Dunning Kruger Effect: Why Insecure People Can’t Take Good Photos

9VIII

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CanonFanBoy said:
Somehow I fail to see why you cannot see why you are wrong. ;)
I don't know why, but I feel like if you were to try to articulate what you see is wrong with my post we might actually be able to come to a better understanding.
 

9VIII

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dak723 said:
For anyone who believes that we can learn and improve our skills in various creative activities, then the position of the OP is impossible to argue with because they do not believe so.

This has nothing to do with the opinion of others, what is accepted as "good' or what sells or doesn't. Simply put, do we learn and improve our skills or not. I believe that most of us would say yes. To many, it seems so obvious that any alternative viewpoint seems absurd.

But if you have that view, then that's your opinion and all the arguing won't change that.

Better to let the thread die as it is impossible to debate or argue when two such opposing views are presented.

This may very well be the ultimate conclusion.
I should add though that I do not posit that people can't get better, but that their progress is entirely self measured and outside influences are actually irrelevant to the definition of progress.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
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9VIII said:
I should add though that I do not posit that people can't get better, but that their progress is entirely self measured and outside influences are actually irrelevant to the definition of progress.
So if outside influences are irrelevant to the definition of progress, how do they know they are getting better? How do they know where and how they need to improve?
 

9VIII

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unfocused said:
If you are content to simply enjoy your own work -- which there is nothing wrong with. Then you need only satisfy yourself. But, it would be delusional to claim that because you are satisfied, you have created a great work of art. Great works of art are great works of art because, for a variety of reasons, the market has selected them as great works of art. There are a many ways that great works of art rise to the top, but they do rise to the top.

One generally accepted assumption is that a great work of art will transcend the medium and speak to larger truths, which are recognized by a substantial percentage of the population. Great art can be beautiful and soothing or it can be shocking and disturbing (Picasso's Guernica is a good example). It can scream, or it can whisper. In the case of photography, it can show Moonrise over Hernandez (Adams) or it can document mercury poisoning in Minamata (Smith) or, in rare cases, they can invent a new way of seeing that will influence generations that follow, while also exposing racism and other social injustice (Robert Frank's The Americans)

These are great works not because the photographers thought they were great, but because they are great in the judgement of most intelligent people.
The missing piece here is you think that my position is totally incompatible with practical living.
This might be the part that most needed clarification.

Self satisfaction is the only definition of success, but as soon as you make the desires of a third party part of your own definition of satisfaction, then the satisfaction of others is integral to your own.

If you never have the desire to satisfy others with your work then you are absolutely correct to claim every creative work that you are satisfied with as being absolutely equal to any other image.
 

9VIII

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Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
I should add though that I do not posit that people can't get better, but that their progress is entirely self measured and outside influences are actually irrelevant to the definition of progress.
So if outside influences are irrelevant to the definition of progress, how do they know they are getting better? How do they know where and how they need to improve?
It's a false assumption to say that anything needs to improve.
If creative people decide that they need improvement, then they will find their own ways to improve and their own definitions for that improvement.
For one person, more Bokeh might be better, for another, less is better. This can be applied to all aspects of the image. All positions are equal.

I should reiterate what I said above, that it seems the element of confusion throughout this discussion in how self satisfying motives can apply while making images that please other people.
If you're not happy when other people aren't happy, then the desires of others become part of your personal satisfaction.
I'm sure that the thought of going hungry is a big part the motivation for many professionals.

It's important to remember though that societal trends in Art are utterly fluid. It is still impossible to create an objective formula for "good" Art.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
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9VIII said:
Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
I should add though that I do not posit that people can't get better, but that their progress is entirely self measured and outside influences are actually irrelevant to the definition of progress.
So if outside influences are irrelevant to the definition of progress, how do they know they are getting better? How do they know where and how they need to improve?
It's a false assumption to say that anything needs to improve.
But that is the basis of the video that you say is irrelevant. you titled the thread "Why insecure people can't take good photos" but the title of the video is "why bad photographers think they're good" which is a completely different premise. You then base your whole argument on that misunderstanding.

A person can be very happy with their work even though they are not very good. Some people will say 'I know I am not very good but I don;t care and my images satisfy me'. They do not want to improve (and I envy them in some ways :) )
Some of them are not very good but believe they are as good as people who are better photographers. They maybe happy with what they are producing but as photographers they are not very good and there is a resistance to learning because they overestimate their competence and it is these people who the D-K effect is referring to.
You seem to refuse to accept that you can separate personal satisfaction from technical competence. I can shoot 3,000 images in a day and one or two of them will be very good. A better photographer can increase that ratio.



