On Criticism and Photography

On Criticism

“Now that we are more aware of how destructive criticism can be, most people are putting more thought into their words. Ever so often however, it still strikes me how insensitive the other group can be.

Art is very personal and one of the things where I`ve always been reluctant to say I dislike it. I was going to do a photography project with a a friend last year, but I abandoned it quickly, because there was one person who regularly and very warmly praised my friends`work while equally constantly and rather mercilessly slagging mine: “You can`t see a thing!” – “All I see is a tree there in the corner, but what`s the rest?” – “Much too bright, makes my eyes hurt!” – “As usual, it`s photoshopped to death! Can anybody recognize anything at all, as I certainly can`t, just a blur…”

In my heart of hearts, I realized that our photography styles are very different, and what we were dealing with was simply a matter of personal preference. However, I didn`t take well to those words, and to this day, I`m still reluctant to show my work again. Which annoys me, as I`m proud of it. It shouldn`t matter that that one person doesn`t like it, and it shouldn`t be my problem that she doesn`t know how to say so in a kinder way. (Actually, if you have nothing nice to say, and you`re not asked for an opinion, I`d rather say nothing).”

On Photography

The piece above was written 10 months ago, on 25 August 2015, and of course I wrote it because I was annoyed at and wanted to overcome my own reluctance to publish my things.

Mainly for confidence, I bought a proper camera, did a course in digital photography and otherwise did what I like best: photoshop everything, and the creative rather than the remedial way.

And I started to upload the results not to where others keep theirs plain, but to where editing is explicitly desired. I started out with Instagram and then became bolder and shared my pics on facebook and twitter at the same time. Friends continued to like rather than slag them, so I started to upload them on on other platforms as well- platforms whose free filters and editing software I use (and who I want to give back to), and I quickly got kinda stuck with EyeEm, because that`s where I am most inspired by other contributors` work. They also allows me to simultaneously share on facebook and twitter, and I had some wonderful feedback from friends as well as strangers. There`s nothing quite like waking up to yet another re-tweet of one of your photos!!

At least, until that happened…

Unfortunately, the first one will probably not be published anywhere else because it`s a smartphone photo which will no longer look sharp when blown up (a criterium for Alamy, and probably Getty as well, but it feels great to have your work recognised like that. ❤ ❤ ❤


2 thoughts on “On Criticism and Photography

    • culbia says:

      They are jellybeans. They were on the tables in the conference room where I attended my first Open University tutorial. I just had to take a picture, and on my bus journey home, I started to play. Flattered they like it, but sadly, it`ll not make it very far. If you blow it up, it`s very apparent that it`s just a smartphone picture taken in artificial light.


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