I've gotten some feedback on my blog entries.
Evidently, I am too negative for most people's tastes. Guess what? I don't care. I know it sounds snotty or obnoxious, but it's who I am. Simply put, I am a misanthrope. I grew up as an idealist, but those ideals were quickly dashed.
The world is a rough place. I approached it with wonder and learned that we are surrounded by ugliness, greed and hostility. It took a long while for me to get here, but I reached a place where I am jaded and a realist. I am jaded, but not bitter. I still strive to capture the beauty I see in the world.
I will be the first to tell you that making yourself a success in art is a TERRIBLY DIFFICULT THING TO DO. I will be the first to tell you it's probably not going to happen. I will be the first to be the dick that tells you, “No. That sucks and this is why.” It's not what you want to hear, but it IS the truth.
Now that we have the hard part out of the way, I will share a little about myself.
I am a film-maker. Unlike most art out there, my chosen medium is prohibitively expensive. We're talking many thousands of dollars. Unlike most art, there are very few ways to be considered successful and recoup your investment – you have to get theatrical exhibition. Unlike most art, there are very few people willing to coddle film-makers when their movie sucks.
This isn't the case with almost every other medium.
In spite of this, I still bust my ass. I still work hard and keep shooting. I present my work to my fellow film makers for their consideration. This October, two of our pieces took awards at an international horror film festival. In spite of this, I'm still not happy with what I have created – I strive to produce better art. I will keep working on this until the day I die.
The stuff I am about to comment on is terribly common. I see them over and over and over. I am terribly distracted most of the time, so if I notice them – they are OVER-DONE. If it's over-done, it shouldn't be done again. PERIOD. (ADDENDUM: unless you can manage to do it in a completely new way).
That being said – please view this as what it is. It is intended to help you, but it's worded in my cynical, world weary, pissy way.
These are the things I am tired of seeing...
1) Stuff written on your hand – It was inspired and interesting the first time I saw it. In an art book in 1992. (19 years ago, longer than most of you have been alive)
2) A picture of you in the mirror with your camera as the focus. The websites for Canon, Pentax, and Nikon have better product photos. I know you think that it's all meta and cool, but see point 1
3) A scrap of paper with something motivational on it. Most of the time, what you have found inspirational has been parroted from something else – something that we've seen or heard already. Further, your composition is fairly uninteresting.
4) Your eye. I know you saw it, thought it was cool. I know you think your eye is special – and it is... but think about this: your composition is exactly like everyone else'. So unless, you are albino, have two different colored eyes, or one of those FEW people that have TRULY distinctive eyes, or a fantastic make up job – STOP IT.
5) Photos you don't own. Seriously. I shouldn't have to say this, but if you don't fucking own the photograph, then don't post it. I know you want to show off the cool thing you found, but you are stealing someone's intellectual property. Honestly – artistic theft is akin to mental rape. If you don't own it and you post it – I honestly think there should be serious repercussions. When you post something on deviantart, it is marked with a copyright notice. You are CLAIMING THIS WORK AS YOURS. Don't do it.
6) Photos of JUST genitalia. Some of you have read my post on artistic nudity and already know my opinion on this. There are very few photos of JUST GENITALIA are artistic. Georgia O'Keefe's flower paintings are a sterling example of this – artistically depicted genitals. Judy Chicago's “The Dinner Party” is another example. Chances are – your genital photos are not in the same league.
7) Bad attempts at making a photo look "Vintage". Do it in-camera, or don't do it -OR- if you are going to manipulate the photo to look “vintage”, do it right. What do I mean “Do it right?” Easy, if you can tell it's a photo-manipulation, you're doing it wrong.
8) Blurry photos that weren't supposed to be blurry. If you messed it up and it came out blurry, don't post it. We can tell. Honestly. If you meant to make it blurry, it shows.
9) Photos where the camera is not white balanced. White should be white. Not green from flourescent lighting. Not orange from low wattage bulb. White balance your damn camera.
10) Close up photos where your camera is not set to macro focus. Almost every camera in the modern marketplace has a macro setting. USE IT!
11) BAD PHOTOMANIPULATIONS. See point 7. If there are lines of demarcation, bad filters and stuff that makes it look like a collage, don't do it. Seriously, just go make a collage.
