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05/16/2006 12:46:44 AM · #1
The Challenge:Photograph a portrait that says something about the subject within the framework of their own environment.

The Questions:
Is a flower a subject? Yes if the shot is taken properly.
Does the word their apply to flowers? Yes, notice their petals.
Does the word portrait apply to flowers? See below

Portraits of Flowers
Flower Portraits: The Cycle of Beauty (Joyce Tenneson)
Describing Georgia O’Keefe, best known for her portraits of flowers
Smithsonian Magazine on Martin Johnson Heade: portraits of flowers
British Journal of Photography discussing portraits of flowers
Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz describes Si-ChenYuan’s work as portraits of flowers

If you do not see an artist's representation as meeting a criteria that you feel is a standard, do some research. Portraits are an artistic portrayal not a technical exercise in meeting rigid standards.

EDIT: After several pages of some good discussion it has been made clear that "Environmental Portraits" are indeed defined almost exclusivly as those of people. A little bit of research on that part would have aided me. Crow has been eaten. I do stand by the point that DNMC comments should also offer an explanation, even if it is very short.

Message edited by author 2006-05-16 13:59:55.
05/16/2006 12:51:26 AM · #2
Feel better now?
05/16/2006 12:54:05 AM · #3
No, it wasnt intended for that. We grow and learn by seeing, doing and discussing. That is the intention. Narrow definitions of artwork often miss the mark. If it seemed a rant then I missed mine.
05/16/2006 01:00:57 AM · #4
I agree with you on the point about narrow definitions.

However, the artist takes a risk when choosing to go against the definitions of the masses. But, in the end, it is usually the "rule" breakers that are remembered.


05/16/2006 01:36:45 AM · #5
Maybe try this thread here?
05/16/2006 01:41:22 AM · #6
mine's not a flower, but it isn't a portrait of a person eiter, and it's getting quite a beating due to that :( what can I say?
05/16/2006 02:04:04 AM · #7
hmm... yeah, Environmental Portrait, first thing I think of is a portrait of environment, then the description says subject, not person, so I would assume that flowers would meet challenge, of course I'm an artist, not a measurebator.

I'm a painter to be exact, and most famous painters weren't famous until they died. Van Gogh is my favorite and he was just some poor bum really, until he died... and picasso, I still don't like his famous work, but people love that stuff now, they hated it and thought he was an idiot during his time... (he had awesome talent, but refused to paint within the norm) just goes to show ya how people as a mass are wishy washy, constantly change the trends and never know what they really want. (not to mention, some people are stuck in the right side of their brain and couldn't interpret the artistic meaning in a rainbow)
05/16/2006 03:48:15 AM · #8
Only in DPC could this happen :-) I mean, google "environmental portrait" and every single link on the first page (all I checked) points to some discussion about the photography of people in an environment that helps define them. "Environmental Portraiture" is a standard course in photography schools, and you'd flunk the course if you shot flowers.

People are taking a very simple, time-honored concept/genre and twisting it all up because of deficiencies or omissions in the capsule description of the challenge. Here, for example, is the overview of a lesson from one school on "Environmental Portraiture":

A good portrait reveals aspects of a person's character to the viewer. In an environmental portrait, the person portrayed is placed in a setting that shares information about the person's life and/or interests. The person may also be holding objects related to their professional trade or interests and hobbies. In this activity, students will learn about environmental portraiture by viewing a portrait by Dorothea Lange, and then creating a portrait of their own.

So much ado over nothing... I mean, if you want to shoot flowers or turtles or ladybugs or whatever, that's certainly your right (I did a "self portrait" as a raindrop and finished next-to-last) but complaining about low scores for such images is silly; surely in your wildest dreams you didn't imagine scoring well with something like this?

It makes no sense to imply that the voters are gutless sheep trapped in a conceptual cesspool because they elect to reserve their best scores for images that actually address this very interesting challenge head-on.

Robt.

Message edited by author 2006-05-16 03:49:14.
05/16/2006 03:48:46 AM · #9
Originally posted by amandalore:

I'm an artist, not a measurebator.

Good thing, cuz the latter could get you DQ'd. Ask Fotomann. ;-)

I was going to submit a picture of soylent green and if anyone DNMC'd it, I would scream "Soylent Green is people!! It's PEOPLE!!!" :-O
05/16/2006 07:13:28 AM · #10
What's up with you Bear? Are you trying to stifle people's creativity? trample on their imagination? ;)

Seriously, I agree with your sentiments. However, it does seem ironic to see you, and a few others, taking a position similar to one for which I was so roundly chastised for some months ago. If you are in favor of a close reading of the topic you are a measurebator, and against creativity. If you favor a wider interpretation, you are that wonderful thing we call an artist.

