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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 04 Sep 2012 (Tuesday) 17:31
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The lack of critiques in the critique section

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Sep 04, 2012 23:00 |  #46

onona wrote in post #14948422 (external link)
when people hit that post button, they should take the time to say something really thoughtful.

That is true, but also reduces further the C&C. Personally I also joined a couple of forums hoping for some C&C, but soon realized it was a waste of time.

Still I do go though that section and comment if I feel I have something constructive to say. Usually in my case this means some kind of landscape and something I quite like or see real potential, but isn't quite there (either IMO, or something the poster specifically mentions).

I also agree people should say something about the shot, what they were trying to achieve and what they don't like about the shot. That should (but I agree wont necessarily) get a better response.

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Sep 04, 2012 23:08 |  #47

dodgyexposure wrote in post #14949123 (external link)
I don't really feel qualified to critique anyone else's work

This is an issue. You don't need to be a professional to have eyes... Everybody has an opinion. Why would your opinion have less meaning than another person's opinion? (obviously, this does not apply to all professions, btw. lol)

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Sep 04, 2012 23:15 as a reply to  @ post 14949139 |  #48

tonylong wrote in post #14948782 (external link)
Kirk, you linked to the POTN main index, not to the thread with your photo.

To get the link to it, open the thread, then you can just copy the URL from your browser and paste it here.

OOPS.... thought I did.... …/showthread.php​?t=1224238

ewheeler20 wrote in post #14948915 (external link)
This. The critique section is almost a redundancy. There are no sub-sections, and IMO, all sections on the website invite C&C.

I agree - We're mostly all adults, and should be looking for ways to improve what we enjoy

Luckless wrote in post #14948819 (external link)
Personally I usually avoid posting up for general critique on things from 'the masses', simply because of how unreliable and often unresponsive things can be. I would rather ask questions about my work directly to specific people I trust to give honest, fair, and critical feedback.

Also, I don't really expect random strangers to put the effort into honest and deep feedback on work. Frankly it is hard work to do a good job on such things. I don't do that for others usual, so why should I expect other completely random strangers to do it for me? Haven't gotten much in the way of a pool of contacts for photo work, but I have a number of trusted friends for a writing circle. I just have to actually produce more stuff to get in their hands...

dodgyexposure wrote in post #14949123 (external link)
This is me. I don't really feel qualified to critique anyone else's work, but I enjoy reading other's thoughtful critiques and, especially, reworkings with commentary.

jetcode wrote in post #14949132 (external link)
If you want professional critique pay for it. CC is for beginners and a few more seasoned individuals who pop in from time to time. If it really matters don't leave it to the hobbyist hire a professional.

We should be looking for the opinion of the inexperienced eye (the masses), as well as that of the more 'knowledgeable', but more importantly, ourselves. Isn't it 'the masses' most of us ultimately want to appeal to? Look at so many of the greats - they appeal to the masses, and because of that, they are considered to be of the Great Masters. If, OTOH, you like what you do and produce, and that's what matters to you, then that's great (fantastic actually). But if you felt that way, you would never look for any type of critique, and keep doing what you do. Fair enough, but you'll only be a Master in your own eyes. A professional photographic critic is only one person's opinion, and that opinion can vary due to to a bevy of outside forces, no matter how much you pay for it. You know what they say about opinions...

(Just want to be clear that anything I'm saying is not directed at anyone, and the word 'you' is used as a general pronoun, aimed at nobody and everybody)

If you're going to post in the C&C forum, you should be expecting the good, the bad, and the ugly comments, and hope the (honest) good exceed the rest. But you should learn from all of the comments, and never take them personally.

This reminds me of something I tell my kids - It's impossible to learn anything if your mouth is open, or your ears are closed. (Not really sure if it's relevent, just made me think of it. :) )

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Sep 04, 2012 23:15 |  #49

jetcode wrote in post #14949132 (external link)
If you want professional critique pay for it. CC is for beginners and a few more seasoned individuals who pop in from time to time. If it really matters don't leave it to the hobbyist hire a professional.

