Many believe that constructive criticism can be greatly beneficial; we learn from feedback of others and are thus able to better our artistic output. There is however that argument that artists should not allow themselves to be moulded by the opinions of others. Professional photographers are not immune to creative criticism, and yet they continue to produce work. Feature Shoot asked 10 photographers to reveal how they respond to creative criticism.
Image © Kazuma Obara, Japan, 2015 – from the series Exposure
“Three months after starting my project about Chernobyl, there were many opportunities to have portfolio reviews in various countries in Europe. I brought along my handmade dummy book and showed my work and ideas to reviewers. The work was an ongoing project so I just wanted to get feedback about my idea. I met thirty people in total, and literally all reviewers told me something along the lines of “to be honest, this subject ‘Chernobyl’ is going to be really difficult to publish as a photo book. There are plenty of photo books already about chernobyl, it might work for a newspaper or a magazine but not for a book. So many great photographers already did the project from various perspectives and they already became books. Your work has to be really really really unique.” Some professionals even recommended I change the subject.
But changing the subject was not an option. And thanks to these conversations, I tried to present my work in an extremely unique way. This enabled my series Exposure to come first place in the ‘People’ category of the World Press Photo Contest 2016.”
“I am going to pass on this, as I don’t want to flatter my critics by paying it much attention.”