Shane Baker | Not everyone appreciates feedback!
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Not everyone appreciates feedback!

March 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I listen to a few podcasts (not all about photography, I might add) and have done so for years. So a few weeks back, I was listening to one of the well-established, heavyweight podcasts which in my opinion, has slipped into an advocacy role of late. They consistently push a particular line in gear and either denigrate or ignore anything that doesn't fit their particular preference - even when those manufacturers implement a feature they've been demanding.

Anyway ... it all became too much when the panel started a classic comparing the prices of apples and oranges exercise to "prove" the value proposition of their preferred format. They then waxed lyrical about the actions of a particular manufacturer for doing what they had been condemning Nikon and Canon for a few minutes earlier. I put finger to keyboard and made some comments on their web page. I was good (you would have been proud of me) and in objective language simply pointed out the fallacy and inconsistency in their position. There wasn't an abusive or sarcastic word in sight.

A few days later, I went back to see how their fanboys had flamed me. There wasn't a flame in sight! Why? My comments had been removed.

Now this podcast isn't renown for holding back – if they have an opinion, they "share" it. But the quid pro quo is surely that they must be willing to accept criticism.

Clearly, these people aren't.

I unsubscribed.

What happened has been coming for some time. In the past year, it's become less a podcast comprising equal proportions of valuable information and balanced debate, and more a monologue about a particular format. I'm over it – and if they can't accept honest, temperate and considered feedback, I have better things to do with my time.

It's all rather disappointing. Ah well.

Happily, there are a number of absolutely first class podcasts still worth listening to – such as Martin Bailey's.

​On the other side of the coin, I have joined a camera club here in Perth which has a monthly competition, with an independent judge providing feedback on every image submitted. Like most people, I can take any amount of praise. When a judge says nice things, I consider them an intelligent and perceptive individual who can appreciate fine photography. On the other hand, when they don't like my image, I tend to go a bit quiet.

​So putting my delicate ego aside, I find this is having an interesting effect on my image selection: I'm starting to be more critical and hence, more selective about my images.

I sincerely hope I don't become someone who choses an image based not on what's best in my work, but what's likely to win. I've encountered photographers who do that and I don't want to go there. But if having my images critiqued results in my being more selective, then that can only be a good thing for my photography.

In my humble opinion, of course!

Shane Baker





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