Over the last week I have been allowed to evaluate a handful of photos from readers of this blog. On my page Picture Critique they have posted images they would like to have an outsider’s opinion about. Picture critiquing is always a very delicate balance. First of all the creators behind each photo have entrusted me with something that they have put a lot of energy and thoughts into. It’s their creation, their «child», so I have to be careful not to condemn their work in such a way that they feel trampled on. I believe in encouragement rather than negative critique, but at the same time I want to be honest and point to elements in a picture that I believe don’t work so well.
Another part of this delicate balance is that I have to be aware of the fact that picture critiquing cannot be done objectively and impartially. I must be true to what I believe is a good photo and the factors that make up a captivating image as far as I am concerned, but it will nevertheless be my opinion only. I think after having worked professionally with photos in more than 30 years I have gained some experience and knowledge, but the fact still remains that when it comes to evaluating photos no neutral or unbiased variables exist. Remember that; whatever I say or write is solely my opinion. Somebody else might see things completely differently and also the photographer himself or herself may not agree at all. Which is as it should be. There are no truths in this kind of picture critiquing. I hope each photographer who have entrusted me with a photo, takes to their heart whatever feels right to them and discards the rest.
We can all learn from each other – and picture critique is one such way. And it works both ways. I learn from the images I evaluate as I hope the photographers themselves learn from my critique. Even if we disagree there is always something to gain from getting other’s opinion. I believe in sharing; sharing knowledge, sharing photos, sharing the process itself, and not the least sharing the moment of capture with those we photograph. Picture critiquing is one such way for me to honour this belief. For me it’s a privilege to be allowed to evaluate other photographer’s images and share my experience.
As I work my way down to the last uploaded photos on the Picture Critique page, I will keep it open at least another week for any other photographer who would like to have his or her photo evaluated. If that’s you, don’t wait, though; before the Christmas holidays starts I will close this session of picture critique. Until then you are very welcome to post a photo or a link to a photo.