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Author Topic: importance of independent input  (Read 10097 times)
wmchauncey
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« on: December 06, 2013, 06:35:30 PM »
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Is outside input necessary in your growth as an artist/photographer/chef?
I would submit that you need evaluations from a neutral source to grade your skill set...the difficulty arises when those neutral sources are themselves, somewhat questionable.
I find it a bit disconcerting that an image displayed on one site receives rave reviews while getting the opposite on other sites.
Take a moment and peruse the C&C section on these pages just to see how often the threads tend to stray off topic.  Are our members that devoid of anything constructive to write?
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The things you do for yourself die with you, the things you do for others live forever.
A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

My stuff...http://1x.com/member/chauncey43
Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 06:56:52 PM »
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Is outside input necessary in your growth as an artist/photographer/chef?
I would submit that you need evaluations from a neutral source to grade your skill set...the difficulty arises when those neutral sources are themselves, somewhat questionable.
I find it a bit disconcerting that an image displayed on one site receives rave reviews while getting the opposite on other sites.
Take a moment and peruse the C&C section on these pages just to see how often the threads tend to stray off topic.  Are our members that devoid of anything constructive to write?


It is your responsibility to use the feedback you get - in one way or another.
Feedback can help a lot - but after all you are the one to filter and judge for yourself in the end.
When this is clear even the most stupid comment can help.
And yes - there is no such thing as a neutral source.
Critiques also depend greatly on daily moods and daily mix of people online.
Sometimes a good image get get lost when posted at the wrong moment.
Sometimes questionable images get lots of positive feedback and no one knows why.
As much as there are no magic bullets there are no fool proof critiques you can trust entirely or blindly.

Cheers
~Chris
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 08:32:14 PM »
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OP...On another forum they had plenty of critics that said my stuff was crap. Never a good word from most of them. The best I could hope for was silence.

Here was what some of them had to say about me...

"I don't like color."
"I don't like BW."
"I don't like HDR."
"I don't selective color."
"I don't like diffusion."
"I don't like Hyper-Real, it is too cartoonish."
"Your photos are too contrasty."
"Your photos are too grainy."
"Why don't you take pictures of something pretty like flowers or a sunset instead of those ugly things."
"Your trying to make something out of nothing."
"Your photos are too sensational."
"Don't photograph the homeless."
"Don't photograph kids without their parents permission."
"I find photos of people boring."
"Your not a good photographer."
'Your exploiting the homeless."
'Your photograph does not work."
"I don't like flower photographs they are boring."
"I don't understand what were you trying to say?"
"Digital photography is not real photography."
"You work is not museum worthy."
"Your work is over processed."
"Don't take pictures of people in public without their permission."
"Don't photograph anorexics."
"Cover up her breasts."
"Your photos are staged."
"I don't like your photo because it leaves nothing for the imagination."
"Your photography is vernacular."
"You should trash that photo."
"I don't like fisheye photos."
"I don't like wide-angle distortion."
"Don't send unsolicited photos to museums."
"She (the person in the photo) is a drunk…she is fat…she is an attention whore…she needs to go to the gym…she is trailer trash."
"Your self-centered"
'Your self-absorbed"
'Your inconsiderate"
"Your a phony...your all talk...you don't know how to take photographs." (When I don't send in any photos to the forums.)
"Your a troll...your looking for attention...your trying to boost your website traffic...your an egomaniac." (When I do send in photos to the forums.)
"Your goofy"


