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The "world famous" Black Rodeo in Brooklyn, New York for U.S. News & World Report. Photo: Kenneth Jarecke.
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Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally posted on Mostly True, the blog of photojournalist Kenneth Jarecke. Jarecke was kind enough to share it with Raw File readers. Included above are a selection of his photos. We don’t think they suck.

Chances are, you suck. Worse yet, nobody is going to tell you.

In the past, before the internet made us equal, your friends, the ones you had actually met in person, would let you know when your pictures didn’t quite cut it. Most of the time they wouldn’t even have to say anything.

You’d know it yourself as soon as you showed them.

Of course, plenty of other times they’d publicly bust your chops, but that was a different time. Before we all became so polite. Back when respect was something earned and not a right of birth.

Do you know that feeling? The one when you’re showing images to someone (perhaps an editor that you were hoping to work with) and you get to that picture, the one that looked perfectly acceptable moments before, but as soon as you show it, you’re filled with regret.

Yeah, I hate that feeling.

There are plenty of things photography-wise that I’m not very good at. I’m not great at creating images, but I’m pretty good at finding them. I’m terrible at self-promoting, marketing and the business stuff makes me squirm. Yet I’m a decent journalist, travel well and strangers often accept me into their lives. (Maybe I’ve got one of those faces).

There’s nothing really exceptional or surprising about that evaluation. It’s fairly common among photojournalists.

So that’s me, those are my strengths and weaknesses. I also publish too many pictures on my websites. I’d look better if I kept the numbers down, but this post isn’t about me. It’s about you and why you suck.

There’s nothing wrong with not being any good at photography. Everybody started out bad and none of us do all aspects of it well. But it’s a crying shame to want to be good at it, to spend time and money trying to be good at it, and not getting any better.

This isn’t like teaching a child to read. Positive reinforcement is your enemy. Your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers … hate you. Instead of taking 10 seconds to say, “This doesn’t work. You need to do better,” they readily push that “like” button because it’s easy and they hope to get the same from you. But also because they’re cowards.

They’re afraid of the internet mob. Nobody wants to get on the wrong side of a mob, so it’s easier to play nice. Go along to get along seems to be the secret to a happy online life.

The first night before a shoot, I never sleep. It could be something easy, a situation that I know will produce a good image, but that doesn’t help. Fear of failure is a great motivator. The trick is to use it to get as well prepared as you can possibly be, and then ignore it once the shooting starts.

You shouldn’t be afraid of risk, just failure. I suppose that’s another trick.

So how do you become a better photographer when you’re reinforced with so much unearned praise from your interent buddies? What’s your motivation, to get a hundred likes instead of just 10? There’s an easy recipe for that. Start making pictures of cats. Better yet, kittens … kittens and children. You’ll soon be more awesome than you could possible imagine.

I only bring this up, because I stumble upon (as do you) so many Facebook groups (or other social networking sites) that are just filled with hideous images underscored with meaningless praise. I find it depressing. If nothing is bad, can anything be good?

More depressing, Google “great photography.” Better yet, don’t. Some things, once seen cannot be unseen (either me or Gandalf said that first).

There are some sites that are doing an amazing job at publishing great photography. If you want to become a better photographer, look at these sites. When looking at the work, ask yourself, “How would I have approached this situation?” and/or “Would I have done better or worse than this photographer?” Also pay attention to simple technical things, like what shutter speed or aperture was used.

Right off the top of my head, here are three sites that are doing a consistently excellent job of publishing great photography:

Time‘s LightBox

The New York Times‘ Lens Blog

The New Yorker‘s Photo Booth

For commentary on the editorial world of photography:

A Photo Editor

And two amazing apps:

Once Magazine

The British Journal of Photography

Not sucking is worth the effort. Seek out great photography. Devour it, and be suspicious of any undue praise.

You can check out some of Kenneth Jarecke’s latest work in the new iPad photobook: Husker Game Day 2010 – Farewell Big 12.

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In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Volition, ReSpawn Entertainment, Square Enix, Sega, and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused alternative gaming news, independent games, and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Volition: Lead Combat Designer:
"Volition is one of THQ’s premier internal game development studios. We are the creators of such franchises as Saints Row, Red Faction, and the Descent/Freespace series. We have most recently released the highly successful Saints Row 2 and Red Faction Guerrilla. We offer a casual work environment, a comprehensive benefits package, and the opportunity to have fun developing awesome games."

