All Feedback is Subjective

Dear friend,

The reason I love ARS: we can harness the wisdom of individuals to “crowd source” feedback for our fellow photographers.

We have been getting a lot of great feedback; lots of the talk is about the subjectivity of the feedback. And this is a good point to discuss; because we must recognize this fact:

All feedback is subjective.


To be subjective means:

The opinion of the subject (individual) observing the thing.

For example when we look at a photograph, of course all the feedback is going to be subjective! We integrate all of our life experiences, personal prejudices, opinions, and perspective when we look and analyze a picture.

I think this is a good thing! The more diversity we have with subjective feedback and critiques, the more angles we can see our artwork from. It’s easy to fall into our own personal “confirmation biases”.

Thus, getting feedback from others is good because it helps us think outside of our own biased box.

Why subjective feedback is good

It’s good to both give and receive subjective feedback. Why?

To give your subjective feedback is useful, because your subjective feedback is valuable. Recognize that your opinion has inherent worth. By giving others your subjective feedback, you are helping others. Not only that, but when you give your subjective and constructive feedback, it gives you the opportunity to truly analyze ideas, images, and for you to use your critical thinking skills.

As for receiving subjective feedback, honestly — it’s better to get ‘bad’ feedback than no feedback.! For myself as an artist, getting no feedback is worst than getting negative feedback.

I think as artists, we want to impact, influence, or affect other people with our artwork.

As photographers, we want to present photos to our audience which impacts them emotionally. We want our viewers to look at our pictures and be transformed in some way.

Even if someone looks at my picture and hates it; at least my picture has affected them! The worst thing as an artist is this: When your viewer feels “meh” about your picture.

How to grow a tougher skin

When I go to the gym and do deadlift or chinups, calluses form on my fingers. It happens naturally, when I constantly train and push myself.

What we need is stress, exposure, and training to build a tougher skin. So as an artist, the more feedback you get on your pictures, the tougher skin you will grow!

And it also means this:

Don’t take feedback on your pictures so personally.

Divorce yourself from your pictures. When people critique your photos, they’re not critiquing you as a human being. They’re just giving their honest appraisal on your pictures.

And ask yourself:

Do you desire to get honest feedback on your pictures or not?

If so, upload your pictures to to start receiving subjective feedback on your photos, and also start providing your own valuable subjective feedback on the photos of others. The more we can all use our intelligence, wisdom, and artistic skills, the more we all can grow and evolve as visual artists!


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