Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 2 [3] 4 5 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: How does critique work? Why do we post here?  (Read 10757 times)
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6438



WWW
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2009, 11:09:18 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Christian Miersch
Russ,

I want to say one more thing because it doesnt make much sense to talk around it and I feel its the right moment. First, you are a knowledgeable guy with a big background in photography, and I have gotten great advice from you. But sometimes I experience you a bit as if in fear giving in or loosing territory, insisting. This in my eyes influences how you are viewed and partly depreciates your otherwise very good, spot on and extensive advice. And Im mentioning because your voice here is important to the public.

(Oh well I should not have written it, now Im in fear getting my comment too!!!  )

Nevermind!


Christian

Christian, Your English is excellent considering it's not your first language. I wish I could do anywhere near as well with Spanish, French or Thai. But I'm afraid you lost me on this one. No one should be in fear of giving a comment.

I think what you're saying with this: "...a bit as if in fear giving in or loosing territory, insisting" is that I have very positive views. Yes, I have, and I won't make excuses for that. I've been doing serious photography for 66 years in the United States and in Asia. I've been selling prints out of galleries for many years. I have a collection of books of photographs that covers a wall in my house, and I'm into one or the other of them most evenings. I'm familiar with the history of photography. I teach photography at a retirement community in Florida during the winter, and lecture on photography to other groups from time to time by invitation. Once a year I judge a photo show by the photographers in an art league in central Florida. That's the background from which I make my judgments.

None of this means I'm always right. I make mistakes just like anyone else does, and when I'm offering an opinion, it's just that -- an opinion. Think about the embarrassing oversight John (Button) caught me in on failing to convert my pictures to sRGB before I post them here. That's an absolutely fundamental thing I should have caught right off.

Remember, the main point I've been making in this discussion is that the poster who receives criticism is the one who has to decide the value of the criticism. It's just as reasonable to reject my criticism as it is to reject someone else's criticism. But though you, or anyone else may reject the idea, as far as I'm concerned the real test of a photographer is his photographs -- not what he says about them or about himself.

To me the real problem is that there are people who are excellent artists but nearly incoherent writers, and there are people who are eloquent writers who can't make a decent photograph to save their souls. When I'm looking at criticism I'd really like to know how well the words fit the competence of the writer. Sometimes I'm surprised, but usually not.
Logged

popnfresh
Guest
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2009, 11:38:00 AM »
ReplyReply

Criticism, like photography, can be an art in itself. For me, the number one rule when critiquing someone's work is to be polite. And if you can't be polite, don't critique. That doesn't mean that you can't say you don't like a picture. But if I don't care for a picture, I don't just say I don't like it--I say what doesn't work for me and offer suggestions on how I might have done it differently. But as others have said, it's just an opinion, not gospel. The number 2 rule is don't pontificate. No one has been appointed God in these forums and no one needs to be lectured by anyone else. I prefer to think of this as a forum where we can all learn from each other.

Praise, on the other hand, is always a good thing--especially when you really mean it. I praise effort when I think it deserves praise. I critique when I think I have something constructive to offer. Sometimes, a picture gets some of both.

User Critiques is by far my favorite forum here. Even when I'm not participating in it, I'm perusing it. It's really exciting when you see someone who's been posting for a while really start to show improvement as a photographer.

That's my two cents.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 11:48:56 AM by popnfresh » Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2009, 12:26:59 PM »
ReplyReply

I read this section on and off - seldom post. The reason? I simply donīt believe criticism - or critique, if you prefer - has a legitimate part to play in the life of a photographer or painter or, for that matter, musician.

In my mind, these are artistic endeavours that belong to the artist. To say that something would have been better if only... is, ultimately, only to say what the critic might or might not have done in the same circumstances and worth nothing in real terms.

I learned early on that one of the worst mistakes I could ever have made was to have paid attention to two critics, the first a head honcho in a camera club Iīd joined simply to get using a darkroom (I was trying to get darkroom experience): there was a "competition" where one had to make and show a print on any subject at all. I did a still-life of a mandolin, an old Chianti bottle and a third item Iīve forgotten. The remark? Far too commerical - not good. As I already knew where I wanted my life to go, I was amused if pissed off. The second event was in night school where on mentioning that I was a fan of David Bailey, the "lecturer", who worked in a local studio, informed the class at large that if he shot like Bailey heīd quit photography. Yes, right. I quit the night schol instead and never looked back, Bailey or not. Oh, that studio eventually folded...

