Can't we all just get along?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kidkaprie, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. kidkaprie macrumors member

    kidkaprie

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    #1
    Ive only been posting in these forums for about two weeks or so, but ive been reading them for about a month. Ive seen some amazing photographs; weather it be the HDR's, contests, photo-of-the-day/week/month/hour, etc. Ive also read some very helpful information; alot of the people who post on here have alot of good things to say, and help guide us all into becoming better photographers.

    With that said, being that this is a Digital Photography forum on MacRumors, 25% of what I read on a daily basis is not photography related. Its people arguing about who is a better photographer, who takes better pictures, who's pictures contain more "thought" and "emotion" , etc. Sometimes amazing pictures just happen, sometimes they are carefully arranged.

    I think what I'm trying to get at is, we shouldn't be putting down other people's work. I think instead of telling people that their pictures are terrible or suck, we should be offering tips to them on how to become better photographers. I also think that we as photographers should take the advice that people give us and be thankful for it. Weather you appreciate it or not, be glad that someone is offering you advice.

    Can't we all just get along....?
     
  2. zirkle2007 macrumors 6502

    zirkle2007

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    #2
    I agree 100% with you, but sadly, there are just people that think they are gods. They tend to believe everyone sucks compared to them. :rolleyes:

    I wish people would learn to get along better. This is a community where people are supposed to be able to come for support and help and what not. Recently it seems to be turning into some battle of who is better. I think maybe people are just reading into things too much. Just my two cents.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3
    I've been on this forum even longer than you and you know what? I've not read an argument like you describe. Not one. I've learned not to open those threds.
     
  4. kidkaprie thread starter macrumors member

    kidkaprie

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    #4
    well, reading threads where people ask for advice on photos, they end up turning into shouting matches about who's a better photographer.

    What's wrong with this picture? turned into a shouting match. just read the end of the thread...
     
  5. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #5
    this is an internet forum, filled with a couple of pros, more prosumers, and a bunch of non-professional photographers. images here range from total "did not even think just hit the shutter" images to "spend 5 hours setting up a shot, took 500 exposures and this was the best one" images. a range of people. a range of images. a range of experience levels.

    nobody who gives critique here is "certified" as an expert. nobody here has to present credentials proving they know what the are talking about. sometimes they may have some link to a website that may or may not be their own work. there is no way to know. identity is a mystery. nobody here is "bona fide" in any way. everyone's opinions are as valid as the content they contain. nothing more, nothing less. over time, you can start to get a feel for who knows what they are talking about and who likes to hear themselves type.

    but here is the thing.... thats all OK.

    know why? the vast majority of the people who post here and elsewhere on anonymous internet forums do not want critique.. they want an ego stroking. they want to be told how their image is 95% exceptional and maybe one little tip to make it 100%. they want people to ooooh and ahhhh and maybe offer up a minor piece of advice that they can take or leave.

    and thats OK. almost everyone here is not really qualified to give critique anyway. the people who are qualified to give critique teach. they belong to photo groups that meet regularly. they are known entities. they write books. they have public shows of their work. they are published. they are engaged in their art. they are genuine. they are people who can be looked at as an authority. they are not people who come onto an anonymous internet forum and tell people how to be better.

    are there some experts here? sure. are there some people who actually know what they are talking about here giving critique? sure. are most of the people giving critique here those people? no way. an extremely small percentage are. are some of the amateurs giving critique? sure. is some of the critique good? sure. is most of the critique bad? absolutely.

    you will never see me post my own work here for the above reasons. i have a network of people i can go to, people i know that are experts. people i know i can trust. people who are informed. people who are educated. people who have things to say that matter. people who have opinions that are not based on chance.

    this is the great double edge sword of art/design/photo critique on the internet. you never know, really, who is critiquing you. and in a lot of ways the source of the critique contextualizes and defines the validity of the critique.

