In all honesty I never really know which of my photographs people are going to like and which won't do much for them at all.
I don't really think of myself as a photographer, not yet at least. I'm not good enough at that fine art to merit the title. I take photos and I alter them digitally. My background is mostly in oil painting, which I gave up when I got pregnant. I think of my photos as something between photography and painting.. a sort of digital painting/collage I guess.
So, when I don't alter my photos too much, and try to see if they will stand on their own, it's a risky venture. Often I'm surprised by the reactions I get, or don't get, on Flickr (virtually the only way I get any feedback on my work). Sometimes when I post photos I think are really just barely good enough to not be deleted all together, people love them. Other times, when I post photos I'm so excited about, and suspect that I will get a lot of comments on, nothing happens. I wish I understood more about what people are responding to.
There does seem to be this unspoken rule on Flickr, a virtual social norm, that disallows critical comments. For the most part I think this is a wonderful evolution of the community, and I'm in awe of the amount of unstated cooperation this type of almost agreement requires. It makes for a safe place to display one's art, to venture out on that limb and share one's naked soul with others. The fact that the environment is warm and hospitable is paramount to the continual unveiling of artists who were never quite sure if that title fit them.
The only drawback, and not so serious a one that I would have anything change on Flickr, is that the growth that can be gained in receiving constructive criticism is lost. I yearn for that. I've not been doing this art thing for very long. I've been photographing for an even shorter time period. I want to see what others see when they look at my work. I want to know what makes them pass it by without comment, what makes them pause, what makes them linger.
I want to know what people really think about any art. Wouldn't that be amazing? Wouldn't it be amazing to know what a person sees, thinks, and feels when looking at art, without all the pressure to sound intelligent or to be delicate with the artist's or other viewers' feelings? I'm not talking about cruelty or disregard for civility. I'm talking about whatever is beneath a person's potentially rude comment. I'm talking about the deepest human response.
I guess that's a little much to ask for, just to satisfy my curiosity. =0)