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  #1  
Old 08-31-2006, 02:56 PM
hoorge hoorge is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 246
Default The Critique Conspiracy

I enjoy posting my pictures on TE and get a thrill when I receive critiques both positive and negative. It makes me improve on my photography, I learn from it, and it motivates me to post more.

So, do you have to be an uppidy and have some longevity, and be one of "the gang" to receive critiques? Before you tell me that I have to critique others to receive critiques on my own pictures, I know that. I have been actively critiquing other TE members' pictures in the hopes they would do so for mine. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Shouldn't it be a courtesy to critique pictures of others who have left you one?

I have seen galleries of some TE members who have mediocre pictures but yet they receive critiques from the waazoo and for the most part they are even positive ones. What gives? It's quite maddening to try so hard but yet get no respect and gratitude from other members who should have learnt courtesy during their upbringing.

Thanks for taking the time to hear me.
Cheers!

-Harjit
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2006, 03:20 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gloucester, England
Posts: 4,035
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

It is certainly more difficult to get work critiqued now, but I believe that is down more to the number of images going through the system than for any other reason. To stand much chance an image needs to have some sort of impact as a thumbnail to make it stand out from the crowd. I think if you look at your own images that have received a lot of comment you will see that to be predominantly true.
"You critique mine, I'll critique yours" is more difficult as it has the potential to create something of a closed shop. I do quite often look at the work of somebody who has critiqued my work, but if I don't see anything I want to comment on I won't submit a critique for the sake of it.
There certainly seemed to be a clique in the earlier days of TE, who would give glowing critiques which appeared to me to relate more to the photographer than the quality of the work. I have seen little evidence of that recently.
Looking at your pictures, there is currently only one that hasn't received any attention. That's a pretty good hit rate.
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  #3  
Old 08-31-2006, 06:01 PM
Darren Darren is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 854
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

There certainly seemed to be a clique in the earlier days of TE, who would give glowing critiques which appeared to me to relate more to the photographer than the quality of the work. I have seen little evidence of that recently.

Exactly the opposite of my impressions. I think back to the original days of this site, where the membership was quite limited and close knit. It was not at all unusual to see even some quite good photos with multiple yellow faces. Nowadays, I rarely see yellows and I have seen plenty of photos which garner a lot of critiques where very obvious flaws are simply never mentioned. Sites like this will always generate an overabundance of praise relative to harsh criticism, but my impression is that at one point the active members on TE took a real pleasure in being quite critical. Now,I think members are really good at finding what they like in a photo; this certainly has value too, just that negatives are somewhat overlooked.

My impression is also that negative critiques were better handled back then. Nowadays, when critiques mention a flaw in a photo, all too often the photographer either replies with an excuse as to why the flaw couldn't be avoided or a rationalization as to why it is not a flaw. Before, it seemed more that members would take their lumps, be thankful for the critique and move on.

I think there is a sort of justice in the fact that the most active members in giving out critiques tend to get the most in return. Giving a critique is a positive action in this site; it is offering something to someone else. I see no reason why those who give the most get the most in return. Generally, people are getting out of the site what they put into it; seems pretty democratic to me. Doesn't mean you can judge the quality of a photo by its points, but generally you can get a feeling for the level of participation of the photographer.
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  #4  
Old 08-31-2006, 06:41 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gloucester, England
Posts: 4,035
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

"There certainly seemed to be a clique in the earlier days of TE, who would give glowing critiques which appeared to me to relate more to the photographer than the quality of the work. I have seen little evidence of that recently."

"Exactly the opposite of my impressions. I think back to the original days of this site, where the membership was quite limited and close knit. It was not at all unusual to see even some quite good photos with multiple yellow faces. Nowadays, I rarely see yellows and I have seen plenty of photos which garner a lot of critiques where very obvious flaws are simply never mentioned."

After reading Darren's comments I realised that my original statement required some clarification. I didn't mean to imply that the site was full of cliques in the earlier days i.e. a couple of years ago, but it was apparent that there was a small group of members who always critiqued each other's work and always in glowing terms.
I certainly agree that there seem to be fewer critiques with yellow smilies now, and there are definitely a huge number of 'Well done' and 'Good shot' responses.
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2006, 08:31 PM
BobTrips BobTrips is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 817
Default Rethinking the mission...

"There certainly seemed to be a clique in the earlier days of TE, who would give glowing critiques which appeared to me to relate more to the photographer than the quality of the work. I have seen little evidence of that recently."

"Exactly the opposite of my impressions. I think back to the original days of this site, where the membership was quite limited and close knit. It was not at all unusual to see even some quite good photos with multiple yellow faces. Nowadays, I rarely see yellows and I have seen plenty of photos which garner a lot of critiques where very obvious flaws are simply never mentioned."

