by Mike Kreiten, Head of the Senior Critics Team
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 13th of February 2023
'Loaning Eyes ...' by Mike Kreiten
1x provides two very different ways to ask for comments and a critique of your photo
1. Green Button . . . When your photo has finished curation you can click the green button, 'Request Critique'. Your photo is offered to members who have voted on your work to comment on it anonymously. You may get several opinions, but unless they've offered their name so you can see their profile you may have questions like . . . who is criticizing my picture, and how skilled or experienced are they as photographers or critics?
2. The Blue Button you see when selecting Critique from the side bar menu will lead you to the 'Critique Forum', which is a very different, not anonymous place for in-depth feedback – ideally before curation. Here the Senior Critics (and sometimes members) go into more detail and can often suggest ideas or techniques to improve a photo. Some members use this service to fine-tune an image before it's sent to curation. Usually two or three of the Senior Critics will have a close look at your photo and tell you what they see - what works in the image, and what could be improved. They are not anonymous, so you'll know who is writing to you. All 1X members are welcome to join in these discussions.
The Senior Critics are volunteers chosen for their experience, knowledge, and skill in making photographs and communicating with words. Why should you trust them to examine your best photos? I can't speak for the whole team, but I believe most have a desire to help their fellow photographers. Photography has given us a lot of joy and fulfillment - and by helping other photographers we can give something back to the craft .
Green Button, Blue Button . . . . try both sections - they each have value.
We learn the craft of Photography by looking at photographs, by making photographs, and by exchanging ideas and opinions with our fellow photographers.
It’s important to note the suggestions or opinions are potentially biased. Everybody has an own style, preferences, methods, individual taste. As senior critics we often have a look at the portfolios and try to get a sense of what members like before giving advice. But it’s likely we cannot always be objective and will recommend according to our own preferences.
Of course everybody can see the photography of critics in their portfolio. But who are they, why do they write critiques. We try to answer this in short portraits about ourselves. Enjoy reading.
by Mike Kreiten
I’m part of the critics team for about 5 years and head it for 2 years now.
My own photography covers many genres, the 1x front page and also contributions in our forum inspire me to try new things. Photography really caught me 15 years ago, but I distinguish camera owners and photographers.
It’s the moment you start looking for that special light, the real material photography consists of, when you start being a photographer. I often read interviews where photographers tell their relatives gave them a first camera when they were young. That’s not the moment you become a photographer, I got a Mamiya body with several lenses from my photomanic grandfather when I was 14. It was only 25 years later I started to “see” light really.
Why do I enjoy writing critiques? I love the opportunity of infinite learning in photography. What helps most to see where you stand and how you did is an honest opinion of an experienced photographer, or even working with other photographers. I’m lucky because my spouse studied photography. She will tell me what she thinks, frank and honest. But her style is different in many genres, and an opinion naturally has a bias according to preferences. Where do YOU get an honest opinion? That’s what we provide in critique, and the thing about bias counts for us, too. We have an own style and when we share an opinion it’s important to know us a bit. That’s the reason we composed this article – to let you know who we are.
Next to writing critiques, I enjoy being a wedding photographer. It’s a very challenging and exhausting kind of assignment. Think about the responsibility you sign up for, no tolerance for flaws, no second chance, from four to fourteen hours full concentration. Always think ahead, be an entertainer, art director, time manager and in many cases, a friend for at least a day.
If others choose a genre they consider my strongest, then it’s architectural abstracts. I travel for certain buildings, but also for landscapes. I shoot studio with models, portraits as assignment and enjoy macro photography once in a while. I’m not patient enough for wildlife or birds, but I can spend hours shooting star trails or trying to get a drip collision in high-speed photography. I think a common sense in my work is that I concentrate on shapes and composition more than colors. I always shoot in black and white, probably because of that focus in my work. Only when colors contribute I recover them later from RAW.
My work was published in many magazines, forums, in photo contests and last but not least, on 1x. A site I adore since 2013 and where I work voluntarily as a senior critic. To help others improve, like I try always myself. Stagnation means regression also in photography, the world keeps turning.
I live in Southsea on the south coast of England but also spend time in Bristol and Godalming (Surrey) with family. I’m a retired English teacher/writer/editor/French translator, glad to have more time for a visual creative outlet now.
My introduction to photography came while I was on a foundation course at Portsmouth College of Art after leaving school. I learned to use a Minolta twin-lens reflex camera, and then my father passed his Kodak 35mm camera on to me as he wanted to upgrade. His enthusiasm led him to create a darkroom in the spare bedroom and I loved using it, watching images appear on paper as if by magic. I went off to study Fine Art at Manchester School of Art, but always made use of the darkroom on my visits home.
