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Why I try not to look at the camera

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Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby mvs » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:11 pm

Somebody asked me why I usually look away when they take a picture of me in the mountains. And in fact I tell my partners not to look at the camera either. Not on every picture, but on the ones that really show the drama of the mountains around, it really is better to look away. It makes the picture better. Why?

I think it's because later, when you look at the picture, if the climber is not looking at "you," you can imagine yourself in the climbers position much easier. And then you place yourself in the scene. If you've been there before you'll get a great injection of nostalgia. If you want to go there, you'll get an energy boost to make the trip.

I look at the pictures that made me want to climb a certain route. If it has a person (usually it does...weird), then the person is always focused on the climbing.

Anyway, that was just a camera thought that occurred to me while wasting time on the web. :lol:
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:59 pm

I generally agree, but I can think of a few photos where the subject looking into the camera conveys much of the human drama that plays out on huge alpine faces. Lowe on the North Face of Mt Alberta (or was it North Twin) comes to mind.
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby lcarreau » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:19 am

I love to see the pure PASSION in a person's face. A SMILE never hurts, neither.

I know ... the dreaded no pain, no gain philosophy. Hey, you can still be MACHO if you give me a SMIRK !!!

8)
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby Deltaoperator17 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:19 am

Both Mike and Larry are both right. I like both the passion of the persons face and the staged action (Faceless) bodies climbing with the mountains being the target. Hows that for politics?
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby lcarreau » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:40 am

Deltaoperator17 wrote:Both Mike and Larry are both right. I like both the passion of the persons face and the staged action (Faceless) bodies climbing with the mountains being the target. Hows that for politics?


IT DEPENDS whether or not THEY'RE CLIMBING ON THE RIGHT or LEFT side of the MOUNTAIN.

:ugeek:
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby builttospill » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:54 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:I generally agree, but I can think of a few photos where the subject looking into the camera conveys much of the human drama that plays out on huge alpine faces. Lowe on the North Face of Mt Alberta (or was it North Twin) comes to mind.


I agree--sometimes looking at the camera helps make the shot. There is a photo in Alpinist IX (page 31) of Jeff Lowe and either Michael Kennedy or Greg Lowe (I can't remember which) looking straight into the camera on Mt. Hunter, after J. Lowe had broken his ankle or leg or something. It's one of the best photos I've seen--it says a lot without really requiring a caption.
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:09 pm

builttospill wrote:
ExcitableBoy wrote:I generally agree, but I can think of a few photos where the subject looking into the camera conveys much of the human drama that plays out on huge alpine faces. Lowe on the North Face of Mt Alberta (or was it North Twin) comes to mind.


I agree--sometimes looking at the camera helps make the shot. There is a photo in Alpinist IX (page 31) of Jeff Lowe and either Michael Kennedy or Greg Lowe (I can't remember which) looking straight into the camera on Mt. Hunter, after J. Lowe had broken his ankle or leg or something. It's one of the best photos I've seen--it says a lot without really requiring a caption.


Perhaps that is the photo I am thinking of. I recall a photo of Greg Lowe (I think) wearing a helmet painted with a spider's web where he looked 'concerned'.
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby lcarreau » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:52 am

This is why I don't look directly into the camera ..

Image
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby goldenhopper » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:15 pm

Good post mvs and I agree with you 100%. I'm going to work on this, but first I have to master not looking at myself in the mirror. :wink:

Seriously though, I do try to make most of my shots as spontaneous and candid as possible. I'm an awful photographer, but here are a few of my personal favorites.

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby Marmaduke » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:55 pm

Candid shots almost always make for a better photo.
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby CSUMarmot » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:36 am

Nice pics GH
Dammit kid get off mah lawn!!!
NoCo Chris
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby Baarb » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:00 am

Regarding face orientation, I would suspect that appreciation for / reaction to a photo varies depending on whether you know the people in the photo or not, even if you weren't there.
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby Trevers89 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:06 pm

As far as summit shots go, a photo with the subject with his or her back to the camera is far more powerful than if you can see their face. In fact I think I think most scenery pictures can be enhanced with a silhoutted figure admiring the view, it draws you in and adds some human drama
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby lcarreau » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:53 am

Trevers89 wrote:As far as summit shots go, a photo with the subject with his or her back to the camera is far more powerful than if you can see their face. In fact I think I think most scenery pictures can be enhanced with a silhoutted figure admiring the view, it draws you in and adds some human drama


Sorry man, but I gotta disagree with this. I like the "hero shots" where the climber is staring directly into the camera, with fire in their eyes and
a SMILE frozen upon their face.

Then, I can ask them if they'd like to be included in the "Mountains of Smiles" album here on the Big SP ..

http://www.summitpost.org/mountains-of-smiles/376761
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Re: Why I try not to look at the camera

Postby Trevers89 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:50 am

lcarreau wrote:
Trevers89 wrote:As far as summit shots go, a photo with the subject with his or her back to the camera is far more powerful than if you can see their face. In fact I think I think most scenery pictures can be enhanced with a silhoutted figure admiring the view, it draws you in and adds some human drama


Sorry man, but I gotta disagree with this. I like the "hero shots" where the climber is staring directly into the camera, with fire in their eyes and
a SMILE frozen upon their face.

Then, I can ask them if they'd like to be included in the "Mountains of Smiles" album here on the Big SP ..

http://www.summitpost.org/mountains-of-smiles/376761


I have nothing against these shots, I take them too :D They're great for bragging rights and memories! But for artistic merit and emotional response, the anonymous adventurer in a vast landscape does it for me. I'd happily frame this one and put it on my wall even though I don't know who it is!

http://www.summitpost.org/myself-on-the-initial-descent/113295/c-150199

But anyway, keep taking all the photos you can in whatever way you can! (BTW, can I stick some of mine in your smiles album?)
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