Critical Analysis

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by John Sampson, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. John Sampson

    John Sampson TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Namibia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've become a member of another 'photo community as well, and they also have a gallery section, on which members can post their work for viewing and for comment. There has been some rather strong reaction to some of my comments on work that is pathetically poor. I do not actually say so, but indicate that the work should not have been submitted, but the creator of the image wants to know why I hold such an opinion.
    I don't want to get personal, nor do I want to insult anyone, but to explain why the work just is not good means possibly offending someone who has a high opinion about very bad work.
    What do the members on this site feel about criticism? I come from an academic background, I've been producing work in the art sector for 63 years, I own my own gallery, and deal with clients who spend lots of money buying art, and photography is one of the art forms that I manage. Some of my artists are successful international photographers who have produced prize-winning books, and who have exhibited at the highest level, and in the best galleries in the world. I have had 60 exhibitions internationally myself. I am presently exhibiting my work in a Parliament building in Germany, on invitation. I work in painting, photography, sculpture and installations. I have represented my country at international events, been involved at local, provincial and national level, and have my work in the collections of a few rather prestigous collectors.
    Would you consider me competent enough to express an opinion on the disciplines that I am qualified in, or does expertise and experience not count? It seems that some young photographers with little experience do not subject their work to any kind of scrutiny by anyone besides themselves, and that leads to situations where honest professional feedback is not appreciated.
    As far as this site is concerned, should I just refrain from making any negative comment or should everyone receive a pat on the back regardless of the quality of the work submitted. I don't want to be part of a meaningless forum that makes no contribution to the pursuit of excellence, so I am asking the membership, especially the younger ones what they would like to see as far as critical analysis is concerned.
    There are standards for judging and one does not toss that out of the window simply because someone does not like what is said.
    So guys, some feedback would be useful. In the art world, you only grow when you accept and understand the function of critical analysis.
    Critical analysis is NOT an attack on the person or their character. It is a discussion of the work.

    Many Thanks.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    All people are indevidual and thus each person draws their own ideas as to what is and what is not good. Internet galleries are just a reflection of that aspect in photography. Some people will have a very high standard, which they either aspire to achive or have achived and aim to constantly meet; whilst others will set themselves a lower standard.

    Also people view galleries as different things - some for critique, some just to share the images - sadly however people (especailly those in the latter group) often don't put any words with their photos, leaving it to the viewer to guess the reaction and responce that the person wants = ergo they can then get quite annoyed when people start to critically comment on their work

    Another aspect is language - I have seen several photographers who really do know their stuff, but in the text based internet world they constantly kept getting into arguments with people (Especailly new people who didn't know them) simply because their method of wording was such that the person reading felt more like they were under attack. Its a fact that wording over the net is a harder thing to do - its also a fact that most people are all the same - a photographer with 50 years experience has the same weight to their words as one of 5 months to a new person with no ability to filter responces. Of course portfolios and displays of ones work are a very good first level filter which is easy to read for most people.

    And at the end of the day some people just do photography for the like of taking pics and sharing events, they don't really want to work at it and more than that. Even though they own gear which can achive so much more (that is more just a reflection that hte reletive prices of good gear has gone down). Just consider how many people understand basic computer programming and how many are willing to learn it? Not many really - most are happy to just run windows, IE and word and be done at that - even though the tools they have a capable of so much more.

    Totally dependant on each and every person I feel - I can give you my answer and others can give theres. As for a forum wide policy I say do your thing your way and if it ruffles a few feathers simply keep going. There will always be those who reject your efforts and always those who will appreciate them.
    A first level though is always always display your work as well - even if its just a link to a gallery of your stuff - it really does help when you can show that you are capable of achiving what your words say and also that you set a standard with your own work.
     
  3. John Sampson

    John Sampson TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Namibia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Thanks for the feedback. At the moment I am 6,000 miles from my computer where all my pics are stored, so showing will have to wait until I'm back home.
    Yes people do draw their own conclusions about what is good or bad, but what I'm trying to say is that there is a professional way of judging based on accepted standards and artistic principles. This is part of what you develop when you become part of the academic world. Degree courses in art provide the knowhow. Skill you have to develop with time, and experience tells you when you reach a point where your work is good enough to be exhibited in the best galleries around the world. Money is a great leveller. Familay and friends never give honest answers. Get a total stranger with experience to adjudicate your work. Put a price on what you've produced and see if anyone will put their money where their mouth is. You very quickly discover that you need professional advice, not your mother-in-law's opinion on what is good or bad.
    A typical example is my own wife, who is also an academic and teaches at university. She knows what good and bad is in the art world, and thinks that all my works are good. And I know that they're NOT! So honesty with yourself when you weed out the marginal and bad work is essential. You need outside opinions from people who know, not just from people expressing an opinion not based on experience. An uneducated guess is worthless. And family and friends can't give you that either.
     
