02 October 2011

~ Critique of Photos -my Rant ~

I thought I would plug my friend Mac's podcast.......if you want to go listen to it here is the latest episode:

The following is all the opinion of moi.....I realize my buddy Mac feels totally different.  I just needed to vent this out:

He has a totally different take on critiquing a photo than I do.  He seems to think photographers are "sissy" if they do not like being critiqued on their work.  His co-host Sid mentions "big boy panties" and Mac calls them "Sissies".  I have deleted comments so I guess I am a sissy.

First of all I will comment on what a critique to me is.  It should be intended to HELP, the photographer improve and to make the photograph better.  If a photographer does NOT ask for a critique I do not think it is worth giving it.  Sure you have a right to like and dislike someone's work, but if it is not asked for then how is it going to be constructive.  If I post on a place that is a forum known for critiquing then that is great, let people give me the advice I need.  However if I am on FB, don't give me a critique if I don't ask for it.  It is NOT my portfolio and most of the stuff I post is things I do for fun.  I edit a LOT and not all is stuff I care to get "critiqued" on.  As a teacher in class, I try and teach students to give constructive critiques.  I see work all the time that I could rip in to and give constructive criticism to.  If the person I am viewing does not ask for my advice than it is not worth me giving it.  But if you are looking at social networking websites as venues for giving professional critiques then I think you need a new hobby.

So just like Mac and Sid calling people sissies and needing to get big boy pants on I think they need to realize they will get slammed and comments deleted if they give unwanted critiques.  They need to expect that a majority of people will not respond to this in a positive way.  They say "if you're putting your work on the net, you're asking for it".  So they also need to understand their unwanted critiques will also get slammed and deleted.  To me it's common sense.  If someone does not want to be critiqued and they get negative feedback they may not like it.  I will not grow as a photographer from negative feedback and critiques, I will grow from going out and taking lots of pictures.  I do think that Sid and Mac should not be referencing Social Media as places for photography critiques.  Just like a person shouldn't be using FB as a place to host their portfolio work, they shouldn't be looking to it for intellectual responses.  Most of it is filled with profanity filled status updates like "FML my bf broke up with me".  Most photographers do business over Social Media places or have family and friends there.  In my opinion, NOT the places for critiquing a photo. I would suggest they do a podcast on places for doing critiques.  Here is what I found in a simple google search:


Just 3 random sites I found in a quick search.

I kind of understand what they are getting at, but really think it is not something they can win at.  Too many people have feelings and will act like sissies (myself included).  Not sure why unsolicited critiquing is such an important topic to Mac and Sid.  But to me it really borders on an area of photography that has ALWAYS got me hot. I have ALWAYS disliked the negativity around photographers that hate on other people.  So many Professionals rant and cry, much like sissies about the fact that amateurs are ruining the industry.  I love the fact that people are picking up cameras and going out shooting.  Some people have thick skin and some have thin, I don't know what kind of person they are because the internet is so impersonal.  So giving my unsolicited critique to a stranger or someone I do not know could have devastating outcomes.  So I was on my high horse and ripped them for the image when it was something they loved and enjoyed.  If that person breaks down and loses hope about photography because of my comment I would feel terrible.  I wouldn't laugh about it and say put on your big boy pants, or call them a sissy.  What if they are just starting out?  Is that something I am in a position to be doing?

I see work a lot that I dislike, in think is terrible.  I laugh sometimes about it or talk to friends about it.  But I do not feel it's my right to step in just cause this person posted it on the net and flame them in a critique.  I just can not agree here.  I think this kind of thing is damaging and negative in photography and not something I support.  I want to see it done in a manner that supports someone and will have positive outcomes.

Just my two cents. :)

1 comment:

Darlene said...

Here here Randy! Actually RC, Matt and Scott Kelby were talking about this on a webcast they did the other day about Google+ tips. They totally agreed that unless the photographer has asked for a critique we should zip it!

I teach photography classes now so my students send me links to stuff to review and they want my comments and feedback like I give them in class. What I don't do is rip them apart, but rather say how they can improve it and what they did right and to keep working on it, give encouragement.

Stuff I see on FB or G+ I might ask how it was done if I'm intrigued and that starts a discussion sometimes. In a related topic a guy I follow his blog had one of his articles go first page on Yahoo and he got over 600 comments, most of them negative about what an idiot he was and how you can't do what he was suggesting and it's not possible. (He lives and works from tropical locations because he's built a business that is internet based and portable). Most of the nay sayers came across as either jealous, or fearful. The fact that he actually IS doing exactly what he described, AND making a good living it is proof. He posted his own rebuttal to it on his blog which was quite funny. If you wanna read it, go here: