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01/10/2012 05:57:40 AM · #1
First off, let me introduce myself. Although my profile page says I registered in 2006, the reality is that I started visiting the site in earnest only a few months ago. I've entered seven challenges since then and so far and my best two finishes are 5th and 8th. Although I'm delighted with that, I see the true value of DPC to be the wealth of knowledge to be learned from other photographers. High votes are the "icing on the cake" but not the real reason I'm here.

For the portrait challenge, I though I'd try something different and entered this photo:

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It scored 7.7 from commentors and 5.4 overall. I was fascinated to find that nearly a third of voters rated the image 4 or less. Only a single comment was left on how I could improve the composition. Is it the semi-nudity that voters find bothersome? (Ironically, the model wasn't nude at all; all of the ink is body paint, including painted nipples although I concede it's hard to tell at first glance.)

I don't feel discouraged in any way by the score because I love the photo (as did the model and the body artist), and I received some truly wonderful comments. But I am curious as to the huge discrepancy between commentors and non-commentors. I'm interested to hear your thoughts :)

Cheers,

Tim
01/10/2012 06:29:28 AM · #2
That's a good question.
Personaly, I gave you a 9 and very much enjoyed the image.
My guess is that the image suggests a story and could be a fascinating portrait of a character in a fictional world.
While voters expectations where probably more about a portrait of a person in the real world, portraying what the person really is (an aspiration which, some might argue, when it comes to photograhy and studio photography in particular, is potentially delusional, but anyway :).
In general terms, straight face shots with even illumination and no context background did much better than any other approach, with some exceptions.
Hovever, the challenge did generate pretty interesting images, in my opinion, and many noticed that:

//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=1109638&page=17

So, I might be wrong, but I don't think nudity is necessarily the main factor.

Keep up the good work!

01/10/2012 06:33:29 AM · #3
Originally posted by wikipedia.org:

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.


I did not vote in the challenge but my guess was it was a little outside the box for portrait challenge, on the edge of the ever famous DNMC acronym.

I hope this helps.

Message edited by author 2012-01-10 06:38:17.
01/10/2012 06:50:44 AM · #4
I gave this a 9 - I liked the light but can see how it might not meet expectations of 'portrait'. I've had many nudes do well in voting (including a ribbon in B&W and a 4th in a best of year FS).

Nudes, can and do do well. If you think an image is strong, don't let its nudity put you off entering - it may well score well.
01/10/2012 06:58:11 AM · #5
Place: 65 out of 93
Avg (all users): 5.3733
Avg (commenters): 7.6667
Avg (participants): 5.5660
Avg (non-participants): 5.2680


FWIW, I also think your pic was outside the box of a "traditional" portrait resulting in your score. However, I find it interesting that participants ave score was higher than non-participants ave score. Usually in the majority of challenges it's the other way around...

Your portrait has a lot of mystery to it; worth a second/longer look.

JMHO.
01/10/2012 07:13:53 AM · #6
i gave you a 9 and commented on how much i liked it, its the ultra consecrative lot on here i think they vote them down i have no idea why, well i have a few ideas

genuine dislike of semi nudes (come on,you see a lot more graphic stuff on art nude sites)
they feel it cheapens photography should be all landscapes and absracts
theyre jealous they're not doing them
maybe the female portion voting them down, anyone tried a toned male nude on here? but agian that would get voted down
ppl dont judge on the skill or idea in the photo they judge on their feeling or how they believe they should vote after a bit of time on here

ive got a nude in a challenge and its a 4.9 only 1 comment ouch

im going to perceiver with them hehe

theres no nationale to the dpc voters or any point understanding i very very rarely give 1s etc 5 is a composed in focus shot but that doesnt wow me

i got 2x2 2x3 for this shot which i love dont know what they found they disliked etc as they never comment to the fact, seems only high scores comment
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Message edited by author 2012-01-10 07:18:35.
01/10/2012 07:55:21 AM · #7
There are indeed quite a few here who are offended by nudity (including their own, I imagine).

But that wasn't your problem. Your low votes came from folks even more dismal and tight-laced than the prudes: I refer to the many who relentlessly take the view that only their own idea of what a challenge topic means is acceptable. Anything else gets voted down. And anything seriously unexpected like your picture frightens the crap out of them so they punish it even more severely.

