Agree with this 100%.
Do you really agree with all that Rob has said Sharon?
If you do your POV flies in the face of every known precept of education and learning.
One does not learn well in a vacuum whether this be a technical skill or artistic expression.
I agree with Rob that spending plenty of time looking at other peoples images is a good idea.
Deciding whether they work or not and why they work is all good.
I totally disagree with the sweeping statement that all that anyone can be taught is the "mechanics".
It was never ever so!
Every endeavour that is worthwhile has a "mechanical" component to it, however, it quickly elevates to the philosophical and artistic level. This is true of fine art and it is true with mathematics and it is true with medicine and law. And it is true for every other worthwhile endeavour.
Almost nobody will reach the pinnacle of any of these endeavours on their own.
Even if they are exceptionally naturally talented it just does not happen that way.
Even if they claim that they did it on their own they are not telling the truth.
It is true that one cannot make an artist out of someone who has no aptitude for art.
It is also true that it is difficult (impossible?) to achieve any level of real expertise in any endeavour that one does not also have a passion for.
However, it is most decidedly false to extrapolate from the above two statements that if one has talent and passion for a particular thing then one can just be left to get on with it once the "mechanics" have been taught.
I will say it again: it was never
Photography is a visual medium, and as such, by definition, requires an audience.
Photography, unlike the visual arts of the past where the audience of a particular work may have been extremely small and exclusive, is a mass medium.
Both Dave and Rob have expressed doubts about how constructive it is having "unqualified" individuals judging one's work, especially it seems, if one is apparently in a formative stage with one's photography.
The suggestion is not to post on LuLa because the comments and critiques may not always be helpful.
Dave seems particularly concerned that individuals may feel that they have to produce and post only work that elicits a positive response from others on the forum.
However there are lots of problems with this.
Firstly, we live in the real world.
I get unconstructive input every day of my life just trying to live day-to-day!
If I cannot deal with someone posting a less that helpful comment about an image I post then NOT posting an image is unlikely to solve anything.
It is false premise that one can protect anyone in this way.
Also, because photography needs an audience, if someone does not post images on LuLa they will be seen elsewhere.
What if that audience is even less constructive?
The suggestion is that, particularly as an amateur, one should shoot for oneself.
The idea is to pursue those genres and ideas that interest one - in other words go after your passions.
Not bad advice within a certain context.
However, when this translates into a prescriptive "suggestion" that one should not post images on LuLa because you may be so influenced by the feedback that you abandon your interests and passions and instead pursue a quest merely to please others then the whole theory falls apart.
As far as I am concerned if this happens to you then the issue is not LuLa, it is not whatever comments have been posted, the problem is internal to the individual concerned surely.
Not posting solves nothing apart from possibly allowing someone to indulge in a degree of self-delusion.
If you are passionate about something yet can be easily swayed then then the natural question to be posed is: how passionate are you really if you are so easily swayed.
And, as previously stated, if someone is so bent on external reassurance then they will seek it out anyway.
Furthermore, how does one define a neophyte?
What are the criteria?
Who qualifies as a non-neophyte?
Who is qualified to give constructive input and critique to an image and who is not?
Who decides who is who?
And, finally, who enforces this whole apartheid-like system?
Frankly, the whole suggestion that limits should be placed on who posts what is philosophically misplaced and practically unworkable (This statement should be interpreted within the limits of the agreement one made with LuLa when one became a member of the forum in the first place.)
The apparent motive to protect the novice from himself is completely unhelpful and almost certainly counterproductive.