I have a few "confessions" to make. I have posted a few images to the Critique gallery ... not because I see Critiques as some sort of invaluable learning tool - I have never been able to connect learning with masochism, but as a way to gage interest in my work from the surrounding community and .... It has been said, and I agree, wholly, that the "Critique speaks more of the Critic than the work." I concur, but I wold make this more intense ... the Critics really define themselves by their critiques. An important part of art is in the "selection" process.... I "cull" my work, constantly. Once in a while (ahem!) I will find something that "entrances, enraptures, grabs" - me. I would like to share with others that emotional response ...IF POSSIBLE .. it feels damn GOOD! I'm fairly sure one or two will react similarly... and, the others ... Ricky Nelson's Garden Party ... "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." The critiques speak volumes about mindsets, relationships to others, levels of sensitivity, ability to listen, empathizing and seeing through the eyes of others. There is also an indication of flexibility ... does the critic "slam" work not his/her own? Does the landscape photographer speak evil, or glowingly - when it comes to commenting on portraiture? It is nearly a knee-jerk reaction of mine, now. I read a critique and immediately go to the responder's Public Profile. It is really interesting how many will pronounce profound judgement, taking stock of every perceived "flaw" - and when we look to their work for guidance as a positive source of what THEY think is "good" - find that there is none -- they have not posted anything. Not that I consider that a requirement, but it is additional information into their "Being". And that sums it up - I value critiques for the insights they provide into - not my work - but into the critics' BEING. One thing puzzles me - the automatic assumption that the "neophyte" has NO idea of merit - that the real trouble with them is they don't KNOW what is "good" and what is "bad". Unfortunately, I don't consider myself a neophyte any longer ... and I will freely admit to not KNOWING either ... that is, "not knowing with any degree of certainty." I have spent a great deal of time listening to my own reactions ... and marvelling at why they occur. I don't KNOW that, either. APUG is a great resource. The information exchange is wonderful, and it is a great place to interact with kindred souls. The others - well - ALL souls are just not kindred.