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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 23 May 2014 (Friday) 13:23
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Brutal Critiques vs Silence

 
airfrogusmc
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May 24, 2014 17:54 |  #31

I love the book Floral by Imogen Cunningham. I think that we see a little of her in the work. But most floral shots are nouns. Yep thats a flower. But rarely do we see work of flowers that goes beyond that.




  
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May 25, 2014 04:07 |  #32

I recently gave comment on a series of pics no one had commented on. I told the OP what I thought was wrong with each photo and ended by saying I hope I hadn't offended him. He took my points ( and the subsequent others that posted ) in the spirit they were meant, to help.

Listing the pictures like 1,2,3 and breaking down the critique, often softens the approach of sometimes brutal words rather than saying they're all under exposed, out of focus, soft etc.

Some people post shots in the hope of acclaim only to react badly when the shots are picked apart. I've never posted for C&C, some people seem to find the most minuscule faults in a shot, they are a tad overboard in my opinion BUT, the likes of wedding photographers for instance need a more severe critique as the bride will be expecting the very best.


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Lowner
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May 25, 2014 04:16 |  #33

I believe its vital to offer positives, not just negative comments. If all I can offer is negative I will not get involved. Its all too easy to destroy the enthusiasm for photography and I am not prepared to risk that.


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May 25, 2014 07:52 as a reply to  @ Lowner's post |  #34

Scatterbrained wrote in post #16925074 (external link)
Reasons why I won't say anything:
1) The image is so bad I don't know where to start. I feel it would be a bit too much to say "that's so bad I can't find a single redeeming aspect of the image". Granted it's rare, but it happens.
2) The image might be technically sound, in the way a snapshot from a P&S might be sound, but it does nothing for me. I feel this way about 99% of bird/macro/sports/airp​lane photos, therefor I just don't say anything.
3) I may see an obvious issue with the image, but the thread is so full of attaboys that I feel it would be out of place to point out what I felt was obvious.

I would add #4) I know so little about the subject that I'm not qualified to comment. i may not like the photograph, but that doesn't mean that I have any business critiquing it.

venom3300 wrote in post #16925166 (external link)
an honest constructive critique is what I always prefer. Thats how you learn and get better.

Yes. Brutal might be honest, but it's rarely constructive.

tonylong wrote in post #16926318 (external link)
I myself don't visit the "Critique Corner", simply because 1) I don't tend to take photos with high "artistic standards" in mind and 2) I myself am not much of a "critic"! So, sometimes I'll post something in another thread, and maybe someone will like it and say so. That's good for me, if I like a photo I'll often say so too, although sometimes there are too many to individually comment on, so I won't say anything, not because they aren't good, but just because there are only so many minutes/hours in the day!

But if you do post pics in the Critique Corner, well, beware!

I'm the first to say that I don't always understand "art". I've seen highly acclaimed "art" that I find ugly, worthless, and even repulsive. In art, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and more to the point, the brain behind the eye. We tend to view some things very differently from each other, so major differences of opinion can erupt when trying to discuss "art". I could never be an art critic, nor a critic of art.

airfrogusmc wrote in post #16927410 (external link)
A funny quote by Walker Evans.

"Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach." - Walker Evans

In a practical sense, I would have to disagree with Mr. Evans. Photography is all of that and more. He apparently never lived on an island 80 miles long and 4 miles wide at its widest, like I do. You can't take a photo without being near a beach.


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pwm2
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May 25, 2014 08:22 |  #35

Preeb wrote in post #16928606 (external link)
Yes. Brutal might be honest, but it's rarely constructive.

Most brutal comments I see doesn't seem to be honest, but more like the poster having seen a free ticket to be abusive. I think lots of people take the word "critique" to mean "say something bad".

I'm the first to say that I don't always understand "art". I've seen highly acclaimed "art" that I find ugly, worthless, and even repulsive. In art, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and more to the point, the brain behind the eye. We tend to view some things very differently from each other, so major differences of opinion can erupt when trying to discuss "art". I could never be an art critic, nor a critic of art.

