The human being expresses himself in different ways, either verbally, in writing or artistically. Picasso – for example – expressed his moods, his inspiration of the present moment in his personal way with a unique style and intention. Do you believe, when looking at his piece Dora Maar, that people criticized him by saying: “The right hand of the woman is poorly executed”, “The background angle could have been retouched”, …
And what about Arthur Tress, the famous photographer that surreal ideas and creative photo-montage were unique for a photographer in the 50’s and 60’s? Have these artists been negatively criticized? Probably, like all artists. Did it make them less famous? Absolutely not, on the contrary. They had ideas, a vision and an intention to communicate.
I’ve always said to myself: “For two different pair of eyes, two opinions, two visions … only one photograph, only one work of art”. Since I’ve been more and more focusing on my profession as a photographer, I’ve been in contact – for sure – with negative criticism and sometimes with plainly discouraging people. Despite that fact, what helps me to keep going is my goal, my artistic intention.
Wanted to be known as much as possible, I increased my visibility by means of well known sites such as Flickr, Zenfolio, 500 px, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Let me share two of my photographs and three comments I’ve received.
The following comment was posted for a picture that I just uploaded:
“I think the Mosque’s profile is spoiled by the house placed in front, best capture may be from Galata tower.”
In fact, most of tourists and Istanbul citizens go to the Galata Tour to take the same pictures. Here, my intention was to demonstrate Istanbul’s different architectural types, as seen from the Taskim neighborhood – from one part – and the horizon’s perspective versus this immense architectural wonder – from another part.
Another comment was posted for my “Adaptation in Antalya streets”:
Comment 1:“Sorry you missed your shot. The photo would have been soooo perfect by centering the lady & not cutting her hands “
Comment 2: “Next time, try to focuss more on what she was doing. Tip : Have you read David duChemin’s book : ‘Within The Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision‘? It might help develop your talent.”
Let’s start with the first comment. Beyond your opinion – which is fine with me, what else do you see? What do you feel? Think about one word only. If it’s loneliness, isolation, abandonment, … you might see & feel what I saw & experienced during that specific moment in time. And frankly, the more I look at it, the more I realize that this woman didn’t seem to suffer … since she was smiling at me right after I took the photograph. By not centering that woman & cutting her hands, my intention was focused on that energy. In reality, she was playing with plastic toys. Now, let’s say I would have cut the plastic toys, that would have been fine too, but the energy, the intention, the expression would have been different. As for the second comment : yes, indeed! I certainly did … But sometimes, I wonder who did understand & who did not. “Help me Mr. duChemin if I’m off the track … “
“Vision – crucial as it is- is not the ultimate goal of photography; expression is the goal. And to best express ourselves, it is necessary to learn and use the grammar and vocabulary of the visual language. ”
– David DuChemin, author|world & humanitarian photographer
As an emerging photographer, I sincerely am open to receiving constructive comments; it is so much appreciated. I’m thankful for those who give me great photography tips. The only thing I wish … is that people look further than what they see at first sight because, beyond a result, there is an intention, an energy, an experience.
Chantal Fournier is an emerging photographer in Ottawa-Gatineau region in CANADA |First exhibition “Faces & Souls from Istanbul” currently in Ottawa. Working on 2nd exhibition “Passage in Babylone” this upcoming April.