These days, everyone’s a photographer – or rather, everyone’s a photography critic. But when was the last time you wrote a really solid photo critique?
It doesn’t happen often. We’re all short on time, and there are so many pictures to see that often providing an honest but positive piece of feedback just doesn’t happen.
But if you can’t find the time, why should anyone else do the same for your own pictures?
Making an off-the-cuff comment doesn’t help. Petapixel highlights a great example of why throwaway critiques from anonymous sources should be taken with a pinch of salt, or in this case ignored altogether. André Rabelo uploaded a Henri Cartier-Bresson image to the DeleteMe! Flickr pool, but didn’t reveal the true author of the picture until later. The criticisms flooded in and the image was removed by popular vote.
We love the fun take on photography critique that the guys on The Online Photographer put together to illustrate a similar point. Classic photos, critiqued in a public forum style. The Bill Brandt one is spot on: “What lens did you use for this pic? Also highlight detail seems lacking, esp. the arm. Adrian from NSW”
Landscape photographer Jim M Goldstein has an excellent post on his blog which details his take on the 10 most annoying photo critique comments. In at number 10 is something we’ve all experienced: Any single word critique (Wow, Beautiful, Fantastic, etc).
As Jim says : It’s not that these are bad, but tell me what you liked and inspired your initial reaction.’ He does confess that he’s been guilty of doing this and ‘Ultimately I can’t fault people too much for these types of comments as there are too many beautiful photos to view and too little time.”
Over on Pixiq, Haje Jan Kamps has an interesting list of 7 steps to writing a good photo critique. His points to consider include Interpretation, Artistic points and Points worth improving. Helpfully, he’s also prepared an example, and it makes for an excellent read if you’re just starting out in photography.
So, the point of this post? We’re just trying to say, in a roundabout way, that robust, well-argued opinion is a good thing. But let’s not try and impose our own ideas onto others. Let’s focus on more than just the technical quality of a picture and help each other to look at photography in a new way.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…