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Is this a fair comment?


This topic is locked.

Reason : I did this time ;-)

creative_sara 16 647
2 Oct 2004 6:40PM
Well boy my day has just been knocked dramatically.

Can not work out how to put link to my picture so can you be kind enough to have look at my latest picture and the comment below will all make sense.

I just would like to know from the kind people that have sent me very postive vibes about my picture if you feel that this is justified and correct, if so I will just accept it I guess.

By joefox At 06:59PM - 02 Oct 2004
OK folks heres the fly in the ointment.
As a Portraits/people photograph this is pretty average so if it got an EC I'd say you were having a joke.
Yes its well exposed but its a photograph of a kid standing against a wall, pointing at it and not even looking in your direction.
Portraits/people - not really.
As for the anti-drugs message - well whoopdy do we're all anti-drugs lets give it a click but lets not forget its not Sarahs message, its the message of whoever spray painted it on the wall. Even then 'Drugs Kill. Say no.' not very original.

OK now that everyone hates me lets move on to actually filing this in the photojournalism category. People seem to have a strange idea about what to put in that category - some amount of crap goes in there and yet this piece doesnt.
I work in newsrooms and often get the call about various pieces of graffitti which have been freshly painted. Many times you would love to get a juxtaposition shot, racist comments with people of mixed race walking by, sectarian comments with some faction or other in the foreground or for example an anti drugs message in a notorious drugs area.
In the example of the last one, instead of just a picture of a wall with writing on it you hope to get a few kids playing innocently and looking innocent in the foreground to give the image impact and pathos.
Of course in the 30 mins you have to get there, get the photo and get back you usually never get the chance to get anyone about never mind set up a shot.
Even if you do set up a shot, getting natural photographs of children yet still making them unidentifyable in that time is downright difficult.

That is why I'm clicking this picture.

Sara, you should try your local paper as well with this one. They'll probably not pay you though!

And before everyone runs out with spraycans, their kids and digi cameras to be 'photojournalists'. Remember its been done before and everything else is a copy!
sillyconguru 16 4.4k
2 Oct 2004 6:46PM
brian1208 17 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2004 6:50PM
Sara, looking at the picture and reading joefox's comment I think you have actually been handed a backhanded compliment.

What I believe he is saying is that as a "Portrait/People" image it doesn't work but as a piece of "Photo-journalism" it is first rate - and that is why he clicked it.

I could of course be completely wrong

creative_sara 16 647
2 Oct 2004 6:51PM
Thanks for doing that Andrew, how do you do that out of interest?
creative_sara 16 647
2 Oct 2004 6:53PM
I am still in shock at the comment am not going into it too much, but as I've only been on here for few months and had no idea about "Photo Journalism" let alone the heading I just put the image in the one I felt was appropriate.

If that a backhanded compliment it is lost on me that is for sure.
UserRemoved 16 4.2k
2 Oct 2004 6:53PM
umm err Sarah - read the last lines about it. starting at Even not pay you though.

If thats not a compliment then I dont know
sillyconguru 16 4.4k
2 Oct 2004 6:56PM
UserDeleted 17 3.6k
2 Oct 2004 7:06PM

Read this again carefully and take on board these three points.

1) Joe is a pro-photographer - he shoots news as well as pretty much every other type of photography going. You have an opinion from someone who is doing the job that in your profile you say you shope to emulate as a freelance photographer in the future. Of course it is your choice as to who's opinions to value and how you weight them up. Joe gave you reasons, insight, advice - is this more important as a critique than some of the "great shot" comments ?

2) The only negativity about the shot relates to it being in the portraits section. I'm inclined to agree. It's not a great portrait (rules of thirds, eye contact, character of the subject etc) - it is a good pj or stock shot. Learning how to classify and keyword your shots is important if you want to freelance - art directors, editors and employers will expect you to know what, how and why to shoot certain subjects.

3) You did put this up for critique, you have also asked for advice in another forum thread for how to get this in an anti-drugs campaign....if you want to be successful as a freelance, or even improve in this area of photography, then you must be able to take, what is in fairness, constructive criticism. You have to distance yourself from the fact that your son is in the shot, this is not a family portrait...this is a shot about a drugs slogan - you have a "model" in the shot (he just happens to be your son).