Please don't try to appease these people, because then we'd be deprived of bloody terrific stuff like your Portrait II picture, which I gave a 9 and a fluffy thumb award. Cheers!
01/10/2012 07:58:56 AM · #8
that might be my new challenge for the year when ever i can im going to stick a darkly lit nude into any challenge i can or freestudy hehe
01/10/2012 08:09:05 AM · #9
I commented but I guess the composition didn't work that well for me. I wasn't sure what it was specifically that I didn't like or what tips I could have offered you to improve on it so I just didn't say anything about that aspect.

I think it's a very nice image, I'm certainly not offended by nudity but I have noticed that there are a lot of people that are. Personal opinions seem to swing to full extremes on this site, which is something I like. Can't please everyone I guess. Even quirky humorous pictures are taken too seriously at times but that's what I like about this place, it's a good place to evolve, which seems to be why you're participating in this site. Just don't become something you're not in order to please everyone, that'd be my suggestion.
01/10/2012 08:37:50 AM · #10
Originally posted by ubique:

There are indeed quite a few here who are offended by nudity (including their own, I imagine).

But that wasn't your problem. Your low votes came from folks even more dismal and tight-laced than the prudes: I refer to the many who relentlessly take the view that only their own idea of what a challenge topic means is acceptable. Anything else gets voted down. And anything seriously unexpected like your picture frightens the crap out of them so they punish it even more severely.

Please don't try to appease these people, because then we'd be deprived of bloody terrific stuff like your Portrait II picture, which I gave a 9 and a fluffy thumb award. Cheers!


I scored this highly, perhaps with a boyish "no way" look on my face. Somehow, perhaps at times, people might think it a bit unfair to have the ability to have such a provocative image in a challenge where most wouldn't consider this type of nude as pure portraiture. But the quote above states the point I have made forever- I am not pissed that I get a low vote, I am pissed if I am perceived not to have met the challenge.
01/10/2012 09:17:24 AM · #11
Originally posted by blindjustice:

.... But the quote above states the point I have made forever- I am not pissed that I get a low vote, I am pissed if I am perceived not to have met the challenge.


Yep. And that's the problem with DNMC it's the last refuge of the lazy and incurious in the same way patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel: "I couldn't be bothered trying to comprehend this, so because it's incomprehensible to me it must be DNMC. Voted down, sorry."

There are no pictures that Do Not Meet the Challenge, but there are always plenty of voters that don't, and that won't even try.
01/10/2012 09:17:56 AM · #12
Reading through this thread, I don't think you are getting the answers you are really looking for. Everyone who commented voted your photo high. I'll be the first to admit, that I gave you a 4. I didn't comment because I didn't have time.

Why I gave you a 4 (and this may upset you), I didn't think it quite met the challenge. You can easily look at my portfolio and see that I'm not offended by nudity. In fact I like the cojones (or ovaries) it takes to enter a nude on a site that typically votes incredibly low, frowns, and even posts hate threads when it comes to nudes. In this case I saw the challenge description trying to be very specific. While I thought it was a great photo, I thought it was a great photo in the wrong challenge. For a portrait what were you trying to highlight? I looked at this photo 10 times before I even noticed the black eye make up. Was that the secret? If so you should have zoomed in closer to highlight it. Was it her nipple? Because the brightest spot in the photo (a harsh light) takes you right to her nipple. In a portrait challenge why am I focusing on her nipple? Was the focus on the location? After going to the nipple, the light coming from the window, wall, or whatever that is takes your eyes there. I don't know what I'm looking at this point. Even the wall and negative space behind her takes your eyes away from her. So I'm still trying to search for the portrait aspect...and in this case I'm looking for the "capturing the face of a person" or any other definition of a portrait I could consider. So I start looking around and I see alot of negative space below her, to the left of her, and above her. I'm not sure what all the negative space is adding in this case.

In a sense the entire photograph is taking me away from her and I lost what aspect of portrait you were going for.

I wasn't happy with the way this challenge was scored. In my opinion some really great shots got shot down and were below shots they were better than. In looking through the comments on the photos, I noticed a lot people heavily critiqued the shots and gave them high scores or were calling the photographer out by name(during voting), which leads me to believe that they are voting friends on a different level (not necessarily on purpose). I don't think that is what happened with your photo. I just don't think anyone could connect it with a portrait.