Perhaps the new way to play this game of dpc challenges will be to wait until near the end of the week to enter so that you can see which way the wind is blowing in the forums before you decide which image to submit. We should no longer rely solely on reading the challenge's title and description. And while waiting to see how goes the flow you should be doing research. Hogwash! I'd rather spend my time shooting. It's not that hard to know what the topic asks for. If you want to take liberties in the way you choose to fulfill it, accept the risk of a lower score along with your exercise in creative interpretation. Most voters don't read these forums.

I can't wait to get started voting EP. Posters in the scores thread say there are some wonderful entries so I'm hoping I can use this challenge to boost my miserably low Avg Vote Cast. ;)
05/16/2006 07:31:36 AM · #11
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Only in DPC could this happen :-) I mean, google "environmental portrait" and every single link on the first page (all I checked) points to some discussion about the photography of people in an environment that helps define them. "Environmental Portraiture" is a standard course in photography schools, and you'd flunk the course if you shot flowers.

People are taking a very simple, time-honored concept/genre and twisting it all up because of deficiencies or omissions in the capsule description of the challenge. Here, for example, is the overview of a lesson from one school on "Environmental Portraiture":

A good portrait reveals aspects of a person's character to the viewer. In an environmental portrait, the person portrayed is placed in a setting that shares information about the person's life and/or interests. The person may also be holding objects related to their professional trade or interests and hobbies. In this activity, students will learn about environmental portraiture by viewing a portrait by Dorothea Lange, and then creating a portrait of their own.

So much ado over nothing... I mean, if you want to shoot flowers or turtles or ladybugs or whatever, that's certainly your right (I did a "self portrait" as a raindrop and finished next-to-last) but complaining about low scores for such images is silly; surely in your wildest dreams you didn't imagine scoring well with something like this?

It makes no sense to imply that the voters are gutless sheep trapped in a conceptual cesspool because they elect to reserve their best scores for images that actually address this very interesting challenge head-on.

Robt.


yup.
05/16/2006 07:35:45 AM · #12
Once again, I have to point out that many participants here do NOT have English as their first language, so there can be misunderstandings because of that.
But language is not an excuse for those that can't be bothered to find information. We are after all, on the Internet, Google is but a click away, and we all know how to search. Type "environmental portrait" and see what you get. How hard can it be.
I am sorry for being so blunt, but this whining is just so tiresome. I have voted on a few EP photographs already and find it very hard to see how some of them have ended up as environmental portraits. I had a good shot in the bag, but I thought of it as a candid shot, not a portrait, so I didn not submit.
Yes, sometimes the SC could be a bit clearer, describing the challenges, but I can't see how we can blame them this time. Do some research, do some googling, it only takes a moment. Ask around, read the threads.
Well, this is neither the first nor the last time this will be discussed here, pretty fascinating actually; here we are, more or less able to figure out state of the art cameras, most of them do take quite a bit of studying if we want to master them properly, many of us are still learning and others are extremely good at using complicated software such as Photoshop and yet we complain about how the challenges are described. ' . substr('//img125.echo.cx/img125/7155/attention9ha.gif', strrpos('//img125.echo.cx/img125/7155/attention9ha.gif', '/') + 1) . '
05/16/2006 07:41:32 AM · #13
I am acutally one of those that are getting DNMC and was even considering self DQ because I didn't read the details well enough. It wasn't a case of thinking outside the box...heck I have enough trouble thinking period...it was a case of, I got excited about an image and decided it would work for the challenge.

I have since decided NOT to self DQ and just let it ride...actually the score is so low it isn't riding, it's skidding.

Personally for me, had I read the details better my image would have been most likly of a person but knowing my skills I'd still be skidding along.

Good luck to everyone that entered.
05/16/2006 07:51:46 AM · #14
Mine isn't a flower, and IS of a person, and IS very creative and nicely done in techs and PP. It has great comments, and yet, it has been dropping like a rock since voting began.

The bottom line is you can shoot a freaking stick bug on a stick tree, or a man or womans face in their full environment and there will still be the jealous who just HAVE to find a flaw somewhere in some aspect, or those who don't believe you met challenge in "their" eyes, or those that feel you broke "submission rules" and vote it down not letting council do their jobs, or those that think its "a wonderful capture and great shot and terrific creativity" and then they vote it a 3. And so the story goes.

Every challenge is a total crap shoot. It's a gamble like any other casino. You get excited about the trip there and possibly winning (taking the shot for the challenge), you get excited about throwing your coins in the slot machine (entering the shot), and then you are either excited you won some money (get a decent score) or you are bummed cause you go home empty handed (tank, brown, or it wasn't what you expected your shot to get for a score). The excitement really lies in the hunt here when we enter these challenges, but we really can rarely think we will come home with the kill. Only 3 out of 250 (# of entries) or so are your chances with every challenge, and that "ain't" good odds.

