Tastes and Biases

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Francesco

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Why is it than in forums there are those that take every opportunity to contradict or shower negative comments against photographers they do not like. I am not talking criticism here - it feels like vendetta somehow. And yet those that complain have nothing concrete to show the community of large or small format photographers. I have this view about these people: when all reason fails, the answer is envy, jealousy and inadequacy. It is certainly getting tiring to read threads in other forums where the topic degenerates, I feel, into a fight for validation.
 

Alex Hawley

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Francesco said:
- the answer is envy, jealousy and inadequacy. It is certainly getting tiring to read threads in other forums where the topic degenerates, I feel, into a fight for validation.

And as the Perfessor said, "In ten thousand years, mankind has not changed a bit".

I think I know the example you are talking about Francesco, the one concerning workshops. It is truly a shame and not warranted. I wish Forum Moderators would take a heavier hand and summarily ban those few who are the "usual suspects". Let those "usual suspects" cry/whine all they want to but make it emphatically clear that their inappropriate behavior is not tolerated. Just my opinion of course.
 

Donald Miller

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As has been stated before "Those who know do not say. Those who say do not know".

Or as it applies to photography...it is a heck of a lot easier to talk about photography then it is to hang them on the wall.
 

c6h6o3

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"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves."

-Brendan Behan
 

dr bob

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Or: "Critics are to artists as pigeons are to statues."
 

blansky

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Francesco,

I'm sure you know who you are taking about, and perhaps your comments could be taken as devisive.

Personally, I like to see any exchange of ideas, because that's what a forum is. There are plenty of areas for chemical info, technique info, etc.

Ethics and philosophies and off topic discussions are for people to express their ideas and opinions. I find those various ideas and opinions as interesting and informative as any area on this site.

Just on opinion.


Michael McBlane
 
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Francesco

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Mike,

I agree with you completely. Sharing of ideas and criticism is invaluable. Which is why I post my hard earned pictures for perusal quite regularly - I wish to learn and to keep on learning. I wish to be criticised by anyone. I respect the advise I receive.

BUT in my opinion, that thread (of which most know which one) that caused me to start this one, FELT like no debate or exchange of ideas or constructive criticism I have ever engaged in. It felt like a game of WHO WILL WIN THIS TIME.
 

Eric Rose

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Francesco, I have looked at your past posts and I can't find the offending thread. Where is it so I can get up to speed on this issue before commenting.

Is this the situation that led to Jorge's departure?
 
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Francesco

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I think you guys must have misunderstood what I stated on top. I am not the victim of a bad thread, rather I was wondering why there are quite a few threads in other forums where the topic goes way of course and becomes very personal. I am amazed that the offended parties do not just stop sharing their experiences and knowledge.

Oh and I do not really mind dust ups but if it gets personal then that is something else. I find these kind of biases are better sorted out face to face.
 

Eric Rose

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If you mean Pn, that's the reason I spend very little time there. As with any playground there are always bullies to be found.

I just ignore them. But then again sometimes it's fun to bait them and then watch the bloodletting.

Francesco you sound like a really decent guy and I for one am glad you contribute to APUG.

Eric
 
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Pn?
Poto.net is a very quiet and civilized place.

Take a look at rec.photo.darkroom when it's really heated!

(-:

Jorge O
 

bjorke

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If you can't stand the fire, get out of the kitchen, I say.

Posts like "I like it!" or "gorgeous!" are useless and don't lead anyone anywhere (and are NOT a valuable incentive, if they are freeely distributed everywhere capriciously). Critical comments like "that sucks" are certainly not much better, though useful for the moderators (?) as a means to identify troublemakers.

But if there's some thought process behind it, then everything else, IMO, is FAIR GAME. Just be willing to back up your assertions with something better than "well that's what I think, nyah"

If active debate and dialectic was good enough for Socrates, Aristotle, and Marx, it should suffice here.
 

Ed Sukach

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bjorke said:
If you can't stand the fire, get out of the kitchen, I say.
Posts like "I like it!" or "gorgeous!" are useless and don't lead anyone anywhere (and are NOT a valuable incentive, if they are freeely distributed everywhere capriciously).
But if there's some thought process behind it, then everything else, IMO, is FAIR GAME. Just be willing to back up your assertions with something better than "well that's what I think, nyah"
If active debate and dialectic was good enough for Socrates, Aristotle, and Marx, it should suffice here.

Sorry to "tag" so much of that previous statement. I would like it to be kept in focus while I engage in active debate.

