Hey guys how do I critique a photo?
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Here's an example of what I'm trying to say, which I'll short-hand and then just link the piece to which I'm referring. Timothy O'Sullivan was part of an expedition and cataloged a series of rocks with a camera. His original photograph is very dark, foreboding, mysterious; all things which made the photograph interesting as a piece of art. However, these same positive elements made the photograph bad as a geological, evidence-photograph. A photolithograph was made in which these qualities were removed for the sake of re-adding detail and clarity.
The point is, there's no overarching critique you can apply to photography, because what's loved in one type of the medium may be considered negative in another, and vice versa.
That said, there's still qualities which are synonymous with 'professional photography' that you'll see people post on this board all the time, despite much-lauded photographs breaking from these qualities.
You can broaden your definition to include the concept of understanding the goals behind a photo, and matching the quality of the photo against those goals. The goals will certainly change, but the process does not.
The personal tastes of the viewer really don't enter into it, regardless of what /p/ believes. Also, abuse is more or less the exact opposite.
>You can broaden your definition to include the concept of understanding the goals behind a photo
Yeah, this is really the most general you can get, and even then, your general has to do with a case-by-case basis regarding photographic goals, so it isn't really general. There's an amount of necessary intuition that you can acquire by taking the time to look at alot of photographs. It's also helpful in critique to give solutions/better alternatives to flaws that you can see, even if they're as simple as flat out removing the flaw. Helps one come across less aloof and more willing to aid.
I see. Do you think that /p/'s typical harsh or simplistic judgement of photographs (which typically haven't been explained by their creator) is ever justified? Do you think that advice such as "this should be placed here" or "this part should be brighter" is unnecessary and unwarranted when the purpose of a photo has not been elaborated on? Do you think commenting on the appearance of a photo or certain compositional decisions is even necessary for a photographer who doesn't even know why they take photos?
Generally, the photograph will typically show what the photograph's goal is, as odd as that might sound. Since this is about critique, it would be helpful if the creator said what he was going for, but it's unnecessary a lot of the time. I think that /p/ is rampant with 'professional photography' memetics being touted as absolute essentials to a photograph, but I think that as a photographer, even shit critique can help you understand your own craft better, and yes, I think that sometimes commenting on those things is necessary, because the photograph will (as said earlier) typically reveal the photograph's goals, and the intuitive eye can see this and help guide the unwitting photographer who doesn't know why they have taken the photo.
In general, if a photo has been executed well, you can tell what the goal was. think of the /p/ talented people. Alex. 5hoe. Gervin. Aang. NG. Many others. When you look at one of their photos, you know what they were trying to do with it ,and you can tell they succeeded in most aspects of it.
You lose that obviousness with certain types of photography, but those are pretty rare. You also lose that obviousness when you are untalented, and have no idea what you're trying to achieve or express. When you wander down the street and look down an alley, and you see that it's empty except for some trash cans, and you think "Oh thank god, no people to judge me for taking photos...." and you snap some randomly framed shot of the space itself hoping it's a photo worth sharing, and then you go home and you look at it at 100% and feel excited that you can read the fine print on the sticker on the side of the dumpster over there, so you know you got your money's worth in buying that more expensive lens. Hell yeah. Now how to process it... maybe I'll make it blue and under-exposed...
>Do you think that /p/'s typical harsh or simplistic judgement of photographs (which typically haven't been explained by their creator) is ever justified?
Justified? yes, sometimes. But useful? No. Never. If a photographer is not going to put in the effort to present a photo worth looking at, why would he naturally deserve for someone who knows what he's doing to put in time and effort to try to help him?
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