I'm sorry but this is really quite elitist and unnecessary. Firstly, only beginners need CC? I beg to differ. In my line of work, I'm a senior level artist with more than a decade of experience in various studios around the globe, but I still regularly rely on feedback from others, because no matter how experienced we are, we never stop learning. Getting another set of eyes on your work always reveals a new angle to it.

Secondly, why should anyone pay for feedback when there are forums where people can share their knowledge? Your post almost seems to suggest that only a professional can give insightful feedback, which is a little absurd. Your insinuation that a hobbyist cannot provide feedback "that matters" is elitist and myopic; just because someone is doing something for a hobby doesn't necessarily mean their command or knowledge of the craft is inferior. In fact, I'd say that I've encountered more truly skilled, imaginative and innovative amateur photographers than professionals.

This enduring notion that professionals are always superior to amateurs is pointless and counter-productive. The only real difference between a professional and an amateur is a paycheck.

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Sep 04, 2012 23:22 |  #50

I absolutely agree with onona and to encourage feedback I've even put a disclaimer in my sig line.

It's been almost 2 years since I've gotten a dslr and I'm just now feeling comfortable with providing feedback to others. Prior to this, it would have been the blind leading the blind and while I would have been able to say a picture looks good or bad, I could not have conveyed the reasons I felt that way.

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Harsh and honest C & C is ALWAYS encouraged for any of my photos.

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Sep 05, 2012 01:40 |  #51

The problem that I have with going to 'the masses' to get general feedback on my work is that 'they' really tend to suck at providing useful feedback.

Useful feedback is something that tends to be really hard to do well. I have been working in fields where I have to provide feedback on a daily basis on a number of things for years, and I still feel I could do far better at it. For one thing people tend to over look the most important part of feedback: Why? Why is it good? Why does it suck? In what way do you feel the back ground elements are distracting, or that the lighting doesn't work. Useful feedback for a single image is often a very long and hard process that, if done well, requires you to see not only what is actually there in the image as it was taken, but also be able to see what the photographer was attempting to put there.

"It sucks" "It's great" "Wow your camera takes amazing photos!" (which actually doesn't bother me. Yes, it does take amazing photos, assuming I manage to point it in the right direction at the right time with the correct settings.) aren't useful, and far too often, especially on public forums such as this, that is what the bulk of the feedback amounts too, even if they aren't saying it is so few words.

For photography I'm very much at a stage where I feel that getting out and experimenting in general, and then sitting down to do my own review on the work as I analyse what I feel was right and wrong with what I produce is likely the best way to move forward and find where I want to go with the art. (Often more wrong than write, but learn from mistakes and all that.) It might be slower than sitting down with a highly experienced photographer or art critic, but it also helps keep me from letting myself get shoe horned into someone else's vision. I take select photos to people I trust to question them about given elements, but they are very select few photos and taken to a very small group of photographers and art lovers.

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Sep 05, 2012 06:57 |  #52

onona wrote in post #14949156 (external link)
I am the OP. I'm sorry if I misunderstood your post, I thought you were pulling a tired old tough guy routine.

I didn't post this thread because I personally was craving critique, I posted it because so few people on this site seem to receive helpful feedback.

Well in that case, then I've decided to start visiting that section more often. I spend time here because I rarely get time to actually shoot (which will change in about a year). I spend a lot of time on senseless discussion of topics that have been covered countless times before. This is probably a more useful place to contribute. lol

I am serious....and don't call me Shirley.
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Clean ­ Gene
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Sep 05, 2012 07:34 |  #53

onona wrote in post #14947947 (external link)
This is probably a sensitive subject to bring up and my intention really isn't to ruffle any feathers or come off as snobby, but honestly - the critique forum here is really disappointing. There's just hardly any actual critique, and even worse than that, I am seeing so many threads with photos getting one line fanboy responses like "great set!" when the photos are, well, not great. Yeah yeah, I know there's an element of subjectivity in judging any kind of creative output, but there are also many principles which do make for good photography, and when they're ignored, the results are more likely to be mediocre to poor. Let's not pretend that every photo is a masterpiece - we all started off somewhere and for the majority of us, our initial steps into this medium yielded pretty poor results, which is why we look for feedback to improve.

