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Art Theory: Idea workshop. Warning, not the truth here, just a venture. Examining what makes an image worthy of saving and what it does for us.

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  #1  
Old April 6th, 2011, 11:08 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Dealing with criticism of one's own work.

How do you seek out and react to criticism of your own photography? What do you seek in feedback and opinions and how do you cope with the responses?
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  #2  
Old April 7th, 2011, 02:00 AM
Sandrine Bascouert Sandrine Bascouert is offline
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As far as I posted here, noone have been really harsh with me...Not like I'm looking for it but It sounds weird. Sometimes I feel like there's a lot of withdrawal, I mean like people always point out at little issues, but never say "to me it's mere crap, because...". If it 'd ever happens, I wouldn't take offence. I think I would mind more if my own pride have been touched, like if I messed out something technically obvious but not on the "artistic point of view".
Everyone is different and yes this is a free country, everyone can express their opinion. Even in a rude way, I also got the freedom to take it with a pinch of salt.
Usually, I request critique even if implicitly. And I take them into account, because I'm so unsure. My husband tend to think I'm waiting for appraisal - dunno...maybe... You know, I don't need to be on a forum to get harsh critiques..
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  #3  
Old April 7th, 2011, 03:31 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
How do you seek out and react to criticism of your own photography? What do you seek in feedback and opinions and how do you cope with the responses?
Hi Asher,

Probably because English not my native language, but I get confused (or maybe not) about the distinction between critique (as in appraisal) and criticism (as in highlighting the faults and shortcomings).

Is my intuitive distinction between the two correct, or is it appropriate to casually use the one or the other (maybe it's a UK vs USA thing)? I'm rather sensitive to language subtleties, so maybe I'm wrong?

Cheers,
Bart
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Old April 7th, 2011, 05:04 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Is my intuitive distinction between the two correct, or is it appropriate to casually use the one or the other (maybe it's a UK vs USA thing)? I'm rather sensitive to language subtleties, so maybe I'm wrong?
Bart,

I started from the seemingly more casual term, "criticism" as it can mean usually "demeaning the work" by finding fault. Negativity does not generate healthy debate and becomes personal, inciting hostility and defensiveness. To benefit from experiences an artist must remain open to various possibilities. So how do we do this and still give our opinion of analysis.

It's acceptable to counteract suggestion of "finding fault", by starting a formal critique with what's likable. This buttresses the argument. We show that we are not mean-spirited and have no destructive intent. So we can open with some aspect of the work that merits praise. However, well mannered, that's not really necessary in the purist form of literary or art criticism. Still it's a practical approach in a community friendly setting.

Both critique and criticism are recognized as the informed, learned structural analysis, of a work of writing or art. To some, criticism is the scholarly term and a dialog between the critic, (in a way, a public orator) and his/her audience. The critic is essentially analyzing the work for the public. By contrast, critique, in that point of view, is the feedback to the creator of that work.

Both word come from the same Greek origin via the latin.

So for us here there are three steps or stages of use of the word criticism:

  1. Negative or common street reaction to a work often showing the faults.

  2. An honest informed analysis based on structural, symbolic, referential and cultural measures, and sensibilities and relationships to other bodies of creative work and values

  3. The relevance to us of a work in confirming, testing or moving assumed rules, values, significance and ranking of matters to us for some purpose.

The issue of us is how so we come to terms with even the first step in folks response to our artistic endeavors.

Asher
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  #5  
Old April 7th, 2011, 06:01 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi,

Asher has asked a very good question. Let me try to answer it from my perspective.

How do I seek out and react to criticism of my own photography?
The first order of business which needs clarification is why somebody posts here and asks for C&C. This is different for each poster and also for each photo by the same poster. Obviously, I can only speak for myself. I have written last year that I had lost my faith in my photography and I was about to give it all up. Thanks to the extremely kind and thoughtful reactions I have received in response, I have reconsidered my position and started thinking consciously about why I post pictures. Another question which bugged me was why I took pictures to start with. In this post, I will try to put these thoughts into a logical structure and will hopefully provide an answer to Asher’s question while doing so.

Why do I take pictures?
Well, that one is in fact relatively easy to answer. I am not a professional photographer so taking pictures is what I do because I love taking pictures; it is akin to existentialism. As I write in my website, my photographs are usually the result of an arc of intent and the careful preparation and execution that goes with it. This intent and/or idea can be a long term project (such as my portals series) or it can come up spontaneously while I am on location. Does this mean that I don’t take any snapshots without intent? Of course I do. Sometimes I even get blessed by serendipity.

