Don Schaeffer Wrote:It always boils down to a popularity contest and forces your picture taking into safer forms. Clear bright photos of pleasant subjects always get good ratings. It will isolate anyone with contrary methods or opinions. Too many forums do this. I'm on one that calls itself a contest forum. People try to ruin each other by giving inexplicably low ratings. And they get bogged down in rules and definitions.
Good point Don. When I first read ST's idea I thought it was a good one, but human nature being what it is.. I think you're absolutely right. People will simply concentrate on the scores, not the images.
Don Schaeffer Wrote:Alternatively, I think we should develop a course or a methodology for criticism. We should research classical photos and what made them great. We should learn how to critique, the art of criticism. A discussion thread or a training program could be very useful for all of us.
Also a good point. There is a lot more to critiquing than just liking or disliking something, and if the whole point of getting a critique is to impove one's photography, then suggestions for improvement or alternatives are vital. Quite often an image will have both good and bad attributes and elements, and broad comments or even scoring on "composition", "lighting", etc will simply average out the good and the bad, and dilute the benefit of the critique.
Don Schaeffer Wrote:Even now this forum (in my opinion) is getting tied into convention. The range of photos is very narrow.
hmm.. note sure I agree with you here, but even if it is true then that doesn't mean it is a result of the critiquing. hmm.. Not sure, it's not something I've thought much about.
Don Schaeffer Wrote:A lot of the quality judgment presented in critiques comes from the technical quality and the power of the equipment you have.
I don't have a long lens to capture nice photos of birds. My flowers are usually stolen from the supermarket. Photography is a lot more than a good likeness.
This is an interesting point. I agree with you that the equipment and technical aspects of a photo really do influence the critique you receive here... but I think there's nothing at all wrong with that; both of these things are significant factors in determining the image and so *should* factor in a critique.
But if we are no longer being critiqued on technical ability or whether or not our gear can actually capture what we want, does that mean we're being critiqued only
on our shot selection (and perhaps post production)? While I don't want to understate these very important aspects, they are not the only things that make a good photo.
I acknowledge that pushing people into accepted techniques might propogate your idea that the range of photos here is narrowing, but to say that technique is not important in photography is like saying it isn't important in many other fields, such as music or athletics. Certainly people should not feel limited by established techniques, but as the saying goes.. you need to learn to rules before you break them.
Perhaps it is less "fair" to let the equipment influence the critique because people here are from different backgrounds and have many more important financial burdens in their life than camera gear, and people should take that into consideration when critiquing... but then again, your equipment influences your shooting patterns too. You say you don't have a long zoom to capture birds, so I bet you don't take a lot of wildlife photos. If you did post a photo of a bird that was a speck in the distance, and somebody else posted a very similar shot taken with a 400mm prime lens, do you think both images should receive the same critique "just to be fair"?
If you wanted to take bird photos then I'd suggest you perhaps bought an innappropriate camera. I'd imagine there are numerous other cameras around in the same price range with a much longer zoom. But I'm sure you chose your camera based on *your* shooting habits and needs, I get the feeling that bird photos aren't all that high on your priority list.
While it is possible to make certain allowances, I believe the real skill is for the photographer to make the most of the equipment he/she has at their disposal.... and its a sad fact of life that some more expensive gear allows more flexibility.
The camera (and more importantly the lens) becomes inseperable from the image.
Don't get me wrong Don, I'm not trying to encourage people to *only* critique on technique and gear, and I do believe that unfortunately a "shiny happy" photo tends to instinctively get better feedback than a darker grittier one... but that's human nature to some extent I guess. If it bothers you, I would suggest including some text when you post an image for critique asking for the type of feedback you want (ie "this is an experiment in such-and-such, please ignore the such-and-such and concentrate on the something-or-other"), or else try not to compare your critiques to those of others. After all, your photography is quite different to that of most others here, so it's difficult to expect the critiques to be the same.
That diversity should certainly be encouraged, but the bottom line is you're asking for people's opinion.. and people are entitled to think and write what they like, for better or worse.
oo.. sorry for the long post.. I'm getting carried away and dribbling again
Hey ST.. as a compromise, you could make the scoring system an optional thing (like a poll). So people could switch it on for certain posts only if they want to.
I can see that it *might* be useful if used carefully (such as in EnglishBob's example), but a scoring system used by a panel of judges is very different to one used by the general public.
I'm not a big fan of the idea myself though, for the reasons Don mentioned at the start.