Very few artists have emerged from a vacuum. If you attend classes either privately or at art school you can expect to constantly get feedback on your work, for better or worse. But what about the rest of us? Here are some things that have worked for me.
Do you work near a school that has an art department? Or know a student there? Go talk to the departmental head and explain you are looking for feedback on your work. You don’t know where it may lead.
Sit your friends down regularly and show them your latest prints. May sure they get a good cup of tea or coffee as a reward.
Find someone whose judgement you trust and spend time regularly getting their comments on your work.
Form a small photo group (four to maybe six people) and meet monthly to share your photographs. Don’t forget to work out your rules of criticism.
Join a photography club and tape your latest photos on the wall and ask for feedback. I found this much more useful than entering competitions
Go to a workshop. Make sure it is with the best you can find. Better to end up broke and your head explode than waste your time with something second rate. Here are three of my recommendations:
In the UK:
Allen Lloyd (http://www.allenlloyd.co.uk/) Based in South Wales, and one of the top photographers anywhere. It’s always a pleasure to be with someone who really wants you to learn. His workshops are amazing value.
In the USA:
John Paul Caponigro (http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/). One of the top image makers worldwide and not expensive compared to the rest. I attended his week long advanced printing seminar in Maine last year and am still absorbing what I learned.
In New Zealand:
Tony Bridge (http://www.thistonybridge.com/) Based north of Auckland, Tony is a fine educator skilled at realising the best from his students.
There are many great teachers in the world and we can’t know them all. If you don’t wish to travel, then ask around and someone suitable will turn up. Go talk to them first. Spend a little time before deciding. The right person may be just around the corner.
And here in New Zealand if you are near Oamaru, get in with me touch via the contact form and spend a day either in my studio or out in the places the tourists don’t know about.