I, too, am a believer that too much of DPC is about landscapes, pets, kids, and self portraits. They don't really allow for a lot of room for nudity, people, glamour, or any other subjects that don't appeal to the "soccer mom" type of viewer (which is why I think people here are really afraid of the expert editing challenges). There aren't too many out of the box photos that win and the ones that do are normally "I found this funny" not that because it's a great photo. At the same time, I think too many people think that challenges don't mean anything or have a wrong idea of what "out of the box" really is. A picture of a barn in a fashion challenge isn't out of the box nor should it win because it is a great photo. But if the challenge was called "short people" and you took a picture of Shaq and Dikembe Mutumbo walking through a crowd of 6ft men (making them look short)...then that is out of the box. And i think people get those concepts confused.

Okay sorry for my rant...but once i started typing i couldn't stop. In fact I have to force myself to stop now.
01/10/2012 09:48:45 AM · #13
Ignore the rants by folks that can't take criticism. You know the ones. If a voter thinks an image is DNMC, or simply does not think it is good, it's the voter's stupidity, not a problem with the image.
Let's get to the crux of the matter. If we hypothesize that there are a subset of voters who will vote low on nudity, but otherwise the image would score highly, then from a statistical standpoint we should see two peaks in the distribution of votes, or at least evidence that the distribution is not a Gaussian (normally distributed) one. There is no evidence of this. The distribution is nearly Gaussian, and relatively broad. It says to me "some voters simply did not appreciate the image, and some did. Opinions varied widely. There was no well-defined group that voted it down.

Message edited by author 2012-01-10 09:49:32.
01/10/2012 09:52:24 AM · #14
Originally posted by fullshred:

I don't feel discouraged in any way by the score

That's great! I'm not yet at that stage. Looking forward to seeing your other work.
01/10/2012 09:56:29 AM · #15
I gave the image a "7". It's a compelling nude in exotic light. Keep up the good work!
01/10/2012 10:08:10 AM · #16
Originally posted by albc28:

Reading through this thread, I don't think you are getting the answers you are really looking for. Everyone who commented voted your photo high. I'll be the first to admit, that I gave you a 4. I didn't comment because I didn't have time.

Why I gave you a 4 (and this may upset you), I didn't think it quite met the challenge. You can easily look at my portfolio and see that I'm not offended by nudity. In fact I like the cojones (or ovaries) it takes to enter a nude on a site that typically votes incredibly low, frowns, and even posts hate threads when it comes to nudes. In this case I saw the challenge description trying to be very specific. While I thought it was a great photo, I thought it was a great photo in the wrong challenge. For a portrait what were you trying to highlight? I looked at this photo 10 times before I even noticed the black eye make up. Was that the secret? If so you should have zoomed in closer to highlight it. Was it her nipple? Because the brightest spot in the photo (a harsh light) takes you right to her nipple. In a portrait challenge why am I focusing on her nipple? Was the focus on the location? After going to the nipple, the light coming from the window, wall, or whatever that is takes your eyes there. I don't know what I'm looking at this point. Even the wall and negative space behind her takes your eyes away from her. So I'm still trying to search for the portrait aspect...and in this case I'm looking for the "capturing the face of a person" or any other definition of a portrait I could consider. So I start looking around and I see alot of negative space below her, to the left of her, and above her. I'm not sure what all the negative space is adding in this case.

In a sense the entire photograph is taking me away from her and I lost what aspect of portrait you were going for.

I wasn't happy with the way this challenge was scored. In my opinion some really great shots got shot down and were below shots they were better than. In looking through the comments on the photos, I noticed a lot people heavily critiqued the shots and gave them high scores or were calling the photographer out by name(during voting), which leads me to believe that they are voting friends on a different level (not necessarily on purpose). I don't think that is what happened with your photo. I just don't think anyone could connect it with a portrait.

I, too, am a believer that too much of DPC is about landscapes, pets, kids, and self portraits. They don't really allow for a lot of room for nudity, people, glamour, or any other subjects that don't appeal to the "soccer mom" type of viewer (which is why I think people here are really afraid of the expert editing challenges). There aren't too many out of the box photos that win and the ones that do are normally "I found this funny" not that because it's a great photo. At the same time, I think too many people think that challenges don't mean anything or have a wrong idea of what "out of the box" really is. A picture of a barn in a fashion challenge isn't out of the box nor should it win because it is a great photo. But if the challenge was called "short people" and you took a picture of Shaq and Dikembe Mutumbo walking through a crowd of 6ft men (making them look short)...then that is out of the box. And i think people get those concepts confused.

