“The Truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable”. -Unknown

Many professional  photographers pay a Mentor thousands of dollars each year to hear honest critique of their work. It is a painful process no doubt  and difficult to have your faults pointed out to you. So why is critique so important and why is worth so much??

From my experience, it is the quickest way to grow and move forward. Of course it is alway great to hear that people love your work, but what about those images that don’t work. Crickets is all you will hear above the silence!  The fact is, we have more to learn more from our failures then our successes.

Shakespeare’s and Co Paris 2015

This image conveys the story through the hands of our subjects, it is evident that the young girl wants to go. It may be an instinct passed down from our hunter gatherer days but our eye is firstly drawn to hands and faces, and often in that order. Her face is hidden which indicates she is shy. Our eye is also drawn to written words on the chalkboard and the books,  “A Dog or perhaps a Cat”  adds to the interest of this story and places us outside a bookstore. The reflections of the street in this image, also adds an extra dimension.

When I first joined the Arcanum I thought my images were great even though I knew they were technically imperfect, but I was emotionally attached to these images. I saw only their potential so their flaws were hidden from me. I would have defended them with my life, but then the cold hard truth sinks in. Our choice is to learn our weaknesses and blind spots so that we can then move forward and progress. So in the Arcanum we post images in our cohorts and learn to critique each others work. At first it is a difficult process when we learn others don’t love our images as much as we do. But then there is a light bulb moment…

A Novel place to read a Book Paris 2015

It allows us to see our own images with fresh eyes, from a more objective viewpoint, then we can grow. Please keep in mind all critique is subjective.  However an experienced photographer can nail it in under a minute. We learn to identify the basic elements of composition that add to the impact of an image, what draws your eye to a subject, how to eliminate the distractions and how to hold the viewers interest. There is not a formula for a perfect image but there are elements that can be taught and learn. I have had 3 professional critiques from 3 different mentors in the past 12 months and I believe it has dramatically improved my work.

Waiting for his ship to come in Paris 2015

So the Truth will set you free but only if you are ready to set aside your ego and hear it.
Shoot… Critique… Learn… Repeat. Everything can be learnt, you just need to want it enough and work hard enough. T
Any thoughts??

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