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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

 
Scatterbrained
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May 23, 2014 15:38 |  #16

gonzogolf wrote in post #16925262 (external link)
Yes, you could say something useful. But there are only so many hours in the day to comment and its easier to find someone that I can help with a more pointed and less comprehensive critique. Plus you often encounter the newbie with the justification excuses. "Ummm yeah, I meant to miss focus to make it appear more artistic, you just dont get me."

^This
I've seen poor technique passed off as "artistic intent" too many times. Or when people get called out for having really bad images on their portfolios/business pages and then try to blame it on an assistant, or the websites "compression". Yeah, because the website pushed your image by three stops while resizing it. :rolleyes: If someone posts an images that is lacking in just about every area of commonly quantified critique, yet they are proud of it, I'll just roll past it.


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J ­ Michael
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May 23, 2014 16:55 |  #17

Critique falls into two categories for me, technical and artistic. There are no shortage of commenters on technical issues so I rarely comment unless I have something different and useful to add. Few people make artistic commentary beyond the formulaic (e.g. composition, RoT etc.) and few of the images strike me as having much in the way of artistic content, and I wouldn't expect them to because lots of folks are still learning the basics. If I see something interesting I'll definitely comment on it. I tend to overlook technical deficiencies if I see an interesting idea.




  
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D-Noc
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May 23, 2014 23:49 |  #18

gonzogolf wrote in post #16925262 (external link)
Yes, you could say something useful. But there are only so many hours in the day to comment and its easier to find someone that I can help with a more pointed and less comprehensive critique. Plus you often encounter the newbie with the justification excuses. "Ummm yeah, I meant to miss focus to make it appear more artistic, you just dont get me."

I know.. It is not possible to comment on every single picture, and of course you should focus on the pictures that grabs your attention. Again it's a matter of taste.

Getting no feedback is actually feedback too.. It's feedback saying "a picture that people wasn't interested in". At least that's how I take it. But then I have to try to figure out WHY all by myself, which can be hard.

Regarding the "misunderstood artists"/newbies that can't handle critique: You never know when you run into those, but if you do, I suggest you just move on and leave then alone with their precious, above critique picture. Other photographers crave for you critique ;)


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jefzor
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May 24, 2014 02:18 |  #19

I find it hard to comment on images that don't necessarily have any obvious flaws, but are just uninteresting to me. I also tend to stay away from babies, siters dads etc.


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tonylong
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May 24, 2014 03:31 |  #20

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!


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memoriesoftomorrow
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May 24, 2014 03:38 |  #21

The more brutal the better IMO


Peter

  
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Karl ­ C
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May 24, 2014 07:52 as a reply to  @ memoriesoftomorrow's post |  #22

Interesting discussion, thanks for the replies. Looking back at my OP, maybe "brutal" was a poor choice of words. Maybe "honest" and "concise" would've been better.

In the end, we all know art is highly subjective and offering critiques from an artistic perspective may not be well received. One person's art may be another person's junk.

I do believe that photographers can improve their skills through meaningful critiques. Operating in a vacuum where feedback isn't offered or provided isn't going to help a photographer develop and grow.


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DwainRowe
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May 24, 2014 07:56 |  #23

Scatterbrained wrote in post #16925074 (external link)
Reasons why I won't say anything:
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.

Agreed. There is great talent here for shooting these types but once I see a couple of these my brain turns to mush. There really has to be something unique about the photo to move me with a "bird/macro/sports/air​plane" shot.

Dwain


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whuband
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May 24, 2014 15:10 as a reply to  @ DwainRowe's post |  #24

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. :-)


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airfrogusmc
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May 24, 2014 15:32 |  #25

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.

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




  
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tonylong
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May 24, 2014 16:36 |  #26

People have mentioned birds, macros, sports, airplanes, cars, throw in flowers, and then the scenic/landscape shots -- all these things can defy "critique"!

