If only...

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by doug_johnson|10, May 3, 2021.

  1. Hmmmm. I have more than a few photos I take that I like. Just because I like them, doesn't mean I think they're perfect- only that they fit what I think I either was seeing, or just what I like in a shot.

    More than a couple times, just to see what others have to say about my photo that I like, I'll ask for critique. I always enjoy reading what others say. Always. It doesn't matter what they say, I just appreciate others' opinions on stuff. I fold it all into my brain as one might fold an egg into a cake batter.
    In the end, I usually feel like I'm better off for it. It's an exercise in learning. Maybe I can't even put into words what it is I've learned but I feel like having others weigh in on my photos helps me grow as a photographer. Maybe grow as a person, too? AND the entire exercise, by my way of thinking, deepens my connection to this community.

    So I get way more from a critique than just the opinions, advice, and views of others.

    I did just have one final thought tho: if a photo is "perfect" to you, why would you even ask anyone else's opinion on it?
    inoneeye likes this.
  2. I wouldn't. If you go back to my first post, I was posing a hypothetical. Some people can't help themselves, and feel the need to critique when none is asked for. I made my living as an advertising photographer...every shot had the art directors instant critique. Art directors have their vision of what the shot should look like, photographers have theirs, and the clients have theirs...who is right? (Trick question...the correct answer is the guy paying for it!) In the end, all are right, and all are wrong, and none of it really matters. When it comes down to it, if a photographer goes to the trouble of selecting an image that they have taken, that makes the image perfect...wonky horizon, blown out highlights, no detail in the shadows...just the fact that THAT image was chosen make it temporarily perfect. Tomorrow is another day, and it may not be perfect tomorrow...only the photographer that took it could say. I realize that this is an unpopular opinion on this forum, but occasionally, the emperor has no clothes. I'm glad you think all critique is good, all is worth indulging, and all of it makes you feel better about you and your work. In my 50 year career as a photographer, no critique has ever changed anything for determined photographers. The fact that others don't see it your way is just the way it is...that is life!
  3. Only if one conflates select and perfect, two distinctly different words.
    I wouldn’t call it unpopular. I’d call it incoherent, a misuse of the word perfect. Perfect is, by definition, an absolute. It doesn’t change day after day. If it was perfect yesterday, it better be perfect tomorrow or it was never perfect at all. It was simply mislabeled.
    In general, I don’t see unsolicited critique, which you provided me in the Richard thread by the way, as critics not being able to help themselves. Maybe that was the case for you, I don’t know. I see it as a great way to engage with photographer and photograph. I love hearing unsolicited opinions about my work. I create photos to express myself and like to share the photos with folks. I like when they share their reactions with me. It’s easy to tell when a critique feels forced or disingenuous. Most, if not all, critiques say as much about the critic as the photo, so it’s an opportunity for sharing in both directions.
  4. Good for you Sam...ignorance is bliss...enjoy your bliss!
  5. Thanks for being glad about me feeling good. :rolleyes:

    What's your wife's opinion on it all tho? ;)


    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  6. Apparently, you can't be. It doesn't appear to be possible for you.
    But maybe you better check in with your wife, just to be 100% sure. :D
    samstevens likes this.
  7. You are in the right place for that Doug. There is a like button and no thumbs down button. But if you post in the critique forum, as you found out you are opening the door to varied evaluations. Some post to hear something more than alignment with our own assessment. And those opinions are valid unless they are disrespectful. And maybe some dissenting opinions to perceived perfection are not what you want to encounter and so there is no benefit for you to ask for a generalized critique.
    Others do benefit and even enjoy and respect the experience.
    Respect and attitude are choices we make.
    I fold it all into my brain as one might fold an egg into a cake batter.” A nice visual analogy R.
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  8. One additional thought I had on this conversation and on critique-

    Philosophy isn't cut & dried nor is it black & white. Therefore I don't see any "right or wrong" in philosophy.

    Critique, viewed as opinion, is much the same. Who's to say someone's opinion is right? or wrong? Opinions can be ill informed, misguided and so forth. Not necessarily right or wrong however.

