The Art of Critique

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“To escape criticism- do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” -Elbert Hubbard (pictured above, 19th century artist and author)

Once our first project was hung up on the walls of the photography department, it didn’t mean that we could sit back and relax. In fact, the fun had only just begun.

Every artist needs feedback, no matter how experienced or confident. Critiquing is an integral part of the artistic and photographic experience. Without critique, artists would never be able to understand their work from an outsider’s perspective. As Pablo Picasso said, “It is a well-known fact that we see the faults in other’s work more readily than we do in our own.”

Today in the photography department, we focused for ten minutes on each student’s artwork, and gave constructive criticism, but also managed to highlight the strengths in each student’s work. When critiquing, it’s important to examine what is shown in the photograph itself rather than what the photograph’s potential could have been. As photographers, it’s easy to launch into a story, explaining the context of the photograph, instead of letting our photograph be open to interpretation.

Throughout the critique, these new interpretations played a key role in how I viewed the other student’s artwork as well as my own. Students brought raised new views, and pointed out subtleties that my untrained eye simply glossed over. I could sense the tension within each artist as they waited for the moment when the true opinions of their work would be revealed, but all in all, I think every Tischtography student walked away with a few strong prints, as well as an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

 

-Carolyn Francis

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