The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Chasing the right thing - and Episode 54 of Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres

There's no doubt the podcasts where viewers submit to a challenge have more engagement, and more energy, than the ones where I discuss a photo, or photographic technique, and then do the Critique/Feedback session.

I guess it's not too surprising to discover people generally prefer to display their creations for praise rather than criticism.

And after 2 weeks of high-energy, Challenge Submission episodes, with record breaking viewers, comments, and time spent in front of the camera, returning to a more "normal" podcast felt much more sedate.

It makes it far more tempting to scrap the Critique and just concentrate on setting challenges - displaying and commenting positively on all the entries.

But somehow that feels like a betrayal of the key aspect of "Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres".

A deeper understanding of photography isn't gained by praise alone.

We need to analyse where things go wrong, and find answers to the stuff we're struggling with.

The Critique I offer up for free every week is extremely hard to find in the world.

There are countless people who will tell us how great our image is, whether it is or not, but we don't learn anything from that.

And most of those who would take the time to analyse our photos and give us real, insightful feedback, generally charge a lot of money for it, if you can even find them.

I'm driven by a passion and desire to genuinely help photographers past their sticking points to a greater understanding of how to create images that feed their souls.

But I could probably grow the podcasts and audience far more quickly if I just put up weekly – even daily – challenges, and liberally awarded Smug Points.

However, I would then be just chasing the praise myself, and not really be helping anyone.

I've been down the road before of trying to satisfy other people, regardless of whether I felt it was the right thing to do - and all it does is leave a deep hollow emptiness inside, which cannot be compensated by any amount of money, praise, or advancement.

Despite the temptations, for now at least, I need to leave the Challenges as a monthly thing.

Meanwhile, enjoy episode 54 below!


0:00 - Welcome, what's coming up, greetings and comments
4:27 - The story behind the "It's Full of Stars" photo taken at The Open Book in Wigtown
11:30 - Looking at the construction of the "It's Full of Stars" photo
15:25 - Is it grey/green or pink/white? How perception differs from person to person
31:30 - Introduction to the Critique section of the podcast
33:20 - Critique of images submitted to the Facebook Group, "Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres"
1:25:20 - Coming up next week
1:26:45 - End

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And, or course, if you would like to submit a photo for feedback, or just ask a photography related question, then do join my Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres  Facebook group and I will put it into the following podcast:


neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

You see? Even though you write mostly about photography, I learn much from you.

I'm glad you're not going to do the Challenge often, and will stick to once a month. That is true art and passion. Going with what your creative spirit tells you that you need to do.

This is a solid reminder to me to stay on the path I'm going, creative-wise.

Thank you, Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - I guess when someone writes about their struggles in almost any creative arena, there is bound to be overlap with pretty much every other creative practice.
Unless you're talking about the technical stuff - how to mix paint, how to adjust f-stops, or how to successfully use a semicolon - most creativity is about exploration and the internal barriers, which are more or less universal in experience.
But if you gain something from what I've written, then that warms my heart :)

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