5 Potentially Harmful Photography Opinions

Photography tends to breed a lot of strong opinions among those who enjoy the pursuit, some productive and some less so. This interesting video essay features a seasoned photographer sharing five opinions he hears commonly that can be detrimental to photographers. 

Coming to you from Miguel Quiles, this great video essay discusses five common photography opinions that can be detrimental or toxic. Of them, the one that I find particularly detrimental is the idea that one photographer's work is superior to that of another's. Sure, that is not to say that we are all of the same ability behind the camera or at the computer; after all, we are all at different points in our photography. Rather, the point is that everyone has something to say as a creative, and when we get into the game of ranking each other, we tend to strip away or ignore those creative voices, and that can be a really demoralizing experience for the person on the receiving end of that, sometimes to the point of snuffing out a burgeoning passion for the craft. Let's be more supportive of each other whenever we can. Check out the video above for Quiles' full thoughts. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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He's bang on the money.

A lot of the issue is we invest a lot of time, effort, and money in photography, and in the process it becomes associated with our core identity.

Camera brand and methods become *the* correct way of doing things, and everything not *those things* becomes an attack upon our core identity.

The psychology is similar to when someone says you should do a particular thing with your child, then everyone not doing that particular thing with their child will experience a strong emotional response, as the statement is internalised as a personal attack.

We have an added layer pertaining to self-esteem. Someone who is content and secure in themself does not run around provoking or attacking random strangers, or aggrandise themself.

I do sometimes wonder whether people who try to hurt others realise their targets are actually harmed in the process; the evidence would suggest not.

There's also a much broader conversation to be had around social media, society, and the way we have placed economic value on everything.

These are complex questions, with no real fix, short of changing the politico-socioeconomic construct, to a system that prioritises people and community over things and money.

The lack of practical fix notwithstanding, this is an important conversation, which deserves frequent repetition.

Thank you for posting, Alex.

Must everything on this website be a Youtube video?

Edit: Okay, okay...., so I watched the video. That last one about natural light photographers is one that hits home for me. Here in Kyoto we aren't allowed to use flash, or any light modifier, for street portraiture in many areas even if we wanted to. It's come to the point where I've just embraced natural light photography and have given up using my flash even in other places where it's allowed. I know some natural light photographers here that will blow peoples minds and they are very successful.

My beloved horse given to me by my now-deceased mother actually passed away earlier this year after I worked two full-time jobs for years to keep him alive and happy, but hey, nice cheap shot! :)

Wow, you just keep doubling down on being rude and insensitive, huh? And yes, I pay my own living expenses. What are you talking about? The horse was given to me when I was a child and continued to be mine into adulthood. It's a cheap shot because you assumed I was just some privileged, rich kid who didn't know the value of work and used that as a way to personally attack me instead of simply voicing your disagreement with the editorial direction of the site. For the record, my mom was the first person in my state to be certified to teach therapeutic horseback riding to disabled children, and that's how I was introduced to horses (I'll attach an article below for proof). I started working in barns, shoveling manure and stacking hay bales, to pay my way when I was 12. But please, tell me more about my privilege.

As to your point, which could have easily been made without resorting to the personal attack that you keep trying to justify, no, it's not just a fact. We put out at least two fully original, in-house-written articles a day. You can bookmark this page if you'd rather only read original articles: https://fstoppers.com/originals

Also, I see that you edited your reply above to make it look like you didn't double down on your insensitivity and like I'm just attacking you. Try simply being a nicer person instead. There's still a person on the other side of that screen.

Most people I've met who have horses bust their arses to keep them, and love them like most people love their dogs and cats.

Really cool re the therapeutic horseriding. The world desperately needs more people like your mother.

Thank you so much, William! I definitely agree. :)

My condolences for your loss. It certainly wasn't my intention to elicit negative comments towards you.

Thank you, Paul. No worries at all.

I like seeing these YouTube videos. Who on earth had the time to trawl through YouTube trying to find the best ones? I like the fact someone is curating them for me.

Like the video on how to use a drone to clean your gutters? Useful...

Oh irony of ironies. Has he no self-awareness? I've never had so many opinions rammed down my throat in 10 minutes than by this self-opiniated bloke telling me that I mustn't have opinions.

First thing; if you have thin skin, then having your work where others can see it is not the place for you. Human nature can be kind or it can be cruel. If you like what you've done, then it doesn't matter what others think. Well, it's different for a paying client. But if your expectations are all roses, then you're in for some miserable moments.

Make yourself, and if so, your customers happy. Beyond that....pfttttttttttttttttttt.

Well, the 'better gear makes you take better shots' is a classic line people will fall for again and again, I don't see how this can stop. When you are only a beginner it's easy to believe you can be the next best photographer in your country once you get some high-end equipment.
And of course retouching is very wrong, Photoshop is a scam and don't you dare fix the shadows in some Photoworks afterwards, aren't you supposed to get it right in the camera?! Oh, and why do you call yourself a photographer if you don't even strobe?
Good video, thanks for sharing, very amusing!

Hi Alex, long time reader first time commenter. I super appreciate your work. I always look forward to your articles. I just now created an account so I could tell you that and to counter-act the jerk trolling you.

Hi Dan,

Thank you! That means a lot!