  4. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,076
    Likes Received:
    202
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Wow, I was giving up hope that there were any true professional judges of work by accepted standards on the net at all. When I discuss judging and standards I often got replies that seemed to suggest that any standard of creative self-expression using a camera was acceptable. Some could not even accept the fact that an over-exposed shot with no centre of interest was in effect a reject and should be thrown away.
    Great post!

    skieur
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I agree with John as awell!

    Though I'd never tell someone to throw a shot away as such - more that they should learn from it what the bad elements are (which are partially subjective).

    As for uneducated/experienced - well I think that is slightly debatable; certainly an untrained eye sees things very differently to a more experienced eye in matters of photography, but I still think that you don't have to spend many years of study to know if you do or do not like something (though experience helps to teach one better how to describe those likes or dislikes). I also encourage people to give as honest and full a critique on others work as they can as I feel that its a great learning tool on both sides - learning to view someone elses work subjectivly helps to let one view their own work in similar light.

    That is not to say that the words of experienced people are not (by me) considered important, far far from it, but just that I feel that its good to keep an open ear to all. A neat example is that in the insect macro world I can show images that other macro shooters (some of them very experienced) and they will like them - but turn around and show them to non-macro shooters and they have a very difference view. Some like the abstract side to it whilst others dislike them for not being able to identify the subject matter (something that the macro shooters and myself have no problem with - not to spcies but just having a rough understanding of what is presented.
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    13,601
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well, I certainly hope you are sincere in your post John. I was delightfully surprised to read it and encouraged. I do not chirp in nearly as much of late, but I do lurk from time to time and keep my voyeurism narrowed now.

    So I took the opportunity to search around. Something not too many people on this forum are familiar with. In a thread titled "Is this shot any good" (or something similar) your response was No.... period. Kind of takes the wind out your sail when you state
    I dunno, maybe I'm just being cynical.
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,076
    Likes Received:
    202
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    Well, greater elaboration would have been better, but I must admit it is hard to diplomatically say what you really mean:

    "Go back to your manual. Learn how to use the camera. Practice, practice, practice. Then read up a lot on what kind of centre of interest has the potential for an interesting photo with visual impact and then learn WHEN to point your camera and click, and when to put your camera away."

    skieur
     
  8. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    For someone with an academic background you appear to be a little fuzzy about what type of criticism you are discussing here. ;)
    Critical analysis is one thing but judging - or attempting to judge - a work on the basis of 'good' or 'bad' (which is what you appear to be talking about) is something completely different.
    Grundberg identified this type of criticism as 'connoisseurship', which is severely limited.
    Basically what you are saying when you call a work 'bad' is 'I do not like/understand this'. It's a value judgement based upon your own set of values, and you yourself call it 'expressing an opinion'.
    There is nothing wrong with this - we all hold opinions - but we shouldn't think that people should take special note of ours.
    This does not mean to say that your opinions are not valid, insightful or informed, rather that people do not have to take any notice of them.
    That is their right.
    I am sure, as a practicing artist, you have had the odd bad revue.
    And I am equally sure you have brushed it off with a 'what does he know' comment.
    I know I have.
    Just accept that people can do the same to you if you give them adverse criticism. After all, no-one likes being told that they suck - especially if they do - and telling them this will achieve nothing except bruised egos on both sides.

    My advice is this:
    1) Avoid making 'value' judgements based on personal preference.
    2) Do not offer advice unless it is specifically requested - and then only give constructive advice.
    3) Do not wave your qualifications and achievements in people's faces - it makes people feel inferior with the result that they won't be impressed, they won't like it and they will do all they can to belittle you in some way.
    4) Remember that this is the Internet and so it should not be seen as being real life and important.
    I take this advice myself and it works :mrgreen:
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,796
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    "Attaboy!"

    "Great shot!"

    ^^ +1 :thumbup:

    "Really nice shot."

    "Nice going!"

    "You nailed it!"
     
  10. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,076
    Likes Received:
    202
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Agreed, Derrel. Those sort of comments are really "helpful" for describing a pathetic shot and how it can be improved. :lmao::lmao::lmao:

    skieur
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
critical analyses of photography
,
critical analysis of art
,
critical analysis of art website
,
photographic critical analysis
,

photography critical analysis