Snob or Photographer : Which are you?
It perplexes me how many different types of personalities & people with different opinions are there in this world. Whatever the profession, hobby or general interests out there… people form varied opinions about how good they think something is or what equipment works best & how different techniques have its flaws & pros. To make matters worse, web forums amplify the need to show off that you know best or that extremely expensive telephoto zoom that you just bought is the ‘bestest’ of the best & nothing else comes close to it. Some folks will voice their opinion that what you bought was a dud & you defend your post with evidence & the “majority” opinion… so as to protect your investment from others who would belittle your beliefs. This is when the “good stuff” starts & people start to flame each other & say things our mother’s could never imagine would ever come out of our mouths…. *ahem* fingers?… you’d correct me?
This happens day in day out on the thousands of forums all over the world-wide web. Someone would ask which is the best gear or what’s the best technique… what’s wrong with my photo? And you would have tens of doctor quacks claiming they know what’s best & offer their “friendly” opinion on how to fix the problem. Usually it’s by purchasing more gear & that really expensive f2.8 lens that you have to take a 2nd mortgage on your house to buy.
What these snobs really know little about is “real photography” & going out there to take “real photos”! If they had spent less time arguing about the secrets of the photographic universe & spent more time going out to shoot pictures, they would have been much better photographers & would have utilized their time more productively… instead of trying to persuade others that they are right about everything & anything! Rather than posting replies on forums, it’s better to post tutorials on how you managed to get that nicely composed & exposed image you took at the beach the other day under extremely bad lighting. People will appreciate you more for things like that rather than be a snob.
This level of photographers… if you even call them that didn’t even exist until the internet was invented. These folks never even take photographs or rarely do. These level of snobs are those who say, “There is nothing nice here to shoot. If only I were in Europe or Canada… etc”. What jokers!
I was browsing through photomalaysia.com & they have this nice feature where you can post photos in your gallery, somewhat like Flickr. What more is that there is feature for people who look at your photos to rate them from a scale of 1 to 10. Believe me when I tell you that folks who like rating people on these galleries & mind you these folks tend to rate poorly.. scores rarely higher than a 6 while giving their opinions on what they think is wrong with the photo & apparently how to correct them… try clicking on the “gallery” button just below their post. You will see that 9 out of 10 of them don’t have a single photo to show for themselves! Don’t believe me? Click here and look at the last comment… then click on that user’s gallery button…
I wonder if these folks even own a camera. Perhaps they spend time researching them over the net? The thing is, there are never a shortage of such folks over the internet forums & chat rooms. Photographers don’t have time to muddle in forums. There are more images to take than time to do it!
So who can you learn from?
Real photographers are masters of their tools. A true photographer surpasses normal existence as he creates art each time he takes a photo. He spends time honing his skill by learning his tools when he is not out taking photos. The best of the best often aren’t very sociable people at perhaps even introverts in nature. Those who are even greater spend time sharing their knowledge… not via forums… but via actual practical outings & sessions where folks can join & share experiences while actually going out to take photographs. Not sit in front of their PCs & look at reviews & photos of test charts!!
Activities that take you out into the field or share practical lessons on a theme like food photography or how to use your flash… these are sessions that you go to learn real stuff… not snobbish remarks over forums! Joining photowalks & meeting up with experienced photographers face to face is the way to go in terms of learning new skills & sharing techniques. If you have to use forums, blogs or chat… make sure you actually see the person’s portfolio before believing & listening to what that photographer has to say! Also most importantly, don’t be a snob yourself…