Well…working hard for the last year I was able to place my photography at the following public instituions during the last 11 months. (Except LACMA was placed in 1974)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
Rhode Island School of Design - Special Collections Fleet Library, Rhode Island
Oxford Bodleian Library - Special Collections U.K.
Toronto University - Thomas Fischer Rare Book Library, Canada
British Library - Special Collections, U.K.
Rutgers University - Special Collections Library, New Jersey
Columbia University - Special Collections Avery Fine Arts Library , New York
Oglebay Institute - Stifel Fine Arts Center, West Virginia
Mennello Museum of Art, Florida
Art Center College of Design - Special Collections, California
Brown University - Special Collections Art and Architecture Library, Rhode Island
University of California Berkeley - Special Collections Art Library, California
The Art Museum at The University of Kentucky, Kentucky *
Mead Art Museum - Amherst College, Massachusetts
Victoria and Albert Museum - National Art Library, U.K.
NYU - Special Collections Fales Library, New York
Amherst College - Special Collections Library, Massachusetts
Stanford University - Special Collections Art & Architecture Library, California
Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, China
Allen Memorial Museum - Oberlin College, Ohio
University of Exeter - Bill Douglas Centre, U.K.
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center - Vassar College, New York
Flint Institute of Art, Michigan *
Noyes Museum of Art - Stockton College, New Jersey
RISD Museum, Rhode Island *
California State Library Sacramento - Special Collections, California
International Center of Photography - Special Collections Library, New York
Fashion Institute of Technology - Special Collections Marcus Library, New York
Wright State University - Special Collections Dept of Art and History, Ohio
American Motorcycle Museum - Pinkerton, Ohio
National University of Singapore Art Museum, Singapore ***
Colby Museum of Art - Colby College, Maine *
Tweed Museum of Art - University of Minnesota, Minnesota **
The Kinsey Institute, Indiana
University of  Southern California - One Archives, California
Bibliotheque Kandinsky Special Collections - Centre Pompidou,  France *
San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas *
Spencer Museum of Art - University of Kansas, Kansas *
Yale University - Special Collections Haas Art Library, Connecticut
UCLA - Special Collections Charles E. Young Research Library, California
UCONN - Special Collections Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Connecticut
Brooklyn Museum Library - Special Collections, New York
Muscarelle Museum of Art - College of William and Mary, Virginia *
The National Library of Sweden - Special Collections, Sweden **
Museum of Fine Art Houston - Special Collections Hirsch Library, Texas **
The University of Chicago - Special Collections Library, Illinois **

* Delivered - Pending Board Approval
** Accepted - Pending Delivery
*** Requested, Pending Delivery and Board Approval


This list is not up to date. I can add another 10 to it. No time to update it. Maybe this is a world record? Don't know or care. Sure some photogs have more placements. But who gets near 55 or 60 in 11 months? My goal is to archive my work before I kick off and that is what I’ve been doing. And I'm still not done.

But to get back to your subject at hand. I have an extensive photo book library and use it. I learn from the net as well. But most of all I shoot like hell and have 44 years of experience of making mistakes.

You can have 2 parties look at the same thing and one likes one hates. So your question about forums liking or hating can be correct. Also the people viewing have certain likes. I’m not much of a landscape person, I like doc work. Some people say they hate people photos and just like sunsets. You can’t argue taste. In my own case, Oxford and Columbia liked my work but Harvard and Princeton did not. You can’t force them to like one's work.

In the end we just have to come to peace with our work and let the critics huff, puff and stew in their own juices.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 08:38:09 PM by iluvmycam » Logged
amolitor
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 11:44:56 AM »
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iluvmycam, the most common remark I have seen directed at you is 'my goodness, you certainly do talk about yourself a lot'

External input is important if what you're trying to do it connect with people. If you're working only to please yourself, well then, don't worry about what other people think unless you're stuck.

If you DO get stuck, other people is a resource you can apply to try to get yourself unstuck. If you ARE trying to connect with other people, then testing your work to see if it does in fact connect, and in what way, is pretty important. People are tricky things, and so is art. It's easy to make stuff that you think will obviously connect with just about anybody, and have it totally fall flat.
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Isaac
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 12:19:51 PM »
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I would submit that you need evaluations from a neutral source...

No such thing.

Are our members that devoid of anything constructive to write?

