Blog #88 Photo Contests: To Judge or be Judged?
Photography is a funny business. Countless aspiring artists are throwing their work (and hard earned greenbacks) at contest after contest. I’ve fallen victim to this practice in the past myself. Desperate for critique, in the name of self-improvement, the neophyte will do anything to get eyes on their work. But whose eyes? Is all critique equal and valid? I think not. I have been fortunate enough to have an image chosen for a project on National Geographic by an editor so I'm not just being sour grapes. Also, Nat Geo does not charge for their assignments.
Perhaps you’ve read about how “likes” (👍🏼) are actually hurting your creative process. You should not really care if others like your image, per se. What you ultimately need to know is whether or not the image “works” and why. Social media rarely [if ever] provides proper, informed critique.
Friend and photographer Mike and I started a Facebook page titled “Just Critique” to attempt to fill this void of valuable critique with our work. We welcome other photographers to join the page. The rule is simple, post one, critique one.
In February, I will host a free (one-time) workshop with Shutter Alliance . The workshop will be very small to accommodate a critique session component. There will be a one hour presentation (mostly on composition), some time for some street photography, then we’re back indoors to dump images into Lightroom for a critique on your best three. We will discuss, in a public forum, what works, what doesn’t and equally as important why.
People learn through consequences. Critique by informed people aimed at constructive criticism will be a valuable process that most of us don’t get enough of. So we’re judged and then we judge, both judge and jury. Case closed.
The light is always right.
**Images below were shot recently with 35mm & medium format (120) film & an iPhone. I was aiming to do some architectural, cityscape images. Shooting anything is good practice, therapeutic, and plain old fun.**