Printwork Criticisms: Defining What Is Boring

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by AgrenateD, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. AgrenateD

    AgrenateD Active Member

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    i feel like there should be a thread for this because the quality of valuable critiques for printwork have declined quite rapidly here in this forum, making tFS somewhat of a joke to the people who are working in fashion publication.

    i've been a long time spectator in threads for various fashion printworks (i.e, magazines covers, eds, ad campaigns) and i feel like there are many ideas left unsaid by various members here, due to the fact that most of us rely on terseness when it comes to shelling out opinions. i've noticed the outrageous misuse of the word "boring" in particular, and it has gotten to the point that seeing members dismiss printwork using that word leaves me incensed.

    covers, magazine content and campaigns always involve alot of work, from the research for ideas and inspiration, from amassing pegs and making the moodboard, from selecting which pieces to include and which model/s to shoot, which photographer to hire, to the actual manual labor in the shoot; the pool of creative people all bent on creating beautiful images in various forms and transferring them to paper. printwork has always been about marketing ideas in the best way possible, using various elements, from the beautiful to the shocking. and it is exasperating to find people undermining this tedious craft with just a single phrase, using the word BORING as the major predicate. i do believe that every image, no matter how bland or how rehashed the inspiration may be, has a sole redeeming factor that makes it still interesting enough to be chosen to convey the editors' ideas.

    there are some magazines and campaigns notorious for using the same concepts over and over, without improving their images qualitywise. there are also various instances wherein publications make the wrong decisions over which photographer or which model to use, or the wrong execution for the images, thus diminishing the visual impact of the results, making it 'boring' or even downright horrible. but how do we justify the use of this word, when is it proper to use it? are the members of this forum that saturated with fashion that we tend to overlook the simple standout traits of various printworks, just because our favorite model wasn't used or the background/execution is the same again? :rolleyes:

    post your thoughts here :flower:
     
  2. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    Using the word boring is a quick way of saying you've seen it all before. But it's completely useless to other people.

    I agree that the views posted in the printwork forums should be more directed toward the art and fashion rather than a place where you state your dissatisfaction with that Freja got the campaign Snejana should have had...

    That said, models can be extremely important for the way an image turns out, as I'm sure most of us agree (?), but it should not be the main focus of those forums.
     
  3. runner

    runner .

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    I think you can leave the definition to the private arithmetics of those one word commentators.
    but whether printwork or designer collection or whatever, if there is any meaning of starting a thread on a public forum and all the way posting your opinion there, I'd like to think your post and the work in question are on an equal footing because the content of the work and that of your post make a thread. so ideally your post must have a bit of what you'd expect from the work.
    of course there is certainly work that can be called just boring, but this is a place that depends on both the work and you. if you think it's boring, it's better to try to make the thread interesting by saying something creative from you at least.
    the exhibition of one word comment like "boring" in a thread certainly surpasses any boredom that any work can carry.
    so in that sense it can never be justified in my opinion.
     
  4. XxXRedRubYXxX

    XxXRedRubYXxX Tobias Funke

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    I find it that sometimes editors, stylists and photographers can become very lazy. What I mean by that is when they take great models like Freja for example and use the same tomboy/lesbian/stud/androgynous look when she is so much better than that, I would love to see her as a bored 1950's housewife contemplating on killing her cheating husband.. or something that goes astray from the usual. Also when they make they African or darker model and make her look like Grace Jones, luscious oiled down bodied naked model. It takes more than exposing Eniko or Lara's breasts every chance you can get or make every model resemble Emmanuelle Alt in every VP editorial to get me to buy an issue. I just wish industry insiders were more creative such as Oliver Rizzo, Lucy Ewing, Joanne Blades, Willy V., Marjolijn de Groot or Koto Bolofo.
     
    #4 XxXRedRubYXxX, Jul 17, 2010
    Last edited by moderator kekeary: Jul 17, 2010
  5. Spike413

    Spike413 barcode

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    iluvjeisa pretty much hit the nail on the head, for me at least. I don't think you can really define what boring is because in any aspect of fashion, be it runway collections, editorials, the models themselves, one person's idea of boring can be another person's idea of beautiful.

