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Submitted on
December 23, 2012
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Fix that miscat! is the first of a series of articles which aims to help you distinguish between galleries that are commonly confused or abused in the category system here on deviantART. Submitting to the correct categories here can make a huge difference to exposure and feedback for your work as well as features within the Daily Deviations so we want to give you the best chances possible! Let's get started with Artisan Crafts Versus Still Life Photography! 

Artisan Crafts (Culinary) & Still Life Photography

DeviantART is a hive of activity with work from all sorts of genres and areas being shared and submitted on a daily basis. So it's only natural that sometimes, confusion happens. And there are a few pesky categories that are difficult to define and differentiate between. We've recently found that Photography -> Still Life and Artisan Crafts are a great example of this.

Still Life Photography is defined as "Studio-style photography featuring inanimate objects in an arrangement and compositional in design."> That's the up to date description that you'll find when you click the category information when submitting a deviation. Artisan Crafts -> Culinary Arts is defined as "Food that is prepared and presented artistically. Items are usually edible but they can also be meant as decoration." So where, when submitting your Food Photography, do you put it?

Chocolate Crepe by maytel
Artisan Crafts/ Culinary Arts/ Desserts

Artisan Crafts -> Culinary Arts is all about the food. It's about showcasing the best of the food and it doesn't matter if the execution or composition are not the best of the best (although it's always great if they are good) because it's about capturing the food for what it is. If your intention has been to capture the food, to showcase something you made, and you aren't paying much heed to technical details, arrangement or styling, then it is more likely to belong in Artisan Crafts -> Culinary than it is Still Life -> Food.

To look at it in even more detail, maytel, Artisan Crafts CV raises a great point. If she were to take a photo of a slice of apple or a piece of garlic, she is likely to submit it to Still Life Photography - because simply she has not crafted her ingredients in an Artisan Crafts sense. So with Artisan Crafts you are making something, most of the time, from a bunch of things. With Still Life Photography you can photograph a slice of Orange and it's perfectly well categorised within Still Life but would look out of place within Artisan Crafts.

DIY Roasted Garlic by maytel
Photography/ Still Life/ Food & Drink

Still Life Photography is about the execution and the composition. You are likely to spend more time on your surroundings, making sure you have the right backgrounds, the right props and the right lighting. You are more likely to think about what would make the Photograph look good than just snap away. As 3wyl says, It doesn't matter about the kind of food, you could have insects in a bowl and if done well, it'd be an exceptional still life Photograph.

Mini Guinness Cupcakes by maytel
Photography/ Still Life/ Food & Drink

Talty notes that photos of crafts gravitate more towards showing off the work rather than the composition, so simpler backgrounds are usually best... it's interesting to notice that most popular craft photos have simple white backgrounds. If you check out etsy you will notice that this is specially important, about 99% of the items in the front page have white backgrounds.

Caramel Popcorn by maytel
Photography/ Still Life/ Food & Drink

Often, we all forget to frame our shots, to use props and side references and to check our backgrounds. I once took a photo of a forkful of pasta and didn't realise someone's cleavage was framed right behind it. Some wouldn't complain but...yes, so often we forget our surroundings, and when you start to pay attention to those you are starting to think in terms of Still Life Photography. When you are thinking more about your dish, whether it tastes good, whether the ingredients are right and whether you've burned it or not - well, you're thinking like an Artisan Crafter. If you do both of the above - then you're no more enlightened than you were at the beginning of the article and we suggest, flip a coin to decide where to place your work!

~ 3wyl maytel Talty & Kaz-D

This is the first article in a series that aims to help you Fix that Miscat! There are lots of common misconceptions, myths and deep mysterious legends about what belongs where here on deviantART. The first article today aims to address the issue between categorising your work as Artisan Crafts or Still Life Photography. If you've got a burning question about what belongs where just note #communityrelations with your issue and we'll address it! Standby for future weeks of Fix that Miscat! and don't forget to :+fav: this article if you enjoyed it!
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greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013

Good point, well made (and of course universally applicable).

But I think the big problem here is just laziness - sometimes combined with plain stupidity. Several times when I've commented on a miscat, the reply has been on either of two lines:

1) "I just put it in the first one that came up."

2) "Most of my stuff is in that category, so I put this one in there too."

These, and other replies suggest that the usual approach is: "I didn't think." No, buster, you didn't - and usually that's apparent in your "art" too.

Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Regarding your other comment, would you consider putting your thoughts into a blog for %CRPhotography? :)

Indeed it is a case of laziness a lot of the time, picking the first thing that's in the list. Or intentionally mis-categorising because it gains the image more views that way. And so on. The biggest thing though is assumption. Assumption that what they interpret the meaning of a category to be - is correct. When it's not :D
greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013

For a different purpose, I looked through the first 250 posts I came across in the "Photography: Self-portraits" category (see my Journal entry "Ideas of the self on dA"). I found at least six which weren't even photographs, and two which were actually captioned as being of someone other than the photographer. That's three (actually 3.2) percent - more than three in every hundred posts were knowingly placed in the wrong category.

Now, there were some comments on my Journal post about the general invalidity of, and possible sources of bias in, my statistics. It may indeed be especially true of that particular category that it attracts more than its fair share of posts from vain, lazy, self-obsessed, ignorant, sloppy-minded thickoes. But even if my count is more than triple the general average for dA, that means we still face the problem that, of the millions of posts on this gallery/workshop site, we can confidently expect (or fear) that something like one in every hundred posts is a miscat: not from confusion about category definitions, not from doubts about where a multi-faceted work might fit, not even from any deliberate, thoughtful intention to subvert conventional ideas about "categories": but simply from stupidity and laziness and total ignorance about art.

And that should be a worry.

As to your other point: well, I'm not a blogger (detest the things, and anyway I wouldn't know how to do it - I'm not a techno person). I think the best way, if you're happy with the idea, would be for me to join your group and post a text piece or essay which people can argue about.

petrova Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist
Thank you for a great article :clap:
icy-ciel Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
this is very helpful! thank you :D
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Sarah-BK Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It's a pity though that many people miscat on purpose - just for the exposure. Right now I'm checking out the photography section of the last 8 hours, and there's:

- A flower which is categorized as "Still life / Other" when clearly... it is a flower.
- One with a bird, categorized in "Photography / Other" when it clearly needs to go into "Animals / Domesticated Animals"
- A snowy landscape in "Photography / Other" when it clearly should go to "Landscapes"
- A webcam photo of a girl ALSO in "Photography / Other" which should obviously go into the "People and Portraits" gallery...
This is just in the first 60 at this point in time - you'd be amazed as to how many don't seem to fit in any of the provided galleries and are put in other! Then we can't forget the number of deviants that do not ensure 18+ deviations are covered up for the younger kids on the site...

This means that some crap deviations get a few favorites and are displayed before many other better ones which get more favorites but because it's a popular cat, just go unnoticed which is fair on those who follow the right rules :/ The miscat will remain a problem because of this I'm sure :/
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes this is a huge problem :( one that hopefully will be tackled in future! :)
Sarah-BK Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Indeed.. :)
Leichenengel Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You should do a Serie about the Mixed Media Categories...
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