Friday, October 2, 2009

Photography and critique...

A photographer recently told me that her work was slagged off by another "well known" photographer. The two eventually met, and the slagging turned into a compliment as soon as the critic realised that he was speaking to a good looking young female. This is the actual secret of dismissing a lot of online critique...

On the internet, certain people think that they are high class photographic gurus, and nobody's work is as good as theirs. They feel that they have a God given right to pooh pooh other's work. They will be unstinting in their condemnation of another's work, simply because they CAN be. They can be as rude as they like without fear of recrimination or a well deserved kick in the teeth.

Now, the truth of the matter is that NO photograph is impervious to critique, as any half witted critic can find SOMETHING to take issue with. If your photo is technically excellent, it can be asassinated by a well aimed missile targeting lack of artistic merit, and, indeed, vice versa.

I have often seen people denigrating the work of others who are unknown to them, and changing their tune after meeting in the flesh. There are countless incidents of people on "networking" websites forming cliques, and banding together as "keyboard warriors" to bash some poor unfortunate whose work or style is "different" to theirs.

A common factor in online critique is jealousy. Somebody takes a good photograph which addresses an issue where another has difficulty, and the envy factor goes into warp drive.

You'll not often find a "professional" photographer slagging off another "professional" as that could start a turf war. But you'll sometimes find "professionals" slating amateurs, even though an amateur's work is often of a higher standard than a pro's. This is most likely because pro's very often only have a certain sized cake to share out, and if more amateurs turn pro, then the slices of that cake become a bit smaller... That ensures the absolute MINIMUM of encouragement!

Don't get me wrong. OBJECTIVE critique can be a very useful tool in improving your photography. Thats how we can learn and get better.

But the important thing about critique is to keep a level head about it all. Don't get discouraged. If YOU like your photo, it's probably very good! So keep plugging away, keep learning.

But just remember...

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT PHOTOGRAPH. And there is no such thing as definitive critique. Because people differ...

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