How do I take pictures?
Based on the idea I have in mind, I compose my photographs as carefully as possible in the viewfinder (or using the live view). This is an automated process, it is something I am “unconsciously competent” in. According to the four stages of learning/competence, we all start with being unconsciously incompetent in something and then become conscious about our incompetence. We then learn and become competent while being conscious about it. The final stage is by doing it well and not being conscious about it, like driving your car to your work in the morning (unless you are a new driver). Making sure that the technical aspects are O.K. (such as setting the correct exposure, focusing, etc) and choosing the composition which reflects my mental image of how this photo should look like are all second nature to me. Seeking out (hunting) for a possible picture is a built in process. While doing so, I become aware of something which triggers some emotions and all of a sudden the whole process is set into motion and may result in a picture being captured. When I venture out into new (to me) areas of photography (such as using a tilt/shift lens for the first time), I become conscious again and the process is executed with more consideration than usual. The same goes for a new topic/project, which requires more conscious effort on my part to seek out the appropriate compositions at first.

I have a personal style which somewhat makes my pictures recognizable as belonging to me, or so I have been told by various people in the past. This style is not the result of an intentional effort on my part. Rather, it became apparent along the way since I take pictures the way I always take them. My personal style is a result of how I take photographs, not the other way around. Some people think about developing their own personal style as the first step. I don’t subscribe to this line of thinking, though I admit that is must be an iterative process. When anybody is busy developing a personal style, they are actually at the stage of being consciously incompetent about how they take photographs. Nothing wrong with it, but the goal should be to evolve quickly to the next stage in the development. And lastly, the formatting of the pictures and recognizable post processing techniques (such as using Orton effects) is not what a personal style is all about. In my opinion, it is the message of the picture and the compositional elements which together define the personal style; not how it is post processed.

I strive to achieve some common objectives in all my photographs, regardless of the topic. Here I should give the credit to David Ward, the famous landscape photographer who has described the essential ingredients of his photographs as being: simplicity, a sense of mystery, a return to beauty and posing questions and not only providing answers. I too am looking forward to getting these ingredients into my own pictures and I was doing so even before I read David Ward’s book, albeit I did not rationalize them in external thought processes. Now having done so eventually, I became aware of my own choices for taking certain pictures and the way I take them.

How do I post-process the pictures after capturing them?
My job is not finished when the picture is taken. I meticulously fine-tune the pictures in the post processing in order to achieve the best possible results either on print or on screen. You could say that I am a pixel peeper, albeit one who knows well that the content and the composition are what make or break a picture. No amount of fine-tuning in the post processing will make a bad picture look good although the other way around is more likely to happen. My technical skills in post processing are up there and I have all the right tools at my disposal. When you see a picture of mine, you can be rest assured that I have post processed it to my own satisfaction before posting it. Sometimes I do lack the time to do proper PP, so I end up posting a “quick and dirty version”. If so, I report that fact in my post.

Why do I share my pictures in OPF, what kind of C&C I am looking for and how do I deal with it?
Once I get to the stage of taking and post processing the pictures, some of them become potential candidates for sharing with you. So why do I share? This is a most difficult question to answer and there are various possible answers depending on the context. The most common reasons are:

1) In order to discover whether the message I have intended the picture to communicate has been transmitted and received. Did the picture initiate certain thought processes in the lookers, did it evoke any emotional response (either love or hate), etc. This is an area where I would love to receive critique (and not criticism as Bart has pointed out earlier). I realize that I should ask specifically for critique as may not be obvious what I am looking for just by showing a picture. But sometimes I initially withhold the explanation of the context in order to discover whether the picture conveys any emotions and thus creates reactions from lookers as is. As we are dealing with emotions and personal interpretations in reading pictures, any critique offered will be neither right nor wrong, it will be the truth for the person offering it. So how do I deal with any critique offered regarding the message of my pictures? By being happy and by graciously accepting it and by being thankful that somebody took their precious time to reply. The process of receiving the critique, understanding and processing it, discussing it with the others and coming to terms is a great way to improve one’s competencies and to grow as an individual. This is one of the main reasons why I like OPF so much since there are many members who will take part in this process.

