What Is A Good Picture ? – By Anton Candra

We could ask visual-artist whom we know  “what is a good image?” and I think most of them will have different answers and different requisites to qualify an image as a good image. Probably they would base their opinion on their own discipline and principle. The question is – IF the definition of good image is so diverse, then how we resolve the general definition of good image? Put it in more simple words, how do we know a good image is a good image?

Eve & Belle - Princess Bridge

This question always presents on my mind whenever I rated my pictures, just after I finished going out shooting.

One inconvenient truth : my picture which I love most, often ended up becoming the least favorited by my viewers. It was a mystery to me. So often, picture that I chose to put in my blog or my social network were those pictures that I assumed would be loved by my viewers….not by me. Perhaps it is just our human nature as a social creature, we all need approval from others.

We – including myself – are sometimes so proud with our photographs. When other people don’t like it as much as we do, we then decide : either to blame them for being so stupid OR we choose to blame ourselves for having too much pride. I tend to force myself to choose the later. After all it is for our own good learning process.

Belle's Prank

Why it works like the way it does? I think, they do not like my favorite picture simply because it has more personal value for me than it does for them. It serves more purpose for me than it does for them. Therefore it looks good in my eyes….. but not in their eyes.

I saw pictures taken by great photographer, some showed its greatness right at the moment I saw it. However I must admit, some are also very hard to understand. I wonder how could this be a great picture when I see nothing good in it. At the same instant I also wonder, how could it be a bad picture when it was taken by famous photographer such as themselves? Their definition of good picture is beyond what my mind can YET comprehend…..and because of this very reason I keep on learning photography.

Eve & Belle

A  picture of 1934’s Omaha Beach, Normandy Invasion by Robert Capa, I would not consider it as a perfect picture technically . Lets say, if the story behind this picture was all about a movie scene, I am sure the editor would scrap it without thinking twice. The fact that it represents the reality of war, the suffering of one private and his patriotism, made this picture the way it is now, A GREAT PICTURE.

So I thought (my very personal opinion), there is no general requirements to qualify whether a good picture is a good picture. The purpose of the picture itself is the only legitimate requirement to be qualifed as a good picture. It is the story behind it that matters. Whenever that story is well-translated into picture, other will appreciate it. If it was not, then we would be the only one who could value the picture, not everyone else.

Leica M3 / Summicron Rigid / Superia 400

I assume every picture is good in the eye of its photographers. The appreciation is just a matter of subjectivity on each individual’s perception. The simple analogy: Scratchy picture of my childhood brother being bitten by dog at his buttock personally worths more than any great street picture out there….and it remains that way until now.

To sum up, I define a good picture as a picture which can convey message from photographers to the viewers effectively. When viewers fail to get to that point, then no matter how perfect the picture is, it can not be defined as a good picture. Vice versa, regardless of all the picture’s imperfections, if it is successfully transferring the photographer’s message….then it is -in my opinion- a good picture.

Again, this is just my personal thought, a very subjectively opinionated article. Others might have different opinion and various point of arguments, but this is at least the way I see it. I do not have any intention to direct my readers to certain point of view. I just tried to kill another night by writing and may as well sharing it to all.

Thank you so very much for reading, I really appreciate your visit and I do feel grateful if you enjoy it.



About Anton Candra

Thanks for dropping by, click one of my sites and you will find out about me :)
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2 Responses to What Is A Good Picture ? – By Anton Candra

  1. Eddy Sanjaya says:

    Hi anton, i just passing by :), well writen the meaning of good picture, i agree with ur opinion, but like movie, everyone can make movie,a few become great movie. my point is the story behind the movie still the key factor, like why everyone must watch famous 007 movie ? but rare of them watching “suster ngesot ” hahaha 🙂 ( sorry for folks didnt know this movie )
    in photograph world i think it was the theme the key factor. The other factor i think its technically, like timing, angle, etc…etc… anyway congrats for eva n u, cant wait see ur baby boy 🙂

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