View Poll Results: Your favorite “go-to” people for comments

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  • 1) Family member/close friend

    13 25.00%
  • 2) Another photographer/artist

    22 42.31%
  • 3) A current (or former) teacher/mentor

    9 17.31%
  • 4) Photo exhibitor/dealer

    2 3.85%
  • 5) Museum curator

    1 1.92%
  • 6) Foundation grant “decision maker”

    1 1.92%
  • 7) Favorite media/academic writer

    1 1.92%
  • 8) “The more people, the better!”

    4 7.69%
  • 9) “My only critic is me.”

    17 32.69%
  • 10) Other: (please share!)

    3 5.77%
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Thread: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

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  1. #1
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    Here’s a poll about the people you’d like to meet for comments about your work.

    Let’s say you’re simply looking for some constructive criticism & open-ended comments about your portfolio – and you also have free-and-easy, face-to-face access to the people listed in the table.

    — Which of these people would you like to meet for comments, and why?

    — What circumstances would make you especially careful about your choice?

    — Here’s a twist: Which people would you be careful to avoid, and why does steering clear of them serve the best interests of your photography?

    (And if you have any meetings behind you, what lessons can you share?)

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    I rarely show new work to anyone prior to hanging a show (unless I have to show the work to get the show....). I must be thoroughly satisfied first. It must be my statement free as much as possible of any outside influence. Since I am showing the work ultimately I want feedback on the finished work of course, but by then I am fully self confident in the work.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

    KIRK GITTINGS
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  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    Let me qualify this a bit. After going thorough brutal (but enlightening) critiques as an undergraduate and graduate photo student, I still carry those fundamental questions people raised in me as I review my own work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    I rarely show new work to anyone prior to hanging a show (unless I have to show the work to get the show....). I must be thoroughly satisfied first. It must be my statement free as much as possible of any outside influence. Since I am showing the work ultimately I want feedback on the finished work of course, but by then I am fully self confident in the work.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  4. #4
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    I imagine the “teacher/mentor” option will be popular, but I’d also love to hear from the teachers around here who have sought feedback from their students, and how much the decision to do so depends on the age gap, and other factors.

  5. #5

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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    My Ex-Wives and a few others who never got the opportunity to be one.

    Ex's.... the only people who will go out of their way to tell the truth.

  6. #6
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuzano View Post
    My Ex-Wives and a few others who never got the opportunity to be one.

    Ex's.... the only people who will go out of their way to tell the truth.
    That's a daring and unique answer!

  7. #7
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    Great question. I think cultivating a community of people whose opinions you value (but don't necessarily parrot) is invaluable. I had a small cluster of photographer friends when I lived in Providence (the venerable Group f5.6), and then joined a friend's photo salon when I moved to Brooklyn. That group has mostly disolved so I now have to look harder for feedback.

    I've found a workshop setting especially helpful is when editiing and sequencing a body of work, like for a show or a book. I have learned so much about my work by inviting other people into this process.

    Another option, one I haven't done in years, is the portfolio review events like at Fotofest, Photolucida, and the Powerhouse festival in NYC. These are good for concentrated feedback from a wide range of people, and hopefully also opportunities for shows or publication.

    But I think a community that you cultivate is more valuable than the occasional critique from a big shot.

    Something I've said before, that may be worth repeating ... showing your work to a lot of people will innoculate you against taking any one opinion too seriously. I feel terrible for the photographers of yore who trecked cross country to show their work to Stieglitz—the monotheistic deity of his time—and cought him on a bad bowel day. I'm sure a few people had their egos destroyed. This is so unecessary. Your personal hero may love your work, or may hate it. It really doesn't matter. Get a lot of opinions, and use them. The important thing is what you can learn, not what you can stoke your ego with.

  8. #8

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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    People who don't take themselves too seriously when theyre being very serious
    those with a sense of humour

  9. #9

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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    Quote Originally Posted by sun of sand View Post
    People who don't take themselves too seriously when theyre being very serious
    those with a sense of humour
    All of the sources of opinion are valid for that sub-set of people. Each has a range of experience and different tools and culture to bring to the work. The family member is best the teenage child who will give the truth and damn the niceties of manners. The photographer from a peer group has special technical knowledge and so brings considerations that others likely miss entirely. The dealer/curator knows what's already collected and what might be popular with the given client base.

    So as long as one segregates opinions based on the source, one can get opinions form all the sources, but in a sense of fun and exploration, knowing there will be utterly off mark comments that have to be accepted without insult! There's a caveat. The photographer must already have a sense that they have materialized the picture in the photograph as intended and be prepared to stand by that "new life". Above all, a photographer, unless doing the bidding for hire, (for an art director or PR department or agency), should not absorb all such external influences. Rather, they have to each be referenced back to the parameters original intent of the photographer, as an artist. Only if they help that process, are they valid. A new concept is someone else's photograph: let them get their own camera and they can do it their way, if they so choose.

    If something new might help execute one's idea better or in a way that is in harmony with one's intent, then that rare nugget might be used in making an even better print next time. Still, most of the critique must have already come from ourselves in the first place.

    Asher

  10. #10

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    Re: Your favorite “go-to” people when you’re looking for criticism of your work

    Were you replying or did you believe you had to hit quote in order to post?

    Maybe I just should have said

    NOT gods gift

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