But note that a large number of photographers has hope/dreams of being able to sell their photos. So "I like #3" or "I'm not too fond of #2" does actually give a hint of which photos has a bigger chance to sell. The majority of buyers are not art critics or photography experts but buy because of their personal feelings for the photo.

It's quite common that film critics writes how great a film is - but the film is an economic failure. Or they drip venom when describing the film and the film becomes one of the best movies of the year. So professional critics can often be way off.

In a practical sense, I would have to disagree with Mr. Evans. Photography is all of that and more. He apparently never lived on an island 80 miles long and 4 miles wide at its widest, like I do. You can't take a photo without being near a beach.

This world is overflowing with uptight quotes.


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Maverick7687
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May 25, 2014 10:30 |  #36

First, I won't critique anything. My skill level just isn't to that point. I haven't submitted anything here for critique for the same reason. I am not a professional, and most of what I take are "fancy snapshots". I have had a few people ask me to do shoots of their kids/family/whatever and they seem pleased with what I provide but I definitely know I need to develop further.

However, if I did submit a photo for critique, I am the kind of person that would appreciate a 'brutally honest' response but only if it were constructive. (Ok, now that I know the shadows are harsh under his eyes.. Tell me how to fix it.) From my perspective, and at my skill level, a critique is only good if there is an instructional piece of the puzzle that will help me fix, or at least make better, the flaw that is being pointed out.


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May 26, 2014 13:43 |  #37

It is one thing to offer technical corrective remarks, it is something very different to offer "I don't like it" comments which are very individual.

I dislike Picasso art, I won't critique it simply because my tastes do not lean in that direction! So why should I criticize the photo simply because it is not 'my cup of tea'.


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DocFrankenstein
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May 27, 2014 00:44 |  #38

For one, the OP needs to explain what exactly they're going for. If you don't know that, you can't really crique even such things like composition.

And art is democratic, so ideas about differ so widely it simply makes no sense to spend time for a critique if the OP is living in a parallel universe.


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airfrogusmc
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Jun 04, 2014 12:50 |  #39

I think Evans was making a joke Joe. I also didn't day it Evans did.




  
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jetcode
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Jun 04, 2014 12:56 |  #40

airfrogusmc wrote in post #16951389 (external link)
I think Evans was making a joke Joe. I also didn't day it Evans did.

He may have been describing what a photograph feels like rather than looks like. What goes on internally rather than what is obvious to the eye. Context is everything so who knows exactly what preceded that statement but most likely it was to indicate that photography is more than pretty things. Or is it?




  
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skilsaw
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Jun 04, 2014 14:05 |  #41

joedlh wrote in post #16925158 (external link)
If the subject just doesn't do it for me, I pass. This is especially so with guns and cars, which I find boring beyond tears.

Manhood ritual pictures are as boring to me as guns and cars.
- Dead animals with the hunter holding up the head, the gun proped against the body.
- Big Fish pictures.
- Beer drinking pictures.
- Body builders
- 4X4 trucks covered in mud
...




  
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Jun 04, 2014 19:19 as a reply to  @ skilsaw's post |  #42

OP, if you submit crapshots taken with Canon DSLR here over and over again, you might get some brutal comments and after some time nothing but silence.
If you grow into photography which is above average gearheader taste you might also get silence or something primitive.

If you submitting pictures here which are matching your signature...
Critics of pictures taken in Instagram and true lomography style are stupid.
Pictures taken with Brownie and pinhole are even above of it :)

BTW, I looking for Canada made Brownie to take pictures on this camera :cool:


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Clean ­ Gene
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Jun 06, 2014 01:06 |  #43

whuband wrote in post #16927374 (external link)
I see a big difference between criticism and constructive criticism. If you don't like it, that's fine, but if you can't offer a way to make it better, then your comment is worthless to me and probably anyone else who is asking for help.