12) EMO. That's it... just emo... anything emo. Emo is just a sad shadow of the gothic movement. As an Elder Goth I say, “Go find your own culture.”
13) Images ruined with a watermark that is big or in the middle of the image. You were proud enough of the art to show it. I know there are unscrupulous people on the internet, but ruining your art with a watermark that covers it up is just silly. Having a signature that takes up half the image really just detracts from what you intended.
14) BAD COSPLAY pics. I love cosplay. I really do. I make costumes for our films, and for fun. However, if your costume sucks (ask people on the internet, if more than 50% of the responses are “THIS SUCKS” - then you need more practice. Don't make a costume of a well known character if you a) don't look like the character or b) DON'T know where the character comes from. Just sitting with your friends in the costume also doesn't make it a cosplay picture. Take pride in you work and make an effort in your photo.
15) Most of the stuff that comes out of the Poser Application. Don't get me wrong, a skilled artist can create AMAZING work in poser, but most people can't. Seriously. Stop it.
16) 95% of iPhone pics. The iPhone can take some pretty awesome photos. I've seen them. The thing is, no one uses the basic principles of composition when using it. Read some books on composition and then try it. Prove me wrong when I think iPhone pics suck.
17) Bad, blurry pics of your pets. Animal photos are amazing... when executed properly. See point 10. Try the macro function on your camera. You will LOVE the result. And so will I.
18) Pics taken from a high angle with your cell phone. Hey! Everyone does it. That makes it NOT ART. Don't do it. Hell, try a different angle.
19) Pics with your cell phone in the mirror. Hey... look... it's your bathroom.
20) ANY PIC WITH THE WORD DERP IN ITS DESCRIPTION OR IN THE IMAGE ITSELF. Derp definition: A simple, undefined reply when an ignorant comment or action is made. Art defintion:
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Art is not ignorant.
21) Any pic that you say you are not happy with but you are posting anyway. If you aren't happy with it, don't put it up. Either a) you are just embarrassing yourself or b) fishing for compliments. If you REALLY want feedback – ASK FOR IT... don't tell us, “I'm not really happy with this, but here it is anyway.”
22) Any image that you think you made better by just randomly applying filters in photoshop. This one really bothers me. If you are going to make something, take some time and make something you intended to. Randomly applying filters doesn't rescue a bad image. We can see it wasn't up to snuff when you started it.
23) Pictures blown out by the flash. Try some natural or realistic lighting. I personally NEVER use my flash. Learn your camera and you will find that you can take amazing photos. If your image is washed out by the flash, you're not happy with it and very few people will find enjoyment in it.
24) PAINTED (Unmodified) Nerf Guns. If you are going to take the time to paint a Nerf gun... modify it. Make it unique. Make it yours. If you are just going to change the color, go to Wal-mart and buy white out special edition Nerf guns. It's Nerf or nothing... Make it NOTHING, please.
25) Witty text on images that YOU CAN'T READ. If you want to put words on the image, MAKE IT SO WE CAN READ IT! If we can't read it – there's NO POINT!
26) You dressed up as the Joker. Heath Ledger did it well. Your costume is a pale imitation. It is BAD COSPLAY AT ALL TIMES. IT IS OVER-DONE. Show some respect and let him rest in peace with an amazing performance.
27) Calling anything your blue period when you DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! Picasso's Blue Period is a term used to define to the works produced between 1901 and 1904, when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. These somber works, inspired by Spain but painted in Paris, are now some of his most popular works. I see a lot of people calling something a piece from their “Blue Period.” It's bullshit and an insult to Picasso.
28) Screen caps from film and TV. It's not yours. Stop it.
29) Poorly executed, fake vignetting. I know this is a variant on the photo-manipulation point, but it is a different issue. Vignetting is an effect caused by optics in the camera and is often not intentional. However, in reality, it's subtle. When most people do it – it is not subtle... it is distracting.
30) Duck lips. This doesn't make you look attractive. As a matter of fact, most men just keep moving. Duck lips makes you look like you are mentally handicapped and just needs to stop.
31) Any image titled "Meh." If you can't be bothered to say anything about it, then you probably shouldn't have created it.
So... There you have it. These are the things that need to stop. I'll probably come up with 30 more real soon, but for now, there it is.