Forums > General Industry > When Asking to be criticized.

Photographer

BodyIndustry

Posts: 269

Washington, District of Columbia, US

Mikey McMichaels wrote:

You've worded this perfectly.

This is what people read when they hear someone ask for a "critique". They hear it as "criticize me" or say critical/negative things.

You can have great critiques without saying anything negative. In fact these are probably better because the ideas that get stimulated tend to be about the future - the next shoot, rather than about what was done.

+1

Jul 10 13 12:23 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15706

Orlando, Florida, US

Roger Ebert, the most famous movie reviewer in the last 3 decades, wrote the screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

It's one of the more terrible movies ever made, a simple sexploitation film in the 70's.

So it WOULD seem that a critic can have no actual talent in the field that they critique.

Jul 10 13 12:29 pm Link

Photographer

Harpy_image

Posts: 1330

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

SPRINGHEEL  wrote:
You don't need to know how to cook to know what shitty food tastes like

You win the internet for today big_smile

Jul 10 13 12:38 pm Link

Photographer

Laura Bello

Posts: 1622

Rochester, New York, US

I try to take everyone's critiques to heart, however I do often look at peoples ports to see what level they are at or what their style was.  I once got a horrible critique from someone who flat out said my pictures were awful but when I looked at their work it was a completely different style then mine so naturally they might not enjoy my work. 

Also good photographer or not I take in critiques that are more descriptive, use good terminology, offer helpful solutions, address problems or note positives.  Critiques that just say 'this picture sucks' are worthless no matter who it comes from.

Jul 10 13 12:39 pm Link

Photographer

Green Grape

Posts: 292

West Paterson, New Jersey, US

Ariadne Photography wrote:
I try to take everyone's critiques to heart, however I do often look at peoples ports to see what level they are at or what their style was.  I once got a horrible critique from someone who flat out said my pictures were awful but when I looked at their work it was a completely different style then mine so naturally they might not enjoy my work. 

Also good photographer or not I take in critiques that are more descriptive, use good terminology, offer helpful solutions, address problems or note positives.  Critiques that just say 'this picture sucks' are worthless no matter who it comes from.

True

Jul 10 13 12:41 pm Link

Photographer

Green Grape

Posts: 292

West Paterson, New Jersey, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
Roger Ebert, the most famous movie reviewer in the last 3 decades, wrote the screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

It's one of the more terrible movies ever made, a simple sexploitation film in the 70's.

So it WOULD seem that a critic can have no actual talent in the field that they critique.

I may not know those people but haha Good one, sounds legit

Jul 10 13 12:42 pm Link

Photographer

Andrew Thomas Evans

Posts: 24078

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Zack Zoll wrote:
Critting work is the same.  Talking about work - either your own or others' - is a different skill from making your own.  I've had great professors and terrible ones, and many of the terrible ones made excellent work.  I think the best policy is to listen to everything but the be prepared to ignore it all.

+1




Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

Jul 10 13 03:28 pm Link

Photographer

varton

Posts: 2370

New York, New York, US

Rich Burroughs wrote:

People who are really good cooks are likely to have a refined level of taste though.

Definitely!

Jul 12 13 05:31 pm Link

Photographer

udor

Posts: 22378

New York, New York, US

SPRINGHEEL  wrote:
You don't need to know how to cook to know what shitty food tastes like

Very true, indeed... but you need to know how to cook if you want to give advise how to prepare better tasting dishes!
                                                                     wink

Jul 12 13 06:21 pm Link

Photographer

Nogawd Photography

Posts: 119

Cleveland, Ohio, US

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zUi8oWAkx2o/UGirb5WZ02I/AAAAAAAAGCA/FJYfsfIAHMI/s1600/Do+You+Smell+What+The+Rock+Is+Cooking.jpg

Jul 12 13 06:23 pm Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 2621

Glens Falls, New York, US

udor wrote:
Very true, indeed... but you need to know how to cook if you want to give advise how to prepare better tasting dishes!
                                                                     wink

Not really - but you do need to [i]understand]/i] what goes into cooking well.  Cooking generally requires strong multitasking abilities, and an ability to keep several countdowns going in your head at once.  People that are too focused on details are likely to be so busy making sure the garnish looks perfect, that they burn the reduction that was supposed to be drizzled over the plate, or they time the cooking wrong, and end up mashing potatoes while the steak overcooks.

You don't need to be a good cook to know that throwing a potato into a sauce will absorb excess salt, or to understand that while chives, green onions, white onions, yellow onions, vidallias, pearl onions, and red onions all have similar flavours and are used for the same purposes, they are only interchangeable in some recipes.  Try making chili with chives, or a baked potato with red onions, and you'll see what I mean.

