Constructive criticism by definition should also point out what is working – i.e. apparent strengths that can be built upon.
Now one thing that really strikes me is that many of these people giving out the criticism have years and decades of experience as professional photographers but since they hide behind avatars we don’t see any links to examples of any of their work as examples of what exceptional or bona fide photography is.
I’m impressed, I don’t think I have ever managed to get this site to deliver bold text for me! Ah, well …
I’ve said before and will say again, “professional” just means you hope to be paid, “amateur” means you do something for love instead of money. Neither word says anything about knowledge or quality of work. There is also the “specialist”, which you don’t mention but it does seem to creep into photography. I think you could be a professional having specialized in studio portraits for 30 years, yet you could know a lot less than the news photographer that has only worked a year or two, or the amateur who reads everything and has tried out much of what has been read. You mention Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc. I have seen Gordon Ramsay on TV and have no idea who Raymond Blanc is. Living in Toronto, I have been to several restaurants owned by celebrity chiefs we have seen on TV. When I think of Michelin, I think of the tires on my car rather than a good meal. When I want a good meal at a reasonable price, I go to a restaurant owned by someone who is fairly anonymous. Good and bad are subjective and not related to professional, amateur, or celebrity.
Regarding constructive criticism, dictionary.com says: “criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions”
I like to see the work of those who are offering criticism because it gives me an indication of how much weight I should give their criticism. Usually when photography is receiving that criticism, I like to see photos, but if you say enough that makes sense, eventually you will win me over. Over time, I have seen photos taken by most of the regulars here, even ebi.
I have linked to one of my web pages and, at one time or another, to a couple of my Flickr pages. Here is a link to one of my photos. It is on Spoonful’s Facebook page. It’s possibly the only photo of mine on Facebook.
Like Nesgran, I don’t care if someone messes up most kinds of photography but it does break my heart when wedding photos are bad. It also bothers me when a photographer displays someone else’s work as their own, whether in a book on photography or in an ad. It just seems wrong. If what we have to say here influences even one or two people to do a better job, or pass on a job they are not really capable of, then it is worthwhile.