Photographers and Bullying

Are photographers bullying other photographers? The short answer is yes.

That is especially the case with “pro” or “advanced” photographers in respect to beginners or “amateurs”.

But first let me separate the “Professionals” from the “Amateurs”…

By definition a professional photographer is a person who is  making their livelihood shooting and selling pictures. Annie Leibovitz for example is a professional photographer, selling hundreds of pictures to magazines and advertising campaigns around the world – but you know what… No-Name-Joe who is shooting passport photos in the shop around the corner is also one. So let’s get that out of the way. Professional doesn’t necessarily mean good or skilled in the art of photography, it’s just your job.

An amateur photographer could be just a beginner or even a super-talented master of the art, whose actual profession is not photography. Let’s not forget that the very word “amateur” means lover, in this case a lover of the art of photography.

But where does the bullying come in? The all-time classic is: “Your camera is not good enough.”In the photography world it’s the equivalent of penis measuring… Pro or advanced photographers tend to pick on beginners/amateurs based on their choice of camera. Let’s break that down..

If you are not a person who makes a living from selling pictures, you don’t necessarily need top of the line equipment. It also makes absolutely zero sense to invest on expensive gear when you’re just starting a course or if you are a hobby photographer (unless of course money is no object so then, yeah go for it – why not).

The problem here is that with such comments, a beginner will get discouraged and will even blame poor results on their gear. Cameras don’t make photographers– practice and hard work do.

Another example is: “Your pictures are not good enough”– Yeah, no shit Sherlock! You‘ve been a photographer for 10 years and the other person is just starting out! Moreover, let’s not forget that each photographer has their own unique point of view and aesthetic.

“Real photographers don’t use live-view”“You’re not a photographer if you aren’t shooting full frame”“This lens sucks because its Bokeh is too hard” etc etc…

Photography is supposed to spark joy (thanks Marie Kondo). If someone comes up to you and asks for your advice as a professional or advanced photographer, don’t crush them with geek data and bullshit tech details. The technological aspect of photography is huge and always evolving, but seeing new people wanting to get involved in the art of photography is way more exciting and that should be supported.

I don’t care if you shoot Four Thirds, Full Frame or freakin’ instant film. If you feel comfortable and your photography makes you happy – go for it!

And as for pros bullying other pros on- and offline… Don’t get me started… 

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