2) In order to receive critique on the various photographical aspects. How effective have I been in composing the picture, what would work better for the lookers, have I succeeded in creating a simple picture, is it beautiful, does it pose questions, have I captured the decisive moment, etc. Like in point 2 above, this is also a highly subjective topic and the critique may result in a debate. As I explained above in why and how paragraphs, most of the pictures I share with you will be the result of a conscious effort on my part. In other words, I don’t just post random snapshots here and ask a generic question such as “how does that work for you”. Normally, I will ask you a specific question regarding a specific aspect. If I don’t ask any specific questions, it can mean two things. Either I am waiting for a while before asking the questions eventually. Or it can mean that I am simply not seeking any specific critique in this area. Not seeking C&C specifically does not mean that I do not want to receive any C&C, on the contrary! I prefer any given C&C, however short or long, to not receiving any C&C at all. Again, by talking to each other, we are both learning and growing. So here is what do I do when I receive comments such as “crop it 1 inch from the bottom and it will look much better” or “it works better if you convert it to BW”. It is well meant advice and it is undoubtedly valuable at some level. The best I can make out of situations like this, where I “know” that the advice goes against my vision, is the following. Firstly, acknowledge it and evaluate it seriously even when I might think that it is ridiculous. Then, come to a decision (if possible rationally) whether or not to accept the advice offered. And lastly, let the other party know how I have evaluated the advice and why I have come to a certain decision. Don´t forget to thank them sincerely, of course.

3) In order to receive technical advice. Although I am quite proficient technically, I too have to learn, re-learn and keep on improving. So sometimes I might seek advice from specialists regarding certain technical aspects with which I am not familiar. Normally, this would be a question in a certain forum and not directly related to a picture I have shared. Because I try not to share pictures when I am not happy about the technical execution, among others.

4) In order to share my on-going efforts on a certain project. Many times, I post a picture in the appropriate fora when that picture is (about to become) a part of an on-going project of mine such as portals or urban exploration. Next to the various aspects highlighted before, this is also to validate the choice of the picture to take part in a project. Any additions should increase the synergy of the set and add value individually. Usually, the decision has already been taken on my part and I don´t pose the question explicitly. But it is always good to read comments from you stating that a picture of mine would be a good candidate for a certain project. Again, I will be very happy to receive any C&C in this area. Especially when the comments relate to the project; as to how I can improve and make the project even more effective.

5) For reasons of PJ or documentation (including travel pictures). It goes without saying that sometimes I show a set of pictures pertaining to an event or travel. Inherently, any picture in that set is open to the C&C as described above. If I have a specific C&C request for any of the pictures, I will state it explicitly or I might even post the picture in its own thread. Otherwise, I will deal with any C&C offered as usual. Mind you, in these situations I would be primarily looking for your comments and not only your critique. Such as when I show pictures of an event and I provide a (short) story about it, I will always appreciate it if I hear back from you. Did you find it interesting, was it entertaining, do you have any specific questions, etc. the images then become the vessel through which we increase our knowledge about the world we live in.

6) In order to justify the existence of the photo by sharing it. If I only took the pictures for myself and shared them with no one, I would be unhappy. The fact that a picture exists does not close the loop for me, my art is not for art’s sake only. Only when I have shown it to others, preferably to the members of the OPF community whom I might call my peers, I feel a degree of satisfaction or perhaps even closure. Regarding this aspect, I will not be expecting any specific C&C although receiving a note of acknowledgement from lookers will always be appreciated. It motivates me and keeps me enthusiastic. It gives me reason to keep on shooting and sharing more with you along the way. Hopefully, it also provides some pleasure to the lookers. As I also take pleasure from looking at the pictures shared by other posters, it enriches my photography experience.

Well, hopefully you have persevered and read this long-winded answer. I know that I should keep it much more concise but I am not good at that, lol.
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  #6  
Old April 7th, 2011, 06:51 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Bart,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Probably because English not my native language, but I get confused (or maybe not) about the distinction between critique (as in appraisal) and criticism (as in highlighting the faults and shortcomings).
Your skill with and sensitivity to the English language is wonderful.

Formally, per recognized US English dictionaries, the base verb "to criticize" can have both meanings, as can the derived noun, "criticism". On the other hand, "critique" (both a verb and a noun) primarily has the meaning, as you say, of an appraisal.