    For me at least if I call something boring, which frankly isn't a criticism I throw out that often, it's because I feel like I'm not seeing anything distinct. Take Steven Klein's work for example. Aesthetically I happen to like what he does. The cold, blue toned lighting, rigid posing and dark subject matter appeals to me because I like the way it looks. And technically his photographs are always well done. But after a while I was really just seeing the same few things over and over, with an occasional moment of something fresh to break up the monotony. It's one thing when you an idea of how an editorial or an ad campaign might look or feel (in Klein's case, cold, severe and dark) but it's another when you can kind of predict what the images themselves will look like, what themes they might explore, what kind of styling will be used... I personally don't need to see something groundbreaking to be impressed, but I don't like to be shown the same thing over and over again and be told that it's something different each time.

    I do agree though that the word boring is thrown around too casually, and I have to admit that there are times when I question whether or not a person really bothered to look at the image before declaring it boring. B&W photos seem to get that response a lot, and I often wonder if people find them boring just because they're in b&w, or if because a photo is in b&w it truly does read as similar to every other photo shot in b&w, no matter how distinct, beautifully composed, or visually striking that photo might be.
     
    #5 Spike413, Jul 17, 2010
    Last edited by moderator Ava Madison: Jul 17, 2010
  6. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I feel that the short replies that we see on tfs are the natural outcome of many factors, and most of those are understandable if you pause to consider them.

    Those factors range from people wanting to fit in with others by echoing their style of response, to more practical reasons like someone simply not being able to write that well in the English language.

    It would be a wonderful world if the content we produced got thoughtful feedback from people who have the time and ability to express themselves. But if you're someone who is good at communication and self-expression, it can be easy to take those skills for granted. People do know what they like or don't like - but that's no guarantee that they possess the life experience or self-awareness to know why, and on top of that, the skills to be able to convey that to someone else. Yet they may still wish to be part of a community, and to contribute what they can, even if it appears to be meagre by someone else's standards.

    And a casual approach to rating content isn't something confined to tfs - while the internet may open up innumerable new ways for us to communicate with each other, the sheer amount of content that's produced means there's no time to consider anything in depth. It could be argued that necessity is what causes people to sum things up in a microsecond with few words.

    So I don't believe in becoming negative about the type of reply we see on tfs, and I can't see how a dismissive stance is going to help to improve the situation, if someone wishes to see change. To make the most of an audience, you have to be willing to understand why people behave the way they do, instead of taking the position that 'this is not the way an audience should react'.

    To be honest, a lot of what I see being produced by magazines at the moment seems boring to me, to the point where I'm often not motivated to say anything about what I'm seeing. The economic climate, and the perception that magazines are being menaced by the internet has taken its toll on what type of content the industry is willing to produce.

    I'm also not too fond of the general aesthetic of the models being used these days, as it seems the overall message that's being pushed is one of frailness and disposability in a supposedly modern world. So I can't even enthuse on that simple level - although I like seeing other people's passion, because there's real joy in being a fan of someone and following their career. I might not join in, but I can remember what it was like.
     
  7. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    Well, I can definitely understand those viewpoints. But a forum like this is pretty susceptible to the sheer vast of empty posts. If a lot of people who have nothing to say except a need to say SOMETHING, and, in addition, can't really express themselves - then the result is 90% nothing and 10% something that others might get something out of.

    The campaign threads, in particular, are subject to this. A lot of members feel a need to express themselves without having much to add that makes sense to anyone else - except if you have a special interest in that member and follows what they say religiously...

    We have just added a rule about enforced removal of empty posting in the ad forum - so if anyone has ideas or feedback about that rule, feel free to PM or post in that thread or here, of course.
     
  8. runner

    runner .

