What is Constructive Criticism?

by WhiteOak50

I wrote an article about Constructive Criticism on another site that has closed. I revised the article and wanted to share my views about constructive criticism.

Constructive Criticism

What is it?

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Delicate by WhiteOaksPhotos

According to Wiki:  Constructive criticism is a compassionate attitude towards the person qualified for criticism.  Having higher experience, gifts, respect, and/or knowledge in a specific field and being able to verbally convince at the same time, this person is intending to uplift the other person materially, morally, emotionally or spiritually.

There can be tension between friendly support and useful criticism. A critic might usefully help an individual artist to recognize what is poor in their body of work, but the critic may appear harsh and judgmental in the process. Useful criticism is a practical part of constructive criticism.  Basically Constructive Criticism is focusing on positive examples to be emulated over precepts to be followed.

 

How do we learn to handle Constructive Criticism?

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Enlightenment by WhiteOaksPhotos

Okay, so now we know what Constructive Criticism is, how do we learn to handle it?  Criticism is very hard for me to hear, not that I think everything I do is perfect, I just feel often we say things about something and really do not understand what the publisher might have been thinking when they created it.  I am a very firm believer that when someone writes, does photography or creates art, it is coming from a deep part of their heart, soul and/or being.  But again, these are only my views and my understanding of Constructive Criticism.

When you put yourself out on the World Wide Web common sense tells you that there will be a lot of things said about your work.  Some will be good, and unfortunately some will be bad.  The bottom line is it is up to you to take the information and either use to your advantage or blow it off and keep doing what you are doing.

Now, on the other hand I also see how constructive criticism can be very a very important tool in your career.  Since I wrote this original article, I have learnt so much trying to promote my photography online, especially since I am trying to take it to a more professional level.

I am not saying this to sound ugly but the truth is, if a person does not want any comments made towards a piece of their work because of its private meaning, it really should not be posted on the World Wide Web for millions of people to see it.  Compared to some people I am just a babe in the woods when it comes to sharing anything about me online, I have hardly ever shared my writing or my art.  So for me personally, these pass years have been a HUGE learning experience.

In the beginning when I decided to take my photography to a more professional level, I signed up at a few different stock-photo places.  I submitted over 70 photos to this one place and EVERY photo was rejected except for ONE.  Some of the photos that were rejected had been accepted at another place that also had strict rules about submissions. I was real close in giving up. Instead I took those rejections and did something about it.  I LEARNED! 

Yes, I learned about composition, lighting and different things that are photography related.  Since I am a “hands on” type of person, I became very close to my camera and taught myself many different things.

I am not saying this to sound ugly but the truth is, if a person does not want any comments made towards a piece of their work because of its private meaning, it really should not be posted on the World Wide Web for millions to see it.  Compared to some people I am just a babe in the woods when it comes to sharing anything about me online, I have hardly ever shared my writing or my art.  So for me personally, these pass years have been a HUGE learning experience.

How Criticism helps?

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Stability by WhiteOaksPhotos

Constructive Criticism can be a very useful tool, especially if you are doing artwork and writing online for monetary values.  HOWEVER, you need to follow your own intuition very closely-if you decide to  try the suggestions that were made and your work loses its "energy" or it does not feel the same to you, you need to do what’s best for you and the piece of work.

To be honest, I have had comments made all over the place about my artwork and my writing.  Once I posted a poem I wrote on a site and an author made some "Constructive Criticism" towards the poem.  The very first thought I had was, (well I guess I better not say what my first thought was) but I had to remind myself if I did not want any comments, I should not have posted it especially on that site.

The author explained how the usage of one of my words automatically brought the focal point of my poem in at the very beginning.  And I should change this word, to keep the readers interest.  So, I thought okay, this person is an author and they know what they are talking about, so I changed the word.  After I did that, I did not "feel" the poem the way I did when I first wrote it, so I changed it back.

What are your thoughts about Constructive Criticism?

Now is your chance to sound off!

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Its not my place to criticize anyone's work...
WhiteOak50 on 06/07/2011

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, it is greatly appreciated.

I am all for it because...
Tiggered on 05/25/2012

I don't believe in people loving everybody and everything.

WhiteOak50 on 06/07/2011

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, it is greatly appreciated.

Guest on 05/28/2011

This is an area that most people don't know how to give or except. I look at it this way. I want to improve and be better in whatever area I am working. So if want to improve then I must be willing to take direction.

nightbear on 05/28/2011

It is not always easy to give constructive criticism. But one thing a person should be sure of is that they are really being constructive and not just critical and that they FIRST, for sure what they are talking about. In other words has the right to voice the criticism in that certain arena. And be nice for heavens sake!

Michey on 05/27/2011

As through criticism if it is constructive we see with different eyes and new ideas can always help.

Always be polite-

if the person is sincerely trying to be helpful

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Thankfulness by WhiteOaksPhotos

Sometimes, especially on the web people can be mean.  There are so many times when miscommunication happens and this causes "war", hurt feelings, and lost friendships.  In turn negative things are said and this causes even more disruption.  I am not going to argue over comments or try to sway the person to feel differently about whatever they made the comment on, everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I take the comment and once I get myself into check, I close the situation and move on.

The realization of understanding what we see is not what others always see, is one of the most important factors in this whole concept; I have found.  Constructive Criticism is not always made to hurt our feelings or to discourage us; actually it is made to help us improve our art and/or writing.  By using your own intuition and by living your own convictions, you will know what constructive criticism to use, and what to discard.  Perhaps you will use these comments down the road, or another piece.  Do not lose yourself, nor allow any comments to sway who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  We follow our dreams through our own motions, picking up different traits along the path.  If the suggestions feel right incorporate them; if the suggestions do not feel right do not use them.  It all comes down to being your choice.

 

When it comes to Constructive Criticism, how do you react to it?

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Updated: 05/31/2011, WhiteOak50
 
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Thank you for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.


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WhiteOak50 on 08/19/2011

Thank you so much for commenting Leanne :0)

Guest on 07/16/2011

Criticism is hurtful. Constructive criticism (or a critique) is (or should be) beneficial. When I ask for feedback, and receive legitimate constructive criticism, I ponder the information, apply what's useful and discard the rest. I appreciate this kind of feedback. It's tougher to take when it's unsolicited, but if it's actually constructive criticism, it's still OK. Personally, I think that people should withhold their nasty criticism . . . it's not productive and isn't necessary no matter if people's stuff is out there for the public to see.

WhiteOak50 on 06/07/2011

Thank you Missmerfaery and kyblueyes, I appreciate both of your comments :0)

WhiteOak50 on 06/02/2011

Totally understandable ohcaroline :0)

ohcaroline on 06/02/2011

I am pretty touchy about criticism...just being honest. I prefer to get criticisms from those I know and trust and know me. Strangers don't always understand the why's of what I was trying to accomplish.

WhiteOak50 on 06/01/2011

Thanks SquidRich and Rewards4life for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

SquidRich on 05/29/2011

Criticism is fine, as long as it is constructive. Another pair of eyes can always be useful to help keep focus on a subject.

WhiteOak50 on 05/28/2011

Thank you tssfacts and Susan. I remember when I first wrote this article, it hard then. To be honest it is still a hard topic but with the wonderful group of people here I thought I would get some great insight. It is very much a learning experience.

Guest on 05/28/2011

What great guidelines for a tough subject. Your photos are breathe taking. You did such a great job.

nightbear on 05/28/2011

Wow, what a thought provoking page. It is a really tough thing to do correctly. I really love your photography Eva. But even I can see how far you have come. You have grown so much.


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