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1 posts from February 2008

Feb 12 2008
"Your pictures suck" Comments (12)

Img_0500Funny, I advance-posted this blurry pic and titled it to suggest it makes me think about how our nastiness can be contagious, and it happened to go up at iLOVESNEWYORK yesterday.

I'm no stranger to criticism. I dish it out (fairly, I hope), and I've received a lot of it. I remember some pretty nasty reviews for my first novel which to this day will occasionally attract a random hater who despises it enough to draw him or her to Amazon for a good spew...and the book's over 10 years old!

Img_0045I remember a nice-seeming telephone interviewer quizzing me about Encyclopedia Madonnica, and upon finding out that I worked for the same company that published the book (St. Martin's Press), writing a scathing piece about how I was given a book deal because of that connection, never figuring out that I got a book deal in spite of that connection—nobody wants to publish their editorial assistants!

It's all fair, but I do wonder where I fall on a scale of tolerance for criticism. Does it roll off of most people's backs? Do most people take it personally? Are most people likely to think about the content of the criticism, or just go into defense mode? I guess I tend to take it personally depending on the situation and the tone and if I think the person has a point. But I actually like criticism that I grudgingly agree with more than criticism that's a wall of, "I hate it. You're wrong, I'm right."

Img_0030I leave work so late that there is art in everything I see.

Recently, a reader commented anonymously on my iLOVESNEWYORK blog, "Your pictures suck." This I find really unnecessary. I don't expect everyone to like everything I post, obviously, but "suck" is even more one-dimensional than an iPhone photo. It's mean-spirited, as is anonymity.

Img_0038I don't believe in the anonymity of the Internet. I think it just helps make us nastier than we really are.

Anyway, long story long, I replied, and he replied back. The gist is he thinks the photos are blurry (because, y'know, anything blurry can not be good or interesting...) and pretentious ("too artistic"). I really think if I just published them in a photo stream and dispensed with the copyright notice and the titles, he might not have been moved to go on the attack. Some people are rigid about what should be called art. I don't think my photos are fucking amazing, I think they're cool and at times evocative, but part of what I like about them is the fact that any use you or I get out of them is accidental. That said, I also don't think he must be blind not to like them. But I responded because I think there are some other points to be made regarding self-expression, the context of criticism and those meddlin' kids!

His rant is here.

My reply is there, too, but it's also here:

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