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Non-judgemental evaluation? NJE - iMage1

FundyBrian

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Is anybody interested in trying this? Non-judgemental evaluation is another way of looking at images to help us learn how to make our images stronger.

Typical evaluation covers the usual stuff about exposure, colour balance, composition, subject, impact, etc. It is all about "how". I like this picture or I don't like this picture because...

All of that is irrelevant in non-judgemental evaluation. We're on a journey of discovery. We can't do much to change how an existing picture was shot. We are not interested in criticizing an image. However, it makes a useful example to explore how pictures are capable of evoking emotions or creating a story in our minds.

This is how you start.
After examining the image you say, "This picture makes me feel _____".
You don't say anything about the picture. You only describe how the picture makes you feel.
"I like it (or not)" isn't relevant. Don't try to analyze or critique the image. Just reach inside yourself and see what has been awakened by the image. Whatever the feelings are, whether you understand them or not. Once the feelings have been named or described then you set out to figure out exactly what it is in the image that gives you that feeling. After doing this with several images you start to see how to create those feelings in your own pictures.

Don't expect everyone to feel the same emotions from the same picture. Our emotions come from our past experiences and how we evaluate what we see. We even attach meaning where maybe there isn't any.

To try this out we would need to have a few people with curious minds, maybe 6 or 8 people, and a couple of images from each person to explore. Don't put forward an image hoping for ways to improve it. Think of it as an example of something that you like to do or something you have trouble with. Give yourself room to grow. We would have a group discussion, one image at a time, with everyone having an opportunity to explore how the image makes them feel. It is always interesting to see what points of commonality arise from the feelings raised by the image, but also what areas of divergence. And then, how does this image cause those feelings to arise? This is where things get interesting. Reading or interpreting the clues in the image to discover where the emotions come from.

Then we could discuss the process and see how it is working for everyone and if it could be improved. I have done this process a lot with live groups but never in an online thread.
 

Venomator

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This sounds absolutely brilliant Brian... :notworthy:

If there is enough interest we will be quite happy to provide a separate sub-section for you, or any other special treatment you might desire... :thumbs:

You will also have the support of your MobiStaff in this fine endeavour too... :rog:
 

FundyBrian

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This sounds absolutely brilliant Brian... :notworthy:

If there is enough interest we will be quite happy to provide a separate sub-section for you, or any other special treatment you might desire... :thumbs:

You will also have the support of your MobiStaff in this fine endeavour too... :rog:
I won't know until enough people sign on to try it how it will go. It has good learning potential for participants. My main concern at the moment is that it might not catch the eye of enough people to read about it. Once the initial group is successful the word will spread. The trick is getting the first group gathered up.
 

FundyBrian

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Everyone ready to get started? How about if we start with one person's image and then we'll have sort of a round table discussion about it.

Here's an example of something that happened one time. Someone put up a picture of part of the side of an old barn with an old piece of farm equipment leaning against it. We had a number of expressions of nostalgia and it was clear people felt warm and fuzzy about the image. Then the next person said the image made her feel very sad, a feeling of despair. People looked around the room trying to figure this out until she said that when she was young she lived at her grandfather's farm. He worked there all his life but none of his children wanted to carry on after him. When he died the farm slowly returned to the earth. She said his entire lifetime of work had no lasting power and in time it all would be gone. The nostalgic folks who admired the old wood and rusty machinery were all city dwellers with no experience with farm life.

Anybody want to put forward the first image or shall I?

Actually, that farm story just reminded me of a personal experience from years ago. I stopped by an old country place with some rustic sheds, etc., and I asked the old woman who lived there if it was ok if I wandered around and took some pictures. She said go ahead and I had a wonderful time photographing barn board, old rusty tools, etc. I went back to thank her before leaving and the woman said she had watched me a bit and that I spent all my time photographing the things that were falling apart and not the things she liked about the place. I realized with some embarrassment that she was right and that I had inadvertently hurt her feelings. It was a valuable lesson.
 

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OK. In this round express feelings only. We will leave interpretation and analysis for the second round. Try not to be influenced by other people's statements. Look for your own feelings. Remember to start your sentence with "This picture makes me feel "

At this stage of selecting an image I am always shocked by how few pictures in my camera roll express any feelings at all. They are mostly simply pretty pictures or visual explorations.
 

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image.jpg


I not going to title this picture so as to avoid any interpretation at this stage. If necessary you can add a very brief description after the feeling in case the word feels ambiguous to you. Put your predominate feeling first.

This picture makes me feel: sad (for the bird), fascinated (by the chance for a close look at a wild creature), awe and amazement, curious (how could this happen?), fear (for the fragility of life and my own mortality), resolve (I need to make the most out of life while there's still time).

Now it's your turn. What emotions does this picture awaken in you?
 

