Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Writer's Block: Just because you own a camera...

Here's an interesting photography -- or should I say -- anti-photography blog I came across yesterday while browsing Neatorama.

You are not a photographer features photos from less than talented photographers who seem to think carrying a DSLR makes them a professional.

Having been in the industry for 16 years and having dabbled with the trade from the 35mm days, I still do not consider myself a professional. An advanced amateur at best. Why? Despite having published a handful of photographs over the years, I always compare my work to the likes of James Nachtwey or colleagues who live and breath it -- the stuff I come out with are merely decent, nothing spectacular.

I love taking pictures and one day hope to be as good as my full-time photojournalist friends. However having seen such beautiful work over the years, I would have to say I understand why such ire comes against the recent surge of digital photographers who sport a camera they usually don't know how to use and call themselves pros.

While it is great that digital photography has made this art form (if one wishes to call it that) accessible to everyone, it has also introduced a lot of mediocrity. Is everyone really a photographer these days? What makes a good photographer anyway?

Raw talent? An eye for detail? These days, all that has been muddled because many refuse to call a spade a spade. Once upon a time, if you didn't know what you were doing, you could end up with underexposed/overexposed or even blank strips of negative -- and even if you got that one right, there was no guarantee you had good composition.

Enter digital technology -- many carry the latest and or the most expensive equipment but don't even know what f/stop or shutter speed to use when going fully manual. Many are dependent on A (aperture priority -- bet some thought 'A' stood for 'Auto'). Do they even know what depth of field means? Do they really know what the ISO does when composing a photograph? Did you know some of the best photos in the world were taken with just a 35mm lens?

All this takes years to master and perfect -- until now.

Overexposed? No matter -- Photoshop can make it pretty. It can be called art photography. Sorry folks, this does not make anyone a photographer. It makes you an aspiring graphic artist.

Why the ire? Read more from Shit Photojournalists Like. They can tell you more about why real professionals can be so harsh on today's amateurs.

Oh, and just to emphasize on their point: Would you buy this out of focus for $499? (That's just the starting bid). More from You are not a photographer.

*Instagraham photos from Bakerella via Foodiggity