Now that the contest in question is over, below is the text I originally posted. It didn't occur to me the thread would look like "vote whoring" at the time, but I guess it did. It wasn't my intention. Anyway, once again:
Time permitting, please critique this image:
It's my entry for the current "Sunset" contest. More specifically, if you looked at the image in the contest and chose not to vote for it, why? Before anyone thinks I'm about to quit in a huff because my "fine art" is unappreciated, think again. I last sat in an art class some thirty-five years ago. I am realistic enough to know that whatever I may have had by way of talent or aptitude is gone. So I'm starting from scratch. I'm trying to re-learn what I think I once knew about perspective and light sources and color (I've forgotten what else I thought I knew). Not for prestige, but for fun.
So, here I am progressing (I think), with a steady improvement in my stats. Reckoning for taste and haste, I suppose the PSC stats are a fairly reliable report card. It's the anomalies that I find exasperating. Not dismaying or discouraging. Perhaps "confusing" is the best word to describe my reaction. For example, I recently threw together a grayscale piece featuring Tarzan. Not very well done at all, but it garnered 32 votes. Another recent entry featuring Bill Clinton that I thought was very well done (I put much effort into it) received 34 votes. Both left me shaking my head. The only thing I can conclude is that a lot of people like Tarzan or Johnny Weismuller, and a lot of people like Bill Clinton. In the first instance, the Tarzan lovers overlooked a weak effort; in the second instance people refrained from voting despite a good effort. That's the closest thing to a reasonable explanation I can conjure up. Sounds crazy, I know. I could provide several other examples from my own portfolio in which a modest effort produced more votes than a serious, Herculean effort, but I think you get the idea. And, yes, I realize that energy expended does not guarantee positive results.
Then there are the winning entries that I think were poorly conceived, trite, and badly executed. One, in particular, had glaring errors in several areas: clean up, extension, perspective, and scale. And no, I won't name names or contests.
I guess what I'm confused about is voting and audience perception. I know from my own voting that if I don't like an image, I can't always qualify my objection to it. I have grudgingly voted for some images I didn't like, simply because they were so well executed. I have also refrained from voting for an image by someone with great skill who clearly did not use even a small portion of that skill. I am thinking of the Elliot Gould character in "Little Murders" whose photography is so marketable he can peddle images of anything--including dog shit. "I photograph shit, and people buy it," he says. Not an exact quote.
Anyway, sorry to ramble on here. I just wanted you folks to know why I'd like a critique. Votes alone aren't telling me much about one image. I'm trying to improve. The image in question is well past the possibility of win, place, or show, so how about it? Why, at the end of the day, has it received only two votes? What are the problem areas? Light sources? Perspective? Theme? Integration? Insufficient source presence? What?
I put a fair amount of effort into this one, but no more than I would otherwise have put into solving Sudoku or some other pastime. In other words, I won't be crushed by the truth. I also won't be crushed if no one has the time to spend on a critique.
But if any one of you were to give me a one liner that made me say, "Doh!", I'd cheerfully put you on my Christmas list. Don't get excited. Being on my Christmas list means I forget to send you a greeting card. Ask my brother.
Thanks, and use ripe tomatoes.