It's been several months since I started to work closely with community of young photographers, first through Kiev School of Photography and later from my own Critique group. Before that, my experience with photographers was more from live master-classes where I was talking more then listening + from one-on-one lessons where students really loved my work and hardly had any bad critique (or else they wouldn't have chosen me as a teacher).

Anyway, since I was selected to make a bigger scale lecture in Kiev School of Photography, I started to see what a large photo-community can be like. My first lesson was: photographers critique differently than broader audience does. For audience it's normally either "wow" reaction or ignore. Or sometimes praise or rant if you really unknowingly stroke a chord. In any case, they will rather talk about "what" and not about "how", if "how" is not good enough, they will just pass by.

Young photographers seeing a picture automatically try to deconstruct it, pick it apart and look at all the parts separately and how they fit together. They would compare how photo relates to the rules they have learned so far. "What" is not that important for them - they have their own ideas, but "how" is what they try to add to their toolbox. That's where most of the critique happens - people are arguing on techniques and wether they they were implemented effectively.

Pluses of this approach is clear, but there is also a hidden minus: some people forget to think wether the photo is working and start to think instead, whether the photo fits all the rules they have learned. Which means instead of thinking "How do I produce an awesome photo" they think "How do I produce a photo without mistakes". Photography is a not a science though, the core of best photography is emotion and not construction and when construction prevails, emotion tends to escape.

So what I wanted to say today: let's learn the rules and then let's break them; let's prepare, but then improvise; let's try and fail and be brave enough to repeat - that's what artists do:)