In starting ARS, the first photography feedback platform, a lot of photographers are unaccustomed to receiving anonymous critiques. I honestly do believe the best way to improve your pictures to get honest critique on your photos from others. But how should we integrate critique to our work?
First of all, when someone gives you a critique on your photos, you have the power to integrate their feedback into your future photography, or to dismiss it.
But the problem is this:
When people critique our photos, we take it as a personal attack on ourselves.
But the truth is this:
We are not our photos. Our photos exist outside of ourselves.
When you upload your pictures to arsbeta.com, all the feedback you get is the honest feedback from others. And it’s pretty awesome; there is no other platform on the internet which allows you to get honest feedback and appraisal on your work.
But the thing is this:
When you share photos online, do you want constructive critique on your work? Or do you just want to be praised?
This is my suggestion:
- When you get a constructive critique on your photos, ask yourself: “Is their feedback valid or not?”
- Is the reaction of your viewer different than your initial intent in shooting the picture? If so, why do you think that happened?
- How can you integrate their critique into your future photography in a productive way?
Divorce yourself from your pictures
Josef Koudelka once said something like:
Once I shoot the picture, it no longer belongs to me.
Koudelka would show a lot of his pictures with his fellow Magnum photographers to hear their honest appraisal and feedback. Koudelka divorced his ego from his pictures; the ultimate artist zen.
When I share my pictures with others, I like to tell them:
How does the photograph make you feel?
When I am also showing a series of pictures to a friend (like 30 images), I’ll ask them:
Can you help me kill my babies?
It is very difficult to objectively judge our own pictures. This is why asking others for their opinion is very useful. Because even though you might disagree with their feedback, at least you know what their feedback is!
Of course there is no ultimately objective way to judge photos. It all comes down to subjective taste. But I still believe: it is better to get negative feedback than no feedback.
To get honest feedback and critique on your photos, upload them to arsbeta.com