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    it doesn't need to be a well-written elaborated post. no one is asking "skills" of those posters who like saying just "boring", "yawn", etc. and I am also one of those who "are not able to write that well in the english language".
    but what I believe is that they are able to say more than just boring, especially if they really want to "contribute". that post only degrades the forum. I like this place. I don't want tfs to be called "festering cloaca" any more.
    even if a post consistes of few words or is awkwardly composed, the post can be creative or interesting or good enough.
    seriously, isn't writing just one word "boring" to someone else's work more dismissive, looking-down, lazy, and boring stance than anything in the first place ?
    is it really what you say when you wish your opinion helps the work improve, when you wish to see change, when you really want to fit in ?
    how is it understandable that does not pardon someone's faults while it has more of its own ?
    unless this is a junior high school classroom or something.
    if you pause to consider all the aspects, you know there is a possibility that it is soulless and characterless by any standard. and the latter in particular smells like a bit of danger since it acts like homogeneity.
    if you know excessive internetting may vitiate your thinking, it seems to me that it's better to mention there is no necessity really. no necessity to deal with such amount and go that far: up to the justification of the act no better than spitting.
    maybe it is a little parting that is necessary. and fill the void with thinking which anyone can have who wants it.
     
  9. Crying Diamonds

    Crying Diamonds Geometric Discharge

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    I am a notorious 'boring' user.
    Which is probably pretty ironic for most people seeing as out of a collection I usually choose the most simple and understated look.
    This idea of people dismissing hours and hours of work with one word doesn't just apply to printwork - I do a fashion course and I know how much time goes into making just one garment, all of the sleepless hours of cutting and sewing, decision making right down to the last stitch, but that doesn't, and will never, stop people (including myself) dismissing something as dull or uninteresting if it doesn't excite them.

    For example: If we just look at the latest Haute Couture collections, how many people just looked at the pieces, decided they've seen them before and said it was "done" or your famous "boring" or even just flat-out hated it? Nobody cares that someone has spent days embroidering that piece of organza for the soul reason that the dress is still hideous.

    It just seems to me that, disregarding the amount of work that has gone into something is what is supposed to happen. Nobody cares about what holds a building up unless they're an architect, as long as it serves its purpose and looks good. Having a tour of the framework would bore most ordinary people - they want to be presented with the fresh exterior and be convinced that it was built for them to enjoy. Which it has.

    As for ad campaigns, photo-shoots and magazine covers, I very rarely see something that appeals to me, and I will say it, but I will never try and influence what other people think (unless I think they're particularly wrong..) because as long as they get a buzz from it, even if it's a naive consumer buzz of being sucked into the image and drawn to love it and everything about it, it's still positive and makes someone happy.

    For me, boring tends to be shots of models doing their 'I am such a model.' poses or anything where the model does all of the work - I want to be inspired by the setting, the clothes she's wearing, who is around her, what she's got in her hand, all of that junk, not just some concave cheeks and an oval pout.
    But I can name people on this forum that would find that sort of think enthralling!
    But it works both ways - most people hate what I love!

    The eye of the beholder!
     
  10. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    Those people who would call tfs a 'festering cloaca' are people who are shortly going to run out of words to adequately describe what else the internet has to offer the human race.

    What I'm saying in this thread is - when people have expectations about what sort of content they want to see on tfs, what are these expectations based on? And I'm trying to talk from the perspective of someone who's not being negative about tfs, because someone has to speak from that viewpoint.

    These expectations about what is posted on the site - are they based on a realistic assessment of what behaviour the construction of tfs encourages? Are people coming to tfs and expecting the site to act as a service that produces free content to a certain standard? If they come here to experience being part of a community forum, how does that influence their communication?

    Because if someone wants to see improvement, considering those things would help provide a basis for practical ways to do that. If we express the view that 'people should put more effort into their posts' but we don't consider why that doesn't happen, or mention how it could actually be encouraged, then we are speaking our minds, but at the same time, perhaps not doing much to improve the situation we're finding fault with.

    So the irony is that people can end up being 'all talk' about the issue of others not posting much. And there seems to be a fashion to bash the place without anyone stretching themselves to be part of any solution. Moreover, consideration for the people who are spending their time creating and maintaining the site, and finding ways to improve it, that seems secondary - and a thankless task.
     