9VIII said:
If creative people decide that they need improvement, then they will find their own ways to improve and their own definitions for that improvement.
For one person, more Bokeh might be better, for another, less is better. This can be applied to all aspects of the image. All positions are equal.
I agree.
But you talk again about 'improve' which, contrary to your statements, suggests there is a progression in competence. And the D-K effect is about people who overestimate that competence - the D-K effect is only relevant when they are communicating their competence to other people and as soon as they do that, their own personal satisfaction in their photos is no longer the key element of the discussion.


9VIII said:
I should reiterate what I said above, that it seems the element of confusion throughout this discussion in how self satisfying motives can apply while making images that please other people.
If you're not happy when other people aren't happy, then the desires of others become part of your personal satisfaction.
I totally agree. But that is not what you have said over 4 pages.
In your OP you made a simple statement that the D-K effect is irrelevant to photography. Yet your position here opens up the view that it has relevance when taking other peoples' views into consideration.
 

CanonFanBoy

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Things are only worth what somebody else is willing to pay if we are talking about $$$$. Otherwise, in the end as we take our last breaths, the only thing worth anything is life and the love we've received and given. After that your own body is worth nothing to you.
 

CanonFanBoy

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Jan 28, 2015
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9VIII said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Somehow I fail to see why you cannot see why you are wrong. ;)
I don't know why, but I feel like if you were to try to articulate what you see is wrong with my post we might actually be able to come to a better understanding.
Dunning-Kruger: In simple words it's "people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are". Thanks for making my point.

It has nothing to do with insecurity either. ::) People in that state are very secure in their stupidity and think they know more than everyone else.
 

unfocused

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Jul 20, 2010
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www.mgordoncommunications.com
9VIII said:
The missing piece here is you think that my position is totally incompatible with practical living.
No, I think your position is incompatible with reality.

9VIII said:
Self satisfaction is the only definition of success..
No it's not. Self-satisfaction is more frequently a detriment to success, not a facilitator of success.

9VIII said:
...but as soon as you make the desires of a third party part of your own definition of satisfaction, then the satisfaction of others is integral to your own.
You really don't understand creative arts do you? In the case of sponsored art (such as the Mona Lisa) the satisfaction of the client is one aspect, but it was certainly not the desire to please the client that led da Vinci to create a masterpiece. If he had merely wanted to give the client a picture that would satisfy, he could have knocked something out that would have been adequate but forgettable.

Robert Frank didn't set about to "satisfy" anyone, he set out to show Americans their country from a new viewpoint and to shake them out of their complacency and come to grips with racism and other problems. W. Eugene Smith didn't want to satisfy anyone, he wanted to expose the horrors of mercury poisoning.

Diane Arbus wasn't trying to satisfy, she was interested in forcing viewers (and herself) to confront those that society recoiled from and forcing us to reflect on our own feelings toward people's physical appearances.

Even a contemporary portraitist like Rineke Dijkstra isn't making her pictures to satisfy, but rather to challenge.

Even photographers like Edward Weston or Ansel Adams weren't seeking to satisfy, but rather to make images that spoke to the soul and, in Adams case, made statements about the importance of the natural world and its preservation.

9VIII said:
If you never have the desire to satisfy others with your work then you are absolutely correct to claim every creative work that you are satisfied with as being absolutely equal to any other image.
That's quite the non-sequitur. I suppose anyone has the right to claim anything they want. But, just as you may claim to be able to fly, if you jump off a bridge you might find your reasoning flawed as you plunge to the ground.

Your grasp of photography strikes me as incredibly self-absorbed. You find it impossible to imagine any higher purpose to photography than simply satisfying one's own ego. At the same time, you want to denigrate anyone who views photography as a personal journey in search of excellence and mastery. I find your views not merely immature and self-centered, but as a said in my first post on this thread, they represent much of what has gone wrong in society today.
 

9VIII

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Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
I should reiterate what I said above, that it seems the element of confusion throughout this discussion in how self satisfying motives can apply while making images that please other people.
If you're not happy when other people aren't happy, then the desires of others become part of your personal satisfaction.
I totally agree. But that is not what you have said over 4 pages.
In your OP you made a simple statement that the D-K effect is irrelevant to photography. Yet your position here opens up the view that it has relevance when taking other peoples' views into consideration.
At which point the skill in question is your ability to read other people and predict what they like. Dunning-Kruger is still not applied to photography in that case.
 

