March 11th, 2011

I like pretty things

On unsolicited criticism

So I've a jumble of thoughts on unsolicited critisms, so I figure I will think out loud. A part of me really don't like them. I mean, whether it comes from a friend or a stranger, as an artist, taking criticisms sucks. Also, I feel I'm young as a photographer, I am still struggling to find a style or a voice I like. The wedding market is saturated with photographers. Why do I need to take feedback from other photographers, and make pictures that look just like theirs? Also, having booked 11 weddings with what I have done tells me that people like my work. I don't need to win everyone, just 30 brides a year.

The other side of that is, I feel in most artists' world, people don't get feedback except good ones. Take my blog for example, everything there is complimentary. And to be honest, if I found a degrading comment I wouldn't approve it. But it's also my marketing tool. I find a lot of improv boring and tiresome, but when I say it to people, they just get mad. But when I do find a show delightful, and tell them, they just take it as a compliment that was due to them, or absentmindedly say thank you. So I only really tell Andy what I think. Same thing especially in the photography world, I rarely give people feedback, unless they ask, because I figure they would get hurt. But photographers will happily critique a third photographer when that person isn't in the room.

So I guess I don't really have a firm stand. If you send me a private email (which is the only way I will accept unsolicited criticisms without feeling offended, or a private talk), I will read it. Ponder it. I may disagree with you, and it goes straight to the trash can, but I will have read it, and pondered it.

I signed up for $4000 workshop next January. It is an insane amount of money, especially since I've been strongly pining for Hawaii and beaches and oceans. And Andy and I could've had a great vacation with that amount.

It's a 1 week workshop,, and you're split into small groups of 6, with a team leader, 2 mentors, and a volunteer. There is also a large staff group. My team leader (David Murray) and mentors (Ben and Erin Chrisman) are some of the top wedding photographers in the world. In this case though, I have a year to prepare myself to get my work torn to shreds. Supposedly a lot of people end up crying during the critiques. I'm pretty confident of my work, and my process, the older I've gotten, the less I worry about having my own voice. But in this case, I welcome other photographers tearing into my work. I'll keep an open mind, though not too open to change who I am as an artist.

Anyways, so yeah, no conclusions or anything, just thoughts.