"So should we let these all these "user critique" posts here unanswered in your opinion?At least on my posts I would like to know what other honestly think. I don't have to agree but hearing other and different opinions shapes my vision as a photographer. I think that's the whole purpose of this subforum isn't it? "
I think photographers can be split into several camps: those who know what they want; those who know what they want and how to do it; those who want to be told what they want; those who also want to be told how to do it.
"I think that Rob is exhibiting a kind of closed minded mentality? Rob you have been in photography for a long time so I kind of understand where you are coming from but others are still "on the journey". Listening to others can't be a bad thing. Whether you do anything about it is another matter? None of us know it all and there are still things to be learnt or at least re learnt?"
No, I don’t think it is to do with having been in photography a long time; I think it is to do with my definitions above. With film, I can’t remember ever having asked anybody anything other than how to process the stuff and make prints.
With digi it has been much harder for me because I have also had to come to grips with computers, programmes like Photoshop, things that I basically dislike, though not their benefits. There, I have had to beg advice which has, on the whole, been happily given.
As I understand critique, it is a request for someone to tell you where you went wrong or what you should have done instead. This, frankly, is nonsense. How can another person possibly advise how you should think which, basically, is what people here tend to be doing? The request is as futile as the reply fatuous.
If your eye needs educating, then buy quality magazines on your subject; watch documentary films, as in natural history ones. I have been more impressed by some of the BBC material coming out of Bristol than anything from Hollywood. But yes, do watch Hollywood too; those film guys know a thing or two about images: how to create emotion, how to light and how to make it all grab you.
Perhaps the most pointless request is to do with ‘street’ shots and how to do them better. How the hell can you rerun life and happenstance? It is insane to expect somebody else to offer sensible advice after the event. Do you just say: buy a Leica and a 35mm and you’re home? You have to know the shooter’s mentality, even he/she might have serious problems with having that information whilst young, and I really do believe that telling them how they should do things – just your opinion, after all - is doing them no service whatsoever other than screwing with their own make-up. Heysoos! – did you need anyone to tell you how to make love? It’s the same damn thing!
So, in direct response to the first quotation, yes, I have often remarked in LuLa that the critique concept, per se, is not a great idea. By all means chat and offer advice technical, but leave the mind alone. Why are you prepared to allow others to “shape your vision as a photographer”, as you write? You are you.
Stamper – photography a journey? A sixpenny bus ride. Or a life. You take your choice and if it’s the short ride, so much the better. The other alternative? How many of us that went that route are a bag of laughs 24/24? Or even close. But the thing is, we chose it and wouldn’t be happy doing what we would see as second-best with life; we could never live with having chickened out on ourselves; it’s about doing it our way. So, I repeat what I believe: advice on technical matters, yes! Advice on aesthetics - never.
And no, nobody ever knows it all, even with film! But the great thing is, you don’t have to, because much of it is irrelevant to what you might have chosen to do with photography, and the important stuff is pretty easy to retain.
For example: Fred remarked on the Bar Avenidas shot in my website. It’s a horizontal of a rather oblique angle to a window with a couple of women in brilliant sunshine outside. I was inside the Bar A, looking askew at that window; the camera lives in Matrix; with that vast proportion of dark interior, no system could give you the exposure other than via spot, and that’s the rub: you have to fiddle with tiny wheels and change settings. There was no time. From film days, the sunny 16 rule came into my head and no metering was needed, just a setting (always on manual – now you know why) made on the fly based on old film technique. Half a sec. to set it. Done.
But look, others will think as they will, and quite rightly too; I simply don’t think Jenn needs advice from anybody. She already has all the skills she needs and has proven that shot after shot. What else is there she needs? Self-belief?