There are a few things that we can discuss, such as "composition", and "technique" -- if I'm going to shoot something and "share" it, I'd hope that I can provide a decent composition and also that I've use a proper technique so that it doesn't come up blurred or with exposure problems, yeah...but then, there are things that aren't so easy to "pick and choose". Take birds (or other wildlife). Unless I'm at a zoo where I can get close to the critters and they are in a pleasing "environment", then a "striking" composition may not be available! And getting good lighting when out in nature, well, sure if we are fortunate, but we so often have to battle with the light!

Sports, well, having the right gear and the proper technique to "grab" the shot and the eye for timing, sure...but how will that come out in the context of "critique" unless it's a group of sports shooters?

Landscapes, yes, composition and yes technique, and certainly an eye for the beauty of nature, and then for example when I was going after shots of some of the local mountains I aimed for the time of day when I could get good light...how boring, though, to look at endless shots of the same old scenes and to try to critique...!:)

A lot of folks also complain about flower shots. They are common to the point where you could just look away! I will say, though, that a nice flower can be a nice shot because it's showing off the beauty of nature! Given a decent composition and then being able to capture the detail, and having decent light, well there you go, but like I said the shots are common, so what can you say?!

And then there is the whole post-processing thing...many of us would like to believe that our photos are all about the "capture", but let's face it...all of our photos have been "processed", whether in a film darkroom, or in-camera jpeg settings, or in a Raw converter, or by working over in Photoshop or another image editor, one way or another we want to produce images that are visually pleasing not just in the subject matter and composition, but also in how we've handled the tones, the colors, all that stuff!

So, what's my point?

I dunno, I guess first, that we should be aware of all the different things that go into our photography...and then that maybe looking to a big group for "critique" is not the best course! If for example I have some nice shots of flowers (or any sub-category) posting them in the "Critique Corner" may not be my best choice, whereas posting them in either a "flower"/"bird" group may get more useful responses? I don't know, I'm just blabbering on a Saturday afternoon!


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airfrogusmc
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May 24, 2014 16:58 |  #27

I try to avoid talking about composition because and usually will only in the context of if the subject placement is working in relationship to the other visual elements.

A couple of great quotes by some of the greats.
"Then so called “composition” becomes a personal thing, to be developed along with technique, as a personal way of seeing." - Edward Weston

"...there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs."-Garry Winogrand

"When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision. Following rules of composition can only lead to a tedious repetition of pictorial cliches." - Edward Weston

'There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. We know that's impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants." - Arnold Newman

I think most of the things you mentioned Tony are just subjects that are so over shot and I really can't tell one photographers work from the next. I think thats why Evans made that statement and that was in the 1980s.

I've had people on forums tell me to crop out some of the most important supporting parts of my images. Things that without them are no longer a good photograph and reasons that I took the photographs to begin with.




  
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tonylong
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May 24, 2014 17:22 |  #28

Allen, yeah, just following "rules", well, what fun is that and what creativity?

As to Evans, which quote are you referring to?

Like you said, there are so many photos of so many things, that's why I suggest going to the smaller group who can give more meaningful input about "flower" shots!

Another subject that comes to mind is "sports"...I know I've shot some sports, and can appreciate the skills involved and the "eye" with the sense of timing that can be particular to a sport, and so I can appreciate seeing a good shot, even though it's like thousands of shots out there, it's just that unless there is a particular issue and someone wants input, well, it's not a matter for tossing it out to the general public for "critique"! Sure, some shots "jump out" at you for whatever reason, hey, people buy Sports Illustrated for the photos, National Geographic for the photos, we love POTN, for one thing because of the photos, but they are not "foisted" on us for critique...


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airfrogusmc
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May 24, 2014 17:52 |  #29

See #25...




  
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tonylong
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May 24, 2014 17:53 |  #30

airfrogusmc wrote in post #16927648 (external link)
See #25...

Ah, OK!


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