Very few people in this site have the stomach to supply good, well constructed critiques. Joe has done this for you - he clicked it to say he liked it. It was done politely and in the correct place. Creating a new forum thread and cutting and pasting his comments here to ask if his comment is valid is a little unfair on Joe. Asking those who happily said your shot was great to comment on the correctness of his judgement is a little naiive - I bet almost every one of them would say he is wrong.

Everyone on this forum can help you learn and improve (every single one ... novice or 40 year veteran) - but for certain things you will need to have guidance from those who really know...don't alienate them because they are honest with you - and you didn't like the message.

LAF 17 1.7k
2 Oct 2004 7:15PM
No one likes every photo. Some shots that people have waxed lyrical about I just didn't 'get'. I wouldn't be at all upset to find negative comments on my work, even if I thought it was great. It's just people gving their oppinions. The general concensus has been that your shot is cracking. It got a click from me too. It doesn't mean that everyone will like it. I too found the message a bit sacharine, but the execution of the shot was flawless and the slightly less obvious addition to the graffiti (DRUGS SKILLS) gave it a dichotomous undertext which I found really amusing, in an ironic sort of way. The photo has depth and a message. Whether or not that message makes me want wave a flag or call the cliche police is irrelevent, it's still a great photo. If the photo was a cliche that might have been different but it isn't.

But then this is all my opinion, and the next persons will inevitably be different. Saying that, I don't think Joe meant to sound assailing of you picture, I understand what he's saying (I'd have gone for photojournalism too) and would have been happy with the feedback.

If you want more reassurance, you can always go back and count all those clicks!

tezza 16 569 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2004 7:15PM
Link explained in full HERE

creative_sara 16 647
2 Oct 2004 7:20PM
Ok I stand corrected you are right Mike, I guess it was just a shock and you are right I am niave at this game and maybe I should re think if I really am cut out for the competive side or just stick to it as a hobby.
tf 16 156
2 Oct 2004 7:29PM
I think Joe's comments were quite mild but even if you don't agree, it was the only adverse comment you had with 37 clicks. Accentuate the positive!
maroondah 17 246 1 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2004 7:39PM
Hi Sara, If I may offer a small piece of advice. Take whatever photographs you like to take, take them when you want, take them wherever you like. If you like them enough to post them on the site thats great. If you manage to get some positive feedback wonderful. If you get the odd comment thats not to your liking don't worry about it. Its clear you love taking photographs and lots of people enjoy looking at them (including me). Always remember, if you like it thats all that matters. Posting images on any site has its risks but on this site the risk is worth taking.Keep up the good work.
UserDeleted 17 3.6k
2 Oct 2004 7:47PM

There isn't a black & white can do/can't do freelancing. Maybe it is the topic area, or just your newness into wanting it so much.

It takes time to learn any skill, and freelancing (and giving and receiving critique - informally as in these forums, and formally in a job environment) are no exceptions.

You shouldn't give up, despair or be upset. Bookmark this thread. Give it a week - shoot some more images, take a look at some images in papers that convey a similar message - distance yourself from the photograph, the comment, and how you felt. Then come back to it again - take another look and see how you feel about it all.

Rejection is hard - but better that you get it early in a supportive environment than walk in wide eyed to an editors office and get very disappointed.

Also think about why you wanted to get into a professional photographic role - what it is excited you about it, and what you wanted to shoot....

Hope this helps
stewe 18 126
2 Oct 2004 7:52PM
Sara... I do not understand why you are upset at all. If you put a pic up then expect peoples comments. Good or bad..
As long as someone is not being abusive/rude for the sake of it then you will have to take what comes. Everyone has the right to say what they feel about a photo. As has been said you got 30 odd good 'reviews'..
I have just looked at your shot it does nothing for me.. I feel this sort of thing has been done thousands of times (not on this site). The anti drugs and use of a child to labour the fact is an obvious one, but that is just MO.. Colours are nice, but for me it is just okay..Now does that mean you are now angry because I made negative comments?
In truth if I had not seen this forum link I would not have made any comment on your photo.
If you do not like negative comments then you should not put you images up..Just because some people do not like this shot should not put you off doing what you want to in the photography side. If you beleive in your images stick with them.