The Self-Titled Photography Syndrome
With the advancement of cellular technology and the mobile camera megapixel race, the odd camera phone has eaten its way through the wallet into our precious behinds. And it is indeed a pain in the ass. And the phone leading the charge is Apple’s iPhone.
Earlier the Juvenile “Photographer” (That’s a polite synonym for Noob, Lame, Hopeless) atleast needed a decent enough point and shoot to be able to boast about his pictures however horrible they may be. Now we get to see blurry, noisy pictures uploaded on websites and now as the trend catches on, even on Facebook and Flickr.
Buying a DSLR and clicking pictures on Auto Mode doesn’t make you a Photographer. All it does is make you a very crappy snapster. And then either you crap or snap, not both.
Anindo Basu, a friend of mine who completed studying photography from the National Photography Academy, Kolkata has the following to say, “I have been trying so hard to overlook it, but cant. The cut in the price of digital camera made every other person a photographer. My say is; It’s good to take pictures of the gala time u had with your friends, but please don’t start bragging about yourself as a photographer then on!”
While Rahul Lal, one of the prominent Concert Photographers of Delhi says ” It’s all BULLSHIT! That’s what i think of all the people opening up self-titled photography pages. If tomorrow you buy a stethoscope, doesn’t mean u become a doctor and open a clinic. Everyone just gets a camera and thinks they are a photographer and they should earn in millions! Complete and utter bullshit!”
Learning about Megapixels or ISO or even knowing the full form of DSLR doesn’t even remotely make you a photographer. It just makes you a camera enthusiast. There is a huge gap between being a camera owner and a photographer.
I don’t understand one thing the most. Canvases, Acrylic Paint and Paintbrushes are even cheaper than cameras. Why don’t all of you buy those and become artists? Its takes guts and skill to paint, as it is an art form, right? Well then I have news for you. Even Photography is an art form. And you can only fool yourself for a very short time by pretending that your photography is art.
In Linchpin, Godin says:
“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. An artist is an individual who creates art. The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.”
It’s not a crime at all to learn about Photography. Everybody is an amateur at some point of time, but the thing that separates Photographers from Camera Owners is that they don’t boast. No photographer opens up a photography page on facebook or tags everyone in their pictures the day they buy their first camera.
I handled my first SLR way back in 2003 in the jungles of Jim Corbett National Park. I never thought until last year that my photography could get me acclaim and I could pursue it as a profession. I knew a lot about it. I kept reading and reading and reading. Ansel Adams, Daguerette, Henry Cartier Bresson, Chris Walter and so on. I could at their pictures with starry eyes and a wish in my heart. That maybe I could click like them. I don’t know if that would be possible or not but I am trying.
That’s how most photographers come to be. Every Photographer has a story like that behind him. No good photographer will ever tell you “Ohh I decided to buy a camera and then I became a photographer”, simply because the eye for photography is a god given gift. Some people are born with it, and no matter how hard you try you can’t acquire it even with years of fumbling around with cameras.
Processing a horribly taken picture and adding a million effects to it only shows how shallow you are. If you can indeed click Photographs and not Snaps then your pictures will speak for themselves. Processing to that degree is frowned upon in the photography circuit. More and more Camera Owners are taking away jobs and work from Stock and Art Photographers. They go for family vacations set a camera on auto and click away. And then one day they decide to upload them on a website. Now due to the DSLR and the DSLR alone, the images somehow come out good. Companies looking for stock end up buying these images for cheap and ruining the stock photography industry.
Even in the field of photojournalism there are so many so called photojournalists who just shoot in auto mode and submit their pictures to the magazines and get paid. There is no real need for actual photographers anymore.
Even point and shoot owners click pictures of a girl dressed up and call it fashion photography having no idea what is the deal about fashion photography or know anything about lighting or the camera. It’s all a bloody sham and disgrace to every notable photography legend and every living photographer worth his work.
So it’s a noble request to you all, the unworthy camera owners, be humble, click for fun, don’t try to become famous in a month with your Juvenile photography which even my 10 year old brother can better. Atleast he knows a thing or two about the camera.
There are a lot of things I bet you don’t know about photography or even about your camera. I wish the camera guides came with a Statutory Warning “This camera or the images produced by it does not make you a Photographer.” But I guess that it would be bad for business. At the ending I would very meekly try to define what according to me a Photographer is. And I will follow it with a questionnaire which will help in pointing out to you how it is or what it is in that you’re lacking.
“A photographer plays with light in an educated manner. He has proper knowledge of what he is doing and he knows how a small change in the settings would affect the picture. He should be able to see daily life in the form of still images stitched together. He should be able to love the camera as his worthy equal. And most importantly he should be humble, confident and very artistic. Whilst a camera owner is just a tourist with a good camera. “