Today, August 1st, I enter the last month of this pic-a-day year. For this last month, I have — inspired by conversations with my father and with my aunt, and by books I have started reading in order to grow further as a photographer — decided to not only post a photo a day, but also to add an attempt at a photo critique each day.
In order to make this a humane workload, I will no longer require my photos to be new. I will allow myself to use recent photos as well as older ones, but the point for this last month is to develop a language for pictures, and an eye for their components and composition. The critique will certainly be tainted by the fact that I am critiquing my own work — but it will be better than not doing anything along these lines.
As a template, I'll take a leaf from the latest photo book I have been reading: “Konsten att ta vinnande bilder” by Göran Segeholm. He suggests a critique scheme structured around a «self-interview»:
- What message does the picture convey to you, the viewer? Is there a mood in the picture? A coherent impression? Can you elaborate on the first description?
- Is the picture open-ended or closed? Is the message above immediate, or slowly growing? Is everything about the picture collaborating, or are there contrasts, or potential for different interpretations? If it is too open-ended to even find a coherent message, point this out here.
- Are you convinced by the message?
- How did the message come about? Are there particular features in the picture that convey the message to you?
- Are there particular experiences that colour your interpretation of the picture? Knowledge about the context for the picture, or personal associations for parts of it?