Monday, October 17, 2011

All the Negative Comments

Side Note:

I have revamped my Portfolio Blog where I gathered and showcased almost all my paid-assignment work. Kindly visit the page and do let me know what you think !! Go to the Portfolio Page here (click).

I am still trying to decide whether I should convert to a new layout for this main blog, incorporating Google’s new Dynamic View. You can test the new Dynamic View here (click). Any feedback is appreciated.


I used to know this unimaginably bitter photographer who never failed to find fault in every single photography work he has come across, except for his own work of course. He would have a long list of complains about any other photographer’s work, condemning their unimpressive style, non-existent originality and questionable creativity. He often criticizes how photographers these days lack the insight to “read” photographs, and how they lack the element of “artistic sense”. I too, have been a victim through his cruel bashing and unforgiving attacks.

I guess it all comes down to each person’s personality. What do you choose to see, and how you approach people and life in general is strongly reflected in your photography as well. When I am presented a photograph, I would not immediately mark it down and kill it off instantly. I would ask myself what I do I find unique and different in this photograph, what made the photographer choose this subject and why did he adopt the techniques he used to make the shot happen. I choose to see the good things that the photograph speaks, rather than pointing out exclusively the negative points only. Often, the vicious online community (such as photography forums) would pick on technical faults such as poor composition, badly executed lighting, inaccurate white balance, distortion, etc etc. Consequently, how would a newcomer to photographer feel when the first photograph he posted to be commented and criticized received more than a dozen sledgehammers pounding repetitive morale destructive blows?




I am not perfect, no one is. Everyone makes mistakes. I admitted my mistakes, and I too, know my photography has many flaws. However, I did not chase perfection, and I have never done so. I allowed myself to make mistakes. I learned from my mistakes, and sometimes, it takes more than two to three mistakes to open my eyes. I believe the flaws truly defined my own approach and style in my photography, as opposed to strictly following everything that the book or that professional photographer’s advice blindly told me to do. A few small words of encouragement would have gone a long way, instead of hitting down a defenseless broken man who is already down on the ground.

Arrogance is a very dangerous thing in photography. Many photographers do photography as a hobby: as some sort of means to boost self-esteem, or more appropriately put, ego. They crave positive remarks on their photography works. As their ego inflate out of proportion, they would place themselves higher than everyone else, and no other photographer can “match” the standards that they set. I have seen how this phenomenon consumed and destroyed that earlier said bitter friend. We should all lower down ourselves a little, and never look down on others. One photographer may start photography looking like a complete “don’t-know-anything”, but if his heart is in the right place, with the right motivation and a lot of hard work, he may become an award-winning photographer one day. Who is to say that is not possible in a few years to come? Learning to be humble and connecting to others, sharing and learning from one another is a unique platform in photography, everywhere in the world. No man is an island, thus photography should NOT be selfish. Believing photography is selfish will only cut yourself out of the world and trap yourself in a delusional world where appreciation for life and people would slowly fade away. Why choose to end up in such a tragic place?

I can only remind myself to see things more positively, and push aside negativity whenever I can. Learn to see the good in people first, and open my eyes to the beauties around me. Take notice of the good things in others’ photography work, rather than just blasting the negative comments. Give praises when it is deserved, and encourage one another to grow. A little kind word can really make a whole lot of difference for some people, especially beginners.

Smile, and the world will smile with you. Be kind to life and life will reward you kindness in return.

16 comments:

  1. I agree with you Robin. Spread the joy in photography and you will learn some thing new each day.

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  2. Thanks Keng Cheah, the joy of photography should be the main priority !! Thanks for reminding.

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  3. Dear Robin,
    It is your photo essays more than your reviews (which are very good also) that have been always for me the first motivation to follow your path in term of photographic and life opportunities.
    Your picture work is excellent I can tell as a lifetime photo amateur and also as an old commercial photographer.
    Photography is an Art in progress and the present failure may become the future trend of that medium.
    Thank you again to have the generosity to share your passion.
    Daniel M from Montreal, CDN

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  4. Robin,

    about the display and viewing options: at least for me, I usually keep my browser windows at fixed sizes, like 1024x768 or so. The reason for doing so is simple: I can have more overlapping browser windows (yes, I use tabs, too), or can see the browser and some background with system or weather or any other infos at the same time. Or TV. Or mail.