There is a good reason why an art degree is different from an art education degree, and why K-12 teachers in the US are required to have an education degree.  There's a large amount of overlap in the skill sets, but they're not even close to the same.

I had the "honour" of having one of my projects "critiqued" by one of my favourite photographers.  I own a couple of this guy's books, and I brought one to get it signed.  I was all schoolgirly about it too smile  But after looking through my own book, he didn't have anything useful to say.  I thought it was just me, but he did the same thing to the guy that came with me.  He just didn't know how to respond to work, even if he damn sure knew how to make it.

Later on, I showed the same work to a curator.  I got more useful information than I knew what to do with.  Most of that was because instead of a list of what photos I should cut, he was able to tell me which ones told different stories, or which ones looked like they didn't agree with each other, and he was able to address the problem in a postive light, rather than a negative one.  Basically, he was able to say, "I see where you're going with the red onions Zack, and I think this dish could use a little of that flavour ... but maybe you should try green onions instead, because the strong flavour makes it too much about the onions; they should be an addition, and not the main taste."

I'm another good example of this.  I have a very good understanding of spices, and how things will taste when mixed and cooked.  But if you're having a barbecue, you probably don't want me on the grill.

You can make up your own mind if that was analogy or not smile

Jul 12 13 06:56 pm Link

Photographer

Rick Dupuis Photography

Posts: 6822

Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada

I just read a few of the posts here but isn't there a difference between asking to criticize my work and asking for a critique of my work?

Jul 12 13 07:24 pm Link

Photographer

Surreal Focus

Posts: 203

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Green Grape Photography wrote:
But I think it would help to view the critics profile & port before actually taking that advice.

I think many do that, especially when the critique is not flattering to ones work.  Some may do it to find an excuse to not listen and others may just want to put the critique in better context.  But the same is true for a critic.  I will often look at other examples of someones work prior to giving them feedback.  If only to try and avoid my own biases when trying to provide something useful to them.

Unless you are used to it, opening ones self to non-flattering feedback is difficult.  Like anything it takes some practice, some self-confidence and an open mind.

Jul 12 13 08:07 pm Link

Photographer

The Effective Image

Posts: 3943

Lansing, Michigan, US

You don't make images just to be viewed only by other photographers... they are supposedly for the public at large. So why look at someone's portfolio to see if they are 'qualified' to comment on your stuff.

Images either work for most everybody, or they don't work.

Yes, there are folks with different 'tastes'. There are folks who buy Playboy, some buy Hustler, and some buy Juggs.

You are not likely to 'please' everybody, but you should be able to create a recognizable likeness with a camera. And anybody should be able to state their opinion in a reasonable manner without name calling, profanity, etc.

And sometimes a comment like 'What the hell were you thinking?" is really called for.

Jul 12 13 08:07 pm Link

Photographer

C h a r l e s D

Posts: 9304

Los Angeles, California, US

Green Grape Photography wrote:
Some may ask for advice and to be criticized on their work. But I think it would help to view the critics profile & port before actually taking that advice.

Even though the term "criticized" is technically correct, it's far more proper and understood that "critiqued" should be used instead.  Criticism implies negativity.  Critique implies opinions about how to improve a work.

Jul 12 13 08:08 pm Link

Photographer

DLH Photo

Posts: 339

Seattle, Washington, US

C h a r l e s  D wrote:

Even though the term "criticized" is technically correct, it's far more proper and understood that "critiqued" should be used instead.  Criticism implies negativity.  Critique implies opinions about how to improve a work.

+1

Jul 12 13 08:19 pm Link

Model

Svetlana Muerte

Posts: 914

Austin, Texas, US

Yes and no.

Obviously, some people need some real technical or thematic assistance to achieve their stated goals. And many open-minded people may be able to offer that help in an unemotional manner. You could also debate the presentation of the art in the form it is, etc. Those are all positive aspects of critique.

Sometimes I came to photography class with defined themes and technically solid pictures. Other times, I came with messy pics due to not understanding (my fault) what I was expected to produce. If I had to do it over again in those instances, I'd have picked a different subject/lighting/you name it. That was a helpful experience.

Then you have the people who hate fantasy. Or hate glamour. Or my icky dolls. Or graveyards. Or that I'm older/heavier/odd. Or whatever. In those cases, it's good to take the criticism with a grain of salt. I'll never be a fashion model?---->No shit, Sherlock? You figured that out all on your own? 'Cause I knew that back when I was 14 and short with bad skin, but go ahead and insult my immutable characteristics.

