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DPChallenge Forums >> The Critique Club >> John Setzler, and what the Critique Club is for.
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10/12/2006 07:31:56 PM · #1
I've just read John's profil spiel about being kicked out of the CC. I don't want to go into details about that, but it prompted some thoughts.

These are best summed up as the perception that most people ask for critiques as a simple technical assessment of their photograph, perhaps with pointers as to how it might score better here if they'd altered a couple of things in their approach. However, the CC is billed as providing 'in depth' critiques of images, and for the life of me I can't see the majority of the crits I read, as being 'in depth'.

A slight unravelling of the 'mysteries' of depth of field, focus, tonality, texture and light is completely superficial. The meaning of a photograph, the impact, the unspoken assumptions of it - those are 'in depth', surely?

If John has genuinely been treated the way he says - and I admit he's been known to take umbrage around here - then it's a great shame, and surely there ought to be a place those of us who are more interested in photographs than in simple photography could go to write our stuff? And where, more importantly, the images of those who are more interested in photographs than in simply hitting the shutter could take their images to be talked about.

Almost all of the 'sample critiques' are formulaic assessments of technical aspects of an image. Often so formulaic that they have categorised headings to accompany their 'thoughts'. This is a plea for some humanity in the process, some feeling, some self-expression. Otherwise it's dead.

Ed
10/12/2006 07:33:11 PM · #2
Oh, and apologies if JS's thing has been brought up already: I've been busy.

E
10/12/2006 07:35:50 PM · #3
Ed, I can't disagree with you about what it means to get an "indepth" critique, but what John has taken exception to, and what he was removed for was failing to provide ANY sort of critique on many photos simply because he was not being given the sorts of details from the photographer that he wanted. We advised him that there was no way for us to demand a detailed "why I took this picture and what it means to me" sort of essay from photographers as a pre-requisite to getting a critique and thus he left one liners saying "I can't critique this due to insufficient photographer details" and continued to this even when we required people give some basics about the photograph. So..that's what happened. But I don't disagree, as mentioned, with the concept of a "true" in depth critique.
10/12/2006 07:38:00 PM · #4
Not sure what you're talking about, but I'm always open to better ways to offer critiques. I did a couple today and I'm not very qualified to address technicalities in most instances, and definitely not the finer details of post processing (I'm kinda stuck at the levels, sharpen, maybe brightness contrast phase). I tend to express what I like about a photograph and why I think it worked or didn't, and a short bit about whether or not the score was representative in my opinion - I figure that's what a lot of folks are looking for from a critique but I could well be wrong.
10/12/2006 07:43:55 PM · #5
Deb, I'm talking more about what people ought to get, than what they want. Very different things, but nothing that is genuinely striking comes from giving people what they 'want'. If they know what they want, then with a bit of effort they can give that to themselves.

e
10/12/2006 07:48:17 PM · #6
I actually dislike the notion of having to have some sort of comment to get a crit. I had one reviewer make a remark when they pulled my pic out of the bucket that it didn't have comments, and left no crit. I sent them a PM about it, and they removed the comment instead of rectifying the problem. This was not John, and this person is still on the CC afaik.

I have since stopped checking the box at all because I think a picture doesn't need 1000 words added to it, it should speak them for itself.

Message edited by author 2006-10-12 19:48:55.
10/12/2006 07:54:14 PM · #7
I think the photos should tell a story or "say something" but I dont feel that should be spelt out to the viewer as they may see something different, but equally valid. If it isnt clear what the photo is saying then isnt that a fair comment/criticism in itself?

At this stage I still like the technical comments the CC leave me every now and then as I still get them wrong to a degree.

Edit: 'cause I can't type :)

Message edited by author 2006-10-12 19:54:32.
10/12/2006 07:57:18 PM · #8
Ed - I think I know what you're saying, though I'm not nearly as qualified as others to offer truly sage observations. I'll work on it, though!

And Steve, whether there are comments or not makes no difference to me.
10/12/2006 08:27:11 PM · #9
I never understood the need for in-depth commentary from the photog.

Post your technical data so there is something to look at if the image has some technical issues.

As for 'why I took this shot'... I notice reviewers of music, books, plays, films, and other forms of art are quite capable of doing so without hunting down the creator and grilling them about what was going through their mind when they put the piece together. In fact, what tends to add life to otherwise dry critical commentary, is reading about what reaction the work provoked in the critic and why they felt it did.
10/12/2006 08:47:07 PM · #10
Brilliant move.

