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  #1  
Old 09-08-2006, 01:49 AM
drm drm is offline
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Default the value of 'negative' critiques

Hi everyone, I've been on TE for just over a month now. I enjoy looking at so many stunning pictures and learning more about photography. I've been reading a few threads in the forum recently and I noticed a lot of people are concerned about the critique system. I'm not sure whether this has been discussed before, but my question is simple: why do people tend to critique only the photos they like? There's a vast amount of pampering and gentle pats on people's backs going here. Exaplaining, even in detail, why a photo is fantastic may be useful, but it's not going to beat the usefulness of explaining why a shot sucks. We all need feel-good, ego-boosting praise, of course, but at the end of the day some eye-opening 'negative' critique wouldn't come amiss. Politeness is contagious but it may generate endless whirls of empty words. If a mediocre photo is viewed by, say, 200 people, why doesn't anybody say that it's a medicore photo and why? I'm guilty of the same sin, let's be clear about it (I preach well...), but I normally get replies to my critiques if they highlight what I'd regard as weak points, explain why and offer suggestions/workshops. I'm not proposing to ban the 'well done' kind of critique, but TE would be an even greater site if we felt less uneasy about offering 'negative' critiques. (I'm convinced that the point system is partly to blame for this.)
Ciao
Mario
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2006, 03:32 AM
vapours vapours is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

I think for me theres bit of a fear of coming across as arrogant, I don't want to sound as if I'm telling people that they should be shooting like me. I recognise that people have their own styles, and that their style of photography is appreciated by other people out there. I also don't consider myself to be the best of critiquers, so I guess sometimes if I simply don't like a photo I just don't say anything as I don't think I'd get my point across effectively.
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2006, 10:34 AM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

With so many images being posted on the site each day it's probably fair to assume that something in the thumbnail must attract interest in the first place. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that a 'photo that sucks' to use your expression would have that effect.
I try to be fair in my critiques. If I really do like an image I will say what in particular appeal to me. If there are areas I'm not so keen on I will also mention those and explain why.
What we all need to remember is that there is no right or wrong comment or critique. They are our own opinion and may be entirely different to those of the photo poster.
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  #4  
Old 09-08-2006, 11:06 AM
luisafonso luisafonso is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

My answer is simple. There are thousands of pictures being posted everyday. Selection has to be made. I check the thumbnails. If they appeal to me I open the picture. If it's good, I critique it. If it's not and have missed just a point to be great, I critique it. If it's not good at all I ignore it. For me, when a picture of mine is ignored Ė i.e., has 100 views and 1 critique -, it's a clear indicator that negative critiques have been made in people's minds... Just donít underestimate the power to ignore.
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2006, 01:31 PM
paulw paulw is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

Constructive criticism is always good. I know a few people have made critiques of my photos with negative content, which has inspired me to do better, and/or given details of how I could improve my photo.

Sometimes I do leave constructive criticism of some picts. But, who's to say that my view is right or wrong?

I'm no professional, and I'm only learning myself.
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2006, 04:29 PM
pasternak pasternak is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

Yes, Luis, the point that you make here is unquestionable, but then, when your picture has 100 views and 1 critique, aren't you stuck with the question WHAT exactly was wrong in your picture? I for one am. And the fact that people simply ignore the "bad" pictures without explaining why it doesn't "float their boats" doesn't help it...

Having said this, I must confess that I myself rarely write purely negative critiques, and as you, would rather ignore a picture that I don't like at all. Maybe I feel myself not too competent in photography yet, compared with a lot of other members, to feel comfortable teaching people... But hey, where are those that ARE competent and COULD teach?... Why do THEY ignore bad pictures as well?...
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2006, 04:43 PM
stevep stevep is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

I think vapours has a good point, I usually only critique that which catches my eye. So when I do critique, there is at least something in the photo that I like. Otherwise I probably wouldnt have clicked on the thumbnail. But even with the best photos I critique, I try to find at least one thing that I think could be better - maybe the cropping could be better, or color/contrast, something...... But of course, I am just as guilty as anyone for writing gushing "wow, great photo" critiques....

steve
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2006, 04:48 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

It's not really possible to make a direct link between the number of views and the number of critiques. There are all sorts of spiders and sniffers on the net constantly on the lookout for various key words. If your title happens to include one or more of them the view count can potentially increase very quickly.
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2006, 04:51 PM
stevep stevep is offline
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Default paulw: ooops

sorry paul, I meant to reply to Mario's original post. Sorry for the email.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2006, 05:57 PM
drm drm is offline
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Default Re: the value of 'negative' critiques

Exactly, Alexander. Basically I agree with what everybody has said. I can understand that we may be seen as arrogant if we make 'negative' critiques, but the fundamental point is that, apart from some very basic principles, there's very little that can be considered objectively 'good' or 'bad' in a photograph. This realisation, however, is the very fact that should encourage us to be more open in our citicism, provided we always clearly acknowledge that it is our personal opinion that we're expressing. There's a huge difference between sentencing that "This photo is flawed because..." and suggesting that "In my opinion this photo could be enhanced by..." Language offers us infite possibilities and perhaps we should make better use of them.
So, here we go then: In my opinion the critique system could be enhanced if there were two boxes, one labelled "what i like in this photograph" and the other "what i think could be improved in this photograph" (or something like that), with everybody of course free to leave either blank. And the removal of the point system would make TE nearly reach perfection :)
Cheers,
Mario
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