So in my mind, I think it an error to subject oneīs work to the opinions of another. Whether he likes your work or not is HIS problem; itīs your work and if you like it, thatīs good enough. As Russ has pointed out - I think it was he - there are too many people around in positions of influence who simply donīt have the ability to practise what they preach which, again for me, makes their opinions worthless if not downright dangerous. The painter paradigm suits beautifully, too.

If you are new, then fine, everybody is at some stage. My suggestions for self-improvement? Simple: look at a lot of work in magazines, browse through libraries and bookshops, cruise the web of an evening, form your own private list of heroes but never, ever ask somebody else anything about aesthetics. Ask about technical matters for sure - saves a lot of time and the LuLa is an excellent resource where I have picked up a lot of information and a lot of direct help. The same is true for small, private groups. But what you put INTO your image is your business.

Never forget that the world is as full of wannabe gurus as it is of wannabe photographers. Hell, you can make a career of both!

Rob C
Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6438



WWW
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2009, 01:15:40 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
...look at a lot of work in magazines, browse through libraries and bookshops, cruise the web of an evening, form your own private list of heroes...

Rob C

Yes! This above all! This also is the way you learn to compose properly on the camera.
Logged

dalethorn
Guest
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2009, 02:53:48 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: RSL
Yes! This above all! This also is the way you learn to compose properly on the camera.

So what do you do when you're perusing those high-fashion mags and the models are walking at a 30 degree angle to the floor?  I've always wondered why they do that (the composition, not the model).

On another note, Nat'l Geog. is putting a new magazine in the stores, title is something akin to "photos by you" - photos submitted to NG by readers.  Now this would be really cool, except it's $11 u.s. and rather tiny.  And there are millions of websites. Which to choose?  That's why I like this forum - instead of skimming the canned sites, here you can observe the struggling photographers first-hand, and even participate.

One of the things that makes finding material difficult is identifying a so-called genre, where I can get a much better hit rate so to speak, so I'm not spending a lot of time looking through images I have no interest in.  I haven't dug into that issue deeply in photography, but I have in the field of music.  And in pop music, to this very day, there is no acceptance or even acknowledgement of my favorite genre in any media I can find.  That's why the original Napster was so great - you could find a tune you liked, then expand that user's list, listen to other tunes and see which other users had them, then expand their lists, and so on.

To do this in photography, you would need shared images, or shared lists of URL's that link directly to specific images, so that you could quickly do as I described above with the old Napster program.  That means when I see an image I like on Joe's site, I check the other images, and for the ones I also like, I can look those actual images up on other people's sites, then expand their lists, etc.

Chances of that ever happening?  No, we seem to be living in a closed-in paranoid world where there's a deathly fear of someone stealing our stuff. Watermarks should have alleviated that, but apparently haven't.
Logged
John R
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1038


« Reply #45 on: July 07, 2009, 09:23:56 PM »
ReplyReply

Well, I have a suggestion. Rather than submit images for critique, why not create a forum for simple exposition of images where people can leave comments if they wish. Limit the images to three per week per person so as not to inundate the forum. The Critique forum will remain and be separate and the new forum will be for people to share their images with other photo enthusiasts. How about that? I do think the Critique forum is overly critical, as if we are all trying to produce top professional quality images. Most people just learn as we go and do the best we can while enjoying photography and sharing with others.

JMR
Logged
shutterpup
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 490


« Reply #46 on: July 07, 2009, 09:36:36 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John R
Well, I have a suggestion. Rather than submit images for critique, why not create a forum for simple exposition of images where people can leave comments if they wish. Limit the images to three per week per person so as not to inundate the forum. The Critique forum will remain and be separate and the new forum will be for people to share their images with other photo enthusiasts. How about that? I do think the Critique forum is overly critical, as if we are all trying to produce top professional quality images. Most people just learn as we go and do the best we can while enjoying photography and sharing with others.

JMR

If you're going to do that, just join a Flickr group. Just my .02

I personally like the style of the Critique forum here. I can at least get honest feedback and information I wouldn't get in a forum that is similar to Flickr.
Logged
button
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 427


WWW
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2009, 10:23:01 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John R
as if we are all trying to produce top professional quality images.
JMR

I thought that was the idea...

