I’m not good at giving answers. I’m way better at asking questions. If the following maximum is true…

“All I know is that I know nothing.” – Socrates

…then I’m the true master. In addition, I put question marks beautifully. Do you hear how gracefully I mark their curves?

It’s also because I’m a rookie in the world of photography. While I’m eager to learn techniques and gain knowledge about photography, I still involuntarily rely more on intuition when taking photos than on my technical knowledge.

Questions on quality

What better way to learn a skill than by asking questions?

Like the father of cyberpunk, William Gibson, “I’m not a technical guy”.  It seems that quality in photography, more often than not, focuses on technical issues. Why? Because when I googled the phrase “quality in photography”, most of the trilliards of billiards of results concerned technical issues. These included, but where not limited, to sensor resolution, ISO, aperture, focusing, sharpness, etc. I agree that the tecnicalia of a picture is an important part of the overall quality of a picture. This can be especially true in the case of toy photography, where scale and detail play an important role.

But here is my crucial question: is it possible to judge the quality of a photo in isolation from tecnicalia? Is it possible to focus (sic!) more on the story, mood, meaning or moment? Are these technical issue more important than the contents and atmosphere of the photo?

How do you judge the photo itself?

Before we can answer this question I think its important to agree that elements such as framing, composition or lighting are aesthetic, not technical choices. I’m also aware that beauty is also a matter of physics, not only psyche. 🙂

The Best Photo

Is it possible that we can say: “that photo has good quality” about a photo taken with a phone camera? I’m not talking about a careless snap, but a photo that was carefully set up complete with attention to  light and composition (of course according to the photographer’s skills). That photo probably won’t be crisp and sharp as shark. It will lack a level of technical quality due to lower camera parameters. We use to say “The best camera is the one that you have with you”. But is the resulting photo also best?

Of course we can create a separate categories for different kinds of photography. For example, we can create a category called “phoneography”; or in our case “toy phoneography”. But by creating these different categories we instantly stigmatize these kinds of photos. Obviously they cannot compete with a photo taken with a professional or high end hobbiest camera. How can we create a quality criteria that is as objective as is possible?

More questions

Am I asking the right questions? Are these issues reasonable? Or are these hard, equipment conditions an inescapable part of the photo and we can’t judge them separately? Am I simply confusing ideas?

I encourage you very much, Toy Photographers, to join the discussion and help me find at least a few threads that might lead to answers. Or at the very least find the right questions to ask!

~ Tomasz