The review of a play in a newspaper is conducted by a reporter called a "critic", and his craft is called criticism. What do the actors and director call these articles (favorable or otherwise)? "Notices"!

I would think that if we invite criticism of our work, we are asking for assessments of it by the invitees, which might be favorable or not. We are not inviting, specifically, unfavorable comments. But we may well get them.
The masochist: "Hurt me, hurt me".
The sadist (with a sneer): No, I won't!
Best regards,

Doug
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Old April 7th, 2011, 09:40 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
H
The masochist: "Hurt me, hurt me".
The sadist (with a sneer): No, I won't!
Doug
Another version is:

The male guest: I like your daughter.
The father: You like my daughter?
The male guest: That's not what I meant.
The father: You don't like my daughter!
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Old April 7th, 2011, 10:10 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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I have never solicited criticism of my work. The word is too ambiguous for safe use.

I have often solicited comments, and in some cases, assessment.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old April 7th, 2011, 10:16 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Doug,

Same here. Criticism came my way regardless! Then I had to deal with it. Hence my essay about it because many photographers asked me how to deal with criticism. They still do. I had an email question this morning about flash photography criticism.

I really don't think there's a need to ask for criticism. It will come your way whether you ask or not!
Asking for comments or evaluation is way better.

Evaluation based on an evaluation tool is the best. The four stages of learning mentioned by Cem are a starting point, but the tool has to go far beyond that to be helpful, otherwise most people find themselves at stage 2 or 3 and all the tool does is show that learning follows a bell curve.

I use a custom made tool when I evaluate work. We need a 'yardstick' or we're left to opinions and those aren't very helpful.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 11:22 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Hi,

Asher has asked a very good question. Let me try to answer it from my perspective.

How do I seek out and react to criticism of my own photography?
The first order of business which needs clarification is why somebody posts here and asks for C&C. This is different for each poster and also for each photo by the same poster. Obviously, I can only speak for myself. I have written last year that I had lost my faith in my photography and I was about to give it all up. Thanks to the extremely kind and thoughtful reactions I have received in response, I have reconsidered my position and started thinking consciously about why I post pictures. Another question which bugged me was why I took pictures to start with. In this post, I will try to put these thoughts into a logical structure and will hopefully provide an answer to Asher’s question while doing so.
Cem,

Your carefully considered response is a valuable essay on how we can benefit from sharing images here.


Doug,

You old varmit contrarian, I thank you for your humor but we need the muscle too!

Asher
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Old April 7th, 2011, 11:44 AM
StuartRae StuartRae is offline
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Better to be criticised than ignored.

Regards,

Stuart
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Old April 7th, 2011, 12:34 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Originally Posted by StuartRae View Post
Better to be criticised than ignored.

Regards,

Stuart
Very true Stuart. At least whatever we did generated a reaction! That's far better than having no effect whatsoever.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 01:21 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
I have never solicited criticism of my work. The word is too ambiguous for safe use.

Please put aside your flag warning of ambiguity. In OPF, criticism is to help each other on our individual paths. Look at my post #4. Here criticism almost always refers to the second stage. It's more like evaluating a product of engineering for doing a particular job. So please once and for all extinguish ideas of ambiguity here in OPF. De-legitamization of a photograph submitted here is never acceptable behavior, except that the picture is child pornography, racist or demeaning or otherwise contrary to the TOS of OPF.

It's helpful to have us always take critique of pictures as a serious activity involving our effort, risk-taking but trust in each other. I cannot stand either global dismissiveness or else taking feedback as some set of truths that strike our hearts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
I
I have often solicited comments, and in some cases, assessment.
Indeed, Doug my friend. That's exactly the feedback OPF criticism includes. What we'd like you to share s how you incorporate responses. Are there examples that come to mind where feedback altered your view.

Asher
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Old April 7th, 2011, 01:55 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post

So please once and for all extinguish ideas of ambiguity here in OPF.
I have never felt any ambiguity here about the meaning of "criticism". I know that it is understood in the sense of evaluation, assessment, and commentary. If some of the commentary is "negative", so be it.

My comment was on why I never use the word - it is, of itself, ambiguous, and I shy away from ambiguous words in technical contexts (which this is, among other things). I found it best to always to so, not in each case to calibrate, "will be use of this ambiguous word here lead to (or cultivate) any misunderstanding." Its just like, "When, in using a bench grinder, should I wear safety goggles?"

