Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do photo 'enthusiasts' really want to learn?

"I don't have an expensive cameras and software to manipulate my images," says one photography enthusiast in reply to a critique of their image. The faults I spotted were basic exposure and framing. Things you could get right on the most simple of cameras with a bit of care and attention.

But many amateurs snap away, upload their pictures to the net and then expect to have plaudits heaped on them for their fantastic images. And they do get lots of awards and praise for the most appalling rubbish. Social networking can do that for you. Praise enough people and they will come back and praise you. It would seem that many have a desperate need for applause no matter how hollow and empty.

Either that or a good deal of the online photo community is on happy pills or delusional. So what happens when a photographer with a bit of experience, who has suffered the stinging critiques of editors, curators and other far better photographers writes a simple honest critique on a photo enthusiast's picture? The response is defensive. The enthusiast blames his equipment, lack of time, experience, knowledge...any excuse will do.

The truth is that we all make crap pictures from time to time. But if you choose to show your picture to the world and ask for an honest opinion, write that you want to learn and that you are passionate about photography; then when somebody does take the time to offer a positive critique have the grace to take it on the chin. It's not always pleasant but most of those who dare to offer an honest opinion are actually trying to help. A far better endeavor I would think than someone patting your back in the hope you will pat theirs.

My conclusion is that there are photo enthusiasts who genuinely want to learn and there are those that do not seek knowledge, who do not really want to improve. If you're reading this you probably belong to that minority that does want to learn and I'm preaching to the converted again. Never mind. I feel better for getting this off my chest and so should you. The competition to be a really good photographer is far less than you thought.

Cheers,
Paul
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