Working full time and bringing up my two sons left little time for photography until my elder son gave me my first digital camera in 2008. Since then my love for this visually creative pursuit has been growing. Nature is my first love, and over the past few months I have been documenting storm damage to woodland areas in the south of England; this is now an ongoing project alongside capturing the recent effects of rising summer temperatures in the area. In contrast, I love cities with their cultural offerings and possibilities for street photography.
I see myself as an observer and a documenter rather than a creator; while I admire the work of many photographers who use Photoshop, I don’t use it myself but keep my post-processing to basic levels. I do, however, love converting my images to black-and-white.
It was a great honour for me to be invited to be part of the team of Senior Critics at 1x, and the rôle allows me to combine my interests in writing and visual art. My background in teaching definitely helps me in my endeavours to help others who may well be better photographers than I am. I enjoy working on different genres and styles of photos, sometimes similar to my own work or sometimes photographs that strike a chord with my personal memories. It’s a learning process for me as well - as the saying goes, you get out of it as much as you put in. I’m working alongside some very experienced and knowledgeable colleagues in the team, and I already feel as though I have learned a lot from them.
by Theo Luycx
I was born in 1938 in Rotterdam. At that time, even TV did not exist and photography was still B&W. In my youth, the simple AGFA Clack was my first camera. Later I had the Asahi-Pentax Spotmatic with different lenses. In my B&W period I developed the 36mm film by myself in my darkroom. There we did also a kind of post-processing. The BURN-TOOL was a hole in a piece of card board. And The DODGE-TOOL a round cardboard on a stick. Later I also made color photos, slides and 8mm film. But everything went to a development center and you no longer had a grip on it. I did landscape, macro, family, children and of course the holidays.
The holidays. For more than 25 years we have always hiked high in the mountains of Austria and sometimes Switzerland. I made a lot of photos, slides and movies/videos. I have a rich archive also from my children and grant-children
When I retired 22 years ago, I switched to digital photography and I could do everything by myself again. Even much more. I became more creative in my photography and became interested in Architecture and Abstract, partly because of my work as a product designer where shape and color were of course important in a design.
I was asked 7 years ago to do these comments and after a year I was asked to become head of the team,after 4 years I wanted to step back and for me was Mike an important member and I asked him the become our new head. Why do we this work in Critique?
We see that for several photographers we are a great help. We are not better than some others photographers. But we have the experience to give together very helpful composition and post-processing advices. And we have many grateful members who visited us.
by Theo Lucyx
For you the door is always open in Critique !!!
Gabriela Pantu PRO
This site has a unique way of helping photographers to improve, critique being such a valuable tool.I use to read the suggestions made for different photos and I learn something from each point of view.I have always appreciated and I have a great respect for the Senior Critics, for the dedication, the time and energy invested in this work. This article it's an opportunity to thank you for all your work over the years. Many many thanks Elizabeth, Mike, Theo and Yvette for your continued involvement in making this site a wonderful space for photographers <3
Thank you for introducing the senior critics! This is a wonderful idea to get to know them a bit. Interesting to read about the different paths that led to 1x. I am surprised at the small number of senior critics. Perhaps more will be introduced? Thank you also for your volunteer work!
William Trainor PRO
Great to meet the team. I should ask for critique more often.
Annie Keizer PRO
Great to read this article about the critical team. Good idea to put them in the spotlights. Thanks al lot Mike, Elizabeth and Theo (wat een prachtig passende "open deur" foto ook) for all your work here. And also thanks to Yvette for this insightful interview.
Thank you so much for your appreciation, dear Annie.
Bedankt en je hebt een mooie fotosite. En heerlijk met een fluiterboot door de Weerribben.
Rana Jabeen PRO
Great to know the Senior Critics Team..Thank you for sharing your photography journeys. Well said 'Critique builds new confidence' ..I am happy to be part of this wonderful 1x community which provides inspiration and a continued learning process. Regards
Thank you so much for your wonderful words, dear Rana.
Heike Willers PRO
Thank you so much for sharing your stories "behind". It is always a great pleasure to read the personal story, how photography became a big part of your life and what drives you and keeps you going on. Learning never stops, so true words!
Knowing a bit more of a person makes it easier to understand his motivation and work, I think. Our critiques are probably never purely objective, so we want our visitors to know us a bit. And we all learn from critique, not only members posting.