    With these fixed sizes, your blogs usually are too big, so I have to switch the browser to full size to view your written content or some of your images better. That new Google Dynamic Mode dramatically improves this experience for me, so yes, for some this could be an advantage.

    My own blog uses the new standard theme of Wordpress, which is a static one as well - but it isn't as wide, so with 1024x768 I don't have to scroll sideways, or to enlarge my window.

    But then I'm only one guy, so maybe you'd like to cast a vote, or get different opinions as well. Thanks anyway for asking.

    And cheers,
    Wolfgang

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  5. Oh, Robin, you bring me joy!

    I was asked by my cousin to photograph her wedding because she couldn't afford a professional. I made sure she understood that I'm not a pro, that her photos won't look professional, and that I didn't want her to be angry or (worse) disappointed in her once-in-a-lifetime photos. She said, "I know you'll do your best."

    I did my very best, making all sorts of mistakes. (it was outdoors, in the evening.) however, I CARED about the shots that I took because I love my cousin. She's THRILLED with her photos (and so is my cranky aunt!). She said that I "captured the feel of the day", harsh lighting and all.

    Had I been too afraid to even try because I'm not a pro, my cousin would have nothing but snap shots from my Grandma's old Kodak. (not that that's bad...necessarily). I took a chance, made some mistakes, and made my cousin happy. Photography is about capturing the poignant moments. Moments are rarely perfect. Photography is rarely perfect.

    Write on! Snap on! Thanks for inspiring joy in photography!

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  6. hello daniel m,
    thanks so much for the comoliments, you are being too kind!
    that meant a lot coming from a practicing and experienced photographer such as yourself.
    it is true that present failure may be future trends. and it is my joy to share my limited experience which I hope may benefit some readers that I can reach.

    hello wolfgang,
    thank you so much for your feedback. I understand my blog is a little too wide, and is catered for full screen views. hence the dynamic view is a good option because it resizes everything. I do like the navigation and overall interface, but lets wait for a bit for google to add in more customization options. it is really interesting.

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  7. hello yertle,
    wow, thanks for sharing your experience man, really appreciate it. your cousin trusted you and your skills, hence you were engaged as the wedding photographer. if a professional photography work was sought after, it may have lack the personal touch and connection which you already have with your family and relatives.
    photography is a lot more than just technical execution, it can be personal too. in your case, you were the best person for the job because you saw the beauty in your cousin. yes we all make mistakes even professionals, just that they are paid not to screw up, thats the difference.
    thank you so much for your constant support and kind comments. it is because of beautiful readers like yourself that makes blogging life more exciting and meaningful.

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  8. I have adopted the dynamic view in my blog I think better for photos.

    About the attitude in photography, just take it easy and I choose to respect everyone I know. :) Nice to see you bring this up.

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  9. some people have a lack of self esteem and resort to bashing others just to make themselves feel good. u take photos for your own enjoyment and no one's opinion matters but yours :)

    -Marcus

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  10. photohustler,
    good to know you have adopted dynamic view. I have more than a thousand blog entries, imagine using flipcard or mosaic would be like scrolling to infinity!

    marcus,
    well said mate.

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  11. Hi Robin,

    first of all, many compliments for the passion and commitment you put in your photography.

    Then, regarding the bolg's layout, I do prefer the one with Google dinamic view.
    It improves my surfing experience a lot.

    Paolo from Milano - Italy

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  12. hello paolo,
    thanks so much for the kind compliments!
    I will adopt the dynamic view, but let google do some improvements to it with more customization options first. will surely convert the layout soon.

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  13. I like the expression "if you never make mistakes, you're not trying hard enough"... I think mistakes can be one of the best ways to learn while staying creative.

    And in any case what some professionals might consider a mistake, can sometimes be the perfect capturing of the moment. And that's the magic isn't it? The holy grail of taking a picture. Many of my favourite photos (from others as well as my own) are ones that are not technically perfect. But they are perfect pictures.

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  14. hello sam,
    thanks for sharing your insight! very true a mistake to ones eyes may actually be perfection to another. this is the same reason why I mentioned that the mistakes and flaws are the elements that defined the uniqueness, character and subsequently the identity of a photographer.
    I cannot agree more with you. thanks for sharing.

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  15. Hi Robin,

    The dynamic page is easier to navigate around. How do you get the view option drop down tab?

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  16. hello william,
    thanks for the feedback. I did not do any modification to the default dynamic view, the drop down tab has always been there all along.

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