Awesome! courtesy and the invisible hand

by Stefan Fletcher April. 06, 2009 7330 views

While I wait with baited, baited breath for the PB Michaels to respond to the suggestion [] in the forum about a “show and tell” section, I thought I’d have another crack at criticism.

There’s a French adage which says that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by our perception. The internet is such an opaque medium. It filters out so much of what humans need to communicate that we all resort to those ridiculous emoticons in lieu of facial or tonal information to add humour, irony, deprecation or just a smile. As there are fewer social controls here, it is all too easy to be misrepresented and to lose proportion. Perhaps that’s why most of you err on the side of caution and politeness, and it’s all to your credit. Some of us type first – and think later, if at all.

Adam Smith coined the term “the invisible hand” to describe how markets self-regulate. Well, “markets” is a dirty word these days, but I see the invisible hand of courteous self-regulation throughout PB. Once in a while someone seems to be using only its middle finger – and I’m sure I’ve been considered guilty of that, too.

But is it better to be honest or polite? The issue is increasingly prevalent as we communicate more and more “virtually” (ha!) without the restraining factors of real human intercourse. (Don’t go there…) As I grow older, I find the ritual copy-and-paste salutations in electronic communication increasingly meaningless, but I fear they might become Shibboleths. For example, “awesome”, “cool”, “great”, etc. are workhorse words, but I think they should be put out to pasture after so much hard usage. Or preferably sent to the knackers’ yard. Perhaps there should be some buttons, even with smileys (God forbid) at the bottom of each page, to prevent the risk of tendinitis from ctrl+v’ing these words. I’m sure those of you with 6,347 friends out there would applaud the addition. Or maybe you wouldn’t…

Anyway, I hope the luckless beneficiaries of my facetious humour and/or criticism appreciate it for what it’s worth: wonderful if inspiring, useful if constructive, amusing otherwise (I can hope, can’t I?) or not worth a jot if none of the above. And I shall do the same.

By the way, most – if not all – of these images are reposts. Feel free to criticise my lack of originality or anything else that comes to mind, but please don't use the a* word, the c*word or the g*word. You can, of course, use the fuck w.

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There are 29 comments , add yours!
Ambikarajgopal 11 years, 5 months ago

OH wow... 5th is an amazing shot... I LOVE the way you have used the depth of field to your advantage..Also the texture has come out very well.

11 years, 5 months ago Edited
Teo 12 years ago

A most interesting and inspired collection

12 years ago Edited
Sandra Vermeulen 12 years ago

3 is put at my favourites, ...why ?
It is amazingly beautiful, it gives my that "W-O-W" feeling !!!

12 years ago Edited
Jarvo J 12 years, 1 month ago

Number 1 went straight into my favourites. I really like the contrast - the way that the stems almost blend into the background leafing the flowers looking as if they are suspended. This shot manages to be awsome cool and great.

That said, I share your concerns about the way we communicate. My greatest worry is that we use (and yes I am as guilty as anyone)superlatives so casually that they lose their meaning and leave us with nothing to say when we do see an image that is extraordinary. Every time I do the rounds of my friends blogs I start out thinking that I'm going to be very guarded in my language saving words like "great" or "love" only for the most special pictures. Then, when I come to writing something, I become aware of the phenomenom of damning with feint praise and off I go again, "Oh dahlings, it's so wonderful...."

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
David Heroux 12 years, 1 month ago

So delicate, The lighting is such that it does not force you to look at it. Instead the way you lit the subject lets you just enjoy the subject itself without being overpowered by lighting "tricks". Great job. DH

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Hong S 12 years, 1 month ago

lovelyy,, nice shot,,

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Emme Tan 12 years, 1 month ago

i have to say the 1st and the last shot - love them - the angle and lighting just nice.

By the way, my daughter's Chinese name is "Hai Yu", which is the Chinese name of this flower - Carla Lily. It's my fav flower too :)

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Karen 12 years, 1 month ago

oh god, I don't know what to say!! Can I use the word stunning? They're stunning. If I love a picture, usually I don't know why, I just love it. So you'll only get one word comments from me..usually. And these are stunning. So jealous.....