9VIII

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Feb 8, 2013
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Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
I should add though that I do not posit that people can't get better, but that their progress is entirely self measured and outside influences are actually irrelevant to the definition of progress.
So if outside influences are irrelevant to the definition of progress, how do they know they are getting better? How do they know where and how they need to improve?
It's a false assumption to say that anything needs to improve.
But that is the basis of the video that you say is irrelevant. you titled the thread "Why insecure people can't take good photos" but the title of the video is "why bad photographers think they're good" which is a completely different premise. You then base your whole argument on that misunderstanding.
It is a fundamental misunderstanding to think that Dunning-Kruger can be applied to art.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”


Mikehit said:
A person can be very happy with their work even though they are not very good. Some people will say 'I know I am not very good but I don;t care and my images satisfy me'. They do not want to improve (and I envy them in some ways :) )
No, there is simply no logical basis for anyone to say they have improved. There is only the personal validation that someone has achieved self appointed goals. Past works can only be deemed inferior if the artist wants them to be called inferior.


Mikehit said:
Some of them are not very good but believe they are as good as people who are better photographers. They maybe happy with what they are producing but as photographers they are not very good
How do you define “good”?

Mikehit said:
and there is a resistance to learning because they overestimate their competence
Competence at what?

Mikehit said:
You seem to refuse to accept that you can separate personal satisfaction from technical competence. I can shoot 3,000 images in a day and one or two of them will be very good. A better photographer can increase that ratio.
Define “technical competence”.
You’re probably still conflating “art” with the skills of manipulating the machine called a “camera”. I’ve said it a dozen times now, that skill definitely applies to Dunning-Kruger, but the composition of a photograph cannot be given an objective measurement of value and cannot be applied to Dunnning Kruger.


Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
If creative people decide that they need improvement, then they will find their own ways to improve and their own definitions for that improvement.
For one person, more Bokeh might be better, for another, less is better. This can be applied to all aspects of the image. All positions are equal.
I agree.
But you talk again about 'improve' which, contrary to your statements, suggests there is a progression in competence. And the D-K effect is about people who overestimate that competence - the D-K effect is only relevant when they are communicating their competence to other people and as soon as they do that, their own personal satisfaction in their photos is no longer the key element of the discussion.
Painting your car a different color can still be called an “improvement” while being utterly subjective.
Picking your favorite color is not something you practise and get better at, it’s just something you do for self gratification.
 

RunAndGun

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Dec 16, 2011
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I'm having flashbacks of Bill Clinton saying, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is".
 

9VIII

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unfocused said:
9VIII said:
The missing piece here is you think that my position is totally incompatible with practical living.
No, I think your position is incompatible with reality.
And you have nothing but your opinion to support that.


unfocused said:
9VIII said:
Self satisfaction is the only definition of success..
No it's not. Self-satisfaction is more frequently a detriment to success, not a facilitator of success.
“Success” is not monetary gain, it is the achievement of personal goals. That’s the case if every human endeavour. Some goals have physical limitations, like trying to maintain flight, we have an objective reality, gravity, holding us to that skill.
There is no equivalent to “gravity” in photography.


unfocused said:
9VIII said:
...but as soon as you make the desires of a third party part of your own definition of satisfaction, then the satisfaction of others is integral to your own.
You really don't understand creative arts do you? In the case of sponsored art (such as the Mona Lisa) the satisfaction of the client is one aspect, but it was certainly not the desire to please the client that led da Vinci to create a masterpiece. If he had merely wanted to give the client a picture that would satisfy, he could have knocked something out that would have been adequate but forgettable.
There is still no basis for calling the Mona Lisa a “masterpiece” other than if the artist claimed it as such. If he didn’t then it wouldn’t even be right to call it that.
That painting could have just as likely been thrown in the trash along with his other “failed” paintings if he were in a bad enough mood one day.


unfocused said:
Robert Frank didn't set about to "satisfy" anyone, he set out to show Americans their country from a new viewpoint and to shake them out of their complacency and come to grips with racism and other problems. W. Eugene Smith didn't want to satisfy anyone, he wanted to expose the horrors of mercury poisoning.

Diane Arbus wasn't trying to satisfy, she was interested in forcing viewers (and herself) to confront those that society recoiled from and forcing us to reflect on our own feelings toward people's physical appearances.