After reading Darren's comments I realised that my original statement required some clarification. I didn't mean to imply that the site was full of cliques in the earlier days i.e. a couple of years ago, but it was apparent that there was a small group of members who always critiqued each other's work and always in glowing terms.
I certainly agree that there seem to be fewer critiques with yellow smilies now, and there are definitely a huge number of 'Well done' and 'Good shot' responses.


I joined in 2002. I found TE incredibly valuable for my growth as a photographer. Photographs were carefully viewed and helpful feedback was given. TE was truly a critique site.

The community was small enough that most of us got to know each other in terms of skill level and aspirations. That made for a close knit group, but at the same time the site seemed to welcome new members.

Over time membership grew and true critiques were diluted with lots and lots of meaningless comments. To a great extent those comments seem, IMO, to be driven by the desire to acquire points.

Perhaps it's time for Adam to create a new site. A TrekEarth for more serious photographers. A place where the emphasis would be on growth via considered feedback from other like-minded members.

No reason that the databases from the two sites couldn't be merged for those who simply want to browse pictures from one part of the world. But separate the critiques from the comments/points rather than trying to serve multiple purposes with only one site.
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  #6  
Old 09-01-2006, 03:18 AM
jinju jinju is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,064
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

My impression is also that negative critiques were better handled back then. Nowadays, when critiques mention a flaw in a photo, all too often the photographer either replies with an excuse as to why the flaw couldn't be avoided or a rationalization as to why it is not a flaw. Before, it seemed more that members would take their lumps, be thankful for the critique and move on.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

A flaw isnt always a flaw Darren. It may be to you, it may not to the photographer. have you read the Flickr groups dismissal of HCB's bicycle photo? The flaws mentioned wre that it wasnt sharp, the focus wasnt right on where it should be. To them that was a flaw, to HCB it wasnt.
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  #7  
Old 09-01-2006, 09:06 AM
Darren Darren is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 854
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

A flaw might not always be a flaw Rafal, but my very strong impression here is that many people do not take criticism well and are way too defensive or make way too many excuses when someone points out something they don't like in a photo. Sure, what is a flaw for one might not be a flaw for another, but when you are dealing with basic photographical principals like poor exposure, cropping in such a way that subjects in the photo interfere with each other, shooting in poor light, missing focus or a host of other things, a flaw in general is a flaw. Even if it is not a flaw to the photographer, when I see a highly commented upon photo which has such "flaws", yet of 10-50 (or more) critiques, noone mentions the "flaw", people just aren't looking very analytically. Of course, when the photographer publicly disagrees with the comment, this sets the tone for the site: this tone is one where noone says negative things as it just isn't worth the effort.

As for the HCB thing, quite frankly that is a total red herring. I will guarantee HCB himself was far more critical of his work than the folks here on TE are. This is how he rose to the level he attained. Quite likely he liked many elements of the photo, but I would be shocked to hear that he thought that photo was flawless. I doubt he thought any of his shots were perfect. I would also guess he took criticism given to him in the way it was intended. HCB was no god. He took more duds in his life than any ten members on TE have taken photos. Not every shot he took was a masterpiece. Of course he also created more masterpieces than pretty much any other photographer.
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2006, 10:21 AM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,537
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

which reminds me he, HCB, said "your first 10 000 shots are the worst ones". Roughly translated in digitsl mediums, for me at least, that would mean 100 000. Sounds about right, the 100 001st should be roughly around the fall or winter of 2008...

Though we should be weary to abide by what he said. For one luminous insight, a lot seemed coming from a very anally retentive public personality. He seemed in his later decades totally negating the relevance of having been a photographer. Not fun, grumpy old man HCB.... :-(
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2006, 02:34 AM
toddadams toddadams is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 55
Default I agree, too much puffery for quid pro quo

It looks suspiciously like people are trolling for comments in return when you see photos that are just mediocre yet have a string of glowing praise.
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  #10  
Old 09-06-2006, 06:16 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,293
Default Re: The Critique Conspiracy

Let me jump in here with both feet.
Two things, Darren:
1. Ungracious, thin skinned photogs: yes, my friend, you're right (I know I've done it!) There are too many on this site who simply cannot handle a critique or who feel somehow that they are "protected" by the other more numerous, "positive" comments. You are right and it p...es me off when I see it.
2. The "Golden Age of TE" trope - all due respect, that's a load of old cobblers. I feel a colic coming on when Old Timers hark back to that Golden age. All that ahppened is that the sote expanded greatly due to the fact that it is fantastic and unique (in spite of its imperfections). Inevitably, you see more "postcards", more "close ups of smiling kiddies" (some of them from old timers, by God!) But if you sift through you will find all the outstanding shots you could wish for and the telling, incisive critiques too.
So one out of two on this, Darren - I would give you the "half-smiley" that you are so fond of yourself on this one. Agree with you about the thin-skinned lot, violently disagree with you about the Good Old days thing.
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