Critcs and Critiques
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.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
You know Ed you have interesting musings. Why don't you start up a members journal for your mental meanderings? Just a thought. Oh my God what does this say about me??!!
Hmmm... well, I'm not sure where I stand in your judgement, but I will offer my comments (critiques? :-) of your note here...
I'm a recent subscriber, and have found the Critique Gallery one of the best features of the site. I am not a professional photographer, but merely a hobbiest. As such, and with no formal photography education, I find the Critique Gallery a great learning tool.
I believe that collaboration is the essence of learning, and the opportunity to both critique and be critiqued is a wonderful way to advance one's own skill in assessing an image.
I have purposely posted my own judgement of others images, and then followed up in the thread to see if others agreed or disagreed. By this I am able to exercise my own eye and calibrate against the views of many others as well as the original photographer.
Similarly, I have chosen my best images to be critiqued here, and have valued the input.
I do note that there appears to be an unspoken culture that if you really don't like the image, don't hammer it with a negative comment. Thus, I note that several of my images got lots of views but no comments. I take that as feedback, and even the non-comment helps me with my own art.
I like to see what others say about my work. I prefer that people are genuinely critical - giving me feedback, good or bad, on composition, lighting, technical details within the image, etc. I do not expect only positive feedback, and I do expect that others will not see what I saw in the image.
For me, if I only want a pat on the back, I'll place the image in the Standard Gallery. If I want objective, and sometimes painful, critique, I'll put it in the Critique Gallery.
I do hope others will appreciate my feedback in the spirit it is given, and I expect the same in return. And in my case, if I offend I am happy to receive a private message pointing out my offense, and I will be prompt with an apology.
I really like this resource. I think it is advancing me as a photographer. Thanks APUG!
Interesting musing Ed. I have a different take in critiques. First, I only critique images that I like. because the critiquing process for me is about determining what I like about an image. Second, I determine what I don't like about the image. I try to avoid statements like "crop this..." because, in most cases I really don't know what the photographer is trying to say, and because I don't know their likes/dislikes, and I don't choose to inject my likes/disklikes into the process.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
I use the critique process to improve my own work.
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I much prefer critiquing photo's that I can hold in my hand and when the person who took the picture is standing there so, like Robert, I can ask and understand what it is they are attempting with the image.
As far as Ed's post -- I don't have a response. As far as Ed's figure studies go. I love them and suspect I would like them more in person. I like the high key, and I like it when there is more contrast or even blacks. I like the poses they are generally not the self conscious, contrived poses that scream "See I am fine art because I am in this <insert stupid art phrase> pose -- I'm not an excuse to document another young nubile body" Is this making sense? Who cares?
The work has, IM-not so-HO merit. The colour is sometimes a bit wonky, but I like this too. Even though the wonkieness may be a digital artifact or unintended.
Back to the News Hour (its pledge week and I've pledged not to hear them beg).
I read through the criticisms on your images and you are right, the critiques do speak of the critics. They were uniformly honest, thoughtful and constructive reactions to the photographs that you posted.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Me too! Ed, can I come to your studio during a shoot too???? :-)
Originally Posted by mrcallow
I think the biggest problem with critiquing a photo on a website is that many people do not provide enough information to go by.. I see an image and I can talk all day about the composition and how the image makes me feel. I can also say an image is muddy or lacks shadow detail, but without information on how the negative was executed or printed, we wouldn't know the first route to take in helping the photographer correct the error.
I try to never comment on cropping as well, unless they are new to photography. I also feel the artist crops an image a certain way for a reason, and I can only accept it as it is presented.
Critiquing an image is quite easy. What's difficult is actually receiving a critique, rather. All of our work is part of us as a photographer and we tend to take any negative criticism as a personal attack. The hardest part is to accept the critique and apply them to the next photograph we take. My heart sinks when I see people come back with the same shoddy image over and over again even after they've been told what to avoid or how to correct certain problems.
In regards to viewing someone's portfolio in return, I think it is our natural instinct to. It's all about credentials. If a homeless man gives you advice on running a profitable business, would you take his advice over, say... Bill Gates? Okay, bad example, but you get my point! If you don't find the same quality from the person that is expecting so much from you, then it becomes nothing more than a double standard.
Money is not the problem. The problem is, I don't have any.
Let me start by saying i'm really just getting started with photography -- and that these are personal views i'll be further describing.
So, when i started taking pictures seriously and asking for advice from the only pro i knew [and that happened to be... my father] i started to realise what bugs me until the time i'm writing this: closed minds. Yeah, i can take all the technical critique and use it to my advance -- now.
I used to be close minded myself, on the other side though. I hated all the technical stuff of taking a picture and printing it. I experimented with everything, and, well, if the result looked good to me i was happy. What? Apperture? Yeah, i like cinammon cookies myself, thank you very much.
After that age and way of thinking, i've discovered how the "technical stuff" i so much disliked could actually make my photographs look better and help the viewer understand how i was thinking and why i shot this -- what the image is about, in short words. Then, i moved on to asking technical critique -- "is this crop ok, or do you prefer this one?", "are the tones here OK? Should i increase contrast?".
But my worry until now is... subjects. I shoot random things. Anything that comes to mind, anything that triggers me. So why should i apologise for that? Even if the results do not look good, one can simply view another thing on his screen or let my negative and prints album alone, go out for coffee, have sex or view the news on his TV. Why bother so much?
It's a conclusion i've came through: people like seeing things common to them, so they can offer their help. Most photographers i know [from close] really stick on to a subject or a series of subjects close one another and critisise badly or "ignore" everything else. So yeah, if "art" [in which i do not believe, i prefer "expression"] and "artists" are supposed to be so open-minded, why all this negativity? Why not do what makes you happy and let others alone doing what makes them happy?
I can not offer any help with the tech-stuff on anybody's image, so i simply don't comment his or her technique. He/she probaby has a reason for using it. I do comment on images that i like and i usually explain what i like about them though. And i hope that helps... =)
Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.