I am not around here as much as I would like to be but I do check in to see what’s going on and if there is anything I can help out with. Sadly enough, I have found very little that I can really sink my teeth into in the professional critique forum or elsewhere. As some of you know I am a technical and aesthetics kinda guy and I need some challenging questions and images to work on. Frankly I have not been impressed with some of the images I have seen but that is not the issue I really want to discuss now. Oh- there are some that I really love!
The issue I want to bring to everyone’s attention is that bickering and infighting has been the beginning of the end of many photo forums. If anyone here aspires to professionalism; personal attacks, stereotyping, and criticizing folks for their status (professional or not) in this vast world of photography is not a good way to achieve anything worthwhile. Even critiquing and taking critiques on photographic images is an art and science in itself. Even if one has no skills in critiquing one can’t go wrong by taking a compassionate and kind approach to criticisms. One can get one’s points across without issuing mean or cold critiques. It is natural to defend one’s self when one has been unfairly attacked or dealt with in a less than professional manner but there is no use in dragging things out to the point where theses sorts of things interfere with the general progress of the forum.
Here are a few facts and ideas to ponder: This particular forum is open to all persons with an interest in photography. It is a place where amateurs, part-times, students, and friends of photography can meet, teach, learn, post their images, get opinions or just hang out- we all have to live with each other when we post here. As a person who has been a professional photographer for 50 years let me tell you this: I have found, that rather than put down part-times, amateurs, new comers, aspiring pros and/or any real or imagined potential competitors, it is far better to bring all theses folks into the professional fold by teaching and encouraging them to do better work. In the long run it is better to have good competitors, who know what they are doing, rather than bad uninitiated ones. Once people learn their craft, know how to conduct their businesses and know how to charge fair and commensurate prices for their services, everyone will be operating a better playing field.
There are many people who dabble in photography and don’t really know or understand the ramifications of doing photography to earn their livelihood- it can be a “rough racket” as they used to say in my native New Your City. Making the step from part timer or hobbyist to a full time professional is not an easy chore- the photographers actual prowess in photography can be the least of it. The business world is a challenging place and not as glamorous as some aspiring photographers might think. Sometimes I envy folks who get a good paycheck doing a non-artistically oriented job and are busy photographing their kids and the cat in their spare time.
As someone mentioned, everyone has to start somewhere and we all have different motivations when getting into a career. A friend of mine became a funeral director because, as a kid, he liked big black shiny cars and got an after school job washing the limos and hearses at a local funeral home. He then became an errand boy and a gofer in that business and his bosses recognized that he was a nice person who enjoyed helping people so the arraigned for his training and eventually took him into their business. He now owns 6 successful funeral homes in New York City metropolitan area and still steps out of his executive office to get behind the wheel of one of those big black shiny cars.
As a kid, I enjoyed taking “candid” pictures of family members in rather embarrassing situations- my favorite aunt in the morning with curlers in her hair and cold cream on her face etc. When I showed theses images to Auntie’s friends or young suitors who came a callin’, I got all kinds of attention- mostly Auntie’s desire to wring my neck but attention nonetheless. I thought that was great- imagine a one-man (well- kid) paparazzi. Fortunately I decided to please folks with nice images of themselves; hence, portrait photography is my main game. Although I also enjoy photographing my kids and their kids, my wife has confronted me with “the cobbler’s children wear no shoes” routine so that I have to photograph them more often. Hay! If you can do you favorite hobby as a job- why not! Well- as long as you know what you are doing.
So kids- If you want to keep this forum going and want to attract new members- please avoid the “class system” and get with the photography. Give this old grouch something to do around here and concentrate on showing images and asking questions. There are a few you up and coming photographer around this forum who’s work I really love- the know who they are. Some of the other stuff- well I have seen a lot better. If y’all want to here what I have to say about some of the images here- let me know or forever hold your peace.