    That said, there are people in the world who are imminently qualified to issue critiques on photography and other things as well. In the case of such a person with a list of qualifications as long as your arm writing a critique on something in the realm of their expertise, I'd be inclined to say that their critique/opinion, is a heck of a lot more "right" than that of the average person critiquing anything.
  9. I agree with this.
    Importantly, philosophers can be wrong, usually because of flaws in their logic or reasoning.

    Early on in my study of philosophy, a favorite professor of mine presented a paper to a group of visiting philosophers. In a comment after the paper, one of the other professors pointed out a substantial flaw in my professor's reasoning. When it was made clear to him, he realized his mistake and was gracious in conceding that he was wrong. This did not completely undermine all of what he'd said, but he knew he had more work to do to fix his argument, and knew he might have to adjust some of his conclusions.

    I was impressed with the original paper, with the critique, and with my professor's handling of the critique. One thing it taught me is that being wrong is not the end of the world. It can actually be the beginning of making your work better.

    Photography is different from philosophy in that there are no specific rules of photography, such as those of logic, that one can be corrected on. Nevertheless, expertise is not something to be summarily dismissed. While an expert in the field of photography won't be given total say over determinations of how good or bad a photo is, the right kind of experience and expertise often comes with an ability to see in a way that's at least worth paying attention to. You don't have to agree in order to be able to learn from someone.

    Respecting and listening to what someone else says doesn't have to mean they will have undue influence on you, unless you're weak and malleable to a fault. Achieving a balance between receiving feedback and advice and forging your own path is an art in itself, worth developing. Enclosing oneself in a bubble, on the other hand, completely free of outside opinion or feedback, seems like it could be both very lonely and yield a lot of emptiness and sterility, much like existing in a vacuum or void.
    kmac and Ricochetrider like this.
    • "You don't have to agree in order to be able to learn from someone.":)
    Been there and found it rewarding and most memorable. I still carry a one sentence critigue in my head that i don't agree with and use it often as i work.
    But then there are others that i found no benefit from....Pure anecdotal; i took my work to the most experienced photographer and a teacher of photograpy (at SAIC.. The School at Art Institute of Chicago) once critiqued my early work (as a consultation re: admission). Most of the hour was spent viewing his work as what to strive for. And the work of the sucesses he had with guiding other well known & respected photographers of the time. Even as a young photographer i had already learned to look at others work. But as I developed my voice I learned to listen to what viewers say to help me refine my voice and skills.
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  10. "Whether you think you can, or think you can't- you're right" - wisdom from across the ages

    In my experience, it is 100&% possible to learn from anyone & everyone. Doesn't matter who or what they are, everyone has something to teach, just as everyone has something to learn. One must be open to learning, to be willing & able to set one's prejudices and preconceptions aside. Once one opens their mind & their heart to others, everything becomes possible. With a closed mind and a closed heart, possibilities are dramatically reduced.
  11. Careful, now, 100% is a little too close to perfection! ;););)
    Yes though, as you note, the experience of others seems to show that it will be less likely they’ll be able to learn from others, not because of an inherent inability, but because of developed resistance.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  12. ha ha OK let me back that off to 99.999%

    Egg zackly, Sam.

    Just something I've learned during the course of my 64 ish years on the planet.
    Things come from surprising places sometimes- but you cannot receive that which you are not open to- or don't want.

    "Anything is possible. But not if you don't believe in anything."- Tom Banks aka Ricochetrider

    “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” - Rumi
    “When the student is ready, the master appears.” -Buddhist Proverb
    “I am still learning.” — Michelangelo
    “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.” –Claude Bernard
    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhi
  13. I’d also add, “Anything is possible, but not if you believe too much!”
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  14. LOL! The OP is a big troll. His initial comment and all the subsequent ones have all the hallmarks of cheap trolling ... pretty easy hooks that are tantalizingly easy to refute, OP's tendency to be confrontational when not called for, etc etc. Ignoring would be the best option here. However, I love some of the comments others made in response.
  15. Yes, well ... if only, eh?
  17. Yes, indeed, a troll can troll ... but he can’t con-troll the substance of what others wind up discussing because of and despite his empty provocations.
    Supriyo and Ricochetrider like this.

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