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looking at my pics...
Old 09-14-2017   #1
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looking at my pics...

i get some feedback on my images but not all that much.
more of the feedback i get is from non photographers rather than photographers...amateur types.
the non photographers that like my stuff are the most effusive...the photo guys keep it short ("nice shot")...

is this your experience too and does it matter much to you?
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Old 09-14-2017   #2
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It's rare for me to see a photographer's works in their presence. It's happened vicariously on this website, but only a few times in real life since college. Having two art degrees, I'm fairly well equipped with words to compliment artists that they understand and appreciate... terms like composition, balance, use of color or tonal range, framing, scale, etc. In those few times I have complimented what I like, and I was quiet about what didn't grab me.

I've only been asked twice for actual criticism, and I jokingly said that I wasn't an art professor and I'd never played one on TV, but I'd do my best. Then I just channeled my less abrasive professors from art school, gave some advice on what to minimize and what to capitalize on, and maybe a point or two that they hadn't thought about to bring their compositions up to the next level, along with some pointers to the works of great painters, sculptors, and even a photographer or two. However, my main aim was to nurture, not to denigrate or abuse. If someone is earnestly trying to become better at their craft, someone who's opening themselves up for possible abuse, I try to offer encouragement, just as many art instructors and professors did for me when I was a student and a young graphic designer, before I turned to engineering for a living.

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Old 09-14-2017   #3
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Learn to be your own critic. Study art history, visit museums and galleries. Look at your work critically. Who cares what others think, unless someone is paying you to photograph something? The only thing that really matters is what you think, because if done honestly, that photo is you.

My two cents.
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Old 09-14-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
Learn to be your own critic.
While this is a great aim, I think that most people are far poorer at self photo-criticism than they believe they are.

There are three main reasons why you might take pictures: (i) for the fun of exploring and using the camera, (ii) for personal memories, and (iii) for people unknown to you to gain something from your images.

If the last of these is the reason you take pictures, you might find that that your work is distorted by your perception of the first two. If you are genuinely aware of this and can channel it to your advantage, more power to you. But most people mix these things up without ever realising it. This is where an independent critic becomes essential, even before you get in to deeper and fluffier artistic issues such as the connection between your photographs and contemporary and historical contexts.
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Old 09-14-2017   #5
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While this is a great aim, I think that most people are far poorer at self photo-criticism than they believe they are.

There are three main reasons why you might take pictures: (i) for the fun of exploring and using the camera, (ii) for personal memories, and (iii) for people unknown to you to gain something from your images.

If the last of these is the reason you take pictures, you might find that that your work is distorted by your perception of the first two. If you are genuinely aware of this and can channel it to your advantage, more power to you. But most people mix these things up without ever realising it. This is where an independent critic becomes essential, even before you get in to deeper and fluffier artistic issues such as the connection between your photographs and contemporary and historical contexts.
So then, whose pictures are they, yours or the critics?
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Old 09-14-2017   #6
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It matters very much to me because I need to find out whether other people see in my photographs what I hope they see.

Phrases like "nice shot" or "I like it," aren't very helpful to me since they reveal more about the viewer, than they do about the pictures.

I discovered years ago, when I began teaching photography, that pushing students by asking them what they liked about a picture didn't get me very far, because they didn't know how to respond. That's when I started to talk about how to talk about photographs. Once folks learn that vocabulary, they can give feedback that we can use to improve each other's work.

Since I stopped actively working as an art instructor, I've looked hard for other chances to discuss photographs meaningfully with people.

That's not easy, even in camera clubs, where members find it much easier to have conversations about how to emulate Adams or Cartier-Bresson than to figure out how to make pictures that don't look like those a limited number of masters created. – Or- we just admire shiny gear - which is always fun, I must admit!
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Old 09-14-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
Learn to be your own critic. Study art history, visit museums and galleries. Look at your work critically. Who cares what others think, unless someone is paying you to photograph something? The only thing that really matters is what you think, because if done honestly, that photo is you.

