I'd love to see the reactions on APUG to an unknown Sally Mann, unknown Diane Arbus, unknown Robert Mapplethorpe...or even, to take provocative subject matter off the table, an unknown Man Ray.
You know what I think, I think there are some excellent photographers contributing to the galleries on APUG and more than a few poor ones. Many of the poor ones are people with limited skills working hard to improve. Some of them will and some of them have something unique and interesting to offer. Some of the poor ones are skillful but have nothing at all to say, visually. Some of those people are entirely absorbed in the mechanics of photography because that's all they've got. All this artsy-fartsy navel gazing goes right over their heads. Some of these philistines couldn't open their minds far enough to get their heads around some of these concepts if we brought in the jaws of life.
To some people, I'm a poor photographer with no skill and/or nothing to say. You know what? My skin is thick enough to hear that. You know why? Because I know the difference between a community that is hostile to me (and this community isn't) and the opinions of a few individuals. If I post to the critique gallery then I am asking for feedback. I have little to say about the form of that feedback. Sometimes the feedback will be uninformed and if I recognize that, how much weight do I give it? Sometimes it will be clumsy or rude. I may or may not choose to glean any wisdom wrapped in the rudeness depending on my tolerance for the abuse but I'm sure not going to let someone else's lack of courtesy or inability to treat people or work with respect affect *my* self-esteem.
The little kerfuffle that's been going on lately is so familiar to any of us that have spent any time in on-line communities. The meta-dynamics are not unique to APUG or any photography forums. This noise is archetypal on the Intertubes. They're not worth fighting over. People will get huffy and leave...often they will be people we wish would stay...sometimes they will speechify before they go...some will advise them not to let the "front door hit them on the backside." Nothing will cancel that series. It's in permanent syndication.
What is worth fighting about...or at least having a continual, civil dialogue about, is what kind of boundaries and what kinds of tools are desirable and undesirable in a commons where people with divergent frames of reference and contexts of various breadths wish to come together to talk about a common, yet broad range of related subjects.
I side with those that advocate more tools so that those that wish to protect themselves from that which they wish to avoid may do so...and with those that advocate for fewer rules so that those that wish to decide for themselves what's tolerable and what is not may do so.
Last edited by jstraw; 11-22-2006 at 02:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.