Critique

The New Trend in Unwanted Critique

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Happy New Year and let’s start with a bang !

The images in this post have nothing to do with the post but are just added to give you something to look at whilst reading my semi rant !

Back in 2014 I wrote a blog post about Critique and to save you all searching here it is 2014 Blog Post  I am not even going to read it before I write this post because I know roughly what it says and not a lot has changed since then, people with little or know skill or knowledge feel the need to Critique other people’s work for various diferent reasons.

To be honest Facebook and Social media is rife with opinion and critique and bullys.

I always said I have never ever seen a professional photographer ever give unwanted Critique online or in an open forum as they have better things to do and would not lower themselves to be that person.

I am talking about unwanted and negative Critique on images posted by individuals or companies on social media or the internet.  If someone posts an image in and open forum and asks for constructive Critique that is a completely different matter and I am not going to cover that today.

Yesterday that all changed, a company I work for posted one of my images on their social media page and two people decided to question why the company would post such an image and gave their reasons why they thought the image should not be posted !

The first guy fits right into the Pets and Fruit Category from my first blog post and even got his wife to like his comment. A very quick look as his facebook page revealed the obvious, completely poor imagery that was out of focus blurry and to a very low standard. So that just made me laugh as his knowledge of what makes a great image was limited, and he just fell into the category of Keyboard Warrior.

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However the second guy I had thrown out of a group before due to his constant unwanted Critique on other peoples images and his non stop bad behaviour another Keyboard Warrior but this time with a difference.

I had looked this guy up before and I think he had won an award at some point and was now a Professional Photographer who has worked for some big names in the industry and was able to name drop quite a lot on his website.

His facebook header image however had a wonky horizon and his images were mostly quite average. He did have some quite nice images but there was not much personality in his work with a large quantity of Landscapes were achievable by anybody with a decent camera and some time on there hands a few good books and the right locations and perfect weather conditions and a knowledge of composition, what I would call a template shot.

He was however in the past a teacher ( in another field) so has been teaching photography for for the last few years.

So why does this guy feel the need to run other people down and also run down my images on a corporate facebook page ?

Well I challenged him on the page and in the end he deleted his comments and so did the other Keyboard Worrier ! I guess it’s easy to drop a comment in to a thread so its seen by the audience and then run away when challenged  !

What was said in the thread was really irrelevant, but it got me talking to my friends and this always comes back to one thing. A lot of people say it’s just jealousy ! I don’t think it is I think there is far much more to it than that these days, I think these people are trying to play games with the big brands and cause some controversy or try to get elevate their profiles, or just get noticed for being a complete negative arse in an open foram. Over the course of 2017 there have been so many people bad mouthing each other and bad mouthing big brands to get themselves noticed it’s becoming a thing.

I was brought up with this saying ringing in my ears ” if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” as I got older I just added this  “if you do speak be constructive and offer real world solutions and dont be negative”.

I teach workshops on learning to see in Photography and everyone comes away with their eyes opened to where they are in their photography journy and can go off to produce better work and get stuck in to a project. I don’t get them in a classroom and tear their work apart. Teaching people what makes a great image and learning to see a great image is not always possible, as with anything in life we all have certain gifts or skills but one thing is for sure people need to learn from professionals not Mr Pets and Fruit or Mr I dont want them to be better than me.

The internet has become a place where everyone feels the need to say what’s in their head without thinking most of the time. I fear there is now a new bread of people that feel the only way to get anywhere in life is to run the people around them down  to make themselves look good or highlight themselves. The photography industry has always been a bit bitchy for some reason but some of these people are taking things to a whole new level. I think its because it’s quite a small industry and as the years go by there are less and less opportunities out there but more and more people with a camera !

The worst part of this behavior from Keyboard warriors is they scare people off from taking pictures or teach them the wrong way to review and look at their work and that’s quite sad.

As for this profesional who made the comments about my image ! Well he is not alone I see on twitter there have been some quite nasty comments towards rising stars in the industry and they really do make themselves look like a bunch of jelous arseholes ! The other week there was a whole bunch of Landscape Photographers bitching and backstabbing about  Thomas Heaton most of them teach workshops and have also won 1 competition at some point ! It did bring back memories to my own journey, I had plenty of that behavior and still get a bit as yesterday showed, luckily I was warned it would happen !  Thomas even made a youtube video about some of his Trolls.

The point is its not big and it’s not clever as a Professional to behave like a jealous child. Thomas puts a lot of time and effort in to his youtube channel and I for one find it quite refreshing and wish him all the best as I do all the new talent in the industry.

I have been around long enough not to really care about these people but I will always have my say when they rear their ugley heads because I believe I should put them back in their box.

My advice to anyone out there that gets unwanted Critique feel free to copy and paste the link to my original post in a comment thread or even this one. Ignore any unwanted critique as no one that gives unwanted critique is doing it for the right reasons they are just doing it for some strange power trip or to cause upset or some other strange  reason or to big themselves up and draw attention to themselves ! Trust me people in the industry see them for what they are so it does them no good. The odd one slips through the net but its rare.

Always remember its is always about the Image a great image is always what makes a photographer and so is a great body of work so ignore the noise and get out their and shoot.

Happy New Year to you all….

 

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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!