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About "loaning another pair of eyes" - The 1x Critique Forum

by Head Senior critic  Mike Kreiten

I travel for photography, plan the trips only for the spots worth to visit, get up before sunrise, and edit, I love finalizing works. My spouse is the same photo maniac as I am, without her I could not do any of this.

When she passes my screen and says  “I envy this shot” it’s the biggest compliment possible. She’s my best critic, her intuition and gut feeling very likely show me the photos that get published. Obviously she does not say that very often, haha!

Critique is a treasure, invaluable.
You can only learn when people tell you what they think, capable people. You don’t have to agree, but other eyes have a different look on your work. The view many others likely will have on it, too. We tend to look at the same things in our own work all the time, others see things we overlook even in hefty editing.

The team of critics on 1x have an expression for what we do, “loan another pair of eyes”.  


“Loaning Eyes...” by Mike Kreiten

That’s what 14 people do as senior critics, as a hobby, because they have what I’d call a “helping gene”.  They enjoy that members are grateful to receive funded critique. Often they want to know why work was not published, which we cannot answer. We can only help to make a work stronger or give suggestions for next shots.

I’m doing this for two years now, I was invited to a great bunch of people writing critiques. We exchange, we feel like knowing each other, we help each other. When Alfred Forns asked me to become part of that team, I felt honored. I still do, heading the team now, backing up Greg Barsh for a while.

It all started when I posted something for critique. The detailed analysis and many suggestions I received led to a later publication, one of my first. I couldn’t thank the team enough by just saying I was grateful. I noticed everybody can write critiques, so I did for everything where I felt I could help. And then the magic happened, people were very grateful and we exchanged in long threads. This was noticed by the team of course, we usually read all comments. After a few weeks of engaging in the forum I received the invitation that changed my view on 1x, completely.

This was fun!
I enjoyed and learned at the same time. I would say I learned more in two months than I would have learned in two years usually. I read everything critics and members wrote when works fell into my genres - or genres I was interested in. I knew about obstacles before even having tried something new. Real obstacles, happening to people starting or even being experienced in techniques. It widened my horizon, made me curious to try more things. I set myself the goal to publish one photo of every genre, show some expertise in everything. Well, that’s very ambitious and consequently I’m not there yet, but I collected quite a few.

Communication theories say you should start with the most important message, I hope you made it till here because I did not stick to that rule. This is my message, dropping in late:

Try critique on 1x, post work, comment work, or read only. You will learn something, for sure.

I’m confident it’s the best photography critique forum in the entire internet. I learn new things there every day. People join 1x because they want to upload their photographs and exchange in this forum, we read that many times.

Should you discover the same pleasure I found in doing so, we need team members.

We love diversity, there is no wrong and right in photography, and “right” looks different for everybody. We had monthly guest critics, experienced photographers, and they stayed. Because they have it, the “gene”.

Join the party, help others and you will learn yourself.

Mike Kreiten 
Head senior critic of an awesome team dedicating their time for you.


