I took a couple of shots I really liked this weekend. And I wanted to put one in to the "Your best of the month" challenge on one of the sites so I asked Jason which of four or five I sent him he thought was the strongest. He picked one and I put that into the "please critique" group and, well, it got critiqued.
I liked the shot. Thought it was cool when I took it. Liked how I edited it in post. Jason liked it of the ones I sent him.
Then I asked for critique, I suppose hoping for positive suggestions but basically got told it was uninteresting, poorly balanced (too dark AND too light) and not particularly good in any way that those two people could see.
Now the comments and critiques are very fair and balanced and not at all unkind but perhaps partly due to my mood or how I was hoping the shot would be received it really stung.
I'll get over the sting I'm sure... I'm writing this right after reading the critiques and I know time will temper the ouch. But really, I feel like I want to curl up and have someone hug me while I feel sorry for myself and I'm not sure why.
I complained that no one was paying any attention to my photos, and then I asked for attention and am now upset that they pointed out things that didn't work in a photo that I thought was ok.
It's, I suppose, what Jason warned me about... that moving up a level in this way wasn't for everyone and that I might not enjoy photography the same way.
It's not that I'm not enjoying it.. it's just that I don't think anything I do is much good anymore. Or when I think it's good, people who are more skilled than I am point out that it's not really all that great.
And that's disheartening.
I'm finding comfort in flickr, of all places, because people there are just positive. They look, and if they like it they favourite the photo and/or comment. So at least I know people are looking and at least someone likes it enough to hit the little pink star. Sometimes I tell myself that maybe I'll just stick to flickr and the happy little high fives I feel like it gives me. (But the truth of it is, there are people on flickr who get millions of views and hundreds of favourites, and if I'm not careful with my thoughts I'll start to feel crummy about that too.)
I think I'd be interested to see some critiques of Jason's work. Like if he threw some of his shots into this pool and asked for critique if they'd have nothing but positives to say or if someone would find something to suggest. I'm sure it works like that with any level but man... I guess that one hurt because I thought it was ok but then figured maybe it was a bit better than ok because Jason said it was.
Yes, I wish everyone instantly liked everything I did because it was amazing and perfect and wow, look at me go. But... that's not happening. Or realistic.
It's also perhaps why I haven't put anything into that site for critique in about a month. Maybe I wasn't quite as mentally ready as I thought I was. Or maybe the mainly positive reaction I got on my last critique request made me think I'd get the same again.
I don't know. Just feeling blue and trying not to get too down on myself. And wishing I could figure out how to not take it personally the times that I do.
I need a hug.
(Edited to add: I called Jason a bit after I wrote this and we had a good talk about it and he gave me over the phone hugs and told me I'm doing great and all that good stuff. Still sniffling about it, but I'll be fine.)