John
Logged
byork
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 123



WWW
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2009, 10:28:24 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: shutterpup
If you're going to do that, just join a Flickr group. Just my .02

I personally like the style of the Critique forum here. I can at least get honest feedback and information I wouldn't get in a forum that is similar to Flickr.


I agree....and I for one would be a very happy man if anybody ever said my work was professional quality.
Logged
kikashi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4062



« Reply #49 on: July 08, 2009, 02:35:15 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: shutterpup
I personally like the style of the Critique forum here. I can at least get honest feedback and information I wouldn't get in a forum that is similar to Flickr.
I agree entirely. I don't want uncritical adulation: I want someone to tell me why he (or she) thinks that a shot I consider good doesn't work for him and I'd like him to suggest how it might be improved. I won't necessarily accept all that he says: I'll look at his other posts and his other critiques, and I'll look at any of his photos that I can easily find and then form my own view of his artistic tastes and abilities and how much credence I should give to his views.

Being told that a shot is good, while gratifying, doesn't help my development as a photographer. Being told why it is good, though, helps enormously. When Alain Briot explained why one of the shots I'd posted here worked (for him, at least), I learned something very useful and my eye became a little more trained.

That, for me, is what critique is about.

Jeremy
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 02:36:27 AM by kikashi » Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #50 on: July 08, 2009, 03:16:38 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John R
Well, I have a suggestion. Rather than submit images for critique, why not create a forum for simple exposition of images where people can leave comments if they wish. Limit the images to three per week per person so as not to inundate the forum. The Critique forum will remain and be separate and the new forum will be for people to share their images with other photo enthusiasts. How about that? I do think the Critique forum is overly critical, as if we are all trying to produce top professional quality images. Most people just learn as we go and do the best we can while enjoying photography and sharing with others.

JMR



If one is going to have a space for hanging out the pics, then your suggestion seems better than most, but I would still rather folks didnīt comment. It might be easy to say yes, please, kick my butt, but in reality, the plea is: love me!

If you go to a real, physical gallery, unless you have attracted the eye of a selling person, nobody is going to fill your mind with their way of thinking: you just go, see and decide for yourself if the emperor is in full uniform or otherwise. And your opinion counts most.

The trouble is, as with so much in life, that people expect to find paths, ready-made pathways to the stars. These, generally, donīt exist. It happens in all sorts of directions, from the kid in school who imagines that the teacher will teach him without his having to learn, to the person just starting a business and expecting the clients to flock to him of their own volition. Nobody can do it for you - you start with a talent, a burning desire or you just forever drift in the fog. Why bother with the babel of others when the answers lie within you?

Rob C
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 03:17:41 AM by Rob C » Logged

byork
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 123



WWW
« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2009, 05:09:56 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
If one is going to have a space for hanging out the pics, then your suggestion seems better than most, but I would still rather folks didnīt comment. It might be easy to say yes, please, kick my butt, but in reality, the plea is: love me!

If you go to a real, physical gallery, unless you have attracted the eye of a selling person, nobody is going to fill your mind with their way of thinking: you just go, see and decide for yourself if the emperor is in full uniform or otherwise. And your opinion counts most.

The trouble is, as with so much in life, that people expect to find paths, ready-made pathways to the stars. These, generally, donīt exist. It happens in all sorts of directions, from the kid in school who imagines that the teacher will teach him without his having to learn, to the person just starting a business and expecting the clients to flock to him of their own volition. Nobody can do it for you - you start with a talent, a burning desire or you just forever drift in the fog. Why bother with the babel of others when the answers lie within you?

Rob C

Rob

I can understand exactly where you're coming from with all that....But I would still rather folks did comment. You've got a point about people expecting to find a ready made path to the stars, but I think this mostly applies to the current younger generation (god, now I sound like my dad). Anyway, that's not why I disagree with your view people shouldn't comment.

I love your line about talent & burning desire, because without either you are totally wasting your time with anything you are serious about in life. Photography is something that I have only got passionate about in recent years because my career in another industry consumed my life before that....and thats the way it should be if you want to be successful. All of the successful people I have met in my life have had that same drive, and believe me, I've met and remained friends with some heavyweight and wealthy people. In my career I started at the bottom, with no experience and zero contacts in the industry (a lot of others were 2nd, 3rd & 4th generation). Nobody knew me from a bar of soap, but with that burning desire and enough talent, I made it to the elite level of my profession.

