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  1. #1

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    The Emergence of the Narcissistic, Egomaniac Photographers

    Just exactly when did photography go from attracting people that were interested in the craft of photography, pro and serious amateur alike, to a large group of narcissistic egomaniacs that are interested in advertising themselves? Was it the advent of the internet, and all those smiling faces peering from within the avatars (holding an ungodly expensive Leica usually)? The rise of social networks, and I wonder how social they really are, where everyone wants to be "liked", whatever that is? I look at some photo type websites, and nearly every posting has a string of links leading to the "photographer's" own work/website. Hey, it's just a thread on an online forum, not your personal advertisement. And why does your avatar show YOU and not your work? It reminds me of when I went out many years ago w/ my painting mentor to buy my first easel (tripod to us folks). He cautioned me not to eat the soft, chewy looking eraser I'd just paid a king's ransom for at some snobby art store, and he laughingly said that I could go get a beret and cigarette holder now, and grow a mustache.

    Am I suffering from old dufferism? I have double checked that, and it's not just me. A few other people I talked to wondered about this too? Anyone have any ideas why, and when, this happened? Maybe it's these new electronic wonder digital cameras that do everything for people except put the print on the wall? I mean, every soccer mom w/ a DSLR and a big lens is a pro wedding photographer now, right? Not having to focus, figure out exposure, film type, etc may have attracted a lot of people that might otherwise have just been snapshot shooters w/ no pretension of being the next Richard Avadon/Ansel Adams, w/ their self published photo books showing their oh so serious self portrait on the cover, on the back, and inside the book a few times just for grins? I'm clutching at straws here.
    Last edited by momus; 10-01-2013 at 09:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    The field of photography has never lacked for big egos... ever. I'm not at all convinced this is a new phenomena.

  3. #3
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneR View Post
    The field of photography has never lacked for big egos... ever. I'm not at all convinced this is a new phenomena.
    I also think so. Only now thanks to Internet you see more and see faster. Additional thing is also increase number of photographers - thanks to digital cameras and instagrams and similar popular stuff, and more photographers you have - more egomaniacs you will have.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by momus View Post
    Just exactly when did photography go from attracting people that were interested in the craft of photography, pro and serious amateur alike, to a large group of narcissistic egomaniacs that are interested in advertising themselves?
    Sometime in the mid to late 1800's.

  5. #5
    blansky's Avatar
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    Some of this came about during the "supermodel" era of the 80s. Although the term is overused beyond recognition to now include someone who poses for Sears catalogs, but in reality it really was naming only about 5-6 models who could command $10,000 a day including Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christi Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell. Obviously there have been others before and after but this was where the term gained recognition.

    Along with these Supermodels came super photographers like Herb Ritts, Steven Maisel, Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Greg Gorman, Scavullo, Bruce Weber and others who became celebrities in their own right and started the celebrity shooter genre. Obviously there were great photographers before and after them but in my memory this was the time of the over hyped photographer being more of a celebrity than the celebrity themselves.

    But as Suzanne says, the egos have been around since people started believing their own marketing materials.
    Last edited by blansky; 10-01-2013 at 11:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by momus View Post
    Just exactly when did photography go from attracting people that were interested in the craft of photography, pro and serious amateur alike, to a large group of narcissistic egomaniacs that are interested in advertising themselves?
    Certainly by 1895 with Stieglitz, probably by 1839 with Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

  7. #7

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    I have never noticed this phenomenon. Perhaps I should pay more attention.

  8. #8
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    I agree with momus. It may have always been around but is way, way over the top like never before.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  9. #9
    erikg's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Helinophoto's Avatar
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    Why don't you have an avatar? >;-)
    (no it's not me in mine)

    I suppose something happened when photography became more of a competitive industry, in relation to fashion and celebrities, fashion houses and celebrity-agents.

    Also, the marked has been tough after everyone went digital and with the explosion of the Internet, the value of a photograph have plummeted, and shots from "unknowns" are dumped for pennies and pins on stock-photo sites.

    The shooters that have "made it", have star-status and are more or less treated like celebrities themselves (which is pretty stupid if you ask me).

    Self-promotion has taken a whole different level on the net, be it signatures (I have a link to my blog in mine, so that people can "enjoy" my crazy antics), or various means "to reach people" trough facebook-pages, or via microblog sites like thumbler and pinterest etc.

    But basically, I believe that most people are a bit narcissistic; IE. We enjoy the attention, the likes and praise.....and, when thinking about it, is that really so wrong..?

    Besides, photography as a business has always been about self-promotion hasn't it?
    Last edited by Helinophoto; 10-01-2013 at 09:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

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