During a webinar today, one of the customers who attended made a comment that Lens Flare and Sun Spots (the two things found in this image of Becca - the bright spot at the top and the red globe at the bottom) are "tacky" and aren't to be used by serious photographers. His actual words were "lens flare is the comic sans" of the photography world. Funny, but shockingly judgmental and rude.
One thing I've never understood is the unbelievable closed-mindedness of the photography world. When you arrive at a photo conference, it's rare that you find open arms and kind words. Instead, it's men who think it's legitimately hilarious to comment that "women don't know their gear," who act that their editing secrets should be guarded by lock and key, and who treat amateurs just trying to get better like lepers. We're all there to learn more about photography, editing, lighting, equipment, software... but somehow, along the way, we seem to have collectively forgotten how to share our wealth of knowledge, show our natural human tolerance and express thoughtfulness towards one another.
Don't get me wrong, I've been prone to it myself - I have a tendency to sincerely dislike cheesy borders on digital image, for example. However, my job requires a wide depth of patience and acceptance. I have seen truly horrible photography and a few of the most beautiful images that I would pay to have up on my wall. Some of those awful images are by "professional photographers," pulling in money from actual clients. And some of the best images I've seen come from grandparents with a 10-year-old digital camera who've never taken a class in their life.
What I'm trying to get to is the fact that as photographers, we need to lose the judgmental attitudes and move towards a more accepting state of mind. We are part of a world that is constantly growing, with new technologies and ways of working, so there will never a consistent definition of what is "good and bad." Everything is an opinion, and while you can always voice your own, why does there need to be such a disgusting sense of rudeness when you do? My love of accidents and mistakes, of tacky sun flares and obnoxious light leaks, of cheesy vintage stylings and fake digital effects, will never go away. I will continue to consider myself a professional photographer, despite all these things, and clients will continue to line up outside my door. Obviously I'm doing something right or I'd still be working at a crappy $9 an hour job, eh?
My friend Nicole Young, who is not only a kind soul, but also an amazing photographer, recently wrote an article that I loved - Why We Should Stop Worrying About Other Photographers. In it, she uses one of my favorite little mantras: "We all see differently." In college, I was so worried about what everyone else was doing that I practically paralyzed myself from making more art. My favorite photography professor told me those same words until I think it was permanently burned into my mind, and now I'll never forget it.
Stop judging everyone else, get out there and just shoot. The world will be a much nicer place when you do, I promise.