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Exactly…and if the starting point is so horribly off, you probably aren’t going to end up anywhere good. In this specific circumstance, with Maryah, I didn’t feel there was anything of substance to critique. It is a waste of time to offer advice on how to make these images better when she needs to get new ideas. I don’t know what those ideas are or should be. She needs to figure that out for herself. My answer is no, these do not work. It’s not appropriate for me to offer concepts or ideas. That is her responsibility. If she is incapable of that then she has more problems than just some dude ripping her apart online.

Again, if this was the real world (and I wholeheartedly believe that we should be preparing students like Maryah for the real world) she would get at most a “sorry you are not what we are looking for” or “we decided to go in a different direction”. Which is just a nicer way to say we don’t like your photos.

I think it depends where the concepts are coming from. My point is this; the ability to come up with original concepts is something that often develops over time. Not always, sometimes it never happens, but more often than not students go through a process of at first producing work that is fraught with cliches. We have ALL done this, even you, I am sure. At this point if everyone who did this got told to do something else, there would be no artists.

If it’s an experienced artist, photographer, whoever, producing hackneyed work, then, yes – I agree, they’re not good at their profession.  However if it’s a student, then I think you have to give them a bit of leeway to work through the cliches. Most artists will tell you they produced some cringeworthy stuff along the way, while they were finding their ‘voice’. This is normal.

I absolutely agree students should be prepared for the real world – but not by shattering their self esteem in the process.