/sarcasm ON
10/12/2006 08:49:14 PM · #11
I changed the way I critiqued specifically because of John. He made me realize that I had been concentrating far too much on the "technicals". I now try to speak to the "feel" of the shot as well.

Nobody can say John isn't principled...
10/12/2006 08:55:43 PM · #12
I have never clicked on the box for Critique Club. The reason is that I saw some of these critiques and they always talk about how to get a higher score. That's a perfectly valid but rather limited perspective, and one I had no interest in.

Some people are very interested in just that. But it might be nice if one could ask for different sorts of critiques. I have no idea how to implement such a strategy, but maybe off-the-grid critique clubs could form of their own accord...
10/12/2006 08:57:14 PM · #13
btw, I don't mean critique groups that only criticize each other. I mean groups that make themselves available to anyone who requests a critique.
10/12/2006 08:58:04 PM · #14
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

I changed the way I critiqued specifically because of John. He made me realize that I had been concentrating far too much on the "technicals". I now try to speak to the "feel" of the shot as well.

Nobody can say John isn't principled...


By no means, John is a great photographer, and was a great asset to the site (still is??) I just feel that if the picture does not affect the desired reaction that a description by the photog is not going to fix that. It's kind of like having to explain a joke after the punch line is already out.

I can see how someone might give you pointers on how to affect that reaction. Maybe he has a point, I dunno.

I, too, have changed my comments since I started here, but I didn't come to that decision because of anyone else. If the shot doesn't evoke feeling of some sort. IMO, it's a failure on my part, and the part of anyone else that takes a picture.
10/12/2006 09:20:11 PM · #15
Originally posted by wavelength:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

I changed the way I critiqued specifically because of John. He made me realize that I had been concentrating far too much on the "technicals". I now try to speak to the "feel" of the shot as well.

Nobody can say John isn't principled...


By no means, John is a great photographer, and was a great asset to the site (still is??) I just feel that if the picture does not affect the desired reaction that a description by the photog is not going to fix that. It's kind of like having to explain a joke after the punch line is already out.

I can see how someone might give you pointers on how to affect that reaction. Maybe he has a point, I dunno.

I, too, have changed my comments since I started here, but I didn't come to that decision because of anyone else. If the shot doesn't evoke feeling of some sort. IMO, it's a failure on my part, and the part of anyone else that takes a picture.


But if the photo fails to get the desired reaction how is the one person doing the critique suppose to know what the photographer intended? That's the point. If the photo "speaks" for itself then it doesn't need a critique now does it?
10/12/2006 09:27:54 PM · #16
Originally posted by frisca:

Ed, I can't disagree with you about what it means to get an "indepth" critique, but what John has taken exception to, and what he was removed for was failing to provide ANY sort of critique on many photos simply because he was not being given the sorts of details from the photographer that he wanted.


This is not entirely correct. When I was asked to stop leaving NO critique and say something about the photos, I did exactly that. I made very brief comments about the photo and then added why I thought the photographer should provide his or her own input on the image before asking for an in-depth critique. I did this several times and then was informed that I had been removed from the critique club for not providing proper critiques. I wasn't given any new notice that what I was doing (when I thought I was doing what I was asked) was still wrong.

At any rate, it doesn't really matter. It's water under the bridge.
10/12/2006 09:28:27 PM · #17
What does it say about the photograph itself if the photographer doesn't care enough to provide some commentary?

For someone critiquing a photograph, how should that silence be interpreted? As detachment? lack of concern? disregard?
10/12/2006 09:32:30 PM · #18
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

What does it say about the photograph itself if the photographer doesn't care enough to provide some commentary?

For someone critiquing a photograph, how should that silence be interpreted? As detachment? lack of concern? disregard?


To me it says the picture speaks for itself. And if it doesn't speak to me, there's something to write commentary about. You don't need to know what you were 'supposed to feel' to detail why exactly you felt nothing at all (or, for that matter, explainw hat reaction you id have).
10/12/2006 09:33:14 PM · #19
just a personal observation - beginners in photography tends to focus on improving their composition skills and the technicals. By saying technicals I'm referring to the rules of 3rds, focus, DOF, things like that. These can all be summed into a set of rules or guidelines that can be downloaded and followed. Then we have more experienced photographers who practice the technicals as if they are already 2nd nature, subconciously. Now I'm saying these because I think beginners would benefit from knowing which technical rule they broke or didnt do well, while more experienced photographers would surely appreciate what viewers see or feel in their photos. This may well be the case of debate in this thread now, I think.