    i wish there was a way around it. i wish we had some kind of "entry exam" to be able to give crits online. tell us who you are. show us your work. let us see you are valid. show us you know how to crit. show us you have something to say that will help. unfortunetly such an exam does not exist (that i am aware of.)

    that is why i rarely critique work on here. nobody knows who i am. nobody knows my background. why should they listen to me? can someone off the street with no background in photo give a good photo critique? sure. can they do it consistently? no. i can tell you my qualifications but you do not know if i am lying or not.

    so.

    what does it mean? it means that if you want critique... if you REALLY, really want critique, you will not find it here. because here is not a good place to get it. if you want to post your work, get a few "wow's!" and whatnot for kicks, maybe a few pointers, maybe a few tricks, maybe some validation, and maybe, here and there, a few really genuine nuggets of insight, then by all means post away. Look at the HDR thread. its a bunch of people stroking each other over how amazing the images are. I think the work in there is 95% crap. Absolute excrement. But guess what? my opinion is no more valid than anyone else's. Why should you listen to me? You should not. I am not going to post my own work to validate my opinion, because I don't need to. Because that thread serves its purpose perfectly: to get "ooohs" and "ahhhs" from people who are not as informed as i am (or as i might be - there is really no way you will ever know, is there?). To have people who like HDR, love HDR, see a bunch of HDR work. Good for them. Let them have thier fun. That thread is not about critique. It is not about good photography. It is about a technique. I say let them enjoy it!

    so i agree with the OP entirely. we should all just get along... because this is not a place of work. it is not a place of serious design dialog, it is a place of fun. it is a place to communicate with like-minded people about something we like to do: take photographs (or make movies, or create visual design, etc..). And a community is good. But the community should understand its role.



    but then again................ there is no way to know if i know what i am talking about, right? i would ignore everything i just said :)
     
  6. kidkaprie thread starter macrumors member

    kidkaprie

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    #6
    I totally agree with everything you just said.

    Can the mods create a new forum for arguing and such? No holds bare type thing? Dont come in here if you dont want to get offended? one could only hope...
     
  7. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #7
    I followed that whole thread, from the beginning.

    I thought it a good pic, given the constraints, and the subject obviously liked it.

    So I judged it to be a vanity thread, which is ok too, IMO.
     
  8. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    #8
    There are also times when the "rules" are slightly bent. e.g "Digital Photography"....and for the past few months I've been shooting film. :p
     
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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  10. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I agree and think you make a good point that most of the pictures posted here are for ego-stroking. I can assure you that many (if not all) of mine are. If I really wanted critiques, I'd put up my iffy or experimental work knowing that it'd get torn apart but hoping that I'd extract a bit of useful information from the flames.

    An interesting viewpoint and not one I'd really considered before.

    Not everybody has an easily available group of professionals to turn to who can give honest and useful input into their pictures though. I don't.

    Plus, a little ego-stroking every once in a while isn't a bad thing if it keeps you motivated and working.
     
  11. iBallz macrumors 6502

    iBallz

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    #11
    If one really wants critiquing, then post some in the Whipping Post
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12
    Personally, I'd rather see people who are posting have thicker skin. There are lots of times when someone will critique a picture honestly and the OP will feel personally slighted. Not everyone gets a pony. Not everyone is a good photographer. Even good photographers take bad shots from time to time.


    Very few amazing pictures "just happen." Even fine art nature images contain a lot of positioning, timing and experience (even if they need to be assisted by luck, happenstance and the like from time to time.)

    If an image sucks, it sucks. I got to the thread after the OP had clarified what type of critique they desired (but even then, you don't always get what you ask for, and that's not always a bad thing.) While the OP seems to have gotten value from my posting, they'd likely be better off having evaluated (if not outright followed) the advice about not letting a picture like that out if they intend to do a significant amount of event photography. Most event photography sales and opportunities come from word of mouth, and if you show work that frankly sucks, you will eventually lose out to the photographer that shows only good work. Float great pictures that get back to an organizer and you may find that you're invited to events that you'd never dream of being able to shoot. Float bad pictures and folk that matter will be less-likely to invite you and you'll be affecting your potential revenue and referrals. Now, sure there are more and less polite (or drawn out or whatever your perspective is) ways to say it- but the value is in that advice no matter what.

