How should New and Emerging artists deal with critics

Intrageneric Brassia Hybrid Orchid

This is an image of a  Brassia Hybrid Orchid. Ok, it seems that flowers and men are a taboo subject at least for the younger guys out there. I have never heard of such a thing as a manly flower
or anything of the sort. So when I approached the idea of photographing flowers and plants to expand the horizons of my abilities, I approached it with caution. I suppose you could say I was afraid of being labeled.

As I matured as a photographer I made the stark realization that no matter what I chose as a subject that someone could make a claim or tag me with that negative label. It was at that time that I realized and dedicated my art to what I thought was “beautiful” or “art” or would make a great piece of “home décor”  or a great piece of “wall art” and decided that it was just time to let the critics speak. After all, they are going to anyway, no matter what you do, say, or produce.

With this new found freedom I began to photograph anything that struck me. I began taking photos of anything that I saw as beautiful or different. This was the case with this flower. It is unusual, it is beautiful and to capture on the image of such, is something that many photographers that particularly in the beginning of their development, will not do. Because of this “stinking thinking” they miss opportunities to capture something truly unique. I know I have missed many.

The quickest way to mature as a photographer is to leave those concerns of what others might think behind realizing that you will have critics. Some people will love, some will hate, and some will judge everything that you capture. Realizing this early and moving past this sticking point will help you arrive at your true potential quickly, holding yourself back because of a sticking point will truly stop you from developing the skills you need to photograph anything, in any situation, and creating the best image you can base on your current skills. There is a learning curve between the common snapshot and fine art or poster prints.  Images you look at after the shoot and say “wow I captured that”.

There is an interesting fact about the critic and the naysayers. As a general rule, they do not have the guts, talent or are too thinned skinned to do what you do. The reason many individuals are critic’s photographers, artists, painters or whatever your artistic medium is because they fear rejection and criticism themselves. That’s not to say all critics are bad, some do things or say things and have the ability to assist the artist advance to the next level in their artistic career and make suggestions to try a specific technique to enhance an artist’s style and work. The critics who will help an artist seem to be few and far between but their nuggets are easy to identify and typically do not tear down an artist’s work. They make statements like have you considered XYZ, or that another work that you have produced is stronger suited to your style or something to that nature as opposed to making vile, hateful, or derogatory comments.

So leave your negative critics, your naysayers behind, and shoot those subjects that strike you produce the art that you like. The critics and naysayers will always be there and enjoy your given talent and art form.

Just some food for thought! I hope this encourages some of the newer or younger artists (budding artists) out there to: Follow your dreams and vision, realize your skills and talent today is only the starting point for tomorrow, and that over time your skills and abilities will broaden and those things within your genre that challenge you will be mastered later in the future do not run from them embrace them and the challenge.

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Author: Chris Flees

I am an artist, art promoter, and art marketing professional who specializes and blogs primarily about art topics and the "behind the scenes" of my subject and images. Occasionally I blog about Christian topics.