The point I want to make though is I had a lot of help along the way, and without it I wouldn't have reached the level I did. There is still a learning curve that comes from those with experience and I hope that you will be kind enough to share yours. I've seen a lot of people with natural talent never amount to anything because they never had the mentors or just plain refused to listen to anybody.

So in reality...yeah, it would be great if you loved my work, but I might need you to kick my but so I can get there!

Cheers
Brian
Logged
shutterpup
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 490


« Reply #52 on: July 08, 2009, 07:27:23 AM »
ReplyReply

For myself, the reason I started posting photos here was a curiosity about the quality of my shots. I felt that my friends and family were selling me a bag of goods when they said how good the photos were. I wanted some opinion from folks who don't know me, and from folks who could dispassionately comment on my pictures. This is not a panacea for me; it's not a "please tell me I'm wonderful" place. It's a please tell me your opinion and let me consider it.
Logged
russell a
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 389


WWW
« Reply #53 on: July 08, 2009, 08:23:05 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: byork
I agree....and I for one would be a very happy man if anybody ever said my work was professional quality.

Show your work to your Mom.  
Logged
russell a
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 389


WWW
« Reply #54 on: July 08, 2009, 08:28:56 AM »
ReplyReply

Artists show their work to others for one of two reasons:  1)  to seek adulation, 2) to irritate.  As I type this I am wearing my cap on which I had the word "antipodal" embroidered.
Logged
shutterpup
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 490


« Reply #55 on: July 08, 2009, 08:30:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: russell a
Artists show their work to others for one of two reasons:  1)  to seek adulation, 2) to irritate.  As I type this I am wearing my cap on which I had the word "antipodal" embroidered.

What about a deep-seated need to communicate through their art work? What about a desire to improve?
Logged
cmi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 491


« Reply #56 on: July 08, 2009, 08:42:29 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: RSL
...

I think what you're saying with this: "...a bit as if in fear giving in or loosing territory, insisting" is that I have very positive views. Yes, I have, and I won't make excuses for that. I've been doing serious photography for 66 years in the United States and in Asia. I've been selling prints out of galleries for many years. I have a collection of books of photographs that covers a wall in my house, and I'm into one or the other of them most evenings. I'm familiar with the history of photography. I teach photography at a retirement community in Florida during the winter, and lecture on photography to other groups from time to time by invitation. Once a year I judge a photo show by the photographers in an art league in central Florida. That's the background from which I make my judgments.

None of this means I'm always right. I make mistakes just like anyone else does, and when I'm offering an opinion, it's just that -- an opinion. Think about the embarrassing oversight John (Button) caught me in on failing to convert my pictures to sRGB before I post them here. That's an absolutely fundamental thing I should have caught right off.

Remember, the main point I've been making in this discussion is that the poster who receives criticism is the one who has to decide the value of the criticism. It's just as reasonable to reject my criticism as it is to reject someone else's criticism. But though you, or anyone else may reject the idea, as far as I'm concerned the real test of a photographer is his photographs -- not what he says about them or about himself.

To me the real problem is that there are people who are excellent artists but nearly incoherent writers, and there are people who are eloquent writers who can't make a decent photograph to save their souls. When I'm looking at criticism I'd really like to know how well the words fit the competence of the writer. Sometimes I'm surprised, but usually not.

Russ,

I purposefully let pass for me a day to answer so please dont wonder this seems a little bit late. To put it even more simple I just was pissed off by you repeating important things a tad too much - thats all. I also tend to be a bit nervous when I have to disagree somewhere, so much about my last both lines. But thats all my thing! Your response, your view on the other hand is well taken. You obviously are much more knowledgeable than me, for me it was not about that part, after all. At the end I feel when we discuss details, or when I read you here explaining details, I agree in many, if not most things. Also I fully agree to your last stanza (if stanza right in this context).
Its only natural: If there is a break between what someone writes and his pictures, one gotta object to it.  In fact, one main difference between pro- and amateur-forums I observed: The pros talk much less, and what comes out is much more precise. Amateurs tend to rave more, tend focus more often on unimportant details and are maybe, just maybe less able to appreciate a hidden beauty. Also they put sometimes more effort in correcting someone elses work than their own - wich is also a bit suspicious. To say the least.