Even a contemporary portraitist like Rineke Dijkstra isn't making her pictures to satisfy, but rather to challenge.

Even photographers like Edward Weston or Ansel Adams weren't seeking to satisfy, but rather to make images that spoke to the soul and, in Adams case, made statements about the importance of the natural world and its preservation.
And now you’re just conflating “art” with social commentary, which is no less subjective. With enough time any and all views held by anyone today will become irrelevant to the population in the future.


unfocused said:
9VIII said:
If you never have the desire to satisfy others with your work then you are absolutely correct to claim every creative work that you are satisfied with as being absolutely equal to any other image.
That's quite the non-sequitur. I suppose anyone has the right to claim anything they want. But, just as you may claim to be able to fly, if you jump off a bridge you might find your reasoning flawed as you plunge to the ground.

Your grasp of photography strikes me as incredibly self-absorbed. You find it impossible to imagine any higher purpose to photography than simply satisfying one's own ego. At the same time, you want to denigrate anyone who views photography as a personal journey in search of excellence and mastery. I find your views not merely immature and self-centered, but as a said in my first post on this thread, they represent much of what has gone wrong in society today.
Any purpose someone can come up with for their photograph will still be rooted in self satisfaction. Even spending your life spreading awareness for helpless people still does that, and indeed self gratification can easily become the primary motivator for a person involved in that kind of work.
 

9VIII

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unfocused said:
I find your views not merely immature and self-centered, but as a said in my first post on this thread, they represent much of what has gone wrong in society today.
And your own views are just as much a problem with the amount of value you place on consensus in determining value. You are a slave to the ideologies of the masses.
You’re really quite self conflicted with how you hold value in “art” motivating social change and yet you still hold common opinion as a way of determining value that you want to call “objective”.
 

9VIII

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unfocused said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Somehow I fail to see why you cannot see why you are wrong. ;)
I think the true answer is "trolling." The form it is taking here begins with posting a ludicrous opinion, then as the discussion begins there is the changing the goal posts, denying he wrote what he wrote, deliberate obfuscation, personal attacks and doubling down.
And lastly, I have not moved any goalposts or denied anything from my Original Post. Everything I have written is logically consistent with the OP, meanwile almost every time someone tries to disagree their statements are full of strawman arguments, ad hominem attacks, and self contradictions.
 

9VIII

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The basic premise stands:
Your photography is ultimately an expression of your own creativity, you are the only real source of authority on what is good in your photography.
When people try to apply Dunning-Kruger to their photography, all they accomplish is to bring doubt on their own preferences.
 

Talys

Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
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9VIII said:
The basic premise stands:
Your photography is ultimately an expression of your own creativity, you are the only real source of authority on what is good in your photography.
When people try to apply Dunning-Kruger to their photography, all they accomplish is to bring doubt on their own preferences.
I don't agree.

Your premise is only true in the context of: "I only care about my own opinion. Nobody else's matters. Ergo, I am the only authority on what is good or bad." I suppose if you are POTUS 45 that holds in your personal delusion.

There is the less narcisstic version: "I don't care about what others think about my photography. It makes me happy, and that all that matters." And that's fine, but just because you think chopping people off at the knees is cool doesn't mean that the rest of the world thinks so.

From a professional perspective, saying "I'm the only judge of my work" is hogwash, because the only judge of your work that matters is your client, and whether they're willing to pay you, publish your work, hire you again or say nice things about you. If you think ultra-dramatic photos (high contrast between left and right sides) are awesome, go take a hundred headshots like that, and good luck getting paid.
 

Mikehit

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Jul 28, 2015
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9VIII said:
It is a fundamental misunderstanding to think that Dunning-Kruger can be applied to art.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
You are talking about art merely as a finished item not including how you make it or how you pre-empt what it is you want to create.

You’re probably still conflating “art” with the skills of manipulating the machine called a “camera”. I’ve said it a dozen times now, that skill definitely applies to Dunning-Kruger, but the composition of a photograph cannot be given an objective measurement of value and cannot be applied to Dunnning Kruger.
Again, you are misquoting the original video simply for sake of complaining. The video is not about 'art' but about 'photography.

The original video: it was about photography and bad photographers
Your rant: "This video is about insecure photographers making art and I will show how it is totally wrong"

So in other words: "I accept there is a technical aspect to photography but because that does not fit my pre-formed idea that D-K is irrelevant to photography, I will ignore it."