  11. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    The soullessness of which you speak is what I also have against the one word, generic posts. It does not have to be groundbreaking, intellectual or anything like that....because if you apply criteria like that this forum would become insular and pretentious and I'm sure most of us know where to get those kicks....however, some sign of a soul/voice behind a post is important.
     
  12. AgrenateD

    AgrenateD Active Member

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    thankyou for posting this, i have to admit that this is what i've been griping about all along, the lack of expression over work that is supposed to induce opinion from us viewers. this being a forum for a subject as visual as fashion it is sort of dismaying to see almost everything being summarized or dismissed by this word alone. a few more words explaining why someone thinks of this ed or this cover or this collection as flat or dull can in the end all merit us a valuable (and less inane) exchange of ideas, whether it has been poignantly written or painfully straightforward, as long as it justifies the thought expressed. scrolling through pages and pages of empty posts expressing such a dour sentiment can be very irritating (and we already have Supporting Cast for that :lol::ninja:)

    true, we cannot be too stringent to posting rules and definitely we cannot impose that everyone make damn sense since this being an international forum we do not expect members to post in precise english, nor can we enforce them to elaborate every single thought to wordy oblivion. but i do feel that we can make ends meet by making everyone more aware of their posting contributions by perhaps slightly adjusting the posting guidelines for some of the forums to allocate new rules as to what constitutes an empty post for a thread, but that part of course i leave to the mods on how to best improve ^_^


    however i do agree with some here that printwork content as of late isn't much to talk about, there seems to be a drought when it comes to ideas and inspirations for eds and ad campaigns. maybe tFS members are really just too inundated with images that most of us have become rather hard to please when judging printwork, as well as designer collections, but some recent releases have been truly depressingly boring and fail to stimulate any type of reaction from some, other than further dissent over how amazing/boring the said work is. some magazines that were major leaders in creativity have been bland as of late; take for example Vogue Italia, which has churned out consistent lacklustre issues since Cosi Di Moda, with only a few eds standing out in between issues. but then again this is all a matter of personal opinion and preference over content, but i do hope Meisel comes back to his senses :lol:
     
  13. purplethistle

    purplethistle New Member

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    I think for people like myself that aren't in the industry looking at the finished product and just judging that is very easy. The lack of in depth knowledge of photography etc. makes it hard to appreciate or critique the various components that bring to getter a campaign or editorial.

    Sometimes we also get to caught up with fashion having to be something 'new'. Often if some old idea is being reused we don't go as far as to think why is 'this' being referenced 'now' and how is relevant to us?

    Also one might use 'boring' as a way to just leave their negative criticism without having everyone else slagging them for being to harsh. There a probably hundreds of reason why one would use 'boring' and not elaborate on it. But what I do find very annoying is if one person says something like: "This is so boring:ninja:" and then several other people say thing more or less the same words afterwards with out further explanation. If the following people had added some more who knows the person that said 'boring' first might come back and mention how that is exactly what their opinion was but couldn't find the right words to express themselves at the time.
     
  14. MulletProof

    MulletProof Well-Known Member

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    I could not agree more with you, runner and I can relate to the frustration caused when you're bringing something intended for discussion or at least a single line that will generate ideas (positive or negative) and instead, before you even finish presenting the entire material, you find a comment that just labels it as 'borrring'.

    I could try to get around this and come up with interesting theories of why people post one single dismissive word in a discussion board, maybe their English is that bad, maybe they're so crushed that's all they can articulate, maybe they're shy, maybe they really are bored.. but, the few observations I have gathered during my years in message boards only tell me that the 'boring/yawn' commentary often just speaks for one pattern and it's not language barrier, it's an interest barrier.. an interest that's being pushed beyond its capabilities and is exhausted.. permanently disappointed, sometimes the interest does not even exist and other vulnerabilities (often age) influence the need to make you feel like you just have to have it and externalise it as loud as possible. CD compared this to the process behind creating clothes and exhausting yourself on a mental level to the point what you're seeing rarely satisfies you and you end up dismissing it with a simple but meaningful 'Boring', which I can relate to as well. Back to the commentary in a discussion board and applying his comparison, when you take the hard-work process out (considering it's not what's involved in a forum - at least when you're just commenting), you're left with exhaustion and unmotivated to even see what you're commenting about and barely produce words that mean more than a few mumbles and I think it's only natural for those that are not exhausted to wonder how did someone become so bored at something he has had zero involvement with so far (not even visual or referential involvement). Obviously the 'disappointing' is even more perplexing.