What I find frustrating is that these one line fluffy posts really do more harm than good, because they distort peoples' perceptions of their own skills, and that's detrimental to their development in their craft. Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? In order to overcome that problem, development of a realistic sense of self-awareness with regards to your abilities is absolutely essential for the sake of learning, because we have to have a realistic gauge of our abilities if we're to remain open to how much we need to learn.

I realise that not everyone aspires to be a masterful photographer, but it's particularly irksome when people post batches of photos specifically asking for honest feedback because they want to learn, and instead of people actually posting proper insight, they're responding with these useless one liners. Are people afraid to be honest? Or do people not really know how to critique? Or, perhaps, are people wary of posting critique because they don't want to be seen as the nasty ogre amongst all the puffy back-patting posts?

This forum has a "Critique corner" as well as a larger "Photo sharing" section. I can understand fanboy fluff in the sharing section, and I had previously assumed the critique section was there for more serious feedback, but to my disappointment it isn't - I keep opening threads, seeing problematic photos, and then scrolling down the page hoping to see some interesting feedback, but it really seems that 95% of the responses are these pointless one liners. I'm not suggesting that every thread poster should be greeted with a soul-crushing rant about how crap their work is, but honestly it's disheartening to someone like myself who wants to learn to keep encountering a total lack of insight in the overwhelming majority of threads.

I see this as a part of the increasing social trend of celebrating mediocrity, and it's something I'm finding really frustrating to keep encountering. How is anyone to rise up and really shine if they're encouraged to settle for their mediocre work by all this back-patting and ego-boosting? You simply can't build a constructive culture of learning in the middle of a culture of back-patters.

I think it's also important to note that it's not just critique that's missing, but also positive insight - explaining why you like an image is also very constructive for those reading the thread; understanding why people respond positively to images helps other members to better grasp why certain things work.

Am I expecting too much from the critique forum?

I agree entirely. Critique should be a learning experience, and that sort of requires people to talk about the work. And it's really disappointing how little discussion about the work that I actually see happening in these "critiques".

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Sep 05, 2012 08:46 as a reply to  @ Clean Gene's post |  #54

It also would help if the OP (of a thread looking for C&C) came back and asked for people to expand if they didn't find the C&C useful. Seems there are many where the OP doesn't return to the thread, or looks at the positive, and says "Thanks!", avoiding the less than stellar reviews.

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Sep 11, 2012 06:40 |  #55

If you want 'honest' critique (sometimes rude but most of the time honest) then try posting a few shots on http://boards.4chan.or​g/p (external link)

Now I don't usually recommend this site to *ANYONE* and especially under the age of 18 because of it's reputation as the most hate ridden website on the planet. However the photography board is actually pretty decent with a few regulars who are genuinely into photography. It's an anonymous image board so you can post with as little or as much info as you like. You are not 'linking' to any other site like you do when posting your shots here. The images are held on their servers for a while until they auto expire. During that time you get replies from other photographers either trying to learn the ropes or from experienced photographers. The critique can be agonizingly harsh. If you don't want your dreams crushed don't post there. If you can take a drumming and are not afraid to have someone tear your stuff apart and maybe learn a bit at the same time it's great. Beware though that 4chan is a dark dark place. Even on that board non-worksafe material pops up on occasion. It's one of the slower boards so don't expect immediate replies.

Also trolling is considered very much the norm there. Sometimes the critique can be no more than trolling so you have to take some stuff with a huge pinch of salt.

Go there if you dare! ;)

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The lack of critiques in the critique section
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