Critique

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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!

Fuji X100

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I have been using the Fuji X100 now for over a month and have to say I am shocked!

When the camera fist came out I had a Fuji X10 it was a great little camera but would not produce images for stock or for printing so it had to go. I was reading up on the X100 at the time and there was mixed reviews so I just did not bother. I decided to get a Nikon D7000 and a couple of lenses as my carry around kit.  But this started to get on my nerves, I wanted to enjoy my days out without having to carry so much but still wanted the option to shoot some stock, as well as the fact I just have to carry a camera everywhere I go !

When the X100s came out every one was raving about how good the X100 was and how great the X100s is so I decided to buy an X100 and see what all the fuss was about!

Well I am blown away by this little camera, not only does it look great but it’s all you need when you are out and about in town or out on your bike, anywhere to be honest, it’s a stunning bit of kit !  So much so that I sold all my DX Nikon bodies and lenses! Yes believe it or not I sold the lot! I still have all my Pro glass and my D3s bodies as I need these for Wildlife and any work that needs fast reaction time. To be honest the X100’s images are nearly as good as the D3s images, the X100 is very slow to focus and due to the fixed lens has no flexibility!  So now what do I do!

I am gutted I brought the X100 and not the X100s but I can live with that, what I can’t live with is the weight of the D3s and all the Pro glass now I have found the X100 !!

I am so shocked at the quality of the X100 images I want to sell all my Nikon gear and move over to Fuji, but I can’t!

Well not just yet but I feel I will be able to soon!  I am very tempted by the Xpro1 but I know the Xpro2 will be out very soon, the only downside is the range of glass for my needs is not quite there yet and I don’t think the Xpro2 will focus as fast as I would like and the frames per second wont quite cut it and some of the quirks will still annoy me! or will they ! I guess I will have to wait and see..

I very much expect I will buy an Xpro2 with some of the lovely Fuji glass and keep my X100 and my D3s but I have a feeling by the time the Xpro7 comes out I will be shooing Fuji all the time !!

Thank you Fuji for taking my photography to the next level by taking me back and making me think !

The image at the top was taken on the X100 using its built in ND filter, I have just ordered a screw on 3 stop filter to help slow things down a little more as this camera is just fantastic for long exposures ! I have just had this image printed and the detail in the mountains in the background is stunning.

I have not raved about a camera for years and I am raving about a camera that is now a year old but I love it, yes its quirky and has some little annoying futures that they have corrected in the X100s but even the X100s has a few quirks, it’s not a DSLR but who the hell wants to walk around with a great big heavy DSLR any more when you can pop an X series in your pocket or even in a canvas  bag and walk around all day without feeling all that weight on your shoulder !!

I will sit here and tap my fingers and wait for the Xpro2 ….. Thank you Fuji…