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Ibrahim 12 years, 1 month ago


12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Rosely Kig 12 years, 1 month ago

Wow! What beautiful pictures!!!

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Dorothe 12 years, 1 month ago

Even though my vocabulary is limited, I will try. 1,2,3 colours, light and dof are great. I Don`t agree with the line management. for my opinion it might be better to mirror them (positiv line management) 2nd is too much place on the right side, to less upside and downside. 4 and 6 are centered, not my case for that theme.

If you really want a discussion of you pictures, I think that 7 are too much.

But they they are g.... (smile)

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Anna 12 years, 1 month ago

perfect set !!!

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Miclaud 12 years, 1 month ago


12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Piyali 12 years, 1 month ago

I was just about to use a* word or the c*word or the g*word-but then I read what you have written--so refrained on using those particular word just for this one maybe--
But I must say your pictures have qualities that delight the eye (that was a tough one to find)----

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Mehdi Saharkhiz 12 years, 1 month ago

just a great set

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Tim 12 years, 1 month ago

wow,,awesome,,,cool,,,,no,,I mean,,,great....hahahhahaha

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Lynda 12 years, 1 month ago

Luminescent set and manners maketh the man (and woman!)

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Lynda 12 years, 1 month ago

It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses.
?? Mrs. Patrick Campbell

Perhaps we all are afraid of frightening the horses??whoever they may be. Perhaps it takes too much time to really observe and then to think or perhaps so many are so busy collecting comments that 'tis only the aggregate of numbers that is of import.

Here's a go. I wish you had included the "how" of these photos. I think it was John Ciardi who said, "It isn't what a poem means , but how a poem means." I want to know the how in these photos.

I'm drawn to the first photo, but after looking at it for a spell I found that my eye fought with the composition.

It's the drama of values and the starkness of the contrast of the flower and the background that draws me to your flowers.

I'll refrain from using any of the words put out to pasture and simply say I am struck all of a heap??

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Peace4kidss 12 years, 1 month ago


12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Rob Tulk 12 years, 1 month ago

As someone with a limited vocabulary who often runs out of intelligent words to use (judging by the amount of naughty words I say) can I just point out the lighting in these pictues is sublime, nay splendiferous even.

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Mikkal Noptek 12 years, 1 month ago

Magnifique utilisation de la lumière, du fond noir et de la mise au point.

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Nathalie Delmas 12 years, 1 month ago

merci pour tes remarques et suggestions... que te dire sur ces photos de fleurs, si ce n'est qu'elles sont superbes! allez moi aussi je vais y aller de ma petite remarque, la 6 est peut-être coupée un petit peu trop bas...

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Pennywyatt 12 years, 1 month ago

I think that your flowers here are very pretty, the last one is my favorite. I understand your commentary, but, personally I don't like the "f" word. To me it means one has run out of intelegent words to use. I assume by your pictures that you don't have a limited vocabulary, as your pictures speak words I can't hear. You are a very good photographer and I love looking at your pictures. I will try to use better words in the future instead of "cool" "great" and so forth if you won't use the "f" word.

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Soulcurry 12 years, 1 month ago

Arum lilies make for great subjects. I'd love to see a photo when you hold one up against the light. The whole set is marvellous. As usual.

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Brian 12 years, 1 month ago

Ok, what is the 'knackers yard'? My google translate tool is of no use. I think you have been making a tactical mistake with your posts or maybe it's brilliant depending on how you look at it, but after ready your post and choking on my dinner (which I was eating at the time) from laughter, I totally forgot you actually had pictures posted until I just happened to scroll back up and caught them as an afterthought ( Although I must say they are so totally freaking awesome). I think PB should allow the format to have the commentary up top so that they don't drown out the pictures!

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Laura 12 years, 1 month ago

Stunning photos!

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Susan Jane 12 years, 1 month ago

Awesome awesome wonderful!!!!

12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Crisu 12 years, 1 month ago


12 years, 1 month ago Edited
Stefan Fletcher 12 years, 1 month ago

Pardon my dog's French above. And apologies for the triple play on words.

12 years, 1 month ago Edited