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  1. #21

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    Aggie, I think you're right. Too many people are afraid of criticism. What matters about criticism is how you choose to deal with it, regardless of whether it's quality criticism or not. The world would have missed out on a lot of good work if everyone quit when they got their first, "Um... yeah... " response.

    I try to remember that when someone gives my work that look. One of my favorite nano-reviews has been "You spent all that money on those cameras and you made that?" This was the first photo I made where I had visualized the print from the beginning and put a lot of work in it. It was a cheap shot, but so be it.

    I think if a cheap shot puts you off and makes you want to quit, you were never much of an artist anyway.

    ps- But it still sucks.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by harry
    Aggie, I think you're right. Too many people are afraid of criticism. What matters about criticism is how you choose to deal with it, regardless of whether it's quality criticism or not. The world would have missed out on a lot of good work if everyone quit when they got their first, "Um... yeah... " response.

    I try to remember that when someone gives my work that look. One of my favorite nano-reviews has been "You spent all that money on those cameras and you made that?" This was the first photo I made where I had visualized the print from the beginning and put a lot of work in it. It was a cheap shot, but so be it.

    I think if a cheap shot puts you off and makes you want to quit, you were never much of an artist anyway.

    ps- But it still sucks.
    Ah...well, never fails there is an a**hole who thinks this is the right way to make an opinion. Dont let it bother you, I had someone tell me once my prints were crap, so I said, ah well....please show me yours so I can learn. He refused.....figures...:P

  3. #23
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by harry
    "You spent all that money on those cameras and you made that?"
    Yes: And if I'd had to spend twice as much, I would have done so, and been no less happy
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  4. #24
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    Remember that there will always be a few of the nasty self important types out there that will rip just for the fun of it. They are too self absorbed in their own worth to ever teach. I look for the teachers in life.
    That hit the nail on the head Aggie. I had some good photo teachers in College, but there was one highly arrogant one. He subjected everyone to bashing during critique sessions. I had one image that I knew was pretty damn good for a student, and all he could say about it in front of the entire class was "hmm, I don't even see the point of this, this image is a waste of time, why did you even bother printing this?, next please". I was pretty angry about it and my motivation to achieve anything in his class took a dive. After the class was over and he left several classmates came up to me saying that they thought the photo was awesome and don't listen to the jerk.

  5. #25
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean
    I had some good photo teachers in College, but there was one highly arrogant one. He subjected everyone to bashing during critique sessions. I had one image that I knew was pretty damn good for a student, and all he could say about it in front of the entire class was "hmm, I don't even see the point of this, this image is a waste of time, why did you even bother printing this?, next please".
    To me, there is a parallel: A literary critic pronouncing, "This book is crap. I don't know why you wrote it. It is written in Finnish, and I don't read Finnish."

    It is true ... The critique reveals more - actually, nothing more - than the mindset, pre-conditioning - and "being" of the critic.

    We can answer a "call for help" ... "Does any know how I can make the clouds stand out in the sky?"
    We can report on how an image affects US ... how we perceive it through our "vision"; how we react to it emotionally.

    But to pronounce it "good" or "bad" - no way. It may have been "written" in Swahili, and I don't read Swahili.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  6. #26

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    Maybe I've missed it in the replys but I do not recall any mention of intent as a starting point for critique. I cant help but believe that we ourselves begin the critique of our own work by matching it against what was our original intent. In other words what were we trying to communicate to the viewer. An example is -I was teaching a workshop in Maine last week and, as often happens in these situations, many of the staff assistants apporached me with their portfolios throughout the week for my "critique" of their work. In this situation the people showing me their work have intentions of making their living in the future (in some capacity) in photography. In light of that, my approach to discussing their work begins with "what do you want to be doing in photograph?" and then asking "what do you believe your work is about"? Meaning - what is its intention? In fact I cant imagine begining a valid crit without having some idea as to what was the image makers intention behind the work.

  7. #27

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    Sometimes you just have to get stubborn when someone tells you your work is crap or takes personal jabs at you. I had my own experiences with "teachers" and "guidance counsellors" who thought their way was the only right way, and that anyone who "didn't get it" was too stupid to be in their class. Well, those clowns are probably still rotting away in a classroom, endlessly repeating the same coursework and drivel year in and year out. I got my degree, despite my "stupidity", and never looked back. Sometimes it is a good thing to be out "in the world" before college, so you already know your own mind and how to separate out the nonsense. Similarly. there is a website out there (not the one we used to grouse about) that has various categories for photos. The high rated photos of flowers all follow one formula... tight cropping, side lighting and stark black background. Anything that does not fit this formula is rated lower. I don't shoot that way. So, what to do? I shoot MY way and to hell with the "formula".

  8. #28
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie
    What good is a vision and technique, if what you intended was not what others see?
    What "good"? Damn near everything to me.

    I'll "give it *my* best shot. If the work satisfies my own inner criteria of what *I* wanted to "DO" - it goes on the wall. HOPEFULLY someone else wil "get it", but if no one does - *I* have done what I set out to do (note 1).
    I can truthfully say that I have never produced a work that has not affected - "moved" - ANYONE; ... and just as truthfully, a work that has been perceived by EVERYONE as "good". I CAN say that the work was *MINE*, and that is most important - to me.

    I've heard of this before - "*I* will show you the way to say what you want to say" ... and the instructor will demonstrate - but the work invariably ends up "saying" what the instructor wanted it to say ... not the student. This is still useful. There is a underlying question here - how does the instructor KNOW what the student wanted to "say" in the first place? In my opinion, that would take a great deal of "connection", rapport and intimacy. The person I am closest to on the face of this planet is my wife ... and I don't think I'd have much of a clue as to what she would try to "say" at any given time.

    I remember the line from Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party" - "You CAN"T please everyone - so you've got to please yourself."

    Note 1: Art is a verb. I do art in the same way that I fish. I'll be on the stream, casting as well as I know how to. If I am "successful" - that is - if I catch fish ... all well and good. If I don't - I am still doing what I most WANT to do at that moment - Flycasting. So, "success" or not ... it is a "win" - "win" situation - for me.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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