Yes, some skill is involved. You do want your photo to be the best it can be in techs and meeting theme, and blah blah yadda yadda, but sometimes even those are voted down out of jealousy or because others feel if they vote it low their scores will go up. The voting process is just too diverse and subjective (and sometimes just too ridiculous) to keep beating the dead horse about it. Just concentrate on the next challenge, and know what you entered is what you loved. In that, you are always a winner.

05/16/2006 07:53:48 AM · #15
Hey now. Wait a minute. I just noticed this post and nowhere in the challenge description does it say the portrait must be of a person.

Challenge description: "Photograph a portrait that says something about the subject within the framework of their own environment."

It says "...something about the subject...". I think the word "subject" was used intentionally to leave options open. It it was meant to be limited to people it would say "...something about the person...".

I can think of several portrait scenarios that would fit this challenge and it doesn't have to be a person.
05/16/2006 07:55:07 AM · #16
When someone votes they are voicing their opinion. Most voters will penalise a photo which they don't think meets the challenge. After all this is why we have challenge topics isn't it?

I think it's interesting that some people think the creation of "art" apparently requires the rules to be broken. I don't think thats the case at all. Sure some artists are well known for breaking the mould... but funnily enough you then get a whole slew of imitators that follow the new agenda - and abide closely to the new rules.

For example Monet is famous for his impressionist landscapes. He was one of the first to popularise the impressionistic style, and initially his wok was not considered masterful I'm sure. Once his work became popular there was a whole school of impressionism - it became mainstream and was not considered breaking the rules.

Funnily enough if he had insisted those same landscapes were in fact portraits I don't think he would have enjoyed the same acceptance...
05/16/2006 07:59:36 AM · #17
Without reading the rest of this thread.

As a photographer, no matter what the challenge is, or if you just show your work to a stranger on a street, or to the next door neighbor, the first impression is the most critical.

As a viewer, I must be 100% convinced of what you are after.

You, and only you have one chance to do that within the frame of your shot.

If you decided to put a flower in the enviromental challenge, and in my opinion a very hard to do subject within the challenge itself, then it is up to you to convince me why this flower is considered a portrait, and what is the enviroment it surrounds.

You are brave to complain in an open arena about a submission that probly was not too convincing in the first place.

Off to work.
05/16/2006 08:10:43 AM · #18
Originally posted by glad2badad:

Hey now. Wait a minute. I just noticed this post and nowhere in the challenge description does it say the portrait must be of a person.

Challenge description: "Photograph a portrait that says something about the subject within the framework of their own environment."

It says "...something about the subject...". I think the word "subject" was used intentionally to leave options open. It it was meant to be limited to people it would say "...something about the person...".

I can think of several portrait scenarios that would fit this challenge and it doesn't have to be a person.


Portrait: "a painting, drawing, or photograph of a person", got it from a dictionary.

And from the Internet:
# a painting of a person's face
# portrayal: a word picture of a person's appearance and character
# any likeness of a person; "the photographer made excellent portraits"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

# A portrait is a painting, photograph, or other artistic representation of a person. Portraits are often simple head shots or mug shots and are not usually overly elaborate or creative. The intent is to show the basic appearance of the person, and occasionally some artistic insight into his or her personality.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait
05/16/2006 08:30:59 AM · #19
Originally posted by espy:

Mine isn't a flower, and IS of a person, and IS very creative and nicely done in techs and PP. It has great comments, and yet, it has been dropping like a rock since voting began.

The bottom line is you can shoot a freaking stick bug on a stick tree, or a man or womans face in their full environment and there will still be the jealous who just HAVE to find a flaw somewhere in some aspect, or those who don't believe you met challenge in "their" eyes, or those that feel you broke "submission rules" and vote it down not letting council do their jobs, or those that think its "a wonderful capture and great shot and terrific creativity" and then they vote it a 3. And so the story goes.

Every challenge is a total crap shoot. It's a gamble like any other casino. You get excited about the trip there and possibly winning (taking the shot for the challenge), you get excited about throwing your coins in the slot machine (entering the shot), and then you are either excited you won some money (get a decent score) or you are bummed cause you go home empty handed (tank, brown, or it wasn't what you expected your shot to get for a score). The excitement really lies in the hunt here when we enter these challenges, but we really can rarely think we will come home with the kill. Only 3 out of 250 (# of entries) or so are your chances with every challenge, and that "ain't" good odds.

Yes, some skill is involved. You do want your photo to be the best it can be in techs and meeting theme, and blah blah yadda yadda, but sometimes even those are voted down out of jealousy or because others feel if they vote it low their scores will go up. The voting process is just too diverse and subjective (and sometimes just too ridiculous) to keep beating the dead horse about it. Just concentrate on the next challenge, and know what you entered is what you loved. In that, you are always a winner.