Just some things to consider while we are at this. So to say the Critique Club do not work well is not true. But then again, there is some area for improvement.

crayon

Message edited by author 2006-10-12 21:34:07.
10/12/2006 09:43:32 PM · #20
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

What does it say about the photograph itself if the photographer doesn't care enough to provide some commentary?

For someone critiquing a photograph, how should that silence be interpreted? As detachment? lack of concern? disregard?


Being new here, I have only been putting technical info in the comments. I'm sort of at a loss regarding what sort of commentary I should include, though. On my HCII entry, there wasn't a whole bunch of thought process. I'd gotten up early since I couldn't sleep and just drove around taking sunrise-type photos. I found that old drawbridge, and spent an hour or so taking pictures of it and the surrounding area. I was trying to find a good HC shot so I could enter, but beyond that and enjoying being out shooting, I didn't have any other thoughts motivating me. It isn't like I was trying to envision world peace or put a face on rural hunger or anything, I was just taking pictures.

Is there some place I can look to get an idea about what kind of comments I should be leaving?
10/12/2006 09:48:58 PM · #21
Originally posted by fracman:



Being new here, I have only been putting technical info in the comments. I'm sort of at a loss regarding what sort of commentary I should include, though. On my HCII entry, there wasn't a whole bunch of thought process. I'd gotten up early since I couldn't sleep and just drove around taking sunrise-type photos. I found that old drawbridge, and spent an hour or so taking pictures of it and the surrounding area. I was trying to find a good HC shot so I could enter, but beyond that and enjoying being out shooting, I didn't have any other thoughts motivating me. It isn't like I was trying to envision world peace or put a face on rural hunger or anything, I was just taking pictures.

Is there some place I can look to get an idea about what kind of comments I should be leaving?


What you just said here would be perfect. You don't need anything more :)
10/12/2006 09:56:11 PM · #22
I wish there was a reaction club. Instead of critiques, and tech details I could just get a sense of how the reviewer felt.
I don't like to leave much information sometimes, because I would prefer to get a sense of how the reviewer felt, without steering them in any specific direction.
I still remember getting the chills upon reading Ubique's reviews..in one instance for Architecture 3, he outlined so much of what I was striving for that I felt (and still do) as thrilled as though I had won a ribbon.
This was for a shot that scored below 5. If I had stated what I was trying to do, or felt I needed to then I would have failed...not only that but I love getting the sense that people can pick up on things I didn't see, or was aware of...
SO I vote for an RC..Reaction Club...
10/12/2006 09:57:56 PM · #23
Originally posted by bucket:

I wish there was a reaction club. Instead of critiques, and tech details I could just get a sense of how the reviewer felt.
I don't like to leave much information sometimes, because I would prefer to get a sense of how the reviewer felt, without steering them in any specific direction.
I still remember getting the chills upon reading Ubique's reviews..in one instance for Architecture 3, he outlined so much of what I was striving for that I felt (and still do) as thrilled as though I had won a ribbon.
This was for a shot that scored below 5. If I had stated what I was trying to do, or felt I needed to then I would have failed...not only that but I love getting the sense that people can pick up on things I didn't see, or was aware of...
SO I vote for an RC..Reaction Club...


I volunteer to be in the Reaction Club (unless someone is going to start an Overreaction Club)
10/12/2006 09:59:44 PM · #24
Originally posted by posthumous:

Originally posted by bucket:

I wish there was a reaction club. Instead of critiques, and tech details I could just get a sense of how the reviewer felt.
I don't like to leave much information sometimes, because I would prefer to get a sense of how the reviewer felt, without steering them in any specific direction.
I still remember getting the chills upon reading Ubique's reviews..in one instance for Architecture 3, he outlined so much of what I was striving for that I felt (and still do) as thrilled as though I had won a ribbon.
This was for a shot that scored below 5. If I had stated what I was trying to do, or felt I needed to then I would have failed...not only that but I love getting the sense that people can pick up on things I didn't see, or was aware of...
SO I vote for an RC..Reaction Club...


I volunteer to be in the Reaction Club (unless someone is going to start an Overreaction Club)


You know I think you already are in it...and that is why I always look forward to your 'reactions'!
10/12/2006 10:08:05 PM · #25
Don is his own club as far as I'm concerned - I love the stories he sees.

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