". A lot of nice photos are nice because they are technically well-executed, but they, of course, need to have a composition as well. Posters, calendars, magazine photos are all examples of nice photos. Even well-done wedding photos can be considered Nice rather than Shit if they are done well enough that you may want to look at them even if you don't know the people on them.

Misty Forest

4. Great Photos

These are photos that are nicer than Nice and comprise less than 1% of all pictures out there. In other words, these are examples of beautiful work in any genre - fashion, photojournalism, portraiture, landscape, even street. This is the stuff that wins awards, although not always. This is also the stuff I'd like to see in museums and galleries, although, again, it doesn't always happen (see Gallery Shit). You want to look at these photos and, if you have the money, even consider buying them.


5. Wow Photos

Even rarer than Great photos, these are literally one of a kind shots. Typically, they need to be accompanied by photographer's luck, such as a picture of a lightning crashing a tree, for example, but also, they can be a result of careful and meticulous planning and preparation, such as a close-up picture of rare snow leopard in Himalaya. Obviously, they make people go, "Wow!" or "How the hell did he do it?" These are the pictures that make others want to take up photography, although in reality, they should discourage people to do so, because almost none of them out there will ever take a Wow photo.