Kris Vockler

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Giving Your Photos to the World & Learning to Critique

For the last hour you sweated over as many details in your photo edit you could. You probably should have spent weeks looking at your photo and editing as you went, but no, you want to get this masterpiece out to the world. But just before you hit the “enter” key, your palms break out in a sweat. Your face turns flush and you suddenly are being brow beaten by your internal voice telling you the trolls with have a blast with this one. 

Maybe you hit “enter,” maybe you don’t. You should and you should think about the following.

  1. Be you and let others be themselves. This originally was a post in a photo community in Google+ so it speaks more to the idea that when giving and getting critiques, everyone needs to honor each other. Our ultimate goal is to let ourselves shine through our photos. As in, the greatest form of originality is in letting ourselves come through the art. Don’t be afraid to be you and let your personality come through your at. 
  2. When you put a photo (or post one) into the wild, let it go. It’s not your photo anymore, well, technically it is. But copyright aside, get used to the mentality that when you release a photo, the viewer will internalize it or not. It will have the meaning you so cleverly placed in it and it will also have meaning from behind the lens of the viewer. They own it at that point, let them. Don’t hinge your self-worth on that photo, let it go. 
  3. "Kill your darlings."  Stolen from the writing world, the idea that what you feel are your best work is probably not.  Why? When you show it to another being, it will change in meaning. 
  4. Take any ideas, negative or positive, with a grain of salt. Take what you want and leave the rest. Everyone comes from different levels, experiences, and ways of seeing the world. 
  5. Try anything and everything; experiment, it’s not the Pulitzer Prize after all. In fact, if you were up for a Pulitzer, I would hope you still felt you had much to learn. 
  6. Learn to give critiques as they will help you become a better photographer. Proven, hands down, can’t be refuted. Good advice on critiquing photography: HTTP://WWW.PIXIQ.COM/ARTICLE/DOING-A-PHOTO-CRITIQUE

In the end, with any society, you should be the change you want to see. If you want to see better critiques then leave better critiques. If you want to see people not be defensive when you comment, then be sure to be open when they do on yours. 

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