I do pj type work and don't know much about fashion, nude, or pinup, and I don't do a lot of posing models. I see lots of photos I don't like, but I don't feel qualified to offer anything resembling expert criticism. Field sports and nature commenters should always take into consideration that sometimes it is what it is. You might not be able to move to change the background. On the other hand, if the action is great, but the background is crap, then expect some negative comments.

I also believe that it adds credibility to your critique if you have established a body of work on the website, which I have not done. Another reason to keep my big mouth shut. :-)


I disagree. If I'm making cakes and cookies, and everyone says that they suck, then I feel I'd be silly to ignore their criticisms just because they don't have any ideas on how to make them better. It's not the critic's job to know how to make a good cookie, it's their job to tell me that my cookies taste bland. What would make them not taste bland? Beats me, but that doesn't mean they don't taste bland.

Here's the thing...the "how to make it better" kind of criticism is highly speculative. I could say "this image would be better if you added this and took away that", but for all I know the person might have actually done that and the image was actually WORSE. In any case, when I say "it would be better this way", I'm also simultaneously giving a critique of something THAT DOESN'T EXIST. I'm comparing an existing work to something that I simply imagined in my head. And that seems arrogant as all hell, stating that something that someone ACTUALLY MADE is worse than something that I've just imagined in my mind.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with offering suggestions on what to do, but that's all they are: suggestions. I disagree with the implication that people who don't offer suggestions should have their comments dismissed outright. Suggestions can be helpful, but the real meat of criticism is "what does this say, does this image work"? And one can absolutely state that an image isn't working without having the slightest idea what it would take to get that image to work. One can absolutely say that an image's statement seems to be incoherent without actually having the slightest thing to offer in terms of what the image should say or how to say it.




  
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Jun 06, 2014 08:51 |  #44

If I see someone in Share, not Critique, with only a few threads to their name & no comments, I'll give them an encouraging "Nice shot" <bump>. Or maybe just a "Welcome to POTN!"
And sometimes a nice shot with a minor flaw will just get a "Nice shot" comment. We get new people here every day & I like to encourage them to stay. For whatever reason, some are never seen again & I think we all lose when that happens.

If three people have already said, "It's a little underexposed", I don't see any reason for me to say the same thing. If I notice something else, I might mention it, usually with something like "Nice shot, but...".

<Rant>
I've seen posts here that go on for 40 lines without a space between them. If a person doesn't care enough to make a post easier to read, why should I waste my time trying to wade through it?

How many thread titles do we see that just say "c&c please"? We're suppose to be creative, aren't we? If a person can't engage my interest with a description like "My kid on a swing", or "my dog humping a tricycle", why should I want to open it?

Then there's my personal favorite, "just a quick shot c&c please. Didn't have time to do this, Didn't have time to do that, & forgot to take my cam off ISO 3200, & forgot..."
Or the ever popular, "How do I fix this" without an image to look at?
So I think "WTH do you want from us?" But we try to discourage promoting flame wars here by not letting them start in the first place. So I just move on to see if I can offer something constructive to someone else.
<End of Rant>

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Jun 06, 2014 09:07 |  #45

Does anyone else feel that this applies? (kind of offtopic)

Cunningham's Law states "the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer."

Sometimes I feel it does when I post something on facebook. I'll post a picture that I messed up on and it will get 10x the attention that other pictures I am prouder of do.

I may haven't described this correctly. Say you browse the critique section for years and see the 100 most recurring instances of advice and agree with them. So when you go to post a picture you don't make those same "mistakes" and get no response.

I don't know whether this makes me an optimist or overconfident in my work, but at least it could be a reason why you try really hard and don't always get the positive feedback you may be after. I learned long ago that if you are only doing something for the feedback of others....you most likely won't ever be fulfilled. Listen to others and respect their advice but don't depend on it to keep you wanting to shoot.


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