    When I shot more down in Virginia, there was another shooter who I saw fairly regularly- I think he's probably seen a hundred or so of my shots and I've seen two hundred or so of his. Out of those 200 shots, I doubt I've seen *three* that I'd be happy with. He's happy with all of them. Now, I've never told him how much his images suck- but suck they do. I've had third parties sell more of my images in one day at the totally wrong event for selling images than he's ever sold, and as competition, I like him! If I thought he'd asked for actual criticism, he'd have gotten it and he'd have way better shots if he followed it.

    By the same token, I'm most upset with some published images of mine that were supposed to be PP by the publisher (last minute shoot, poor location, not enough lighting with me...) where they went with the untouched files (even though I'd provided at least some basic PP before I got overtaken by other commitments.) I'm seriously hoping that I can get a chance to do a serious body of work on the next edition where I'll have the time to do it right and you can bet I'll ignore the call for the raw images and just hand out even minimally processed TIFFs over anything else. At least it'll end up paying for a Vagabond II for my new strobes, even if I occastionally cringe at the thought of them published (mostly because I like to see people looking excellent, not necessarily as they might really look, though from my perspective the only thing I didn't nail was WB because I didn't have enough light with me to overpower the horrid mixed lighting.)

    Finally, you have to take criticism with a grain of salt anyway- even if it's a professional critic. For instance, one of the images on my imagekind site was critiqued by a visual arts professor as "a nice shot of a wall." Within 48 hours of having a print, I'd sold my first 8x10 proof to another photographer at full matted price without a mat. I'm delivering a 13x19 next week to a new customer. Professional critics that don't pay me often lose value to my mind if an image is a successful seller.

    A few years ago, I entered a contest at a nature center where you could donate your images to the center if you wanted. The highly acclaimed judge didn't place any of my images, but of the images that placed, only sold (out of 9) while every image I donated sold, all for more money. Only one of the top three images was something I'd have been happy with (in fact I'd passed up submiting several images I had like some of the others.) Now ultimately, I'd much rather have a salable body of work that people want to pay to hang in their homes and businesses than a ribbon- but I think it still has to measure up to a certain standard or it'll be worse rather than better in terms of future sales.

    Every time I've had a "your pictures suck" reaction from someone who's credible, I've re-shot the same sort of thing and done significantly better. I think that's ultimately more useful than platitudes that don't also contain some level of useful information.

    If you can't take it from a faceless person you've never met on the Internet, you'll *hate* designers, art directors, the general public, gallery owners and clients if you present the same level of work to them.
     
  13. kidkaprie thread starter macrumors member

    kidkaprie

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    Philadelphia, PA
    #13
    i think what i was originally trying to get at was...if you dont like my photo, tell me you dont like it, tell me why, and leave it at that. i'll say thanks for the input, and if you offered any advice, i'll take it into my next photo. what ive been getting out of peoples comments is that "i dont like your picture. you should do XYZ to make it better. its a terrible picture unless you do XYZ." i think that if someone wants to make a comment about a photo, they should say, "im not a fan of your picture. in my opinion, it might look better if you had done XYZ. why dont you give it a try?"

    i guess what i really want is people to be nice and polite. but i guess that's not going to happen anytime soon....
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #14
    Probably about the time the Eagles fans stop booing their own team ;) (Having only been to Washington NFL games before, I found it quite a surprise!)

    When you take out the body language aspect and tonal inflection, it's more difficult to communicate well, and let's face it, sometimes there's emotion and it's not positive-- Personally, I think artificial civility is almost as bad as outright rudeness- but then I probably reflect that more often than not too.

