Critiquing the Critics

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by abraxas, May 4, 2007.

  1. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just wondering- How much credence do you give critiques you recieve? Do you just take it all in at face value and believe everything you read, or check up on the reviewer to determine if their comments have value? How do you verify their comments/opinions?
     
  2. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    Some comments just seem to make sense. Those I take to heart.

    For the rest, I sometimes check up on the critiquer's work (photos). If I like their shots, I'll give them more creditability (street cred). :D

    If I don't like their shots, or if they don't have any shots to show us mere mortals, I tend to ignore them a bit more. :raisedbrow:

    Lastly, if a person changes their avatar more than once a minute, I'll just think they are crazy from the desert heat. ;)
     
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    If someone was to reply to my photo I take it seriously. Could be one word or an extensive crit. Point is; someone made the effort. That really means a lot to me. Wether they agree with me or have a valid idea is a whole other story. I am just trying to get people to look at my work.

    Love & Bass
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I'm my own worst critic because I know what I was trying to do and what I did wrong. And while it's nice to have people like my pictures it doesn't bother me if they don't.

    This raises the question of what the difference is between a critique and personal taste. Most people seem to get the two confused ;)
     
  5. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm trying to keep my avatar modifications a little more subtle. Apparently I scared someone pretty bad- I'm working one one where the eyes follow you around the room (when you aren't looking).

    It took me awhile to learn about the expertise and ability of some of those who gave critiques. I've recieved a few where I thought their comments were a bit out of hand. I checked on their posts and found they were headed in a direction I wasn't interested in. I consider tone and other critiques they've made also. If one goes bad for me, I usually walk away from it for a few days and see if it makes sense later.

    Sometimes I wonder if comments are made just because it seems the thing to do. Regardless, a "nice shot", whether a just a stroke or heartfelt is appreciated over -nothingness-. There's a few who don't squirt these out too often. Then something simple like that can go a long way.
     
  6. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    In the galleries, I tend to "nice shot" a photo if I really really like it. If I just only 'like' it, I'll tend to move on rather quickly (low attention span).

    In the critiques section, I'll only tend to post if I think I can offer something at lseat somewhat substantial. Otherwise, nothing. (Again, low attention span).
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I look at it and if I agree I take it to heart. But photography is subjective and if someone sees the picture differently or not as intended the only critique I take away is that it needs to be more distinct next time round.
     
  8. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I haven't been around here long, but I can honestly say I don't care one tinker's pattute when anybody critiques my pictures, good or bad.

    I share them because I like for people to see what I do. Like, don't like, it's all the same to me. If somebody wants to edit or crop my stuff, that's fine, I don't care... one way or the other. If it makes them happy to do it, fine.

    If I want to know an opinion, I will ask. If I don't ask, I don't listen.

    I sound like kind of a jerk but actually I am totally NOT a jerk about it... since I will never ever get offended by anything negative somebody has to say...

    I do the best I can, I can see what I need to do to get better, but frankly I am me... I am not Cartier-Bresson, and no matter what, I never will be... and even though I would much rather have his eye than mine, that's the way it is.

    If somebody asks for help, or opinions, then I share if I have anything to add... if I see a great shot, I will tell the poster that as well... I won't tell her I dislike a shot unless she specifically asks, because I think that is rude... but that me. If someone likes what I shot, then that's fine... if not, that's OK too... I am just not going to put much stock in the opinions of others...
     
  9. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    I agree with this. Along the same lines, I don't base the value of someone's critique on the style or quality of their work. People can give valuable critique regardless of what kind of work they do, just as people who do good work might be terrible at giving critique. Also, hearing someone else's point of view is valuable to me, simply because it comes from someone else. It's refreshing. I can sit and stare my photos all day, but I'll never come up with someone else's opinion of them.
     
  10. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In my meanwhile well over three years here on TPF I have learned a number of valuable things, both those that are very helpful to me and my own photography to day, and those that make me consider and re-consider my own standpoint when it comes to view and "critique" other members' photos.

    And I have learned that - well according to what Hertz is saying and Aquarium is underlining - as vast as the field of photography is so vast is the range of personal tastes. Some people find photography without people in it boring. Which is why landscape photography will never really fascinate them. Let's stay with those who like people in photos - again there are those that love staged, posed or studio photography, while others much prefer street scenes and candids. The latter will not look at studio pics for as long as they will look at other members' street photography. For example.

    Then some like wide angles. And develop their abilities in that area until they are able to take marvellous wide-angle photos.

    Others like to filter out tiny things, give them a frame of their own by photographing them, chiselling them out by the use of aperture etc. The people-lovers will find those photos more uninteresting than other lovers of close-up or macro photography.

    Again others are all fascinated by colours, the way colours can complement each other or go with each other etc, while again another group loves the abstractness of black&white photography. So it cannot be expected of a lover of black&white to really go for an extensive critique of a photo that only is about colours.

    So actually, in the end, the only things that can be critiqued are technical aspects such as under- or overexposure, wrong focus (though that can in the end sometimes AGAIN be a matter of tastes, unless the focus is totally off, and yet ... you never know... ;)), angles (again ... a slanted horizon can be what the photographer wanted all right!) ... which brings me back to thinking of a thread I once started myself on something like "How objective can critisism be?" or similar, and to the conclusion that it never is objective at all. It is all about tastes.

    As to how critique can be formed - well, some may have noticed already: I tend to ask. Put things I am not so sure about in someone's photo into a question. A forum like this (to me it feels like it at least) is a place to TALK, to communicate, and how better can you do so but ask questions? Thus I can call the other photographer's attention to a thing that struck me as questionable and we can talk about it. No need for me to say "This is all c..." (you know) <- just to put out a crass example which you would never hear me say, anyway.
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    A good crit should help the person on the receiving end to improve their photography in some way. It might be a technical improvement, compositional - or in their whole approach.
    It should not be one sided either.
    More importantly, the person giving the crit has to know not only what they are talking about but what they are doing.
    If you are faced with a picture and decide it could be 'improved', you start in with the advice. But what are you actually doing? You are listing what it is that you don't like about the picture and proposing ways of changing it so that it conforms more with your ideals.
    This is a waste of time for everyone.
    What you should do is establish what the photographer was hoping to achieve. Then you can see if he has succeeded, is a bit off or has failed completely.
    And in what ways.
    Then you discuss it with the photographer, make suggestions or, better, give them some guidance (as well as encouragement).
    So all crits should start with 'well, what were you trying to do, exactly?'
    But what do I know? :D
     
  12. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    I agree. However, if there is a vision that the photographer wants help achieving, I would expect him to her to state "I was trying to do blah blah blah" right at the beginning, and not wait for me to ask "what were you trying to do" first. In the absence of clarification by the original photographer, I tend to assume that they want to get suggestions on how *others* (including me) would improve/change the photograph. :)
     

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