Ploafmaster General

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great DOF and tones!

It's probably pretty clear that I never went to art school.

I've explained before how, in my formative years, I was on the fence deciding between my creative and analytical sides. Having chosen the analytical school and (so far) job path there's one are of my artistic life that seems to be missing - criticism. I've not, that is, participated in, dealt, received, nor studied formal art criticism (okay, so a really easy voice jury when I took singing lessons as a non-major...I don't think that counts). My photography class in the summer of 2008 was supposed to include two critiques but did not.

The thing is, I believe there's at least some value to deeper investigation of creative output. I just don't really know where to start and how far to go. On the one hand there's the high-minded bloviating found, tragically, all-too-often in the mainstream art world. On the other, there are comments like this post's title and scads like it that I see on Flickr every day that say little more than the obvious.


I'm not suggesting that all verbose criticism is overwrought nonsense. Certainly complex and personal reactions to great art can elicit complex responses. I do not, additionally, dismiss all simple gut-reactions as empty commentary. It's still complimentary for somebody to suggest that your photo's composition is nice, or that the architecture of a concert hall has pretty windows. I guess I just want a middle ground.

I've been trying, as much as possible, to really slow down and examine photographs I see on Flickr before (if at all) commenting. On such occasion that I post something, I've tried to add something of value - some detail about how I react to the picture. There are plenty of "Wow, sweet" comments left in my wake, but when I feel like a picture is worth prolonged staring, I like to say why in a bit more detail than "Great angle and colors."

I'm not terribly worried about the grad-school-style diatribes because, frankly, I don't think I'm that intricate a writer.