Respawn Entertainment: QA Lead:
"Founded in 2010, Respawn Entertainment is an independent video game development studio based in Van Nuys, California that will focus on creating state-of-the-art gaming experiences for global audiences. The studio was formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella, former co-founders of Infinity Ward and creators of the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise."

Square Enix: Micro-transaction Specialist:
"Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses Square Enix, Eidos, and Taito branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: Final Fantasy, which has sold over 97 million units worldwide; Dragon Quest, which has sold over 54 million units worldwide; Tomb Raider, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary Space Invaders.

SEGA of America: Technical Director:
"SEGA of America is a global leader in the video games and entertainment software industry. The Technical Director oversees technical design and implementation for assigned 3rd party projects through all phases of development and provides team programming support. This person is accountable for ongoing assessment of technology needs and deploying sufficient resources to meet agreed upon objectives, schedules and budgets at the highest level of quality for SEGA of America as a whole."

LOLapps: Game Play Engineers:
"Imagine what YOU can do with ~120 amazingly smart, driven, fun, and collaborative people in a profitable company with more than 35 million monthly active users. Founded in 2008, Lolapps 6waves is now the 2nd largest social game developer. Our flagship game Ravenwood Fair has just been nominated for Best Social Network Game, Best Online Game Design, and Best Audio for an Online Game! We are looking to add 40-50 more talents this year in Engineering, Art, Game Design & Product Management."

To browse hundreds of similar jobs, and for more information on searching, responding to, or posting game industry-relevant jobs to the top source for jobs in the business, please visit Gamasutra's job board now.

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In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Riot Games, Turbine, Unknown Worlds Entertainment, and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused alternative gaming news, independent games, and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Unknown Worlds Entertainment, Inc.: UI/FX Artist:
"Unknown Worlds is an independent game company in downtown San Francisco, CA. Our goal is simple, but not easy - to unite the world through play. We believe multiplayer games can bring people together, especially through diverse player roles. Previously, we've worked on titles such as Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Thone, Empire Earth (two million copies sold), Mindrover (PC Gamer 89%), and Lair. We made and released Natural Selection for Half-Life in 2002, which was played for over 2 billion player-minutes and put us on the map."

Disney Online Studios: Game Designer:
"Disney Online Studios produces immersive, online virtual worlds for kids and families, filled with games, adventures, parties, and special events. Guided by an unwavering commitment to safety and creativity, Disney Online Studios' virtual worlds offer continuously updated content and endless hours of online fun in rich, story-based environments with properties such as Disney Club Penguin, the #1 kids' virtual world destination and the newly launch World of Cars Online, based on the popular Disney*Pixar franchise."

Riot Games: Development Manager:
"With League of Legends, one of the most played and critically acclaimed PC games today, Riot Games is a leading innovator in its mission to be the most player-focused game company in the world. At Riot you will work among the most gifted and passionate people in the industry as we hire only the most talented and collaborative people in their discipline. We believe the core reason for Riot's success is people and we are committed to helping employees grow their abilities and careers, as we all continually focus on improvement."

Kabam: 3D/ 2D Game Artist:
"Kabam is an interactive entertainment company that creates free-to-play games for social networks. But our games are different from the 'mass market/casual games' that have dominated news to-date. Our games are designed to appeal to the growing number of serious gamers and game enthusiasts who are also engaged in social networks."

Turbine, Inc.: Senior Graphics Engineer:
"Since 1998, Turbine, Inc. has been a premier creator and operator of massive, persistent online worlds that foster powerful social gaming communities. Turbine is wholly owned by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and has created some of the world's most popular and award-winning online games, including The Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, and Asheron's Call."

To browse hundreds of similar jobs, and for more information on searching, responding to, or posting game industry-relevant jobs to the top source for jobs in the business, please visit Gamasutra's job board now.

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Programmers

If you have what it takes to hack into the United States Department of Defense's systems, then that's pretty cool. But can you program for games?

If so, then send your resume on over to us with the titles you've worked on, what positions you've held, what type of salary you're looking for and your own, honest, no-BS assessment of your Japanese language abilities (if any).

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Internships

We are in the early stages of creating an international internship program. So if you're interested in a career in games and want to get some experience, then send us your resume and tell us what you're good at and what you'd like to learn about.

