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Do your photos really matter?

  •    How can you distinguish good from bad photos?
  •    Everyone’s opinion is not of equal value.
  •    The art skill of observation

Do your photos matter? To you? To anyone?

That is the question I have been focusing on these days, but you tell me!

In an article titled “On the Strange Business of Mattering” Francis Hodgson put down his thoughts on the topic of “mattering,” how he calls it. Here’s a short video clip of him elaborating on his thoughts.

What distinguishes good photos from bad ones? And how do you find them in an ever increasing pile of crappy photos that accumulate in the millions each and every day?
Well, the answer lies in the question “Do they matter?” – to you, to the distributor, to the viewer. But, how do you know if they do?

Everyone’s opinion is not of equal value

If things were this easy, we could wrap up here and go home, but the answer to this question is terribly hard – and made harder by the fact that everyone has another idea of what “matters” – complicating the problem at hand to a degree at which we are back at the beginning: everything matters, everything and nothing.

This is the point where Francis Hodgson puts the foot down and really does sound like an elitist – even if he doesn’t want to, sorry Mr. Hodgson – when he tells us:

Everyone’s opinion is not of equal value.

Think about this one for a minute. Hello, democracy and so forth?! Do you feel something cringing inside of you? Do you hear the army of protest denouncing such an outrageous statement. I sure did!

The skill of observation

And then he continues to explain this statement a bit, by saying that “mattering” can only happen as a result of observation, of looking at photos fully engaged.

This is, granted, a not so easy thing to do, as everyone who ever had to go through a 1500 photos holiday album of the weekend trip your friend went to will easily agree upon (sorry Bobby, yes after the 500th photo of a tree I just wanted to throw that thing out of the window and scream).

Observation is a skill. It needs practice. It needs concentration. So, does it make sense that the opinion of a good observer matters more than of somebody who is a lousy observer? You decide.

Back to the question, do my photos matter? Well, to answer this question I feel that I have to practice my observation skills a bit more, first. Otherwise, even if I say “Yes, my photos matter!” – my opinion will probably not.

Do your photos matter? Think about it.


(P.S: If you know anyone with exceptional observation skills, I would love to get to know them!)



I agree. You need to be careful who you listen too. Some people tell you how great you are and others tell you how much you suck. But both can be wrong! I say choose your critics wisely and shut out the noise!

Its hard to do though…

Yeah, and also: How do you go about when looking at photos, how do you find good photos in a pile of bad ones? Sure, I can decide on first glance whether I like a photo or not, and for which reasons, but I find it terribly hard to concentrate on a photo to find all it has to offer (or not). It’s somehow easier in a museum, where you have limited amounts of photos and an object to look at, compared to the Internet. But that might just be a personal thing.

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