My two cents.
I think this is good advice .... however many want some kind of external validation and it's then that things start to become difficult I think.

They end up taking photographs that conform to other people tastes if they're not careful.

I belong to a local Photographic society and the whole premise is built on competitions and gaining accolades.

It is, like other clubs in the UK, affiliated with a governing body and the national and regional judges arbitrate on what they consider to be a "good" picture .... sharpness being the key.

Complete madness but very popular.
Whole generations of photographers being suckered in year after year and losing their identity in the process.
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Old 09-15-2017   #8
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So then, whose pictures are they, yours or the critics?
Oh, I do not think that you need or should agree with the critics.

However, engaging with a (good) critic should open your mind to aspects or potentials of your work that you might not be able to see either because you are too close to it or because you simply have never encountered something before.
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Old 09-15-2017   #9
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That's a great question. Do people want critique or do they want praise? I think people should attend a workshop run by someone they respect if they want their work to be critiqued. Else making do with the "nice shot" is the polite way to go in a public forum. I second the recommendation to be your own critic.
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Old 09-15-2017   #10
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Photography seems to be more of a cathartic process for me now ... often a way of sharing my life with those that are interested in pics of goats, sheep etc! lol
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Old 09-15-2017   #11
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Well, I love a compliment, who doesn't? I also love a bit of criticism if it'll make me a better photographer. But, around here I don't expect either. RFF is the kind of place where one puts their best foot forward and then another person puts their best foot forward right on top of it. And, so it goes.

One can post what one thinks is the best shot of their life in the "Words no Words" section and there it will sit, and there it will continue to sit until it just drops out of sight buried under other images or simply neglected. Meanwhile, someone will start a thread about "lint in their camera bag" and it'll take off like wildfire... 200 plus responses; there you have it.

So, that's the way it is, take it of leave it. On the brighter side, it's nice to share ones photography whether or not it's acknowledged or, less likely, even appreciated. Who cares anyway? If one is pleased with their own work, well then, good enough.

However, there are times when I see images posted here that impress and inspire me and, I sometimes say nothing - that's not right. This thread has impressed upon me the need for me to be more forthcoming with my comments toward others that have done what in my opinion is damn good photography!

I apologize if there are any grammatical errors in this post. Perhaps Roger Hicks can screen it for errors and set me straight.

Kanpai (Cheers)!
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Old 09-15-2017   #12
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Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
many want some kind of external validation and its then that things start to become difficult I think.
Very true!

Another site has an (in)famous 'critique my pictures' section, where members post pictures for others to critique. I'd say that well over half of those who post pictures get nasty and abusive with anyone who says anything they consider to be negative - which is just about everything except glowing praise!

My favourite comment was when someone pointed out they'd asked for a critique of their work, posted it in the 'critique my pictures' section and now were abusing everyone who didn't say it was amazing. Their reply was, 'yes - but I don't expect people to say there's anything wrong with it' !

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Old 09-15-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
Learn to be your own critic. Study art history, visit museums and galleries. Look at your work critically. Who cares what others think, unless someone is paying you to photograph something? The only thing that really matters is what you think, because if done honestly, that photo is you.

My two cents.

Yep !




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Old 09-15-2017   #14
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I'm getting more than two words from those who are photographing as well. And not only from amateur type. Sometimes .
I'm getting mostly no comments but "likes" from non photographers on my personal and for people I know FB page .

Oh, and I'm getting "it is crap", "why did you print this" comments as well. And not only from Russian speaking audience.

Don't know why. But I'm constantly learning, looking, practicing and commenting.
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Old 09-15-2017   #15
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Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
I think this is good advice .... however many want some kind of external validation and it's then that things start to become difficult I think.

They end up taking photographs that conform to other people tastes if they're not careful.

I belong to a local Photographic society and the whole premise is built on competitions and gaining accolades.

It is, like other clubs in the UK, affiliated with a governing body and the national and regional judges arbitrate on what they consider to be a "good" picture .... sharpness being the key.