    To put it differently, what I mentioned above tends to happen when you're frequenting a place for something that's not really the main topic and want to crossover but it doesn't produce much results so you keep pushing yourself hoping some time, somewhere, you'll find something that awes you in some level, it doesn't even have to be fashion (in this case), it could just be a nice spectacle to validate what you think you're after. To some degree, the place is partly to blame for not emphasizing enough what it's all about, for perhaps letting one finger grow bigger than the entire body, like a cars forum that generates more talk about seats and suddenly everyone wants to discuss leathers and whenever they drop by the engine area just say 'boring'. I think that's what tends to happen here.. SC grew to the point it almost became our little Lesotho (SS too but on a smaller scale) and dragged in a lot of people through the often fickle modeling/celebrity attraction and suddenly they find themselves trying to comprehend more than what they're really interested in. Of course it's not the case of everyone that makes those comments but it is just a mere observation I have noticed around.. even though it's now more palpable than ever, we've always had these type of lazy posts.. and often the people that submit them are the kind that last here 2 years at the most, as new models fade and are replaced by newer (less exciting- 'boring' to understand) ones.
    Other times it's just about finding yourself in a community and yeah, trying to 'fit in' by x-marking territories.. powerposting.. another big topic also related to one-word negative commentary that adds nothing.
     
    #14 MulletProof, Jul 22, 2010
    Last edited by moderator Aviar: Jul 22, 2010
  15. ultramarine

    ultramarine chaos reigns

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    ... as a stylist myself, you have to keep in mind that there is several people you have to please when you do an editorial, some advertising campaign and pretty much everything that´s published needs to be approved by someone ...

    Ok, I might not work for W or Vogue and the feedback I get sometimes is very much gut wrenching like "Please do not use any of the shots with x blouse, you can see the models nipples" and so on and so on ... you have to keep in mind that this are difficult times in fashion (and everywhere) so we must play it safe ...

    True to that fact is tha matter than "safe" doesnt necessarily means "boring" but that the print media has droppped the ball ... they have .. whats with that LV campaign with a model just laying on some dirty grass with twigs and really depressing colors .. I saw it and thought .. even I could do that ... or even with established editors like Grace Coddington and the superbland and repepetive editorial with Natalia V as Little Red Riding Hood ... (twas beautiful .. but it had no story)
    I dunno ... as I said before I think the printed media is just a reflection of the times (and so are all the houses and magazines that keep closing as days go by)
     
  16. runner

    runner .

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    my expectation is based on our relations to others and things: natural and very basic ones.

    it looks to me a bit too arbitrary and one-way.
    for example, frankly, like asking others your own questions, ignoring all the questions asked of you.
    it is thin in a sense of human. the other day someone I didn't know at all was desperately searching for the pics of a certain model walking on a certain runway held over here and asked me to find them because the model's mother was asking the person to find them but the person could not anywhere. though I'm unfamiliar with the model world, I said I'd PM back with the pics if I found them. and I did. it all ended there. it's fine if one is familiar with the other. but if they are strangers, it feels like a cold town. it lacks a sense of human.
    I guess some of the one word posts come from that kind of thing. if one worders feel the exsistence of others behind ( including one who are posting the material as well as ones who did the material/work ), they barely say "boring" in the middle of the material being posted in the thread at least, as Mullet pointed out. even a king/queen wouldn't do such a thing these days. also you might not have to behave exactly like you do in front of the designers/editors, but it's a bit too ridiculous to mistake yourself for a master of the universe even if you are online.

    it seems like the solution partly lies in regaining a bit more of a sense of human, such as the one this place used to have.
    I think it can be created again, through daily life, that is, every single post you make, steadily.
    and it may be spread.
     
