In the old days, a good way to get criticism was to find a handful of folks whose work, and character, one respected and showed them the work.

I sought out a couple folks whose work was different from mine, and a couple whose work was more in line with my sympathies. I often show work to an old friend who is pretty abrasive, as well to a more warm and fuzzy critic. The point is to work with folks whose work, or vision, is sharp yet fairly open minded. I show work to a couple complete non-photographers. Over time I've learned to understand how they see, and how they express themselves. They are reliable for the truth, and not to just give what I might want to hear.

There is a danger to groups like PPA, for the merit print stuff might not have anything to do with your work. You need to develop your own standards, and test your work against other folks vision. Of course, if you admire the PPA vision, great.

Package prints and mail them to friends. Have small viewings with friends. If you don't know the critic, you have no way of understanding the criticism.