Complete madness but very popular.
Whole generations of photographers being suckered in year after year and losing their identity in the process.
My favorite interweb "Critical Review": https://petapixel.com/2011/07/13/why...nline-critics/

And yes, Michael..Sharpness!
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Old 09-15-2017   #16
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There is critique and there is what amounts to encouragement.
The common etiquette seems to be, critique one must request where encouragement comes unsolicited.

Photographers should not expect critique without asking for it.
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Old 09-15-2017   #17
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There is critique and there is what amounts to encouragement.
The common etiquette seems to be, critique one must request where encouragement comes unsolicited.

Photographers should not expect critique without asking for it.
I encourage all of you to go out and make as many pictures as your time and resources permit. Look at them carefully and, ask yourself if they look like what you thought they would, when you took them (previsualization). If they don't, keep at it until you have mastered this. Pleasant surprises are great but, they should be very rare if you have learned to photograph (see), rather than just learned to use a camera.
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Old 09-15-2017   #18
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Originally Posted by PKR View Post
My favorite interweb "Critical Review": https://petapixel.com/2011/07/13/why...nline-critics/

And yes, Michael..Sharpness!
Thanks for the reminder

They once put it to David Bailey that he didn`t get the respect for his work in the UK as he would if he`d been born in the US.

He answered "respect from who" ," I don`t care ...there`s only a few people who understand anyway".

I think that`s key .
Find someone who understands what you`re trying to do but also understands you.

Here`s the interview .... it rambles as David Bailey interviews are apt to do.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQbyQgkOB9s
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Old 09-15-2017   #19
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Thanks for the reminder

They once put it to David Bailey that he didn`t get the respect for his work in the UK as he would if he`d been born in the US.

He answered "respect from who" ," I don`t care ...there`s only a few people who understand anyway".

I think that`s key .
Find someone who understands what you`re trying to do but also understands you.

Here`s the interview .... it rambles as David Bailey interviews are apt to do.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQbyQgkOB9s
David Bailey is an artist and master of his craft. I'm sure he had a pool of critics guiding him on his way to success.. maybe his local camera club?

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera". - Dorothea Lange
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Old 09-15-2017   #20
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David Bailey is an artist and master of his craft. I'm sure he had a pool of critics guiding him on his way to success.. maybe his local camera club?

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera". - Dorothea Lange

Err ... I don`t think that you`d find many camera clubs in the East End.

Interesting idea though
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Old 09-15-2017   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
Thanks for the reminder

They once put it to David Bailey that he didn`t get the respect for his work in the UK as he would if he`d been born in the US.

He answered "respect from who" ," I don`t care ...there`s only a few people who understand anyway".

I think that`s key .
Find someone who understands what you`re trying to do but also understands you.

Here`s the interview .... it rambles as David Bailey interviews are apt to do.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQbyQgkOB9s
His BW portraits are very classy. Maybe some other projects were criticized. But each country and time is different. Back then he might be criticized to have not enough Lucy in the Sky in his photography.
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Old 09-15-2017   #22
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Err ... I don`t think that you`d find many camera clubs in the East End.

Interesting idea though
Hi Michael; I don't know the east end from the west end (London I suspect) but, as Stan Freiberg said: "Everyone wants to be an Art Director". It holds true today as it did years back when Stan made this observation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCEE9pOkvQU
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Old 09-15-2017   #23
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Hi PKR

The East End was a very rough area when David Bailey was growing up .... with a very straightforward attitude to life.

Not much time for art.

The `60`s changed all that though at least for a while.
The West End is the glitzy part with theaters , cinemas ect.
I`m sure that pattern is mirrored in the major cities through out the world.

That link is funny .... he sounds like William Burroughs
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Old 09-15-2017   #24
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I don't know, Joe. Critiquing someones work is a fine line to tread for most folks. Even when I've asked for some here in the "Critique/Salon" section, it's been sparse to say the least.

