by Skip Cohen
It's become one of my most favorite quotes and I love the fact that it's from a good buddy, Levi Sim. I first heard him use it at the TAP Conference last January in reference to how we all interact. Since then it's come up dozens of times and I've used it in other posts. Here's why I thought I'd share it as a direct theme this morning.
I follow a lot of discussions on different forums. One of the biggest challenges is any time somebody puts up an image for critique. There's always one person who likes to dump all over an artist's lack of expertise or they simply don't like the image.
So, we're all big kids and nobody needs me sounding like an over-bearing parent giving a lecture, but there are two sides to this.
First, if you're going to comment then go easy. You don't need to sugar coat it, but if somebody had the guts to post one of their images and ask for opinions, that alone is a sign of their passion. It takes courage to put your work out there. Be constructive if you can and make a contribution to their career growth. Just remember what your images were like when you first started.
Michele Celentano is one of the finest family photographers in the country. She stood up in front of a group of relatively new photographers two years ago and said, "Twenty years ago I was right where you are, wondering how long it would be before my work didn't suck!" She then shared the first wedding she'd ever shot and a dozen of the worst images we'd ever seen. Everybody has to start somewhere!
Second, if you're going to post images for critique then you've got to get a thicker skin. Not everybody is going to play nice and you've got to learn to take the criticism. It doesn't mean everybody is crushing your dream, they just don't like the image. Take the criticism and consider how the image could have been stronger.
Most important of all, everybody needs to remember my other favorite quote, also from a good buddy, Dean Collins. Dean used to remind us all with every image, it didn't matter whether we liked it or not because,
"Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.