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  1. #11
    roy
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    If you are willing to show the picture, presumably you are happy with it. A critique is merely an opinion by someone not involved in the taking process with that picture. Sure, opinions may be interesting and of use in commercial applications but the chances are that given the opportunity again, you might not take the picture again in the same way. If you invite somebody to judge your picture then you must take your medicine !
    roy.

  2. #12
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  3. #13
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    A carefully considered and sensitive critique can only help the author of the work being reviewed although there are times when an almost savage destruction can work too. I think respect is probably an essential element here, the author needs to respect the critic and vice-versa.

    My work has been savaged by high profile photographers and teachers in the UK and I'm convinced that the critiques were a turning point in the development of my photography. At the time of the critiques I was hurt and felt that I was inadequate and a failure. However, after reflection I realised the sense in what had been said and my photography moved forward. The three photographers in question, John Blakemore, Paul Hill and Thomas Joshua Cooper are good friends who I respect very much and they still guide and influence me.

    I frequently look for comment on my images from non photographers who view them with no baggage relating to phototechnique etc., and find their views refreshing for they are responding only to what they see and that it often totally different from the way that I view the image. I think it is essential that we are all prepared to look for, and accept, informed comment on our photography.

  4. #14
    RAP
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    The first photography critique I ever recieved was from my college photo teacher on prints from the very first roll of b&w film I ever shot. He said "These are terrible, horrible, get them out of my sight!" Yes, he was right, they were, muddy, grainy, the worst.

    When reviewing my work later on in the course, he silently went through the prints, pulled one out and said, "This is a masterpiece."

    By next semester, I was his teaching assistant.
    Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.

  5. #15
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    Thank you for all your replies.

    Les, if you would be willing to share this, I am curious to hear more about your turning point, brought about by the criticism of your photography that you mentioned. What was said, and what did you change?

    I like the analogy of a photographer being on a journey. Following that line of thinking, I suppose that there are 2 types of photographers: those that like to travel with others (and we all begin this way), and those who feel their journey is an individual one, on their own path.

    Those photographers who have travelling companions would be eager for criticism of their work from their group because their aim is to conform to the collective sensibilities of the group and to keep together with their group while on their shared journey.

    The other type of photographer, while still sharing the same type of journey, is not that concerned with the paths of others and in fact prefers not to follow an established path because doing so would prevent him/her from finding and following their own unique path. For this type of photgrapher, criticism from photographers on other paths is not that relevent to them. They aren't interested in conforming to someone else's vision, they are focusing on developing their own. (Couldn't help myself from wording the last line that way, sorry.)

    What do you think?

    Frank
    My blog / photo website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

  6. #16

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    I'm jumping in a little late here. A critique or criticism has to come from someone your respect, and it has to give you something useful. To just hear "This is sh_t" is useless. To hear that it is too light/dark or too busy can be useful. We all critique every picture we see anyway, categorizing it into the "like" or "don't like".

  7. #17
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frank
    Aside from technical considerations, how valid is it to suggest changes to someone else's images? Isn't that just saying, "Your vision is flawed. My vision is superior?"
    Isn't all we can say, "My vision matches your vision of a particular image and therefore I like it," or "My vision does not match your vision of this image and therefore I think it can be improved to more closely match what I think it should look like,"?
    Frank S.
    To the original question: It *IS* "valid" to **SUGGEST** some sort of change, with a few hunderd caveats. One must be cognizant of the sensitivities of the critique-ee; never lose sight of the absolute RIGHT of the crititque-ee to make a photograph of whatever the #$!@ s/he wants to; realize the similarities/ differences in each of our individual visions; and above all KEEP it as a [ suggestion ], not a mandate or (ugh!) "command".
    I have had my work "savaged" as described here - I have NEVER gleaned any useful information, let alone inspiration, from that savagery.

    I have Sukach's first law of exhibition: 1. LISTEN to all critique - no matter what the motivation of the critic (takes a lot of self-discipline); 2. CONSIDER the content - I allow about three (3) three seconds; 3. If there is anything of value, INTEGRATE it into your pre-conscious - that is a pearl of great price, and a wonderful discovery ... If there is nothing of value, let it go as if it was never said. No reason to clutter your pre-conscious with unnecessary crap; and 4. Be nice - even though you may want to choke the living #@!$ out of ... anyway, be courteous and civil.

    I'd write much more, but I keep getting timed out here.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  8. #18
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    I think in the beginning, a critique from a seasoned photographer can be useful to improve ones technical ability and eye for composition. There are things that most would think "work" better that other things in more than half the situations.

    I am very certain about something else. When I expose a frame and spend my energy to make a print, I want to make ME happy with it. No matter how great I may think my image is, someone will suggest an improvement that I know would ruin my interpretation of the image. I think the idea, "suit yourself first" is exactly right for fine art photography. It is for that reason that doing commercial photography can be frustrating - people want to pay you to do uninspired work. Thank God for the Sears photo studio -When people want a portrait, I send them right over to Sears! When I want to make their portrait, I'll do it for free - so I can please myself and make the photograph reflect my idea. It also amazes me which photos I sell, not usually my favorites but at least I am satisfied with them and proud of them.
    Frank
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  9. #19
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fhovie
    I think in the beginning, a critique from a seasoned photographer can be useful to improve ones technical ability and eye for composition. There are things that most would think "work" better that other things in more than half the situations.

    I am very certain about something else. When I expose a frame and spend my energy to make a print, I want to make ME happy with it. No matter how great I may think my image is, someone will suggest an improvement that I know would ruin my interpretation of the image. I think the idea, "suit yourself first" is exactly right for fine art photography.
    It depends a LOT on the definition of "critique" from ANY source. The only time I will offer *any* suggestion is in an effort to "expand" the vision of a neophyte. Too often - FAR too often - I've heard the "lofty" dominatotors pass judgement that ONLY serves to LIMIT someone's vision and force them into some sort of "mold". The "finest" vision in my opinion is the unspolied, unadulterated (literally un-"adult"-erated) vision of a child.

    In teaching, I've learned FAR more about vision from my students than I've ever been able to teach them.

    I agree with "making ME happy" - a bunch!!!

    Iahve this carved in stone on my "innards" - the line from "Garden Party" by Ricky Nelson: "You can't please everyone, so you've GOT to please yourself."
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  10. #20
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