Okay sorry for my rant...but once i started typing i couldn't stop. In fact I have to force myself to stop now.


i have to agree with the whole nipples thing....really nice nipples though, anyhow there are a lot of people on here that think the whole world needs to conform to what they think is right and not what could be right. i do have to agree though i didn't even look at her face.
01/10/2012 11:08:29 AM · #17
Some of my favorites that didn't do near as well as I would have liked...
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I'm only chiming in to say that I don't think it had anything to do with nudity in itself.
It's just part of that mysterious "what does well on this site."

Message edited by author 2012-01-10 11:09:03.
01/10/2012 11:39:15 AM · #18
Let's just start with the fact that personal taste is totally subjective, and that there is no pleasing everyone. The farther from "center" you go, the smaller your audience. People's tastes, open-/closed-mindedness, intellectual laziness, etc. is irrelevant, only in the sense that you can't do anything about anyone else's traits. You have an excellent eye and very esoteric, artful tastes. This will result in a very deep resonance with some people, but probably not with most people. Anytime we venture out of the box we risk unfavorable scrutiny. But it is always our risk to take - a DNMC remark says more about the voter than about the image.

I'm not of the mind that those who don't see things my way are intellectually lazy dolts, just simply people whose tastes, for whatever reason, don't align with my own. They have the right to like or not like whatever they want - as do I.
01/10/2012 01:41:01 PM · #19
Originally posted by tanguera:


I'm not of the mind that those who don't see things my way are intellectually lazy dolts, just simply people whose tastes, for whatever reason, don't align with my own. They have the right to like or not like whatever they want - as do I.


I'm not saying that people who don't see things my way are intellectually lazy; I'm saying that people who see things only their own way are intellectually lazy. There's a critical difference.

This DNMC arrogance really annoys me, especially when a commenter declares they have marked someone's photo down because they consider it DNMC. And even more so if they later defend their position by claiming that they have to follow their own vision of what a Portrait is, or what a Still Life is, or whatever. That's not a real argument at all: it's just sophistry. If you are looking at someone else's vision of a Still Life or whatever the challenge theme is, then you are supposed to be considering and appreciating their take on the subject, not your own.

Would you visit an art gallery and declare of half the exhibits, "No, that's no good at all because it's not how I think you are supposed to paint that subject"?


Maybe some people would, and so they'd get just what they deserve. Very little.
01/10/2012 02:00:44 PM · #20
It's the nipples, not the nudity. I do believe that nipples are a bit threatening, even to the semi-nude/cheesecake afficianados. They are stunning. The nipples. The way you have made them part of the whole mysterious composition.
01/10/2012 02:04:54 PM · #21
I don't think that's a truly accurate comparison, Paul. Galleries and museums may be challenging to get into, but their contents are not the results of "challenges". While the line of what IS and is NOT an entry which fits the challenge is a murky, creative zone, each challenge DOES have a theme which we are invited to interpret as we want. The further we stray from the "normal" interpretation of that theme (and closer to originality and "art"), the more we risk getting one of those DNMC comments. Free studies, on the other hand, are a better comparison to your analogy, as anyone can enter whatever they want, and then it's just a matter of personal taste as to whether a viewer is touched by the image, or not. To expect a voter to apply the same mindedness in voting for a FS as for a themed challenge is just not realistic. Idealistic, yes :-)

Although the DNMC phrase does not elicit the same passion from me as it does you, I do wish commenters using it would acknowledge that it's not that the image is not meeting the challenge, rather it's just not meeting their own interpretation of the challenge. Regardless, it also takes training and education to open the mind, and for many people, DPC is the first place they've ever been exposed to anything other to "pretty" pictures. I love reading newbie comments on "alternative" images and techniques, then same person's feedback several months later.
01/10/2012 02:44:54 PM · #22
In my reply #3 to your original post, I was stating why I thought your photograph might have scored low. However, I do not know why or if it was voted low. Who is to say a few of the sub-five votes were not from voters that use the 1-5 five scale. In that case, based on their voting system, you scored high; they may not have left a comment.

