Bend Me, Break Me
20 Feb 2014
Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape ~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Any photographic journey ebbs and flows... the moments of joy... the moments of discontent. Artists are tortured souls, sensitive and brooding mostly. Probably not the best springboard for critique. But how do we grow, change, or bend into a better shape without it.
Posting images to any photo site yields one of two responses: 1) acceptance, 2) rejection. There is no middle. Acceptance equals words of praise and serious 'propage'. Rejection, on the other hand, is silent. Social etiquette is likely the source of this silence. As Thumper said, "If you don't have anything nice to say... don't say anything at all". But what good is that 'kindness' if the end result is stagnation.
Criticism, constructive or otherwise, translates as a mortal wound. It is a knee-jerk response to truth. As a rule, people don't want the truth. They only want 'their' version of it. So, when and if it comes our way, we bristle, we unfriend, and we plot our revenge. The question is: how do we move past that response? I think the answer lies in our desire to keep it moving in a forward direction.
So that's what the photo essay is about... voluntarily asking for some tough love. I will start with a current liked image and then will add 10 images that fell flat here on JPG. Because I can't see the forest for the trees, I am asking you to point it out. Pick out one or more of these images and tell me, specifically, why you think it/they tanked.
Anyone who wants to participate in this experiment can do the same. Choose 10 of your own images that circled the drain (assuming you have a few), put it in photo essay format and then post your link as a comment here. I will nominate it for Story of the Week (to share it), then you do the same for others that are willing to run the gauntlet. I guarantee it will be completely liberating.
Here's an assortment of my flops :-)