Frequently, yes; and they we write for their our amusement, not your betterment.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 01:28:44 PM by Isaac » Logged
Telecaster
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 01:24:24 PM »
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I photograph mostly for myself, and thus I'm not that concerned about other folks' take on my "work." However there are certain people I know whose judgement I value, and they are who I turn to for critique. Or more accurately, I welcome it when they choose to offer it.   Wink  This I find valuable. The online world serves up mostly a cacophony of opinion/noise/invective/grievance/fawning. IMO not much of value. Very rarely do I post something online that I've printed and put on display in my (or a friend's) home. When I do post pics—not counting iPhone stuff for my Twitter feed—it's typically to illustrate technical points. I also rarely comment on other people's photos either, though I do frequently look at them.

-Dave-
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PeterAit
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 12:18:32 PM »
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Is outside input necessary in your growth as an artist/photographer/chef?
I would submit that you need evaluations from a neutral source to grade your skill set...the difficulty arises when those neutral sources are themselves, somewhat questionable.
I find it a bit disconcerting that an image displayed on one site receives rave reviews while getting the opposite on other sites.
Take a moment and peruse the C&C section on these pages just to see how often the threads tend to stray off topic.  Are our members that devoid of anything constructive to write?


There are no "neutral sources." Period. Input from other people can be useful, but in the end you must decide for yourself. That's what makes it art and not engineering.
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Peter
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 01:38:48 PM »
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Why would anyone who placed their stuff in so many institutions care what some unknown people say on the internet?
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wmchauncey
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2013, 01:39:20 PM »
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My career, prior to retirement, represented the epitome of left brain activity...you were either right or wrong, devoid of subjective opinions.
Photography and the photographic arts represents the first exploration into my right brain activity and it's turning out to be a relatively obtuse journey.
One that is governed purely by opinion, not fact...it is that subjective outlook that is causing me angst.
It's almost like an old joke where you ask an opinion of two artists...ya get three opinions.  Oy vey      Grin
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The things you do for yourself die with you, the things you do for others live forever.
A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

My stuff...http://1x.com/member/chauncey43
Alan Klein
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 03:47:05 PM »
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Perfectionism is a no-win.  Lighten up on yourself.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2013, 03:49:18 PM »
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My career, prior to retirement, represented the epitome of left brain activity...you were either right or wrong, devoid of subjective opinions.
Photography and the photographic arts represents the first exploration into my right brain activity and it's turning out to be a relatively obtuse journey.
One that is governed purely by opinion, not fact...it is that subjective outlook that is causing me angst.
It's almost like an old joke where you ask an opinion of two artists...ya get three opinions.  Oy vey      Grin

Get rid of both brains and you're going to experience a previously unknown boost of creativity ... Wink
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RSL
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2013, 01:15:52 PM »
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Chris is right, Chauncy. Stop trying to combine thinking and photography. It doesn't work. What works is a well-developed gut response.
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Telecaster
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2013, 09:28:25 PM »
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Chris is right, Chauncy. Stop trying to combine thinking and photography. It doesn't work. What works is a well-developed gut response.

I agree regarding my own pic-taking. Most of my favorites from my own stuff are the observed moments. See it, frame it, shoot it. 1 2 3 done. Now I'll usually work a subject if that's possible, and sometimes a later photo will stand out from the others. But it's mostly the initial impulse that works best.

-Dave-
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2013, 01:13:06 PM »
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This list is not up to date. I can add another 10 to it. No time to update it. Maybe this is a world record? Don't know or care. Sure some photogs have more placements. But who gets near 55 or 60 in 11 months? My goal is to archive my work before I kick off and that is what I’ve been doing. And I'm still not done.



I have seen your name on these forums before but I have never met such a successful photographer before!  That is an impressive list of galleries who exhibit your work.  Do you have a website because an internet search has not revealed anything.

Jim
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NancyP
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2013, 04:34:07 PM »
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What I want to know is what iluvmycam submitted to the Kinsey Institute!   Cheesy
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2013, 03:33:15 AM »
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What I want to know is what iluvmycam submitted to the Kinsey Institute!   Cheesy


Matchstick men and women.

I did a nice one with Action Man and Cindy/Sindy(?) in the 70s, and it was enjoyed in an ad agency office.

