What’s the damage that comes from really negative posts in response to work presented online?
That’s the question posed to Simeon Quarrie to which he felt compelled to answer even while on location shooting. It’s a question many of us who produce and share our artistic produce conjure in our heads, because there is really no escaping negativity online. It can be useful, but overwhelmingly, it’s not presented in that way, or doesn’t come from a place where ‘help’ is really the force behind it.
Simeon speaks from his own experience and perspective, which is one of much more publicity than most (see some of his beautiful and unique work here), but the points he makes apply across the board. He says his work is typically posted to his Facebook, site and blog, and then of course, many other blogs and sites such as SLR Lounge and Fstoppers. While the response to his work is mostly positive, there are still the trolls who seem to be unavoidable. Trolls, he defines as, those who are negative for the purpose of being negative – for being defamatory and lowering self esteem of the artist and those involved.
These people often hide behind the curtain of anonymity that’s afforded to them by the internet, and often have no discernable skill or talent themselves. One can assume their comments are also self serving as a way to possibly make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings.
It’s worth mentioning that sometimes some of what they say does have some validity, or at least they may touch upon something that could do with improvement. This is, perhaps, the most interesting part because it seems they often forget, too, that what they see is a final product, with little to no understanding of the environment or challenges present at the time of shooting. When they critique the look of someone in the shoots, they fail to acknowledge that often that is an everyday person, who could be presenting the best version of themselves, and still are being ripped apart. The troll fails to think what the starting point was to see how far the team had to come to produce the finished product.
Furthermore, Quarrie touches on the financial side of things. He points out that clients are often seeing the negative comments, and reputation stands for a lot in terms of the ongoing success of a business. So the negative comments have the potential to dry up the income for the creative, which is unnecessary. The point of critique should be improvement, so Quarrie suggests that a personal direct message will have a far more positive effect, and may warrant proper thanks, rather than tearing down someone publicly without knowing the whole story.
We have touched upon this subject a few times here, and probably will do again since the problem doesn’t go away and instead evolves. You can see our thoughts on basic critique here, and Pye’s heavy thoughts on negativity in the industry here.
This video was presented by Dave Kai Piper and you can find Dave’s thoughts on the matter and more from him on his site. See more from Quarrie all over the Internet, but start with the site of his brilliant company VIVIDA, and Facebook.
Also make sure to check out our Constructive Critique section to get some critiques on your images that will help you learn and improve your craft.