Back to critiquing methods: I judge amateur romance novel contests entries, and I hate romance novels. PUKE! I do it because I can set that aside and see (1) what the genre requires and (2) what good character development is.

So, if the person looking at your work is clearly unable to leave the "I hate naked men/harsh lighting on purpose/irony/graveyards/sad clowns" at the door to discuss the artistic and technical merits of your work, then yes. By all means. Ignore it. Not your audience and not a person who could judge your work by your standards.

Jul 12 13 08:57 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 27971

Dearborn, Michigan, US

I rarely ask to be criticized.  It works for me.

Jul 12 13 11:50 pm Link

Model

P I X I E

Posts: 35327

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

You can take it or leave it...

Jul 15 13 06:51 pm Link

Artist/Painter

ernst tischler

Posts: 15186

Cut and Shoot, Texas, US

SPRINGHEEL  wrote:
You don't need to know how to cook to know what shitty food tastes like

Ben Hinman wrote:
sure, but you wouldn't go around telling a 5 star chef how to do his job, right?

A food critic, who is not a chef, would.

How many blockbuster films did Siskel and Ebert direct or star in???

Jul 15 13 07:00 pm Link

Photographer

Jeff Fiore

Posts: 9224

Pelham, New York, US

Laura UnBound wrote:

While I do agree with this, at the same time, maybe you don't know what good food tastes like either. What is it that you're cooking that you would say tastes GREAT.


Last time I got a critique on a headshot I took, I was told I needed to work on my skin retouching....that guys entire portfolio was full of models with worse than plastic skin. Since he ventured to put it all in his own portfolio over and over again, I have to believe that's what he considers "good"....and if that's good then I don't want to be good.

I totally agree. When I want a REAL critique, I go to a couple of photographers and models whose opinion I respect.

Some "critiquers" so are stuck in their own genres that critiquing other genres is an exercise in futility.

Jul 15 13 07:14 pm Link

Model

P I X I E

Posts: 35327

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jeff Fiore wrote:

I totally agree. When I want a REAL critique, I go to a couple of photographers and models whose opinion I respect.

Some "critiquers" so are stuck in their own genres that critiquing other genres is an exercise in futility.

+1

Jul 15 13 07:15 pm Link

Photographer

Art of the nude

Posts: 11892

Olivet, Michigan, US

zaxpix wrote:
"Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been put up to a critic."
-Jean Sibelius

First and foremost, your work should satisfy you.

Following the advice of every Tom, Dick and Harriet will have your work looking like every Tom, Dick and Harriet's.

Seek advice from those who have already accomplished the end results you're looking for.

Take the best. Leave the rest.

PMs and tutorials can be wonderful things.

Z.

I'm interested in the opinions of three categories of people.

1. Models who I would like to inspire to work with me for something other than a huge pile of cash.

2. Photographers who get results that I would love to approximate.

3. People who would consider purchasing, or perhaps promoting my work for purchase (galleries, say).

People who produce work that doesn't interest me, whether because it's crap, or simply because it's a whole different style from what I want to do, don't mean much.

Jul 15 13 07:22 pm Link

Photographer

Art of the nude

Posts: 11892

Olivet, Michigan, US

Rich Burroughs wrote:
People who are really good cooks are likely to have a refined level of taste though.

If "a refined level of taste" is your market, then that could be helpful.  But if you run a diner offering $5.00 burgers, the opinion of a top Paris chef could be worthless.

Jul 15 13 07:28 pm Link

Photographer

Art of the nude

Posts: 11892

Olivet, Michigan, US

Surreal Focus wrote:
I think many do that, especially when the critique is not flattering to ones work.  Some may do it to find an excuse to not listen and others may just want to put the critique in better context.  But the same is true for a critic.  I will often look at other examples of someones work prior to giving them feedback.  If only to try and avoid my own biases when trying to provide something useful to them.

Unless you are used to it, opening ones self to non-flattering feedback is difficult.  Like anything it takes some practice, some self-confidence and an open mind.

When someone is offering critiques, I tend to look and see if what they do has any relevance to my interests.  I can generally handle negative feedback, but if the odds are that it's going to be irrelevant to my goals, I'm not going to bother.

Jul 15 13 07:53 pm Link

Photographer

Grafanovitchi

Posts: 572

San Marcos, California, US

The only opinion that counts is the one of the person writing the check.

Jul 15 13 08:04 pm Link