The purpose of the Review/Critique:
For someone who has experience in photography, knows their subject and recognizes their style, these reviews/critiques are valuable for working to fine tune a project or answer a specific question. For someone who is new to photography, these reviews/critiques are valuable to find out how their work resonates with others and to begin to see where this art is going to lead them. Answering the question of “What is a good photograph?” can be a challenge at best.
Over the past few years, I have had many students ask, “What is a good photograph?” This is a very complicated question and the process is often very murky.
The complicated part:
Photography is a wonderful art form that can be either crystal clear and sharp, such as in photojournalism, or oblique, ethereal and textual. One has a message that is almost impossible to avoid and the other communicates an emotion, a feeling. Both approaches and the range in between are legitimate and are the foundation for many great photographs.
The murky part:
Some “experts” are mostly bluster and disparage a person’s work because they don’t have the photography skills or communication skills to discuss it constructively. This beat down often breaks the spirit of the emerging artist.
There are organizations who judge a photographers’ work based on clear razor-edged rules that force the artist into a box. Too often these “reviews” are very brief and offer few constructive comments by someone who may or may not be qualified.
There is the Salon, which is typically a small group that reinforces their own particular approach.
The answer part:
There is a tested, tried and true approach that I have personally seen work many many times – that is a structured peer review and critique. SF Camerawork’s member review/critiques are the template for these Peer review/critiques.
These Peer review/critiques will be structured as follows:
- Five to six photographers will display their prints or digital images. The number they want to submit can range from a few up to fifteen.
- Each photographer talks about their process - challenges - goals. Then the group discusses how they feel about the craft and art of work.
- The person directing the review/critique has the experience to knowingly comment constructively on the work.
- All comments by the group and the director are respectful, insightful and help the photographer artist address their questions and goals and if something needs work it will be discussed.
The experience of hearing the wide-ranging points of view from the group and the director helps a person understand what constitutes a good photograph and how to enhance their own work.
Attendees will be limited to fifteen people with a max of six people showing. The cost to show is $10.00. Please contact Glen Graves to secure your time. 415-450-1079