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In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Maxis, Activision Publishing, Nexon America, PopCap Games, and ZeniMax Online Studios.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Maxis: Java Web Developer:
"Maxis, a division of Electronic Arts, is located in Emeryville, California. The creators of popular franchises The Sims and SimCity, Maxis games are best known for their deep simulation, creativity, and unique style of gameplay. We foster a fun and creative environment, filled with people who have a strong passion to make great games."

ZeniMax Online Studios: Staff Software Engineer, Game Systems:
"ZeniMax Online Studios, LLC, a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media, Inc. is a premier developer of online games, focusing on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)."

Activision Publishing Minneapolis: Producer:
"At Activision Publishing, you will take some of the biggest brands in the business to the next level. We have created, licensed and acquired a group of highly recognizable brands, marketed to a growing variety of consumer demographics. Our portfolio includes Spiderman, Transformers, James Bond, Cabela's, NASCAR, Monster Jam, Rapala, Guitar Hero, Prototype 2, Tony Hawk and many more household names. We run a flat organization where innovation, passion, personal responsibility and individual contribution are valued and rewarded appropriately. If you are a success oriented, proven high achiever, we want to hear from you!"

Nexon America, Inc.: Senior HR Generalist:
"We are Nexon America Inc., the North American publishing arm of Nexon Group (1994), a pioneer of interactive entertainment software and the world's leader in massive multiplayer online games which it developed and introduced in 1996. Nexon America opened for business in Los Angeles in 2005 to bring the best of online entertainment to North American audiences. The company's growing library of titles includes the world-famous franchise MapleStory, the role playing fantasy life of Mabinogi, the online multiplayer first-person shooter Combat Arms, and the soon to be released Dungeon Fighter Online."

PopCap Games: Social Game Designer:
"Here at PopCap our goal is to create simple but deep games that literally everyone can enjoy! You can play all our web games instantly right in your browser... or quickly download the Deluxe versions in just a few minutes, even with a slow modem connection. PopCap Games is seeking a talented Game Developer who loves games, has deep, intuitive understanding of what makes them fun and can tinker with the fidgety little bits until everything is just right. The successful candidate will have an indie gamer spirit, strong coding skills and the understanding that making a simple game can be harder but more rewarding than a complex one."

To browse hundreds of similar jobs, and for more information on searching, responding to, or posting game industry-relevant jobs to the top source for jobs in the business, please visit Gamasutra's job board now.

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In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Treyarch, OnLive, and Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

- OnLive: Game Services Engineer:
"OnLive is Games On Demand. The technology behind the scenes is what delivers the latest, high-end game titles to your PC, Mac or TV using your typical broadband connection. We have an amazing team working to deliver a product and service that is truly groundbreaking. We are pushing the limits of technology and are looking for creative, driven team players that want to make a difference in shaping the future of interactive media distribution."

- Treyarch / Activision: Lead Multiplayer Designer:
"Founded in 1996, and acquired by Activision in 2001, Treyarch has grown to become one of the most successful game developers in the world. Home to some of the industry's best and brightest creative talents, Treyarch's most recent creation is Call of Duty: Black Ops. Treyarch's latest offering, Call of Duty: Black Ops, encapsulates the studio's years of experience in developing Call of Duty games, first person shooters, and online multiplayer games. With a successful track record, extensive infrastructure, and strong management, Treyarch has the solid foundation it needs to pioneer the Call of Duty franchise in the future."

- EA - Austin: Security Engineer:
"Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS, EA, EA SPORTS BIG and POGO. In fiscal 2006, EA posted revenue of $2.95 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies."

- Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC: Developer Support Engineer:
"Be a part of the most exciting and innovating computer entertainment in North America. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PS one console, the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems and the PlayStation Portable (PSP)."

- LOLapps: Senior 2D Artists:
"Lolapps is a small, but growing social gaming company with respectful peers. We are as dedicated to building a great culture as we are to building great products. We're only 50 people. You can make a MASSIVE impact here. Your work will be enjoyed by millions of people from around the world. We iterate quickly and release high quality games in a matter of months vs years. We have all the typical start-up stuff (smart people, challenging problems to solve, Rock Band, great city views, etc). We buy your lunch and provide free yoga. We can relocate you to our office in San Francisco (downtown / SOMA area)."

To browse hundreds of similar jobs, and for more information on searching, responding to, or posting game industry-relevant jobs to the top source for jobs in the business, please visit Gamasutra's job board now.

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