The text is encouraging and gives insight into the responsible work. I can only agree with Mike. Seeing, reading and being seen opens one's horizons.
Mike, Great article. Another set of eyes is so important and can help open your eyes and the way you see your own images. I can also personally attest to your team having the "gene". Thanks to all of you for what you do.
Mike, excellent work as usual. I hope more readers will join after your article. Cheers!
Thank you very much, Calin! I think we had a small "wave" of more interest, but it might just take a while.
Critique is like fruits for thoughts. All people want to be seen. It's like that in all aspects of life from we are born. This critique forum is like a classroom for me where I can interact with really good photographers as the SC-team and others to hone my skills. Engaging in critiquing myself is actually stepping up my learning processes. IMHO sharing is caring, fellow photographers.
Never heard "sharing is caring" before, but that's a wonderful saying. Thank you for your positive thoughts on Critique and participating in that forum, Knut. You're very welcome, always.
An excellent overview on the critique forum! Another pair of eyes is always needed for every evolving photographer! Thank you Mike for sharing your thoughts with us!
My pleasure, Marius!
Thank you for promoting the article on FB!
Only today I was able to read your post, excellent work Mike. Well explained reasons why this forum enables added value to everyones photos. Hopefully, readers feel invited to join or participate. Thank you very much! Best, Andy
Thank you, Andreas! I always read your critiques and I'm happy to be in a team with you. I'm pretty sure you feel the same about the two-way experience of giving and learning in our forum.
I like how our critics work. I say this very sincerely and seriously. I sometimes watch their work.  They are very conscientious about their duties. It is very good. Some of my thoughts out loud. The main thing in reviewing the picture to determine whether it was a success or not. If you see that the composition is bad, or the face in the portrait is uninteresting, etc. tell him directly about this, ask him to re-shoot this picture, but do not begin to prompt him to correct some minor flaws in the form of spots, blackouts and others. I have never seen such an assessment picture: your work is unsuccessful, nothing will help it, because it is a mistake in the main thing, and not in trifles. Of course, this should be done tactfully, but it should be done! Let novice photographer not deceive himself with your help . Two more wishes. If the photograph argues with you, treat them in the same section with respect. Maybe he understands the photo as well as you :-).  And the last. Sometimes it's better to see 1 time than to hear 100 times. I would gladly take part in the disassembly of some photographs, but sometimes my comments will are better illustrated. I can take a screenshot from the screen and process someone else's photograph so that my vision of the performance of this topic or idea manifested. But how to upload this photo that I processed to the critics department so that the author can see it?  Sincerely. Vladimir Asriyan.
Vladimir, I am glad you are positive for our work in Critique. You were right in what you said, but I will give you a short explanation. I the first place we give honest comments because this is the only way the help people really. Some images they cannot improve. And yes than we say this, but on the same time we try to give a good advice what to do. I have a nice example I gave Knut an honest comment and went to his site and saw better ones. The result, he gave a comment on my image and on the image in Critique. But many times we give advices to improve in post-processing and this is highly appreciated. And sometimes we say use next time a better POV but to see what the result has to be we suggest in some cases post-processing only to see what the image need and after that they may delete it. I hope this is enough reply. Theo Luycx
Thank you, dear Theo! I am pleased with your answer, and yet I hope that my reply was not superfluous. There were some other thoughts of mine. Maybe someone else will answer them. By the way, in your link I found in one comment (forgive me not yours) one thought that I fully support and which should be the leitmotif of the work of any photo artist. I quote: " I read you would like to become published, and most people do. The question remains is what would you do for it? Hunt those scenes that are likely to be published or stick to your thing, develop a style and wait to become discovered? I'd rather do the latter..." From myself I can add what a one good photographer told me a long time ago when he saw that I fell ill with a photo. You have to love a photo, not yourself in it, and be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself ! And success will come. Once again, I thank you and take this opportunity to invite you and your colleagues to talk in our forum about photo authorship . The opinions of critics are welcome and will be especially valuable for everyone. All the best. Vladimir.
Vladimir, I hope you understand that I will remain neutral as a crew and critique member. Of course I have a vision but we speak about this in our own forums. I will not become other questions in critique. Let us speak there only about Photography. And thanks for your open discussion. TheoSC
Dear Vladimir,
From several discussions we had I think it's fair to say we don't come along very well. Still I want to let you know I appreciate the time you took to share your positive thoughts about curation very much. Thanks a bunch again, in the name of the critics team, Mike
I never mix personal relationships with creative ones and therefore I am always open to dialogue. Thank you both for giving me so much attention. All the best. Vladimir.
As one of our mutual friends said, turn this page over and go further :-)
Thanks for your work. A good critique team. Respect.
On behalf of the team I thank you for the appreciation, Tales. We're glad you enjoy our forum.
It is always different, the way an author and a viewer see one image. And it is part of the game to be curious how other people 'read' and understand your image. So I always thought of the Critique section as something worth the time - never mind reading, writing or participating with own images. So, good job and well said, Mike :)
In my theory, almost every photograph has memories or emotions attached for ourselves. Which our viewers obviously can't have, that's why they simply experience it differently. I love it when photographers explain their intention and ask if the photo "works". It's often surprising what various people see in photographs, not only for the author. Thank you very much Ivo, most of all for being a senior critic in our team for so long already!
Hey, Mike :) :lol. SeeYa
A very good article, Mike! It can awake the interest of people who still do not know our Critique Section. And the photo is totally adequate: four (or more) eyes see better than two!
Thank you José, that's what I hope to achieve. Most of all I'd like to see members helping members out with viewpoints and suggestions - and to discover this is valuable for both.
Thx Mike! Critique is my favorite section on 1x - I am always impressed what the critics give in their feedback, and how it triggers new ideas on how to improve...
Thank you Wicherbos for your possitive view on our Critique session. Just because I did one time a comment on your "readings" and there we had a different vision. But such things can happen. Mostly the photographers are very happy with the suggestions.
Wicher, Critique is my favourite section too. :) It's a chance to slow down, explore an image thoroughly, and think about what it says in the language of Photography. I learn something every day - from the photographers who post their images, and from those who offer their opinions and ideas for improving them. Coming from another website where comments were often superficial and sometimes just plain nasty, I found 1X Critique to be refreshingly different and worthwhile.
Dear StevenT couldn’t agree more! Theo Luycx i am very sorry but i don’t recall any difference of view to be honest, and if we would have had i rhink it is perfectly ok to have different views. The world is far too complex to have everyone agree about everything especially in the artistic arena, where i feel many of you to be way ahead of myself ;)
Excellent article, Mike. Thanks for writing and raising awareness about Critique! Good photo too - a bit disquieting, but it gets the idea across.
Thank you very much, Steven! It's indeed my eye(s) in my hands, but I didn't take them out, haha! Wonderful world of layers and masking :-)
I really appreciate help from critique team i got last year ! Thank you so much ! Mike , Cool creation " Loaning Eyes ...".
That was when I fell in love with your abstracts, Olga. Many, many thanks!