Jane Lyons PRO
The Critique Forum is one of the best parts of 1x. I have been helped enormously by the editors there who have always been insightful and have helped me find creative solutions to 'problem' photographs. I appreciate all of them, very much. With many thanks,Jane
You're very welcome, Jane. We enjoy it if our visitors are interactive and happy with our doings.
Jane, thank you
Well, I've been here a little over four years now, and I must say, that the critique forum and it's member critics, have turned out to be everything I hoped for in a photography site. I just want to thank everyone for all the help and encouragement I have received, and continue to receive. My goal here at 1X was to become a better photographer. I honestly believe I am on that road because of the help I have received from all of you at the forum. I'm an old analog guy, who was a little skeptical of all this digital stuff, but I must say that this experience at 1X, has opened my eyes to an entire new world of creativity. Warmest regards to all, Patrick
Thank you very much for your appreciation and frequent participation in our critique forum, dear Patrick. It's always nice to see how members develop over time, one of the reasons we dedicate our time there.
I'm always happy to see your photos submitted to the forum, Patrick, and even happier to see them in the published or awarded galleries. Thank you so much for your kind words.
Patrick, Nice to hear and thanks foor your appreciation.
Johann Konopiski PRO
This platform is simply top. As an advanced amateur photographer, I have already learned a lot, and it is great to benefit from such personalities. Thank you very much for the effort and the valuable tips and suggestions to take better pictures and thus have even more fun. Greetings from Austria, Hans Konopiski
Thank you so much for your wonderful words.
Cicek Kiral CREW
Thank you very much Yvette for your support in this article. I rejoice once more with the great team and community that I am a member of. Just as Mike Kreiten our, the head of our team said," I love the opportunity of infinite learning in photography." This community is much ahead of all the others you can find on the web.
I totally agree with you, dear Cicek. We are very fortunate to be part of this community.
I'm so glad to contribute to the Senior Critic Team via the magazine, Cicek. It is a honour to me to put the critique forum in the spotlights.
Mabel Cedrón PRO
Congratulations on the wonderful work you do at 1X, I may be one of the "youngest" members to join the Community, but I have certainly found the perfect place to continue growing as a photographer and as a person. I admire all of you CRITICAL TEAM because you do a brilliant and always enriching job. I even admire your patience sometimes. THANK YOU for being there on the other side for us always willing to help. BRAVO for this article Yvette and thanks to you: Elizabeth, Mike & Theo
My sincere thanks to you for such kind words and for your appreciation, dear Mabel. I am very glad that you feel 1x is the perfect place for you; I always look forward to seeing your beautiful work.
I am really proud to put the critique forum in the spotlights through the magazine. This is only part I ... II and III will present the other senior critics. Thanks for your fine reaction, dear Mabel !
Great team ... if 1X is still a community it's for a great part their merit!
Thank you so much for your precious words, Luc.
Luc, thank you for your appreciation.
This was a wonderful idea and a beautiful insightful article. I am grateful for all the feedback I have received. I thank you all for the Critique site. It has been so helpful!.
Thank you so much for your wonderful words, dear Marie.
So fine to hear this first part of the articles is helpful to our members. Proud to contribute through the magazine. Cheers Yvette
Yvette thank you for the great help you now and always gave. And also thanks to Mike and Steven for the great introduction. We needed this because I saw that we after the introduction of Gamma were nearly visible. And I want also thank from this place Alfred Forms who invited me for Critique.
Thanks for your kind words, Theo. I fully agree with you all. This was really needed to put the critique feature in the spotlights.
Arnon Orbach CREW
Always exciting to read about my critique colleges and their great contribution to 1x community. Thanks so much Yvette for re-introducing the Critique forum to the 1X members, it is a vital service to enable one to improve his photographic skills. My deepest compliments.
Big thanks to Mike for his fine collaboration to make it possible to re-introduce the Senior Critics. I fully agree with you, Arnon and I am proud to publish these articles in the magazine. Best greetings, Yvette
Thank you so much Yvette and Mike for shining the spotlight on the Senior Critics in this series of articles. I hope it will encourage members to submit to the Critique forum and participate in the discussions there. It's a great honour for me to be featured along with the current Head Senior Critic and a former Head Senior Critic!
It's all my pleasure, Elizabeth. I always tried to support and collaborate with the team because this is a unique feature of 1x. You're trapped well between the current Head Senior Critique and the former Head Senior Critic ;-) I wish you many more joy and satisfaction in your wonderful critique job, Elizabeth. Cheers, Yvette