Photographers with Bad Attitudes

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by snegron, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Troughout the years I have met many great photographers. Many of them were very helpful and were a joy to speak to and work with.

    There were a few though that were less than friendly. There were a few photographers around when I was starting out that instead of helping a beginning photographer, were downright rude. The attitude was that they were on a higher level and could not be bothered by a simple beginer. Some said rather hurtful things, not constructive critisism, but just callous comments that were meant more to ridicule than to serve as learning tools. I still remember the negative attitude of some of these photographers 20 years later. I guess that because of that I always try to be helpful in a positive way with new photographers. I believe in sharing whatever little knowledge I have with anyone who asks.


    p.s. Forgot to add. I don't believe there are any photographers here at APUG with bad attitudes such as the ones I described. Everyone here is always willing to share their knowledge and provide constructive critisism. I think this an overall friendly community and that is one of the reasons I love visiting this site!
    Have you ever run into photographers with a bad attitude that left a negative lasting impression on you?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2007
  2. schroeg

    schroeg Member

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    Interestingly, I had an experience at the West Side Camera Club in NYC where we invited a pro in to critique our work. I was nervous about showing it since I was very new at photography. When my slide came up the pro grunted: "Well, how did THIS get in there??" and went on. I was so aggravated by this that I vowed to work at photography and get very good at it so I would never suffer another remark like that.

    So, in a left-handed way this boob did me a huge favor.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I wonder if that signature Jorge used to use...if you own a camera you're a photographer; if you own a piano you own a piano...has implications here. It's so superficially easy to make photographs that some people don't appreciate how much work goes into making good ones, which perhaps brings out the rude and defensive behavior you describe in a few who've spent years mastering skills the novice doesn't even realize exist. Not that that's an excuse for such behavior, but it might be a factor in understanding it. So far, I've been lucky enough to not have had such an unpleasant experience.
     
  4. A.C.

    A.C. Subscriber

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    Guess I've been lucky. Hope it stays that way. I try and remember it when I share my limited experience.
    A
     
  5. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Fortunately 'photographers' like the one you encountered now have their own sandpit, I think it's called Pnut or something.
     
  6. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    There are idiots in every profession -- some of them spread the gloom instead of teaching. Most professional in photography I've met have been gentle, helpful and well worth listening too.
     
  7. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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    Whiteymorange took the words right out of my mouth. There are jerks and nice people everywhere.
     
  8. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Understandable logic. I think it narrows down though to "it's not what you say but how you say it". If a novice looks to a pro for advice, why would the pro ridicule him instead of helping him understand the work involved in obtaining a good image? It is too easy to dismiss the work of others with a rude commment that might ultimately stiffle the creativity of a potential young artist.

    Photography, like any other art form, is subjective. When I was younger I used to think that Picaso's art was infantile and lacked any creativity. It was, after all, nothing like the work of the old masters who created intricate scenes and were masters at capturing mood through light. As I did more research I looked at Picasso's early work and realized how he was in fact a true artistic genius. A study of his early work (especially his blue period) helped me understand his later representation through cubism. I could have dismissed Picasso's later cubist style as infantile, but I would have been missing the point entirely. His style may not be pleasing to many, but others see it in a different way.

    Once I had a photographer tell me that I was wasting my time with photography because I had no talent. Had I listened to him I would not have enjoyed so many years of capturing images that have such important meaning to me.

    Another time I had an "advanced ameteaur" who professed knowing everything about photography tell me after eagerly showing him my brand new Pentax K1000 that this camera was obsolete and that I would not be able to create anything good with that camera. After all, automated cameras were all the rage back then. Had I listened to this bozo I would have never developed any significant photographic skills relying heavily on automation. I would have never developed my interest in having total control in the image making process.
     
  9. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    People are fascinating, and sometimes the paradoxes that people present make them really interesting.

    A number of years ago I did a workshop with a noted art photographer. The man was an abrasive SOB who tried to convince us that unless we were using only "the best" German equipment (Technikardan, Leica, etc), we could not possibly produce any good work. His work was very good, but his attitude made being around him uncomfortable.

    On the other hand, I learned some things about seeing and perception from him that I could never have learned from anyone else.
     
  10. wheelygirl

    wheelygirl Member

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    My 2 cents--
    I believe, firmly, that each of us, whether a photographer, or sculptor, or commercial artist, or a Web designer, can learn from each comment another human makes, whether that comment is from so-called expert, or from someone who is giving an honest critique. It is my personal attitude I accept the comment in.
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    We've had a few trolls show up here and we do our best to ban them. It's amazing how the forums can settle down as soon as one or two of these people are gone. I'm talking about those who are only here to cause trouble. Not to hijack this thread but I would like this opportunity to let people know if they ever come up against someone here that is detrimental to the community, all you need to do is contact us and we'll look into it. It can be easy for some of these types to slip under the radar if no one contacts us. Thanks :smile:
     
  12. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Respect is a two way street.

    For sure, some people are rude or worse and that's simply the way of the world.

