what is good work

I was listening to a podcast today by a photographer with great professional experience who was discussing certain cameras and the concept of “good work” in the context of people using those cameras. But what constitutes good work. It seems to me that it depends on what type of photography you do. The guy doing the podcast has professional experience in photojournalism and documentary photography, neither of which I do, or have much interest in. Is he judging only from that bias or area of interest, who knows.

I have never submitted photos for a portfolio review, even though there is a local annual photo festival where that takes place. I don’t take photos for other photographers, mostly because that doesn’t interest me. I don’t take technically good photos, on purpose. I don’t seek to capture reality, it’s more fun and interesting to me to distort it. It may not be “good work”, but it’s more important to me that it is my work, not someone else’s idea of what photography should be.


6 thoughts on “what is good work

  1. It’s all subjective and one person’s “good” is his opinion. Is it technical expertise? Conceptual? Both? Sounds vague and without a dialogue it means very little. As a former lithography professor told me in college: “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.” It seems to me that all we can do is what we *must* do (to paraphrase Rilke.) Do that, send it out in the world and see where the conversation leads.


    1. I agree, Wendy. That was sort of the intent of the post. I lean more toward conceptual type photography, and the mainstream of photography, especially the documentary guys, tend to look down on that area of the medium. And, though I listen to some of these guys, I rarely get much I can use in my work. Wing it and see who finds it interesting.


      1. Yes, exactly. Sometimes it’s just a most perceptive comparison/observation/not always positive but very constructive bit of criticism that creates a breakthrough which is so valuable. Be open to all and then filter.


      2. Bottom line for me is, it’s always an individual thing. I make photos I like, and if others like them that’s a bonus. Hearing or reading I should do this or that differently, just encourages a sameness that doesn’t interest me. It just becomes a distraction, voices in my head blurring my vision.


      3. What I prefer more than “likes” and pronouncements are the good questions. Much harder to find but they are the beginning of the best conversations.


      4. I don’t get questions. I have questions, mostly variations of why. Because in the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter whether I do this, or some other thing or nothing at all. A few people like the zines and that’s enough for now.


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