It's probably my most favorite quote and it's from one of my best friends who passed away far too early, Dean Collins. There isn't a day that goes by that something doesn't come up that makes me think of him. He died at 51 in 2005 after a lengthy battle with cancer. When he passed away the industry lost one of its finest artists, educators and presenters. Nobody could light up an audience or literally a room or subject like Dean!
The first time I heard Dean use that quote was in reference to somebody criticizing a series of images he was sharing in a program. His point was, it doesn't matter what any of us think about each others work, it's the client who passes judgement.
What got me thinking about Dean and that quote, which I've probably used a dozen times this year, was a battle over an image in one of the forums. Here's the scenario that happens dozens of times every day...
Somebody puts an image up in one of the forums and starts to get a little criticism, some times positive, some times negative. Things typically start out well, but immediately spiral out of control when somebody comes along who wants to play troll and starts to slam the skill set of the artist. Next thing you know everybody jumps in and the discussion/thread becomes a miserable hateful/hurtful mess. I've even seen discussion go so far out of control that politics, racial and even sexual slurs become part of the process.
I'm an administrator on two different Facebook forums and every forum could use some help in getting more photographers to simply "play nice".
When you're being critiqued, take all the suggestions, listen to what people are saying. Take what seems to make sense and what doesn't and boil them down into what you can learn from other artists. In the end, do what your heart is telling you and what you believe.
The Internet is an amazing tool that twenty years ago none of us had. It's made the world smaller and it's making all of us better business people and artists. Let's stop screwing things up by giving trolls more credibility than they deserve and just not react.
Remember the most important person in the equation of any image is the subject or the client. Why?
Because beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder!
Photo Credit: © enterlinedesign - Fotolia.com
6/18/2014 03:21:25 am
We all have to start somewhere but did you ever notice that when someone posts a mediocre image no one says anything but nice comments! But when someone posts something amazing it is torn apart by every pixel with various reviews? I guess jealousy is human nature and reading into these things is key!
6/18/2014 03:26:29 am
Great advice for those wanting to get their work out there online! :)
6/19/2014 09:40:21 am
This is so true -- and so easily forgotten in our "quest" for our perfect image. Working in journalism for years, my "paycheck" depending on photo editors and editors -- many of whom had very different ideas on what they considered good. So, now, I don't have too many problems working with clients. No -- we don't know what they will eventually like. But regardless of the outcome, we still need to do our best work. Are there times when I might consider my client a numb-nut or some such phrase, sure, just like I considered some of my editors and photo editors to be "blankity-blanks" but in the end they pay our bills with their money.
6/21/2014 02:48:54 pm
The more I am in this business, the more I try and pursuit my ideas and my instincts, I just don't need the input of the "herd." It's not that I am better than anyone else or anything like that. There's just so much fear, insecurity, agendas and envy out there I can't imagine something authentic and inspired truly flourishing in such "critiques."
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