I have often found comments, or suggestions, made here on my photographic (and other) work helpful as I reflect upon how to best do whatever my intents are in each presentation or images or text.

And I must say that these are almost always offered in a positive vein - never in a vein of disparaging my work. (Well, special mention is earned by, "You are a snapshooter - why would anyone here be at all interested in your procedures for managing metadata.")

Best regards,

Doug
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
And I must say that these are almost always offered in a positive vein - never in a vein of disparaging my work. (...)

Doug
That's very important. Without mutual respect there can be no contructive criticism. Only resentment comes from a disrespectful critique.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:24 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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The pitfalls of art criticism in a non-expert forum such as OPF are inherent and should be obvious. I think to a large extent we learn to filter that well.

Great, now we all understand what we mean by art criticism as applied to giving feedback to folks pictures shared in OPF, let's here more of how it might be used positively for your own work. Are there any surprises or eye-openers you have had in receiving criticism here? Do you have examples where opinions helped improve your own expression?

Asher
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:33 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
How do you seek out and react to criticism of your own photography? What do you seek in feedback and opinions and how do you cope with the responses?
I would rather live the discussion "criticism versus critique" aside. Everyone prefers positive comments to negative ones, at least to a point. But what use are these comments?

At first, as beginners, we need to be taught the basics. How to get a sharp, properly exposed picture. What composition means. Which colors go together. How to light a scene. That is the easy part for the critics, or rather teachers at that point.

We never totally outgrow that phase, because everybody makes a mistake here and then. But with some experience comes a point where we may actually chose the break some rules on purpose. This is the point when we do not appreciate someone to criticize one of our picture as over exposed when we shot a high key or as unsharp when we wanted to show the movement.

From that moment, however, what we need becomes more complex: we hope that someone will take the time to analyze the picture, find out what message or feelings we intended to communicate and tell us what he or she thinks about the route we took to get this message across.

Most of the time, this fails. Very few people actually make the effort to watch. Instead, they have their own ideas about what possible messages one should communicate and will judge every image under the assumption that it should belong to their own preconceived ideas. And it can fail both negatively (when people are not interested in your type of subjects) or positively (when they assume everything which belongs to their pet subject is great). The positive fail is quite common amongst middle aged men presented with pictures of scantily clad young female models.

Sometimes it fails for me as a critic, because I fail to see what the message could possibly be. This is especially frustrating when everybody else apparently sees what the subject can be, thinks what great photo it is an awards it a prize.

The photographer cannot always explain in words what message or feelings he or she intended. But is it fair to ask so? The whole idea about having arts not based on words, be it graphic arts or music, dance, etc, is to allow to express things for which no word exists.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 03:51 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I would rather live the discussion "criticism versus critique" aside.
Here in OPF, they are one and the same although critique is intended for the artist and criticism for the rest of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
At first, as beginners, we need to be taught the basics. How to get a sharp, properly exposed picture. What composition means. Which colors go together. How to light a scene. That is the easy part for the critics,
The Basics: Good category for feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
we may actually chose the break some rules on purpose.
The Basics with the caveat: that we need an introduction when divergence from what's expected is indeed intentional and not from ignorance or poor technic!

The Message:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
We hope that someone will take the time to analyze the picture, find out what message or feelings we intended to communicate and tell us what he or she thinks about the route we took to get this message across.
Instead of the message, The imagineorum: Sometimes, there's no "message" intended and there's no ulterior motive beyond showing beauty or a puzzle to get lost in with one's own peeves, chewing gum and toys.

Context is only fair: I don't believe in the oft-quoted assertion that "A picture should speak for itself." Where it's placed, in what company it's shown already make a difference. In a gallery there's almost always a curator to explain things in print or in an audio. So to hide the photographer's background motivation for a work is hardly a rule to want to follow rigorously. It's fair to do as Cem might do, sometimes holding back on context until after the first few reactions are posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
The photographer cannot always explain in words what message or feelings he or she intended. But is it fair to ask so? The whole idea about having arts not based on words, be it graphic arts or music, dance, etc, is to allow to express things for which no word exists.
Of course, and that's why we still need music and visual art even though we know language. Still, some context and knowing where the artist is trying to reach, helps our experience. Almost always, art has antecedents and dependancies and whatever of this can be shared alongside with the picture helps educate us.