    I will say however, that respect is a two way street. I'm sure I've come off as rude to some individuals who simply aren't thinking about anything but themselves. I work primarily with an 8x10 view camera and that naturally draws attention if there are people around. I take my work very seriously and I can't tell you how many times someone has actually forced me out from under the darkcloth to answer a ton of questions. When I'm in the field working, especially once I've setup and am actually working with the camera, the last thing I want to deal with are people who have no respect for my time and what I'm trying to do. I'll usually say something to the effect of "I'm working right now but if you'd care to wait until I'm through I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have." For some people that's fine, and they either wait or say they have somewhere to be and that's that. For others, well, I'm an asshole because I didn't immediately stop what I was doing to make time for them. I think it's important to remember that each individual's time is valuable and that not everyone is a teacher. That being said there is a pleasant way to get those points across.
     
  13. eddym

    eddym Member

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    That is absolutely hilarious! D*****l cameras go obsolete (and very quickly!) but film cameras - never! Hell, al they are is a box with film on one side and a lens on the other!!!
    Guess all my Leicas, Rollei TLR's, and Linhof Technikas are obsolete, too, then. Dang, I guess I'd better go invest in more digicams, quick! :smile:
     
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  15. Shmoo

    Shmoo Subscriber

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    Sometimes the only thing you learn from people like that is how NOT to be like that.

    S
     
  16. dmr

    dmr Member

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    You have never seen arrogance and condesension (is that a word?) until you are a 16 year old girl, ca. 1969, going camera shopping alone in Manhattan. Jeesh! Need I say more?

    It really teaches you who you don't want to do business with!
     
  17. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    This point really caught my eye because it very much explains what really bugged me about David Pogue's column in Thursday's NY Times.

    For those who don't know, Mr. Pogue writes the digi camera column that appears m/l every week in the Thursday "Technology" section of the NYT. What was bizarre was that his "point" in this past Thursday's column was that there are now DSLR's that can enable you to "shoot like a pro".

    Say what?

    Since when did any camera enable you to "shoot like a pro"?

    AA, HCB, Arbus etc. etc. (add your favorite) all used manual cameras - when it comes down to it, according to Pogue, I guess each and every one didn't "shoot like a pro"! :confused:
     
  18. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Hmmmm.....well, if you went to 47th Street Photo in that era, your gender didn't make you very much less of a target of arrogance and condescension than anyone else. You'd have thought you were in the presence of people to whom you were required to genuflect. It's not a big surprise that that store barely exists, if it even does, anymore. B&H seems to have taken that lesson to heart. They have always been courteous and long suffering even when dealing with my more addle brained questions.
     
  19. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Like Andy says.
     
  20. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Actually, given she was 16 in 1969 (a couple of years younger than me, BTW) I was going to guess Willoughby's or Olden over in the Herald Square area. Now THEY were both arrogant SOBs - mainly to distract you from the fact that they were both overpriced.

    47th St. Photo was a few years later and you're right they too were SOBs. They later on got into stereo equipment etc. and tried to sell on "price" against the crook Crazy Eddie. The former went under - the latter went to jail! :wink:

    Those were the days! :D
     
  21. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Yes, you might have a point there. All those old manual Leicas are obsolete, therefore, they should all be donated to me! :D

    On the topic of obsolete cameras, I get a kick out of this one:

    A couple of years ago after spending a bit too much time on one of those digiforums, I went out and purchased a Nikon D70. It had won camera of the year and everyone was saying how the camera practically walked on water. I went through several new deffective models until I was able to get a good one. Turns out that when the D200 was released, those same people that praised the D70 were now bashing its inferior picture quality and obsolete technology. That was about a month after the D200 was released!! Funny how that never happened with the F3 throughout its 20 year production life.
     
  22. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I totally agree with this statement! I guess that the only positive side of dealing with those rude photographers is that it develops a feeling of empathy toward beginning photographers. I am always very careful of what I say and how I say things to people who ask me for either advice or opinions. The way I see it, new photographers have a certain degree of either respect or admiration for you when they ask for your opinion or advice. They trust what you tell them. Why insult them or hurt their feelings? As far as I'm concerned it is not up to me to "toughen them up" or "thicken their skin". If a person is determined to succeed, he or she will do so regardless of any ill treatment. I would rather be remembered in a positive way when they do succeed instead of "that jerk photographer" who was mean to them when they were first starting out. :smile:
     
  23. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    A new member turned up to our photo club the other night and was inspecting some of my prints and made a comment that they looked like darkroom prints. They are indeed, I said, to which she replied... Oh my god! There are people still doing wet prints.. time for you to move on. I did.
    Tony
     
  24. roteague

    roteague Member

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    You mean that it was not bashed, or not a piece of junk? I had an early model F3, and went through 3 circuit boards in its life span; I didn't bother to fix it after the last time. It was junk.
     
  25. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I remember hearing a talk from Grace Robertson, a very charming lady who at the age of 19 or so became a "Picture Post" magazine staffer with the legendary Kurt Hutton as a mentor. His way of "criticizing" any work he felt was below standard was to rip it to shreds and jump up and down on it while screaming at the unfortunate GR, who I think nonetheless had the objectivity to realize that KH's problem in this case was of a psychosexual rather than photographic nature.
     
  26. braxus

    braxus Member

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    I guess the closest thing to this would be going to a photography club here in BC that turned me sour. I went for a few months, and later just gave up on the whole club. A few did talk to me as a new member, but for the most part mostly everyone else left me alone and didn't even bother to get to know me when I was there. Everyone had their little click. You'd figure you'd be welcomed to the group being a new member, and people would ask you about your past with photo. That wasn't the case. I couldn't shoot as much as their contests required me to, so I figured it was best to stop going. I won't list the club since a member from there may be on here.