Ok thats as much as I have to say to it. I finde the athmosphere here now in this thread very good, much better than in other discussions and I would wish it stayed like that  And by the way, I also liked what Rob C, Kikashi and  Byork said.

Cheers,

Christian


PS: I find it funny that you seemed to see this ProPhoto/sRGB save thing as embarassing. (I wanted to comment in the other thread but prefered to wait until I was sorted here, but now I will say it). Maybe its obvious to know, but I dont see such things no longer as embarassing. (Ok I admit I was a bit amused you didnt knew it!) But, I have at some times seen the most keen pros missing such small, or even bigger bits. Thats not embarassing at all, it shows only the obvious fact that we all learn. And by the way, I knew this thing, yet I forget it sometimes too. And in one case it lead me straight to a better image. And after all its my experience that errors often lead to entirely new looks and effects and views.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 08:54:10 AM by Christian Miersch » Logged
John R
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1038


« Reply #57 on: July 08, 2009, 09:01:08 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: shutterpup
What about a deep-seated need to communicate through their art work? What about a desire to improve?
It could be all of those things. What does it matter? I have recieved many awards in the past in Camera clubs, but in the end I just keep shooting because of "a deep-seated need to communicate through (my) their art work." Most others in the clubs felt the same way. It is a passion. I have posted several images in this forum, knowing more or less what I thought about the images, even what others might say- good bad or indifferent- hot spots, rocks in the way, too bright or dark, the oft repeated "lacks tonality," elements that disturb the balance of the image, etc. Pentax has a forum where members can simply post and show their images. People are very excited about their new cameras and lenses and creating new images. It's only drawback is that there are too many postings and people are not limited so that everyone has a chance to show or see other people's work before it vanishes into some long forgotten posting. There is a separate critique section, which is less used. It was just a thought and suggestion. Frankly, if I was going to sell my images in a serious way, I would not bother with posting for critiques.

JMR
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 09:03:20 AM by John R » Logged
Jeremy Payne
Guest
« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2009, 09:06:38 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
Why bother with the babel of others when the answers lie within you?

I get where you are coming from.

Even though the signal-noise is low, there's still some signal ... faint, but there ... and it does help me get better.

For me, it is all about technique.  I've got the "vision" thing.  It's in my blood and it can't be taught, forgotten - or hidden from, as I've learned.

But technique is about trial and error and learning ... and mistakes.  And sometimes, even when you have the vision ... you make a mistake.

But your pride of ownership and the underlying vision can make you try and overlook the mistakes, minimizing the perceived impact they've had on the vision.

And sometimes ... other practitioners - without the pride of ownership - can point out the damage of these mistakes ... and there is nothing like having your mistakes pointed out to you if you'd like to stop making them.


Logged
ckimmerle
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 442



WWW
« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2009, 09:16:11 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
In my mind, these are artistic endeavours that belong to the artist. To say that something would have been better if only... is, ultimately, only to say what the critic might or might not have done in the same circumstances and worth nothing in real terms...


Rob,

I agree with that statement, to a point. Too many people offering critiques offer suggestions on how THEY would have shot the photo, which is often worthless input. I've heard many comments, mostly unsolicited, over the years about cropping, horizon placement, rules-of-thirds (ugh) etc that were little more than an ego stroke for the person giving the critique. A way for them to say that they know better than I. Most of those were by people with just enough experience and knowledge to make them dangerous.

On the other hand, critiques by experienced photographers can be life altering...in a good way. One particular very well-known photographer, whom I cold-called a few years ago asking for a critique (I cannot say who, by his request), offered suggestions and insights that helped improve my work a great deal. Simple things. Things I had, due my over familiarity with my own work, overlooked. I gleaned more in that 1/2 hour conversation than in most of the week-long workshops I have ever attended. I am forever in his debt.

Critiques can certainly help elevate ones work to another level but, as Russ has pointed out, we need to know where the critique is coming from, both in terms of experience and of talent. Without such information, the critique has no foundation for which we can judge validity. That IS a big problem for forums such as this one.

Lastly, we all have the final say with regard to our own work. If we listen to, and are compelled to change, due to poor advice, the blame rests squarely on our own shoulders. The critiquers are, while perhaps ignorant and selfish, blameless.

Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
WWW.CHUCKKIMMERLE.COM
Pages: « 1 2 [3] 4 5 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad