Dear Snotty "I Went to School and Therefore Am More Talented Than You" Shooter - It's Not a Competition!
So I was recently browsing the local 'say anything you feel like because it's anonymous' Facebook page, and came across this gem:
"As a person who actually went to school to study photography, it annoys me when any idiot with a DSLR and a Facebook page thinks they are a professional photographer."
First thing that came to mind when I read this was, "you don't get it, do you?"
It's only human nature for people to be competitive, and photography as an industry can certainly be a prime example of a cut-throat business. It's also not unusual for an ameteur to think they need to be better than or slam another artist's work. This speaks volumes as to their maturity level.
Now, to explain my reaction to the anonymous post. Obviously, they just don't get IT....the whole shebang. They're offended by someone who is successful at their art; their dream. Apparently, they're also miffed that perhaps their own potential hasn't quite blossomed as anticipated. After all, they put in the hard work, studied, and therefore should be the penultimate resource on all things related to the subject.
So what didn't they 'get'?
It's not about cutting other people down. If someone is trying to do that, they're just trying to bring you down to where they are. Sure, it's frustrating to see a bunch of new photographers getting their feet wet and seemingly 'stealing your clients with a cheap rate.' Instead of comlaining about them, and bad-mouthing these people, why not offer to mentor them? Share the things you wished someone would have told you when first starting out. Everyone makes the same mistakes, and if you can help someone avoid a few pitfalls, why not?
That spirit of passing along useful information to those just starting out is the basis behind our upcoming course, Adventures in Digital Photography. None of these techniques are trade secrets, and our belief is that a community of like-minded artists is better than a bunch of grumpy people working in a vacuum.
The classes we'll teach will be in a positive, non-judegmental environment with a goal of learning something new, but also having fun. There will be a lot of ground covered, but the end result will be people more familiar and comfortable with their cameras, and their skills as artists.
Perhaps the grumpypants that was brave enough to post the anonymous comment will sign up, too! The mark of a true professional is not how much information you can retain and guard, but how much you can share and give away to others. I've seen plenty of places that offer a piece of paper at the right price - these places don't make you a great or even professional photographer. If you want to be a professional anything, you must first develop an attitude of grattitude.
Sure, Dear Grumpypants, you may have gone to school. But cutting down other artists doesn't make you a professional!