    #16 runner, Jul 23, 2010
    Last edited by moderator emmarockstheworld23: Jul 23, 2010
  17. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    I'm wondering, though, if these short comments are a sign of anything else than incompetence/laziness. If you go into a long description of why you don't like something, I am sure a lot of people would interpret that as even more rude...even more full of yourself. Personally, however, I like to hear people's honest opinions as long as they say enough as to convey what they mean (so, not just "boring").

    Basically, I don't understand what stating an opinion has to do with being master of the universe...? Is there something rude about having an opinion?
     
  18. BerlinRocks

    BerlinRocks New Member

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    and probably people say "boring", because fashion has become "boring" ...
    and probably because the 6 months cycle (which tend to become 3 months cycle) have just proven that it is no more possible to live, read, look at, think about and so on. THAT fast !
    * iD is doing a great and much better and packed job since it has stopped monthly publications and start the season-inter-season publications !!!

    * talking about fashion photography and fashion magazines ...
    sincerely, the photographers, stylists and models we're seeing in these world are here for more than 20 yrs, now and most of them cannot stop but repeating themselves.
    i am one of those who defend the artist "corpus" and his/her need to develop a certain technic, a certain theme, a certain approach of life/fashion/art ... but there's a moment, when these people need to do something different, add a little spice in their work ...
    Terry Richardson has become the caricature of himself, Testino is producing the same old stuff, when M&M cannot stop but reproduce Newton and Bourdin ideas (which has a name in art and it is appropriationnism, to make it short and quick, see Sturtevant, Sherrie Levine) etc.

    So basically, when on a forum you just post and got things about these same old people and magazines (how many hits a Metal or Lurve or Fantastic Man magazine got, compared to Vogue or Bazaar ?), there's a moment when you think "BORING" and there's just nothing more to add or share !

    We are observing some new photographers coming in HIGH Fashion magazines (McLellan, Vanderperre) but we need more ... And eventhough, I do think there's too many publications these days, I still think there are not enough "underground", "gatecrashing" ones that are putting over the surface of the iceberg ....


    And I bet it is the same in Fashion Design ..........

    * And, btw, I also use "boring" A LOT ... And sometimes, it is because I lack (correct) english vocabulary & synthax to put the words onto there ... If I could write in french, that would be easier for me ... But perhaps, I should just shut up when I wanna say "boring" (and more and more, I tend and try to apply that strategy)
     
    #18 BerlinRocks, Jul 23, 2010
    Last edited by moderator Socrates: Jul 23, 2010
  19. MulletProof

    MulletProof Well-Known Member

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    I would be more inclined to think it is just incompetence/laziness but sometimes, in very specific cases/members, it feels a bit more like arrogance and ungratefulness.. it's probably an exaggeration but at least that's how it looks to me and how I can relate to runner's comparison of king/queen/master of the universe.. just this attitude that you're sitting on your little throne and others are presenting to you things and you don't think they're worth of anything other than a one-word dismissal 'crap', 'yawn' 'ew' 'boring'.. and the 'now get out' is almost the only thing missing. :lol:
    Does it make any sense?. Some 'personal taste' sensibility may be involved in perceiving these comments like that, especially when you're not bringing just whatever is fresh off the oven for the sake of being the first one who posted it but things that are new and that you also like and think they might be of interest here.


    Anyway, on long posts of criticism, the only times I've seen people getting virtually bottled for elaborating on their negative view was when it was more of a rant and destructive criticism... often verging on attacking others.. and that's really very rare, given our guidelines.. whenever I have posted negative criticism myself or seen others do it in a way that's sincere and not with the intention of offending those who appreciate, there's always an interesting exchange of opinions developed from there, or at least some 'I agree' comment, which might not be the most interesting but at least it proves some people out there still read comments and look at the same collections others just classify as 'boring' in a 5-second scroll and manage to at least see what you saw.
     
  20. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    Oh, well, in general I guess I associate megalomania with the tendency to harshly dismiss other members solely because of their taste or appearance.

    But I agree that it is disrespectful with short dismissive comments like that. However, I think I can come up with a good number of people who better fit the title presumptive master of the universe compared to lazy folk who think they're cool by being perpetually unimpressed.
     

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