    I dunno, I don't think this forum's all that bad...
     
  15. SolracSelbor macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2007
    #15
    Well said. I dont usually ask for criticism but if Doylem never told me that one of my photos was bad, I'd still be shooting crooked horizons...
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Personally, I think we get along fine. We can't agree with everything, or with every personality, which I can totally accept. Like "real life", you can't like everyone's personality. You just need to grow up and deal with this fact.

    Very true.

    I saw the "comments" (which really had to be said), read most of the thread, and decided to stay out of it. I'm usually quite blunt and "to the point", and I'm sure Shacklebolt wasn't going to hear what I had to say, which would have been "Delete the photo, give that photo to the dancer for free, and do better next time. You shouldn't sell that photo."

    Agreed again. If a photo sucks, it sucks. In my opinion, people were already holding back in Shacklebolt's thread, and I thought people really could have said worse things regarding that photo. You didn't like how the thread wasn't "PC" enough for you, and not enough euphemisms were used. I personally want real criticism when I ask for it.....all of it. You want criticism and advice on editing, but how you do polish a turd?

    I almost never ask for criticism, and the ONE time I have asked for a critique, I didn't get a single reply. :eek:

    Sell a photo like that if you want, but if you take pride in your work, you'd hit the delete button immediately when the photo isn't good. If someone says, "Your photo sucks", then just toughen up and ask yourself why. It may not be true, but if 2 or 3 people say "Your photo sucks", I'd begin to ask myself why why why. Forget the PCness, just tell me what I'm doing wrong. I don't even think "Your photo sucks" is useless criticism --- I actually think it's useful. Sugar-coat it all you want, but a bad photo is a bad photo, and if you honestly can't see it yourself, then someone should be kind enough to tell you. It may be embarrassing, and it may hurt your ego, but someone should tell you.

    I don't care whether someone was willing to buy Shacklebolt's photo or not. They may only be interested in the photo because they're in it. I'm sorry, but as a photographer, that's not good enough for me, and it shouldn't be good enough for any photographer who takes pride in their work. They have to want it because it's a great photo, not only because they're in the photo.

    I'm not a "professional" photographer, but I've taken PLENTY of concert and photos. Sometimes I'm not even expecting to do so, and people ask me to do it unexpectedly because I brought my camera (and I'm there anyway). I delete the ones that are bad, and I never let people see my photos until I'm finished touching them up. That's it. I don't keep crap, and my Lightroom Library for 2008 contains 539 photos in it. I don't shoot often, but that's still a very low number no matter how you think about it.

    Why keep photos that are merely "good" or "acceptable"? I only keep those photos when I'm at a party or something, and my friends or family are in it. If I'm in "photographer mode", and I'm trying to take a quality photo, I'd be super-critical of myself, and I'd ask myself "Why, and how, did I ever take such a s*** photo?"
     
  17. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #17
    It's good to give feedback. It's good to get feedback. For those who want to take better pix, these forums can be a useful resource...

    But... there are ways of offering a critique without being insulting, and "your picture sucks" is insulting. If I see a pic on the forum that "sucks" (and what a horrible expression that is :p), I probably won't respond at all.

    Apart from that, there is always a way to be constructive as well as critical. We just have to think before we post... ;)
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    No, You suck! is insulting, pictures are inanimate objects and "Your picture sucks! isn't an insult it's a qualitative analysis of your work, not of you. The reason people take it as an insult is because they can't objectively detach themselves from their work.

    Insults aren't necessarily inaccurate though, I've met my share of lazy no-good bums. Political correctness for the sake of political correctness is like refusing to show the results of violence- it generally makes things worse in the long-term. The "everyone gets a pony" current US school system should be adequate proof of that for anyone.
     