When you throw some coins into a slot machine but don't win anything, do you think it is because some of the coins in that machine's hopper are jealous of you winning, and are trying to find a way to prevent it?

Why try to ascribe devious motives to the whims of the voters? or pin undesirable characteristics on them? Just accept the fact that some of them didn't like your photo as much as you did. That doesn't make them bad people.
05/16/2006 08:35:14 AM · #20
Simply put... if you submit a shot with the expectation that voters are going to do some research to figure out how it meets the challenge, you're going to be deeply disappointed with the results...
05/16/2006 08:35:41 AM · #21
Originally posted by glad2badad:

I can think of several portrait scenarios that would fit this challenge and it doesn't have to be a person.


while I have to agree with Bear, I think the problem lies within the description. The challenge catagorey is defined in Bears comment but the description for this challenge opens the doors for a broader interpretation.

All in all I think people just need to chill out a bit if a photo bombs and stop these kinds of threads while voting is going on. This way if a person reads this thread they don't get their panties in a knot and start changing how they feel they should vote.

request that this thread be locked/hidden until after voting
05/16/2006 08:36:37 AM · #22
Originally posted by GuGi:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Hey now. Wait a minute. I just noticed this post and nowhere in the challenge description does it say the portrait must be of a person.

Challenge description: "Photograph a portrait that says something about the subject within the framework of their own environment."

It says "...something about the subject...". I think the word "subject" was used intentionally to leave options open. It it was meant to be limited to people it would say "...something about the person...".

I can think of several portrait scenarios that would fit this challenge and it doesn't have to be a person.


Portrait: "a painting, drawing, or photograph of a person", got it from a dictionary.

And from the Internet:
# a painting of a person's face
# portrayal: a word picture of a person's appearance and character
# any likeness of a person; "the photographer made excellent portraits"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

# A portrait is a painting, photograph, or other artistic representation of a person. Portraits are often simple head shots or mug shots and are not usually overly elaborate or creative. The intent is to show the basic appearance of the person, and occasionally some artistic insight into his or her personality.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait

<sarcasm> Yep. Portraits are ALWAYS about people aren't they? <sarcasm off>
Portrait Challenge
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05/16/2006 08:46:27 AM · #23
Words, English or otherwise, have a life of their own and language changes in the course of time. Maybe that is what is happening to the word portrait, for a long time "portrait" has meant photograph, drawing or sketch of a person. I don't write dictionaries, but I use them when I do not understand or am uncertain.
Sarcasm on or off, your call.
05/16/2006 08:59:41 AM · #24
Since DPC is a learning community as well as a photography contest website, I think it would be helpful if the challenges themselves did a bit of educating. We all know that the participants range from neophyte to accomplished pro. Robt., the fact that you are familiar with the term "environmental portrait" is understandable, but it is also understandable that new photographers may not be. And why would someone google a term that seems clear?

I think the current challenge description would be more educational and more clearly understood if stated something like this:

"A good portrait reveals aspects of a person's character to the viewer. In an environmental portrait, the person portrayed is placed in a setting that shares information about the person's life and/or interests. The person may also be holding objects related to their professional trade or interests and hobbies. Your challenge this week is to produce an Environtmental Portrait that accomplishes the above objective."

05/16/2006 09:08:44 AM · #25
What does a flower portrait say about the flower's life, work or interests? What have I learned about the flower? For this challenge, we should look at the photo and immediately understand something about the subject beyond "it's a person" or "it's a dog" or "it's a flower". The environment it's in should support the image rather than be just a pretty background. If you got that across, whether or not the subject is human, then you got a good score from me.

That said, everyone is going to vote differently, and I'm not up for arguing over it. The incessant bickering made DPC Cinema such a sadly tedious experience that I stopped checking those threads. The beauty of this site is that everyone has a different idea. What fun would it be if everything were so black and white?

Originally posted by rblanton:

The Challenge:Photograph a portrait that says something about the subject within the framework of their own environment.

The Questions:
Is a flower a subject? Yes if the shot is taken properly.
Does the word their apply to flowers? Yes, notice their petals.
Does the word portrait apply to flowers? See below

Portraits of Flowers
Flower Portraits: The Cycle of Beauty (Joyce Tenneson)
Describing Georgia O’Keefe, best known for her portraits of flowers
Smithsonian Magazine on Martin Johnson Heade: portraits of flowers
British Journal of Photography discussing portraits of flowers
Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz describes Si-ChenYuan’s work as portraits of flowers

If you do not see an artist's representation as meeting a criteria that you feel is a standard, do some research. Portraits are an artistic portrayal not a technical exercise in meeting rigid standards.

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