We've all shown our photographs to people. While I've never had an official critique per se, there's been comments made about my work that have stuck with me over the years.
Here in Kitimat we have a huge aluminum smelter that has its own newspaper, the Ingot. In the early 1980's I spent some time there as a darkroom technician (slave) and the editor was Gerry Dieter - who ten years earlier was the photographer who documented John Lennon and Yoko's 1969 Montreal "bed-in".
I was a young pup in my early twenties and had a collection of 4x5 contact prints from my wanderings in the forests and mountains on the north coast which I showed him one day. He flipped through the stack and upon finishing he chuckled to himself, "I remember taking pictures like this".
I'm true to myself, and have never taken a photograph because I knew it would sell...in other words, I've kept my photography a purely personal expression. Still, his comment cut like a knife because I knew he was right. My images were all pretty nature scenes, devoid of any real attempt by me to communicate what it is of nature that amazes me.
That changed me.
The other time a comment hit true to home was when I showed those same 4x5 contact prints (the results of my first months in the darkroom) as my entrance portfolio to a fine arts college - there were no drawings or paintings - and they accepted me on the strength of my compositions. I took the same contact prints to the head of the colleges photography department, and he said my printing was good, but my compositions were weak.
I walked away knowing people in positions of power can be blind.
Have you had comments made about your work that's stuck with you over the years, and why?