Asher
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  #19  
Old April 8th, 2011, 02:04 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi Stuart,

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartRae View Post
Better to be criticised than ignored.
This is so true indeed.


Cheers,
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  #20  
Old April 8th, 2011, 08:14 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartRae View Post
Better to be criticised than ignored.
Stuart
Nobody kicks a dead dog.
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  #21  
Old April 8th, 2011, 09:52 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Folks,

Please use Cem's response in post #5 as a standard of disclosure.

It's generous to let others here know what works for you and your caveats for your criticism. The brightest minds have a quality of openness to new ideas; including imagined concepts. We get this new material both from inside one's mind, (if we don't shut it off) and then all that the world and other people provide, (if we don't shut it out). This richer input allows us to be even more creative. So, to make this work well here, we need your contributions too!

Don't be shy to share your own mechanisms of giving, getting, receiving and using criticism!"

Please, please, help us. Share your own process in dealing with feedback and critique. Don't just be a follower. Contribute!

Asher
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  #22  
Old April 8th, 2011, 03:15 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Hi,

Asher has asked a very good question. Let me try to answer it from my perspective.

How do I seek out and react to criticism of my own photography?
The first order of business which needs clarification is why somebody posts here and asks for C&C. This is different for each poster and also for each photo by the same poster. Obviously, I can only speak for myself. I have written last year that I had lost my faith in my photography and I was about to give it all up. Thanks to the extremely kind and thoughtful reactions I have received in response, I have reconsidered my position and started thinking consciously about why I post pictures. Another question which bugged me was why I took pictures to start with. In this post, I will try to put these thoughts into a logical structure and will hopefully provide an answer to Asher’s question while doing so.
Since I have challenged everyone to read and follow Cem's example, I must at least contribute my own downpayment on this group effort. So I'll just start by addressing this first question that Cem has made from the broad subject I put before us. So,

How do I seek out and react to criticism of my own photography. Well it depends on what is the purpose of the picture.

For my photographs of musicians, I try to make them perfect for the job of providing the branding for The Colburn School and with the technic worked out and the publications successful, I do not seek feedback here in most cases, rather wish to just share the enjoyment and experience.

For technical help, folk doing work for a client might be hesitant to publicly ask for advice. I have no such reticence.
  • For Stage pictures in dim light, I am trying to find technical solutions to low light and overhead lighting challenges, dealing with ISO selection, noise, processing and counteracting the harsh shadows. Here, every scrap of opinion and information I take very seriously and try to see if it's an idea that can work towards a better image. As a result, I learned from Bart to use a lower ISO and under-expose to have a tad less noise and from Nicolas Claris to grow up and use Capture One for processing instead of Adobe Camera RAW and then Bart's further suggestion got me to improve my noise reduction software.
  • For Panoramas: I really needed technical help to deal with poor alignment of stitched architectural images. The easy solution is to follow Nicolas claris' lead and use the 8 mm Sigma lens as it stitches so well. But the real issue is being accurate in having a sturdy base and fixed nodal point.

Esthetic Appeal: more often than not, with flowers and portrats, I want to share my joy of a picture. Hopefully, others will like it and be inspired to post their own for that theme. I don't generally post images in order to get help with design, composition or presentation. Usually, folk don't comment much on my pictures. Maybe I intimidate them! Still, C&C is always welcome!

Art: I haven't shown much of my art recently, but I will and then there can be feedback.

The Worry we might have in posting our work that might go to clients: The issue is that if the work is to be sold commercially, hopefully in a gallery, then it's important that feedback be constructive. This is a challenge. If we know that a work is for ultimate sale as art, then one must be cautious not to damage the work by writings that one might later regret. To this end, we should post "For sharing only" as the prefix and folk should leave caustic analysis for a private note to the photographer.

Asher
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  #23  
Old April 8th, 2011, 03:42 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Since I have challenged everyone to read and follow Cem's example . . .
Oh, you wanted us to emulate Cem's response as an example, not to respond to it (as you said earlier).

I was a bit baffled how I might do the latter.

I'll work on mine.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #24  
Old April 8th, 2011, 05:08 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Hi, Asher,


Oh, you wanted us to emulate Cem's response as an example, not to respond to it (as you said earlier).

I was a bit baffled how I might do the latter.

