April 2, 2019 – Programs: “The Art of Self Critique and Evaluation” with Alan Sislen

Presentation Description

As photographers, we often find ourselves in the role of self-critiquer and evaluator. It’s clearly a case of learning by doing, but there are many skills and techniques that can help us become better self-critiquers and evaluators of our own images, and ultimately, we will even become better photographers.

Frequently you find yourself in situations where you will be evaluating and self-critiquing your images – making choices of images to submit to a competition or an exhibit; editing down hundreds, or even thousands of images after a successful photo excursion or workshop; deciding which of your recent “favorites” are worth taking the extensive time and effort to thoroughly edit and print; deciding which of your images to include in the galleries on your website, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
Image evaluation and self-critiquing are intertwined and challenging, but it is a topic rarely discussed. We can become better at this unique skill with awareness and practice! Once you’ve narrowed down your selection to a “reasonable number,” you’ll want to use those same skills to objectively evaluate each image for processing so that you are not just randomly trying different edits, hoping you will end up with the ideal image? How do you look at your “raw” material to decide if the image has the potential, with thoughtful processing, to be the image you imagined? For image processing, honing your skills of evaluation and self-critiquing are critical and will save you hours and hours of time.
This presentation will be filled with dozens and dozens of real images, evaluations, and decisions. Alan will lead you through his process and the techniques he uses to make this critically important, but rarely discussed part of the photographic workflow come alive.


Alan Sislen lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and has been an avid photographer for more than 45 years. Landscape and architectural photography in both color and black and white are his passion and he has photographed in the United States, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Canada, England, Chile, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Norway and New Zealand.  Alan is an award winning photographer and a well-recognized photography educator and speaker.

Although his equipment might be “state-of-the-art,” Alan’s style and technique are traditional. He has studied with well-known British landscape photographer Charlie Waite, former National Geographic photographer Bruce Dale, digital expert Thom Hogan, black and white master photographers John Sexton and Julia Anna Gospodarou, photographic artist and Photoshop expert John Paul Caponigro, fine art photographer Charles Cramer, color management/printing expert Bill Atkinson, and Photoshop and Lightroom expert Eliot Cohen.

In 2005 Alan was juried into Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, and was juried into the Torpedo Factory as a Resident Artist in 2006. Alan is a long-time member of North Bethesda Camera Club where he has served on the Board and been selected as Advanced Color Print Photographer of the Year, Black and White Photographer of the Year and Advanced Electronic Photographer of the Year. His work is in numerous private and corporate collections and he has been widely exhibited during the last 15 years.

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