Constructive Criticism for Continuous Improvement
Some people have asked, “Blake, was your degree in Fine Art really worth all of that hard work?”. I get it; I understand why that question would be raised as you rarely hear someone say, “I am a Fine Art Printmaker” at a cocktail party. However, that is very narrow-minded thinking. The idea that someone is defined by what they are instead of the experiences they went through to get there.
There is a whole world outside of that narrow-minded box of thinking. While the Printmaking degree may not have gotten me anywhere, financially, or where others would expect it to get you I should say, it taught me more about life than any other College Major could.
A Fine Arts degree taught me about life. It wasn’t all finger painting and late nights drinking coffee. I learned some very necessary life skills through the painstaking process of becoming a Fine Art Major. It was hard work. It wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies.
I learned about vision, tenacity, meeting a strict deadline, the importance of creative problem solving, but these are topics for another blog post. One of the most important things I learned at that Univeristy of Delaware was the importance of constructive criticism. In every class, we sat through critique sessions where our work would be displayed for all to see. We would talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly (yes some were very ugly). Through this process, you learned how to look at other pieces of art and how to tell someone, without breaking their confidence, that they had room for improvement.
We are often shaken by the phrase, “…you have room for improvement…”. We try so hard to strive for perfection that the term “room for improvement” makes us want to cry. The reality of the situation is that room for improvement means new growth, the opportunity to try new things, and the journey of continuously improving upon your trade. If someone said, “It’s perfect” about everything you did, there would be no need or reason to grow. Eventually, the idea of perfection would be diluted.
On HDR Insider (my old subscription site) I conducted Critique Sessions for the members. I brought the mentality of the Fine Art classroom into the Online Digital Photography education platform. What seemed like a crazy idea at the time turned out to be the most successful element of the site.
I am continuing the tradition of Fine Art classroom style critique sessions on f.64 Elite. In today’s Video tutorial you will witness two critique sessions from HDR Insider. These critique sessions will be conducted on f.64 Elite as well. If you are all about continuous improvement and want to grow as an artist/photographer, I would highly consider watching this short session in its entirety and think about joining f.64 Elite.