Am I a B&W photographer?

I have been lately heavily into B&W photography. Nowadays, every time I shoot a color shot I have a need to convert it to a B&W capture. And I have been shooting in-camera B&Ws a lot lately. It also seems so that others like my B&W work more than my color shots. Recently five of my latest B&W shots have been in Explore in Flickr. My shots have been in Explore now and then but this kind of explore rush hour is not normal for my photos. Not that I am that much into Explore but of course it is nice that people are interested in my photos.

This shots has got 26 500 views in Flickr in less than a day. All I can say is Thank You.

A fly
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12 comments

  1. Because that image became popular will you now do more like it? Best not to characterize yourself as a “black and white photographer” based on social popularity.

    1. Exactly, Richard. That’s why I wrote this post. How do people feel in situations like this? Do they characterize themselves?

      I was almost trashing that photo above. Then I decided that it is mediocre one that could be put in Flickr. And I am glad I did.

      I am not still considering myself as a B&W photographer. I am considering myself as a snap shooter who may get lucky sometimes.

      1. Jonne: I don’t think we’re on the same page here. Maybe language difference?

        If you thought it was a mediocre image before it became popular, do you still think it’s a mediocre image after it became popular?

        If your opinion changed, are you not letting social popularity influence how you feel about your work?

  2. Interesting point, rwanderman. I have experienced exactly what you have just described. A photo that’s been sitting on my hard drive for ages and I never thought much of it became quite a big success on my blog when I finally and very hesiatnatly decided to publish it, with people commenting and what not. After this little blog “success” I started to preceive this photograph in a different light and generally much better. I can say I even started to like that picture which I couldn’t have said about it before. 🙂

    1. Well said, and you make my point. The question is, what does that experience do to your ability to see your work pre-popularity?

      My concern has been that social media can have a negative impact on our ability to be creative, to think outside the box, and to take risks with our work. I’ve seen this happen countless times on Flickr and elsewhere and it’s happened to me. I didn’t know it until I took stock of how I was looking at my own work.

      Not to phish for views (social popularity) but you might want to have a look at an essay I wrote about this many years ago (2007) when I first noticed it. I don’t think I knew Jonne back then but might have met him online shortly thereafter (both of us met in the Canon DSLR group and isn’t it interesting how neither of use use that gear anymore).

      http://rwanderman.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/flickr-explore/

      1. Yes, we both were in Canon DSLR group and I started a group called Canon Prime Lens Club in July 2005 and you joined it soon after that. Yeah, we got some history in Flickr!

  3. I have been mainly amazed how much popularity that shot has got. I am not sure why people think it is a good shot because not so many people (actually very few) give feedback (or even simple comments) about your photos in Flickr. For me it still is a snap shot.

  4. It seems you’ve been more into photography again. Nice. I also like your new template! Very clean and pleasing to the eye.

    It’s easy to go with the public opinion on “rating” your images internally. I think a good shot is a good shot, and it has nothing to do with social media popularity or pretty much anything anyone else says about them. You photograph with your vision, and rate the results with your personal criteria. There’s the old saying that opinions are like *****, everyone has one 🙂 I tend to question nowadays if a photo is something I truly like and if it’s something I pushed myself to get the best possible shot of the scene I imagined.

    Constructive criticism is another matter, but as always, they are too based on personal opinions. As a scientist you know the quest for objectivity in research work, but it’s more about realizing and evaluating the factors that limit objectivity than being able to achieve it. I think in photography nowadays we go through so many photos and absorb so many influences, that it’s really hard to stay true to who you really are and what you want to be as a photographer. You can and should take criticism as a part of your internal development process, but no one can say what you are doing right or wrong. We are creating and developing the image of good photographic practices as we learn and take more images, and sometimes it is something that also attracts a lot of attention.

    As a fun fact, I’ve noticed that if I upload images I like and rate as good to 500px during Sunday evening between 7 and 9pm, they are pretty much guaranteed to get “Popular” status within two hours. If the uploading is done during let’s say Tuesday morning, the shot probably gets buried under thousands of other images uploaded after my shot. It’s the same thing basically we apply to social media marketing, and once you get past the “barrier of initial popularity”, the network does rest of the work. Enjoy the popularity, but don’t let it affect your vision.

    And finally, about the shot. I really enjoy the composition and the image as a whole. It’s pleasing to the eye. I know I would have done it differently starting from composition, aperture and b&w composition, but then again it surely wouldn’t have been any better, and most likely not as pleasing even to me personally. It looks like you, and tells about your values and vision as a photographer. I think any image you spent time on (during shooting and post-processing) intentionally can’t be mediocre. You decided to share it with the world, so you had some thought someone would enjoy it. At least I did.

    Nice to have you back blogging and shooting more. I really enjoy your thoughts and images. Take care 🙂

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