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I have decided to blog my view on Critique!

I have become fed up with the constant unwanted daft comments on my images and my friends images over the last few years, this post won’t change a thing but it will let you all know how I feel about it and how I feel about the people that offer so called critique or make negative comments on images.

It’s hard to know where to start but I will start with this, in the thirty plus years that I have been taking photos I have only ever asked for feedback about ten times. Once was from a major photo stock library that I wanted to sell my images for me, the feedback from the editor was simple, my Landscapes were too abstract for the library but he was interested in my black and white work as it was very strong. This was very useful and constructive.

I have also asked a few photographers for feedback on images I was going to submit to competitions and asked advice from friends on pricing an image.

I do not ever ask for feedback on my images as to the style, content or processing as I am happy with the way these areas develop and change over the years.

There is a growing trend on the internet were people feel the need to offer negative critique and they feel it’s their right under the freedom of speech!  I regard this as rude!  I would never make any kind of comment on anyone’s image unless it was asked for! I tend to click like if I like an image and pass it by if I don’t and if I have more time or the image is great I will say so.

I look at quite a lot of images everyday and believe me I do think to myself ‘that horizon is not straight, that tree is distorted, the composition is nonexistent, the colour balance is all wrong, the lighting is appalling’   but these are all my own opinions! I don’t know what the photographer was trying to achieve.  I have had to have a thick skin in Photography as I shoot stock and anyone who has submitted images to stock will tell you it’s not always easy. In the early days I have had hundreds of images rejected for all sorts of reasons and I just suck it up and move on!

What I can’t stand is the ‘Pets and Fruit’ mentality and it’s these people that have made me write this post! I will come back to explain Pets and Fruit.

If I was walking down the street no one would walk up to me and say “Hi Matt, I quite like your trousers but your shirt it too bright, you need to lose a few pounds and that grey hair needs dying” No one would do that to me and no one ever has. I put myself out on display every time I walk out of the front door and in 50 years no one has ever made such a comment. I am not tall dark and handsome, I am short fat and bald. I have however had a few compliments, not sure why but even a nice smile makes your day a lot nicer!

So why do people feel the need to write under your image “Hi Matt, I love your work but your processing is over the top” or “Matt, that does not look like it was straight out of camera” or “Hi Matt, that sky looks wrong.”  I get the Sky one quite a lot, the reason it’s funny to me is I don’t use Photoshop so the sky is how it was on the day!

So for the record………..

I use Silver Effex Pro and Lightroom and on the odd occasion other parts of the Nik Collection and when I do HDR I use Photomatix. I have not used Photomatix for over a year!  The ‘SOOC’ people need to get a life! I shot film for 20 years and all my images were processed by me in a darkroom and most of the ‘SOOC’ work I have seen is decidedly average. Not because its ‘SOOC’ but because its just snaps. Not one ounce of thought has gone in to the image.

Just keep one thought in your mind and that is Vivien Maier like so many did not ever have her work Critiqued or even viewed, making her work and journey pure..

So I should explain ‘pets and fruit’.  In the thirty years I have been taking photos I have never once had constructive feedback from any single person about my work. I do not ask for feedback but I receive it once a week at least on an image or by message. I always check out the work of the person that gives me critique (as they call it) and in thirty years it’s always the same! Their work is, well their work! Most of it is shots of the family around the house and garden, holiday snaps and of course shots of the family pets and various attempts at still life with fruit! Pets and Fruit!   There is nothing wrong with having a body of work that consists of pets and wonky fruit but why do all these people feel the need to make comments on my work? I have never been sure but when I ask them, they run off or accuse me of being nasty!! Most of them block me! Strange that.

I know some people that think critique is important! My view on this subject is simple, if I asked 30 of my friends to tell me what they thought about my work I would get their views depending on their style of processing etc and if I listened to all of them my work would start to look like 90% of what you see on flicker, a set of images that are made up of 30 people’s ideas! If I joined a critique group on the internet I would end up with 500 people’s views! This would make my images even worse!

I have never seen one good image from any one that openly offers to critique work! Never have and never will!

The worst part of this is some people new to photography stop posting their images because of the bullying ways of ‘pets and fruit’ people and that is very sad.

So this blog post is for you Mr or Mrs Pets and Fruit. If you are going to critique peoples work who do not ask for it just remember, your work is probably average! I do not know one professional photographer or gifted amateur that takes amazing images and openly critiques other peoples work. They don’t have time and they do have respect for other people unlike Mr or Mrs Pets and Fruit who are just rude!

12 thoughts on “Critique

    jeritilley said:
    March 13, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    One important point though is that you can learn a lot through feedback, good or bad. I still love to get comments, good or bad, so that I can learn and also see what needs changing. Sometimes you do need an ‘outside’ view to see the obvious, and if 5 of my friends say the same thing, then there is a good chance that they are right and that I am wrong. So negative comments do not offend me at all,

      matt6t6 responded:
      March 16, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      I think you are completely missing the point of my post !

    Nicolo Famiglietti said:
    March 31, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Hi Matt,
    Looks like I’ll have try this again. My first attempt to leave a comment didn’t go through. First, let me say that I agree with the major photo library: your black and white work is very strong. Second, after reading “Critique” plus several posts on the X series cameras, I’d very much like for you to take a few minutes to review my photoshelter site.
    I think you might find it of interest since four galleries feature images captured exclusively with the X-Trans sensor (camera body X-E1). Those galleries are: Guanajuato, Mexico, Portland, Oregon, Guanajuato in Black and White, and Death Rider Prep.
    I look forward to your feedback.
    Nicolo Famiglietti, Ph.D.

    Bartek Buzuk (@buzuk) said:
    June 28, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Great post Matt, really hitting the spot. I think internet killed critique and now we have a festival of people who just pat you on the back with a hope to receive the same (more likes, pluses etc, make a good photo apparently) or they just want to make fun of people to feel better themselves. Real critique is like a lost art and that’s a shame.

      matt6t6 responded:
      June 28, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Cheers buddy very very true.

    Stephen Hart said:
    June 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    As my nan use to say “if you’ve nothing good to say, then say nothing”.
    Love your work Matt. See you tomorrow.

    Tuan Nguyen said:
    June 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I know this was meant as a rant, but it kind of made me smile, especially the part about Mr & Mrs Fruit & Pets 🙂 In my humble opinion you images are damn good 🙂

      matt6t6 responded:
      June 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks Tuan 😉 I wrote it a long time ago now ! But it stays reliant and it’s always available to re post under pets and fruit situations ! Ha ha

    James said:
    January 26, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Hi Matt

    Really great. Focus is pin sharp with just the right amount of contrast between the dark and the light. Composition spirals effortlessly to tell a vivid story whilst yet retaining a clever sense of ambiguity.

    Cheers mate, looking forward to the Lightroom course early May. Hope you enjoyed the tongue in cheek critique. I will leave my shots of doe eyed pets and wobbly fruity safely at home.

      matt6t6 responded:
      January 26, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Ha ha nice, yes see you in May no pets or fruit will be converted to Black and White I hope !

    Ian Alexander said:
    December 5, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Great Blog, as a beginner I find a lot of the critique that you don’t even ask for is only meant to make the person making the remarks feel good!
    Seldom is critique constructive, photography for me is my own personal journey and by comparing my photos to others I can see what is bad and what isn’t. Some of the photos I like I know others don’t so who is right? I think a lot of the time it is a case of “the Kings new clothes” with people.

      matt6t6 responded:
      December 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      It was the Emperors new clothes but photography is subjective but not every image works. It’s more about learning to see.

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