As photographically close as I ever wanted to get to the dark side. I think I used a 500C.

;-)

Rob C
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Michael Haspert
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2013, 03:50:29 PM »
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wmchauncey opens an interesting can of worms regarding feedback. So, I'll take another swing at the OP. My perspective is that of someone who is an amateur at photography but who is also experienced at reconciling ambiguous and contradictory input because of my day jobs.

Is outside input necessary in your growth as an artist/photographer/chef?
Absolutely. Only you know the goal of a particular effort, but most people have trouble judging their own work. Those who understand the possibilities of whatever you are working with can help you judge how close you came to your goal. They can offer alternatives from experience and accelerate the learning process. This is exactly why I post my amateurish efforts for the pros on LuLa to see.

I would submit that you need evaluations from a neutral source to grade your skill set...the difficulty arises when those neutral sources are themselves, somewhat questionable.
1. I believe the closest anyone can come to neutral (aesthetically speaking) is to make their biases known as part of their input. If they don't, you have to do the work of figuring out their biases in order to profit from their critiques.  

2. It's up to you to recognize the questionable advice. When an image I post on LuLa gets a comment showing evidence of thought I return the favor. I study that person's work to see where he is coming from and what he does better than me. I interpret his comment in terms of his work.      
 
I find it a bit disconcerting that an image displayed on one site receives rave reviews while getting the opposite on other sites.
1. Commenters being overly swayed by the first comment and "following the leader" is a well-known psychological effect.

2. A real critique takes a dialogue IMHO. Unless the comment is from someone you can already interpret, single one-line comments are not so useful, as iluvmycam so hilariously demonstrated.

I'll try asking wmchauncey's question in a different form-- hoping to elicit some interesting stories.

Have you ever gotten a critique or comment that was a real eye-opener, something that changed the way you approached your work?
Followup question: Why did that particular one have such an impact?


As always, thank you all for the free lessons.    
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 03:52:09 PM by Michael Haspert » Logged
wmchauncey
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2013, 06:48:15 PM »
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Quote
who is also experienced at reconciling ambiguous and contradictory input
Michael...I'm 70 y/o and haven't a clue what that means.         Huh
Aside from that, I have, the last couple of years, from various sources, received a lot of positive input regarding the quality of my stuff.
But more importantly, were not adverse to communicating the fact that some of that stuff had all the artistic value of teats on a bull.
That positive and negative feedback from folks that I grew to trust has helped overcome the low self esteem that plagued me for years.
To the point that I now feel comfortable with a sharing site.

Culling the chafe in C&C was difficult and time consuming but worth it.     
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The things you do for yourself die with you, the things you do for others live forever.
A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

My stuff...http://1x.com/member/chauncey43
Alan Klein
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2013, 11:27:34 PM »
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Ask people to comment on how they would improve your shot.  Let them post an edited image if that would help.  I'm finding that if you specifically ask people for negative comments, they won't be shy about giving them.  Often people give positive or no comments rather than feeling they might be insulting you.  However, it's the negative comments that will improve your photography the most.  The positive comments just hype your ego.  They will also let you miss the "mistakes" in the photo so you repeat them.  If they don't explain what they didn't like about your photo, ask them.  Get into a dialogue with them like they were over your house discussing your print on the wall.

Here's a recent sample of a film shot I screwed up in processing and asked for comments.   This is what I wrote when I posted the picture: "C&C appreciated. How would you improve it? Picture edits can be posted. Thanks for your comments. Alan."
http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=17632502
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 11:29:41 PM by Alan Klein » Logged
Michael Haspert
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2013, 03:53:23 PM »
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Michael...I'm 70 y/o and haven't a clue what that means.         Huh

Sorry, it's a geeking in-joke. Input for product design (especially software) is sometimes just as goofy as that old Saturday Night Live skit where "It's a floor wax AND a desert topping." 
A career's worth of sorting through that kind of industrial-strength nonsense makes evaluating critical commentary seem straightforward by comparison.
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