Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And Your Mother Wears Combat Boots!

The more I cruise various photo forums, the more I realize how lacking many people are when it comes to offering criticism. My Mom, who never wore a pair of combat boots in her life--leastwise, none that I ever saw on her--is fond of saying, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Combat boots aside, the problems with criticism on forums goes beyond rude remarks. Certainly, I've seen plenty of rude comments on forums: Comments where the person making them probably should have heeded my mother's advice. Those kind of comments often resulted in flame wars, big or small. But even when comments have been polite and civil, they often offered little in terms of alternative suggestions or ways to improve.

"That one doesn't work for me."

Yeah. That's helpful. It doesn't work how or why or in what way? You see what I'm getting at? If you're going to take the time to criticize, how about adding a few specifics to the criticism? It doesn't have to be a five-hundred-word composition. Just a few words that describe, relate, or pinpoint whatever it is that doesn't work for you.

The same goes for compliments.

"Awesome photo!"

Awesome how? The subject? The lighting? Colors? Exposure? Composition? Post-processing? Odds are, people posting pics that others think are awesome might be interested in why others think the pic is awesome. In that way, the shooter receives meaningful critique that might help them make more awesome photos. It is possible, after all, to make an awesome photo without having a clue how it happened.

Accidental awesomeness?

It happens.

Some people claim the only person they need to satisfy is themselves. If that's 100% true, why are you posting your work for others to see? It should be enough for you to snap and view, all by your lonesome, with your own two eyes and in the quiet, self-absorbed confines of your privately maintained mind.

That's not to say you shouldn't be satisfying yourself. It's only saying that satisfying yourself does not add up to everything most people want or need for personal satisfaction. That goes for many things: From sex to taking pictures and beyond.

Like always, I'm just saying. And "No," no one recently told me one of my photos sucked. Hearing that certainly has happened often enough but it's just not something that recently happened, inspiring this update.

The pretty girl at the top is Brooke from a few years back, snapped on some kind of a "barn" or "stable" set and from a slightly voyeuristic angle... what with the out-of-focus foreground stuff which also helps direct attention to the model. Course, that she's pulled her top up and exposed those chest-puppies helps direct that attention as well. Again, just saying.

Did I mention sales are going quite well with my Guerrilla Glamour ebook? Well, I'm happy to say, they are. That's not to say sales couldn't be even better! Hint hint, nudge, nudge, know what I mean?


Joshua said...

This is a nice image. I enjoy what's going on with the lighting and composition. I'm definitely a fan of the silver belly chain/belt. (Such things ought to be standard!) It's not a direct part of behind the lens, but I wanted to share to the world what adornments are enticing for me. Why? Because I have an ego...or...yeah...

Excellent touch with the close object. It allows me to feel like I'm creeping on her and she is giving me a chance to run, or attack...depending on ones confidence.

Her face is much darker than her body and that's annoying for me. That's probably due to how I create my own images. I tend to punch the model in the face with much light more than other areas.

The expression...if her mouth was closed it would feel better to me. I'm feeling a bit of "duh" from her expression.

Paps said...

Ah the wonderful world of An Onymous. Where destructive and meaningless comments prevail.

As every good mentor or coach will tell you, giving feedback is hard work. And your mother sounds experienced :)

Anyway, my take on it: personally I like the Oreo cookie approach (http://www.protocolplus.net/feedback.html) where both provider and receiver of feedback grow.

If the feedback is provided in SMART terms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria), the world will become a better place, little by little.

Anonymous said...

This applies to everything these days. It's the 'texting' generation.

The opposite holds true as well. I've seen people insult commenter's (it's a two way street) for the length of their reply, when they've disagreed with it and that's what it comes down to. Most people are looking for compliments that reinforce what their doing and aren't mentally and emotionally capable of handing legitimate criticism.

Also, there's the beginner who really likes a professionals photo. What are they going to say besides 'awesome'? Certainly nothing technial.

For Mr. Paps.
"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority."

John said...

Awesome Photo, Dude!

I added the "Dude!" to bring a personalized touch to the comment and separate myself from the rest of the unwashed masses of armchair art critics. :)

One tend I've noticed is that people tend to criticize without taking the use of an image into context, and based on their own type of work. Fer instance; if a PJ was to look at your photo above "and it's Awesome BTW" they might be asking where the story is in it. How can you tell it's a barn? What's her purpose for being there? I'm guessing the point of the image wasn't to tell a story, set a new trend, or break new ground in art. It's to show how pretty the pretty girl really is, I'm guessing. And that's awesome too.

jimmyd said...


Good guess, dude. You guessed right. :-)