To follow the above "rigid requirement" that comments such as "I like it" or "gorgeous" (both of which I will admit to having written, many times) is to accept a limitation of expressing one's honest reaction to a photograph. What WOULD be proper, if the honest reaction is one where an intense emotional response needs a description of the effect caused by encountering a unique, touching, emotion-filled photograph?
I have seen photographs that have drawn me into their aura, caused tears, have hypnotized me into another universe...., have re-kindled feelings of great joy, fascinated me to a state of rapture. These should be described as - what? "Could be improved by ...", when I cannot honestly conceive of any "improvement" whatever? I consider that to be plainly, and simply, dishonest.

Comments like "Awesome" ARE useful. Why should we deny anyone who asks, the recognition of their GOOD effects upon us? This conforms to the old idea of "never let them know when they have succeeded - it will only make them lazy" -- a mechanism designed solely to discourage others and protect the lofty turf of the discourager.

There. That should provided some fertile ground for discussion and debate.
 

blansky

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Ed:

I don't know about fertile ground. This is simply a repeat of your comments on the thread about critiquing as well as another thread. It's been covered over and over.

It is the opinion of others here, that even if one is magically delivered to another universe or tranformed in a state of perpetual rapture, it still doesn't help the person asking to be critiqued to be showered with just this message.

I know, you are an empowerer. Everything is great. It's so original. Don't mess with their little egos. They may be damaged for life.

But let me put another spin in it. Don't you think that your gushing over everyone and everything will actually lead them to tune you out as a serious critiquer (is that a word), because in essence they learn nothing from you. With every situation they get the nice pat on the head and sent on their way.

As many have already said, a critique is a pointing out of the positive and the negative aspects they feel is present in a photograph. No serious critiquer savages a print or a person. They instead offer a critical, thoughtful and informative appraisal of the work.

I will however agree some photographs are awesome, and some are overpoweringly great. But they are rather rare.


Michael McBlane
 

Michael A. Smith

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I do not participate in web-based critiques. On critiques in general:

As bjorke stated: Comments such as "I like it," or "I don't like it" are not useful. Sure it is nice to know that someone likes your work, but without reasons, in terms of the photograph itself, those comments are not really helpful. Comments in terms of why the one commenting feels the way he or she does are not helpful either, unless they are able to be analyzed in terms of the photograph. In other words, Ed, what is it about the photograph that causes the reaction in you. That is what needs to be expressed. Just to express that you like or dislike something is not helpful; it does not help anyone improve. And the only reason one should ever give a critique is to help someone improve. This may mean making negative comments, but just as often means making positive ones.

Now, as I have said numerous times, ultimately, visual art is visual and cannot be reduced to words. But giving a critique is not trying to reduce the art to words.

It seems that Ed thinks that a critique automatically means negative criticism. I'm not sure why that is so. A critiique can just as easily mean positive criticism. In these terms criticism is not anything negative but is value judgement neutral.

Just my 2 cents.
 
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Francesco

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Constructive criticism is very helpful in improving my vision and my technique. I submit photos to this site primarily to learn and to learn from those with years of experience. I also feel that there are times when reason fails us to put our feelings into words and all we have is our subjective notions of what we like (more often that not we have reasons for what we do NOT like, and these should be expressed constructively). I consider these as words of encouragement. How are they useful to me? They spur me on to carry my heavy backpack to explore my vision and technique further, to know that there are those who feel I am on the right path because what I create pleases them. To be inspired is just as important as learning.
 

Ed Sukach

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Aggie said:
But to just give the nice platitudes as a matter of course gets the same value as a rubber stamp of the "oh that;s nice" with out the reall views.

I agree completely, Aggie.


My problem comes when people assume some measure of dishonesty in a favorable comment; "Oh, you LIKE it? Well. you'll just have to justify that." Approval does NOT *necessarily* mean that there is *no* value in the critique - or automatically deserving of the "platitude" label.

*ALL* comments (a.k.a. "critiques") ARE helpful - to a point. They represent someone else's viewpoint, and vision - and are an indication of the interaction between the critique-er and the critique-ee.

At the same time, there is a great danger - of losing individuality. To tell the truth, the *worst* work I have seen has been the product of Camera Club Critiques - where the poor victim took all of it to heart, and produced dead, lifeless, emotionless - technically very good - conforming - work pleasing to the "Judges" - totally devoid of individuality... and without satisfying the "victim".
 
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