I'll work on mine.
I'd hope we get both! Everyone in their own style. Some more, some less!
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  #25  
Old April 8th, 2011, 08:32 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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Maybe I've made a lot of perfect photographs or I've had a very soft audience but I can't remember receiving a worthwhile critique. It is the rarest thing to see anyone deliver high standard analysis of any picture. But there is a lot comment, some cheap, some heartfelt, that poses as criticism.

Most viewers stay mute but the ones that do give vent either tell me they LIKE one of my photographs or they DISLIKE it. Sophisticated commentators may go so far as to suggest why their feeling drive them to like or dislike a particular photograph.

In all these cases the feedback is the result of the commentator reading their own innards. They are, at least metaphorically, looking at their navels and not the photograph in question. And that is precisely what I'm interested in, the the photograph itself, and not someone's case of aesthetic dispepsia.
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  #26  
Old April 8th, 2011, 09:05 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
Maybe I've made a lot of perfect photographs or I've had a very soft audience but I can't remember receiving a worthwhile critique. It is the rarest thing to see anyone deliver high standard analysis of any picture. But there is a lot comment, some cheap, some heartfelt, that poses as criticism.
Maris,

How would a high quality analysis be constructed do you think? What would you look for?

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; April 11th, 2011 at 09:42 AM.
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  #27  
Old April 11th, 2011, 09:43 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I have placed a picture in this thread for your thoughtful criticism and ideas here.

Asher
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  #28  
Old April 11th, 2011, 07:35 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Maris,

How would a high quality analysis be constructed do you think? What would you look for?

Asher
A key characteristic of a high quality analysis is the absence of the preferences and prejudices of the critic.

As soon as one reads "I like it", "I hate it", or "I'd change it" the game is lost. Remarkably, I've encountered several people to whom the only worthwhile quality of a photograph is whether it prompts them to give it thumbs up or thumbs down. And it is not only amateurs who struggle to get beyond their own reactions. The majority of art sophomores when challenged to write 500 words about a photograph without mentioning themselves even once struggle with the task.

But there is a glorious example of how it can be done with style and intellectual grace: "Looking at Photographs, 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art" by John Szarkowski. I think his secret is that he knows how to look, how to subject a photograph to wilful study, and how to unfold its context. Being an eloquent essayist helps too.
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  #29  
Old April 11th, 2011, 08:03 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
A key characteristic of a high quality analysis is the absence of the preferences and prejudices of the critic.
For academic and museum level art criticism, for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
As soon as one reads "I like it", "I hate it", or "I'd change it" the game is lost.
Not necessarily! In everyday society, the demands of attempting pure objective analysis come after expression of likes. Why? Because social values become important for actually showing and sharing pictures in one's living room. By contrast, the museum, hopefully has a unique duty to preserve art for future generations, irrespective of such personal often fleeting whims.

In a forum, liking a picture and commending it to others, helps kick off discussion. Even hating it can be useful too! This is a social aspect of all art, the ability for someone to be drawn in and be persuaded to talk about it to others so the experience is shared. So in a community setting, liking a picture is a great start! first the greeting and then get down to serious matters and put oneself aside. That's something we can try to achieve. I have no doubt you could appraise an image, even if you are in love with its subject and dedicated to the photographer! So preferences do not exclude effective analysis. Lack of education, uncertainty and stage fright are far more important blocks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
But there is a glorious example of how it can be done with style and intellectual grace: "Looking at Photographs, 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art" by John Szarkowski. I think his secret is that he knows how to look, how to subject a photograph to wilful study, and how to unfold its context. Being an eloquent essayist helps too.
That, Maris, is one of my most valued books too. I never finish it completely but end up having to restart, it's so rich. But Szarkowski was, himself a visionary who recognized the worth of photographs and helped to define what was worthy of collection for a long time.

Asher
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  #30  
Old May 3rd, 2013, 09:27 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I moved an edited an earlier comment to post # 21 and again here, so it might serve us better.

"Folks,

Please use Cem's response in post #5 as a standard of disclosure.

It's generous to let others here know what works for you and your caveats for your criticism. The brightest minds have a quality of openness to new ideas; including imagined concepts. We get this new material both from inside one's mind, (if we don't shut it off) and then all that the world and other people provide, (if we don't shut it out). This richer input allows us to be even more creative. So, to make this work well here, we need your contributions too!

Don't be shy to share your own mechanisms of giving, getting, receiving and using criticism!"

Asher
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Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
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