Venomator

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I saw this picture when you first posted it Brian... :barf:

I will hark back to that and reflect how it made me feel then, and now still... ;)

This picture makes me feel:
Pity - for this happened to one so young not having fulfilled its purpose in this world?
Shame - for the interference human activity has on the innocents (even though we cannot know the precise cause of the poor creature's demise!)
Sadness - as the glint in its young eye slowly fades
Wonder - at its outward beauty and complexity
Reflective - that even the great Mother Nature cannot/will not protect her own!
Respect - for the photographer who dared to stop and document this lifeless entity, which most would pass by without even looking

Great iMage to kick off with Brian... :thumbs:

Hope it receives the attention and critique it deserves... :rog:
 

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This image makes me feel sad that this young bird did not get any 'respect' for its place on earth even in death and has to lay above ground where it can be trampled and kicked, not unlike the life it lived.
 

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(Reply to venomator)
I hesitated to add this but your message made me realize an additional part I didn't mention in my comment. I'm still not sure whether to include it. At the time I first saw the dead bird I stopped, shocked, at a respectful distance wondering what to do, wondering if it was proper to even look, let alone photograph. Was I intruding into the sacred space of another? Was I being disrespectful? Is this a story that needs to be told? I struggled with the inner conflict but in the end I made 2 compositions and backed away without disturbing anything.
 

zenjenny

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Brian thank you for leading the process.

(I notice I feel somewhat affected by what's already been posted).

This picture makes me feel: sad, bcs it's dead; a bit tentative, bcs its eye looks like it might still be - but then I see the sand in its beak and feel a bit sick bcs it's clearly dead. A bit disturbed by the pressure mark in the sand, bcs it looks a bit 'wrong'. A bit surprised and discomfited to notice myself admiring the composition of the photo; curious about the grainy texture of the sand (?); surprised again realising I'd assumed this was a seagull on a beach but it might not be. Curious and sad again wondering what happened to it. Unsettled, uncertain (a bit guilty?) about the fact that I recognise the beauty of the dead bird as a photographic object. Unsettled by what seems like a tricky pov - one the one hand I can see the photographer's straight down gaze: on the other I imagine the bird plummeting downwards.
 

Lzed

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Before I looked at any of the comments even yours below the image I felt sadness that it had died and some curiosity as to how or why.
 

FundyBrian

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Before I looked at any of the comments even yours below the image I felt sadness that it had died and some curiosity as to how or why.
Larry makes an excellent point. I think from now on the picture should be posted by itself and the comments in a separate message. Try to only look at the picture to formulate your first impression. It is certainly OK to see how other people feel, too but it is your own feeling that are most important at this point.
 

RoseCat

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This picture makes me feel sad at first glance... then my feelings are one of awe at Mother Nature, and the perfect beauty of this little bird. And I realize that death is part of the circle of life and know that it is as it should be....
 

Lzed

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Before I looked at any of the comments even yours below the image I felt sadness that it had died and some curiosity as to how or why.
Larry makes an excellent point. I think from now on the picture should be posted by itself and the comments in a separate message. Try to only look at the picture to formulate your first impression. It is certainly OK to see how other people feel, too but it is your own feeling that are most important at this point.
Wonder if there is some way to isolate images from comments but still stay linked so when you first post an image you don't see comments at all. Maybe one thread only for the images and a separate thread for comments. Or a gallery for the images. Not sure what would be the best.
I don't think they should ever have a title because that is a subjective feeling by the poster and might influence your first reaction.
I found how I thought about it initially changed a bit when I started seeing other comments. Some pointed out things that I initially didn't even think about, similar to how you thought it was an intrusion, or Venomators comment about shame.
 

FundyBrian

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Before I looked at any of the comments even yours below the image I felt sadness that it had died and some curiosity as to how or why.

Wonder if there is some way to isolate images from comments but still stay linked so when you first post an image you don't see comments at all. Maybe one thread only for the images and a separate thread for comments. Or a gallery for the images. Not sure what would be the best.
I don't think they should ever have a title because that is a subjective feeling by the poster and might influence your first reaction.
I found how I thought about it initially changed a bit when I started seeing other comments. Some pointed out things that I initially didn't even think about, similar to how you thought it was an intrusion, or Venomators comment about shame.
How about if the picture is by itself in a message with no text. That should leave plenty of blank space below the image. That way it is possible to see the image without being influenced by text. Then you place your comment by replying to the message containing the image. Don't forget that when this discussion takes place with a group together in a room everyone hears every comment as it happens and it still works just fine.
 

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I, too, felt sadness first but that was followed closely by a certain sense of hopefulness (or at least wish thinking) that some one like a veterinarian or ornithologist could study him and perhaps learn something from his untimely death; similar to a human donating his body to science.
 
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