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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Jay Stafford

I am so happy to have Jay Stafford contributing to the Eastcreek Photography Blog! Jay is an incredibly talented photographer and someone that I not only consider one of my best friends, but he's someone that I truly admire! He's always there to support me in everything that I do (or attempt to do) and he knows when to just give me a swift kick in the butt!
Many Thanks Jay!
I love ya!

Howdy Folks!
Tina asked me to help her out with her blog while she's busy doing cartwheels over the initial success of her recently published, first book "Letters From Alcatraz". Glad to do it Tina...YOU GO GIRL!!!
First off, I'm a shutterbug with 40+ years' passion for photography. In fact, that's how I got to know Tina. We met on websites like Classmates and Facebook, started discussing photography and oooh'ing and aah'ing each other's photo's. Although I've done some paying gigs like weddings, events and portraits and had some stuff in a couple of books and newspapers, I'm not a professional...just a guy with a camera having a lotta fun!
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I'm sure you've all heard that and, if you look up the definition of "Subjective", you will see it's an adjective meaning an opinion, not impartial or literal, but personal. Those two things really hit home with me at a recent meeting of my photo club. At each meeting several of the members submit slides or digital photos to be critiqued by professional photographers, gallery owners and managers and college-level photography professors. Those folks really know their stuff and can teach amateurs a great deal about what makes a great photograph and the techniques required to take it. The thing is, no two critiquers agree! One meeting we'll have someone who loves to crop the shot in real tight on the subject. The next meeting we'll have a guy who wants lots of "breathing space" around a subject. I'd love to get them all together in one room and watch the fur fly!
At our last meeting the theme was "Sunsets." Great! I just happened to have some sunset photos I'm really proud of and which got lots of oooh's and aah's from close friends, Facebook friends and fellow club members. I'm including three of them here. Okay, here I am in the meeting ready for the applause which, I was convinced, my masterpieces would receive. Well, apparently the critiquer didn't agree. He hated the shot of the Monterey Peninsula/Highway 1 at dusk. He said it was "too busy" and was actually three shots: the peninsula, the highway and the pond in the foreground. Okaaaay, well he'll love the next one of the seagull flying in front of the sunset! Uhhh...NOPE! He said the seagull looked like a stuffed bird hanging on a fishing line. The sunset's okay, but the surf and shore are ugly! Oh wow, I thought as I picked myself up off the floor and climbed back into my seat. Yep...climbed...'cuz by that time I was only one-inch tall! Fearful of how he was gonna trash my next offering, I peeked out between my fingers at the dog/sunset photo on the screen. "Well..." he says... "'s not something I would photograph, but...I like it!!!" I must have passed out for a brief moment 'cuz when I came to he was throwing another body jab with a comment that the dog looks like she's being electrocuted!
Bottom line...I really have learned a lot from critiquers ad I think my photography has improved greatly as a result. What I need to work on is not to take their harsh criticism of my "babies" personally. For you shutterbugs out happy and thankful for those who like your work and be gracious and learn from those who don't...even if ya wanna strangle the sumbitches! Know what I mean?
Respectfully submitted,
Jay Stafford
Photo's copyright 2010


  1. Fantastic Post Jay!
    So very true! It's hard not to take criticism personally, because each photo is so close to a photographer's heart!
    There definitely is a lesson to be learned here!

  2. Oh, and I think the critiquer has a screw loose! The photo's are stunning! But, as you mentioned, you could show these photographs to 3 different critiquers and get three different responses. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder!

  3. Love the photos, especially the gull, but yes there's an opinion for everyone you talk to!