People usually don't assume I can photograph at all, because I don't have a camera that looks like a machine gun. Film?
They just assume I don't have a clue, and I'm actually pretty happy with that. :)
But I understand the frustration of OP and others. It's annoying.
I don't know. Down here on the coast a ways, I have never had anyone make that assumption...at least in my range of hearing. I guess carrying a big wood tripod folks must think I am a surveyor, not a photographer (I did hear that in Yosemite a couple of weeks ago).
In order to be a photographer you need to have a big lens and a camera with lots of accessories, spare batteries, memory cards and stuff.
The camera that I have been carrying the most, lately, is a Rolleiflex. It doesn't have batteries, it has no accessories and it hardly has a sizeable lens at all.
The way I see it, the size of a photographer's lens is inversely proportional to the size of his penis.
I hope that's true because the last "new" camera I got, I made from an empty 12 oz. can of A&W Root Beer. The lens is 0.03 millimeters in diameter.
If the inverse proprotion holds true, that means I'm King Kong! ;) ;) ;)
Just smile and tell them that no electrons were killed for the sake of your pictures. :)
Valerie, I would have used the old Charlie Chan quote to the student, "Confucious say, Better not speak and appear dumb then speak and remove all doubt."
BTW, I seldom use my cell phone. I don't twitter or tweet -- birds twitter. People who use facebook seriously need to get a real life. I do like some technology; I have a laptop and a kindle which I love.
I "upgraded" from a film SLR to a digital P&S back in 2001. In 2010 I built a Populist 35mm pinhole camera. That was the beginning of my return to film. I upgraded back to my film SLR in March 2011. I shot both until my digital P&S got wet. Now I use my film SLR for everything photographic.
My son has had a digital P&S since Christmas 2010. It's a Kodak C182, and he's taken quite a few pictures with it and has a pretty good eye. He likes his camera, but I sensed some jealousy when he saw what I was getting out of my manual focus and auto focus film SLRs and a cheap Vivitar slide projector.
During the 2011-2012 school year we started giving him money for good grades on his report card (I'm not above bribing the kids to do well in school!) I fell behind on getting the money to him, and so this week I asked him if he would like to have a camera like mine, or would he rather have the money. No hesitation - he asked for a camera like mine. When I asked him if he would rather shoot print film or slide film, again no hesitation. He wants to shoot slides.
Needless to say we have a Pentax SLR, lens, and camera strap (gotta have that so he doesn't drop the camera) on the way from KEH. We also have 5 rolls of Provia 100F slide film on the way from B&H. I will teach him to zoom in before focusing first, then rule of thirds and some other compositional stuff. The technical side of things will come a bit later (my two favorite modes on SLRs are Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority, with the third being Manual. I do tend to use the program mode for flash photos).
I'm looking forward to sharing some of his film photos soon.
Here's a response: "I use film in order to lower my carbon footprint. Every time you recharge the batteries in your digital camera you are contributing to global warming. Plus, I get better images this way."
I have NEVER had so many people notice the camera and comment on it as on that day. I could not walk 100 yards without somebody noticing, giving the "thumbs up" or saying, "Hey! Nice camera!" I got stopped or fell into conversation with no less than six people during that afternoon. A couple of them were decent looking college girls, too!
Too bad I'm married! ;) ;) ;)
My wife was with me that day and she was not amused.
It is worthy to note that Greenville is home to the Greenville Arts Center and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts. So, there's a high concentration of art students and visual artists there. Greenville is the only place I have gone in recent memory where I have not had the feeling that people make negative assumptions about me because I have an "old" camera that shoots film.
Regardless, here's a tip for you unattached guys out there:
Buy, beg, borrow or steal a Rolleiflex and learn how to use it! They're chick magnets! ;) ;) ;)