  19. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #19
    I'm not talking about political correctness. Criticism can be direct and forthright... without being gratuitously offensive.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    Sure, but in my experience you tend to get as many complaints anyway because people think that someone dissing their work is someone dissing them when it isn't- again I'll point to the fact that not showing that picture is probably strategically more advantageous than showing, let alone selling it.

    The level of suckiness of the image really isn't even an issue in this case- but the OP shouldn't feel insulted when it's pointed out (though they may not like the bluntness, and though some of the posts actually were at least mildly offensive.) Even if it's offensive, if the criticism is valid, it may be that the criticism has value even if there's a little gratuitous offense thrown in for emphasis (again, we don't get inflection or body language in this medium, so emphasis is in language or italics, bolding, etc.) It may even be that the criticism has more value in it's over-the-top style if it sinks in where less offensive criticism wouldn't.

    If you're going to show your work, you have to be prepared to take responsibility for the results. Sometimes that's "you need to reshoot that," sometimes it's "I wouldn't buy that if the price was negative," and sometimes it's "That sucks!" Hey, sometimes it's "How much is that," "Can I get you to shoot something for me," or "Wow! Nice picture!"

    Normally, I go out of my way to not make a direct personal attack- even if someone "deserves" it, or personally attacks me. I'm just saying that gratuitous offense gets about the same level as gratuitous niceness in my book- they both have their places and they're not always negative, but if you're going to single one out, the other ought to come along for the ride.

    Gratuitous praise is part of PC, and in my book it's part and parcel with gratuitous offense. Then again, I'm a big fan of gratuitous nudity and gratuitous violence in films... ;)
     
  21. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #21
    This being the IntarWeb and all... if I'm asking for a critique, I go in fully aware that someone, somewhere, is likely to be more blunt than I'd like (and usually less helpful goes along with that, unfortunately). For those of us that aren't professional photographers, though, it can be hard to not get defensive when an image we thought was really good turns out to not be very good in the opinion of other people.

    I've noticed if you can take the time to find something you like about a picture (if there is anything), throwing that in will often help people to be much more receptive to even otherwise harsh criticism. However a lot of people - especially younger people :) - don't have the chops to pull that off yet.
     
  22. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #22
    Funny thing ... I have found myself reverting to film a lot lately.

    Mostly out of my desire to create some fantastic B&W images, of course since I do scan those B&W images it ends up digital in the end.

    I use Hybrid Technology for B&W ---> film/scan

    I won't post pics online for critique, I do not feel the need to. If I felt the need, I would take my work up to the college and let the Photography instructors and their classes do an evaluation.
     
  23. glennyboiwpg macrumors 6502

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    Feb 16, 2007
    #23
    I suppose the answer to the question:

    "Can't we all just get along?"

    is

    "No, we can not all just get along."

    Thread discussion closed.
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #24
    Well with the number of touchy people around who personalize criticism, "gratuitively offensive" may be different for everyone.

    I said before that I've only asked for criticism here one time. I'd only post and ask for advice if I actually love the photo, but was out of ideas on how I could have done it better. Sometimes I can't see it myself. If I know it's not a good photo, I wouldn't ask for criticism. Why ask when even you know it's not great?

    And if I were to post a 2nd photo for criticism, and actually DID get a reply this time, I'd hope it was honest. Some people will be overly nice about it, which won't be helpful. Like compuwar said, it definitely won't sink in like the real, harsh criticism.
     
  25. benzslrpee macrumors 6502

    benzslrpee

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    Jan 1, 2007
    #25
    if suggestions are really needed then specify in the title a la "model shoot...all comments welcome no holds barred" or something. otherwise, i'm sure it wouldn't kill for some of those critics in the other thread to express their opinion in a more polite manner :rolleyes: on the contrary, polite does not equal fake.

    being helpful and being an ass are two entire different things...anyone who's been through boot camp can attest to that. there are Drill Instructors who are mean but want you to succeed and there are the few that just genuinely get off on the power trip or need the ego boost by criticizing.
     

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