I do remember a few years ago posting some photos I took of the cloudy sky at sunset with a Konica C35, and someone said I should try to emulate a certain photographer who takes fantastic cloud photos, and included a link to his site.

I took a gander, and decided I didn't need to be waist deep in a Florida swamp with a large format camera to get fantastic cloud photos. I just wanted to know if the ones I posted were okay composition and exposure wise, given the limitations of the camera.

I post a lot of stuff that gets no comments, or the comment is about something the subject matter reminded them about. I don't worry about getting feedback here, because I can get that from the people I interact with in my life. I'm also not trying to be the next big thing in photography, as that is a finicky achievement to accomplish now days.

But it would be nice to get some technical advice some times. My main style is to tell a story with my photos, not just display them without titles or descriptions, leaving the viewer to wonder what is going on in the scene. There are times I feel I fall flat in that aspect, and would welcome some input. Then again, if I were to comment on every posting I see here, on other forums, and Flickr, I'd spend too much time to even be able to take photos myself. So I limit my comments to something that really hits the target of what I perceive the photographer to be attempting to portray.

I think a lot of other folks do too.

PF
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Old 09-15-2017   #25
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Hi PKR

The East End was a very rough area when David Bailey was growing up .... with a very straightforward attitude to life.

Not much time for art.

The `60`s changed all that though at least for a while.
The West End is the glitzy part with theaters , cinemas ect.
I`m sure that pattern is mirrored in the major cities through out the world.

That link is funny .... he sounds like William Burroughs
Freiberg was a famous AD man in the US. It's likely he read Burroughs.

A women I knew, who's father was an English Prof. and close friend of Burroughs, grew up with "Bill" being around their farm a lot. She told me of long talks with him as a kid, and her father and Bill shooting their pistols at targets in the pasture. Bill liked guns, as I'm sure you know.
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Old 09-15-2017   #26
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Wow ... what an upbringing

Back on track .... I think PF sums up very well the difficulties in providing feed back.

The other thing that occurs is feed back to what end.
Is it not to some extent dependent on what the photograph is going to be used for and how its going to be displayed .

I don`t know just thinking out loud.
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Old 09-15-2017   #27
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Learn to be your own critic. Study art history, visit museums and galleries. Look at your work critically. Who cares what others think, unless someone is paying you to photograph something? The only thing that really matters is what you think, because if done honestly, that photo is you.

My two cents.
Yes... ... and put in the time and effort to learn... and push yourself and then do it some more.
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Old 09-15-2017   #28
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That's a great question. Do people want critique or do they want praise? I think people should attend a workshop run by someone they respect if they want their work to be critiqued. Else making do with the "nice shot" is the polite way to go in a public forum. I second the recommendation to be your own critic.
That's the issue... do you want someone who you feels makes worse photos than you critiquing your work? Not really. It's always useful to listen to someone that you feel is better than you. Even then, they can be wrong. Ultimately, it is your journey and you have to figure out what is useful and what isn't.
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Old 09-15-2017   #29
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Yes... ... and put in the time and effort to learn... and push yourself and then do it some more.
And, if you like a photo that someone has done, and tell them so, you're telling them that they are liked by you. Most people who have long time trusted friends, don't need the constant patting on the head, telling them they are valued. I think this may be at the root of some of this. With a phone culture of people who rarely communicate head to head, it seems a possibility.

Also, I think the camera has become a "social tool".. look what I had for lunch, etc. more than the creative tool it once was (family snaps aside). So now, everyone wants to be recognized for their "creative work".

Most of my painter friends wanted to sell paintings, not for fame (some are), but for funding art supplies and paying studio rent (if they didn't do other work). In terms of being "understood", that was only expected of their close friends who knew them well. Photography has exploded with digital cameras and social media. Those of us who are seriously interested in "Photography", have little in common with these folks. Why the need for all the petting?

Do the serious work it takes for improvement. People think I'm creative, being creative plus thousands of hours working at what I do, makes me "look" creative. I'm no photo genius, believe me. What I do is hard for me, but it's really fun and often exciting.
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