As I stated above, I did not vote in the challenge but IF I had, I would have given it a five, why? Viewing you photo continues to draw my eye to the body paint including the painted on nipples. Do I have a problem with nude entries? NO, and that would not have caused me to vote your image a five. In a different challenge, such as a free study, nude, ect. I would have voted at least one to two points higher because your image is good, entreating, and mysterious.

In closing, I do not have a problem with photographers expanding the definitions of a challenge. It is good to and sometimes necessary to go to the fringes of the description; that is art! However, sometimes we can go a bit too far and step too far outside the box and something like this happens.

I congratulate you on a nice photograph.

01/10/2012 03:24:03 PM · #23
I disagree with you here. As someone who has complained about receiving DNMC complaints before...after years on this site I now understand DNMC more.

You have a challenge and the idea is to show the voter a photo that meets that challenge. It's like an assignment. If you get an advertising job and the client wnats a photo of a telephone. And you take a great photo of a stapler. The client isn't going to sit there and just accept your take on what a telephone is. They are going to view it from what their take of what a telephone is. And that's how you need to approach the challenge for the viewers. The voters are your client. Again everyone assumes that the viewer is supposed to know that you went "out of the box", but those people have the wrong interpretation of "out of the box". "Out of the box" isn't supposed to be something that the viewer missed. If the viewer didn't get the interpretation then you didn't meet the challenge and it's not out of the box. You failed to show the viewer the topic. "Out of the Box" is supposed to make the viewer say "wow I didn't think of it that way before!" Therefore you showed them a new way of interpreting the challenge and they actually get it. If they don't get it, you didn't do a good job and you didn't meet the challenge.

You are just as bad as you say the voters are if you think they must automatically see and understand your interpretation. What if you really have no clue what the subject is and you just make something up?

Originally posted by ubique:

Originally posted by tanguera:


I'm not of the mind that those who don't see things my way are intellectually lazy dolts, just simply people whose tastes, for whatever reason, don't align with my own. They have the right to like or not like whatever they want - as do I.


I'm not saying that people who don't see things my way are intellectually lazy; I'm saying that people who see things only their own way are intellectually lazy. There's a critical difference.

This DNMC arrogance really annoys me, especially when a commenter declares they have marked someone's photo down because they consider it DNMC. And even more so if they later defend their position by claiming that they have to follow their own vision of what a Portrait is, or what a Still Life is, or whatever. That's not a real argument at all: it's just sophistry. If you are looking at someone else's vision of a Still Life or whatever the challenge theme is, then you are supposed to be considering and appreciating their take on the subject, not your own.

Would you visit an art gallery and declare of half the exhibits, "No, that's no good at all because it's not how I think you are supposed to paint that subject"?


Maybe some people would, and so they'd get just what they deserve. Very little.
01/10/2012 03:28:28 PM · #24
you should have just shot a picture of a wineglass.
01/10/2012 04:01:12 PM · #25
Originally posted by albc28:

I disagree with you here. As someone who has complained about receiving DNMC complaints before...after years on this site I now understand DNMC more.
(etc etc)
You are just as bad as you say the voters are if you think they must automatically see and understand your interpretation. What if you really have no clue what the subject is and you just make something up?


I don't complain about getting DNMC calls on my own stuff; I'd be amazed if I didn't, given what I usually submit. And I don't complain about my low scores - first because I reckon I get what I deserve, and second because I don't care at all about my scores anyway, they are entirely meaningless to me.

But it does annoy me when I see other people's stuff, actual good stuff, belted with DNMC calls from people who could not possibly know what was in the photographer's mind, and apparently don't care to even consider it.

All this tired old guff about staplers and telephones is not the point at all (unless perhaps the challenge is specifically to take an advertising picture of a telephone). The DPC challenge themes leave some room for interpretation. It says take a portrait or a still life, or use red as the main colour, or something similarly dull. Yet people still say, "A park bench isn't a still life - DNMC", or "A portrait must show the eyes - DNMC", or "That's not red, it's only crimson-tinted orange - DNMC".

My point is this ... if your own preconception of how the challenge should be met is driving your votes, then you are wasting your own time and that of the photographer you're judging.
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