To Each Their Own, Right?

Have you seen that commercial where a guy is showing off his photos on a giant screen and people watching ask him about his F-stop and shutter speed?

Well here, this one:


(This is from Australia. Was the guy in the US ad way more cocky?)

I really don’t like this commercial. I expressed my opinion over lunch with my coworkers one afternoon only to hear questions of “Why?” and another, “It’s cameras like those that make my vacation pictures look a lot better.” But as I explained to them, it’s not the camera that makes it good or bad, it’s the person who’s taking the picture. Cameras like these help you cheat. There’s nothing wrong with that, I know. You want good pictures and are just not talented enough to use the crap camera you have now to shoot.

It’s kind of like that saying, “If guns kill people, pencils misspell words.” Well, this is the same thing. I recall one hot, hot, stinkin’ hot afternoon in July when my coworker from Cafe and I were covering the Pitchfork Music Festival last year. For those of you who don’t know, Pitchfork is a two-day-long indie music festival that takes place in Union Park in Chicago.

A conversation ensued about cameras and I over heard a few photographers going back and forth, finally agreeing upon the fact that it’s not the camera, it’s the person taking the shot. My coworker, alBerto chimed in saying that it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. You can have the crappiest little thing, but if you know how to use it, you’re fine.

So back to why I don’t like the commercial. For those people who shoot and have worked at it, who have photographed for some time or have studied it, it takes away the uniqueness that they carry when someone can just take a shot and make it look the same way as someone who actually knows what an F-stop and shutter speed is, not just puts it on Auto and runs rampant taking photos. But, if you’re arguing against this (because you think I’m a hater) then fine, and you are right because those with the education, experience and pure talent will always have the love and passion for photography, learn the ins and outs and will realize that it, like anything else, is an art form.

Take, for example, my boyfriend who has a camera on his phone. I know, I know but just listen. This thing is an eight mega-pixel camera and takes really nice photos. But this guy has an eye for artistic photography and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boyfriend. I don’t know if he has this album open to the public, but try to take a look at his album Click on Facebook. Friends have been saying nothing but good things and I’ve been wanting him to join me in showing off our work.

After I tried explaining photography to him, he took it upon himself to learn about aperture, shutter speeds and F-stops even though his phone doesn’t have all those functions. If anything, getting him to use a camera-camera is on my list of goals for this year.

But I guess that goes with anything right? I mean, look at how blogging took over the “news” stream for a minute there. Now, news blogs, actual reporter blogs and websites are taking back the credibility that is so rightly theirs. While at Cafe, another coworker of mine, Maura, and I were discussing how bloggers can’t be reporters but reporters can be bloggers. The writing is completely different. A blogger could be getting thousands of hits of their site, but can they write a decent article for the paper? Ehh… chances are slim, yet still possible. It’s just highly unlikely that you’ll find a blogger turn journalist any time soon.

As I was teaching a few kids I tutor about the multitude of facets that are involved in the journalistic sphere, I thought, “Wow, I actually had to learn all of that from scratch.” From types of ledes to what a nut graf was to the code of ethics and the history of First Amendment law, I had overwhelmed myself in just rethinking about those experiences.

But like photography, real journalists will always be journalists just as photographers (who know what and how to do things) will always be that. I hope you do realize that the sphere of free writing is coming to a close. People who are good at it won’t do it for free online anymore, unless they have their own bout to fight, like me. I write for myself and those who choose to read, especially since my 9-5 doesn’t consist of communications any longer.

I guess in a way I’m hating on those who try to claim fame through something they don’t know. But it’s just not right if they do. Sorry. I did things the right way for a reason. I went to J school. I took photography classes because I wanted to learn to do things the right way, or at least understand it so that in case I skewed myself in a completely different direction, I could defend my actions with knowledge.

I guess whether you know the beef of what came before you or not, doesn’t really make a difference this day in age if you’re getting a spike in your page views when you post something ridiculous or with horrendous typos left and right. But for me it was always quality over quantity. But I can’t say the same for everyone else.

To each their own, right?

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