Pretender or real, thanks to technology, we’re all photographers

The explosion of digital cameras on to every imaginable handheld device has empowered the masses but debate continues as to who is the pretender & who is the real photographer.

A lot has been said about fauxtographers

In fact whole websites have been devoted to putting down want-to-be photographers.

Momarazzis, a play on the word paparazzi, is another term that has been used a lot too.

A post I wrote asking pros and amateurs photographers to call for a truce on Rising Black Star a while back showed me this labeling and making denigrating remarks about other photographers is an exercise in frivolity.

In the film days, having darkroom experience might have been a criteria to separate the want-to-be from the ones who are not as serious about their photography.

That is not to say that all hobbyists shooting film back then don’t know how to work in darkrooms.

I exposed miles and miles of transparency film before I went to school to formally learn how to develop film, work in the darkroom and learn how to use lighting in photography.

Mind you, the formal degree in photography doesn’t even make you a photographer.

Remember, everyone has to start somewhere.

Disturbing trend

I’ve been discovering more and more websites which put down others who love photography.

I don’t know about you, but no one person can shoot everything and more importantly shoot it all well.

You could try but that would mean you would have no life.

You would eat, sleep and dream about photography 24/7.

Any art form, be it belly dancing, singing or painting is totally subjective.

I can see why there’s been numerous websites which poke fun of pictures that are posted online.

The comments are often very cruel. Why?

The commenters can hide behind anonymity.

If I were the owner of those websites, I would institute a policy that commenters need to post a website URL or a link to their online work.

Doing so allows visitors to see where the commenters are themselves in their skill level.

Before I form an opinion of a photographer, I always try to see their work and find out a little more about them.

Instead the owners of some of these websites themselves hide behind anonymity.

When you go to their “About” page, they are vague as can be about who they are.

It’s not very sporting if you ask me.

Linking to those sites isn’t exactly what I would want to do.

So if you’re curious you can search ‘you are not a photographer’

Everyone can be a critic. It’s easy. But can you offer criticism that helps?

Lighten up. There’s plenty of beautiful pictures left that hasn’t been taken.

Peter Phun Photography

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11 thoughts on “Pretender or real, thanks to technology, we’re all photographers”

  1. Well Said Peter.

    It’s a shame that so many people have to knock others down so they feel bigger.

    We are all in the same boat, and if we keep fighting, the ship is sunk.

    Thanks Peter.

  2. Hello Mara,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your comment and your very kind words. There are more and more websites which are targeting poor photography out there.

    It shouldn’t matter to anyone how a bad a picture is especially if they’re not the one paying for it.

    It’s not that I’m against telling the truth about how bad a picture is.

    Being critical without offering anything constructive is not helpful. Listen to former American Idol judge Simon Cowell some time. He tells it like it is, and he offers suggestions. He may not be popular but since he left the show, the ratings haven’t been as good. 🙂

  3. Wanda,
    Thanks so much for commenting. It’s very nice to hear from you as always.

    I love your attitude and your willingness to share encouragement. It’s as commonplace as you might think.

    When I first picked up photography while I was working in the airlines, I didn’t know too many people who were in it. So, I sort of read, shot, read some more.

    I knew I was getting better day by day. But I was always intimidated by the darkroom. It always felt like such a ‘closed-knit’ clique. Perhaps it was because I was the only foreign student in the photo program??

    Anyway, I remember not liking that feeling. So, I always try to encourage others. This ‘hobby’ has been rewarding and I continue to learn.

  4. I agree with you, Peter. So much of the commentary about others’ photography is cruel. I don’t follow sites like You Are Not A Photographer; as soon as someone I was connected to on FB pointed out the site, I took one look at the name and didn’t even go to the website.

    Anyone who expresses an interest in photography gets encouragement from me. I wouldn’t be the semi-pro I am today, if there hadn’t been encouraging people along the way to help me get to this point. I will never forget that, and I hope to be one of the people in someone else’s past who thinks about me with warmth as part of their photographic journey.

  5. Maura,
    It is such a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I actually thought about you this morning and I wondered about how you and the kids were doing before I got notification that you had commented.

    I hope you are right about folks needing to be responsible about how they conduct themselves especially now that we are all so connected. Between the Apps in FB constantly asking for more and more info and email addresses to link to you, I’m sure you can’t be anonymous for long.

    I get that folks feel they need to critique, but many do so out of their own shortcomings and frustrations as a photographer, I think. They see they’ve stagnated after spending a lot of $ on gear then they go online and take that frustration out on someone, usually a novice.

    It’s good to be competitive to continue to grow as an artist. Perhaps they should use their competitive streak to push themselves out of their comfort zone and not put down the competition. Sorry I”m babbling. It’s late. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Regards to Kat, Robert and Cliff.

  6. Hi Jo,
    You will be the first person I contact if ever I set foot on the Indian sub-continent, Jo. We will have high tea someplace fancy.

    I went back to the website in question above and found quite a few of my FB fans are also fans of the YANAP. “You are not a photographer” I realize they are fans because the comments are often funny at the expense of the owner of the pictures. I can’t bring myself to “Like” that page though. 🙁

    Always so nice to hear from my one fan from India. 🙂

  7. Hello Peter, I have seen the web site that you have mentioned or something similar, some comments have been funny for me, it is of the persons that they do all the possible from seeing the positive side of the things, it is not the correct way of doing the criticism, but the lives of this type of persons are so empty, but as it is possible that there are the people who pays for photos badly taken, a thing is to save money and other one accepts bad works, I explain myself, now in hundreds of magazines of classified we can find a “viedo/photographerer”, we need to share the note you wrote abaut how to choose a good photographer should help very much, to me to one would give many shame to sell photos badly and to be called a”Professional Photographer”, as a hobbi is fine, and to keep on being prepared, since the experience is better that the theory, I think, I take the opportunity to say you I love you work, greetings.

  8. Hi Melody,
    I was poking around the website in question and I realized that it has quite a following on its Facebook page. Even though I see many FB friends’ pictures among the fans, I can’t agree with what the website owners are doing.

    There is never anything constructive amongst the comments. It’s a free-for-all with each commenter often trying to outdo the other with off-handed remarks.

    Idiotic. I wonder why folks submit their work and allow themselves to be subjected to such ridicule?

    I think you needn’t worry about being victimized by that site because you took the time to take classes in photography and hopefully your instructors are passionate and are teaching you from the heart instead of from their textbooks.

    And Melody, if it ever comes to your work being featured on their website, here is a resource to help you fight back.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  9. Hi Peter-

    This was one of the funniest, yet spot-on posts, I have read and watched in a while. That video is truly genius! I have long loved photography as a hobby, and I occasionally take photos for my site or blog, even twitter. However nice I may think my photos are, I know I am NOT a good photographer. I am a good etiquette teacher and that’s what I stick with.

    About those comments, and the problem with them? The ability to stay anonymous while on line is soon going to be ending, yet people do not realize that it is about to end. Their web histories are being tracked very carefully by others and are being made public more often now. I am hoping that will curtail the “bash & dash” thinking of those leaving nasty notes, and give us all a break.

    Maura Graber

  10. Peter, you are one of the nicest friends I’ve never met . . . this post is so exactly what I would expect from you. Gracious, generous and wise. “Lighten up. There are plenty of beautiful pictures left that haven’t been taken.” So true! But only a happy, secure photographer understands that.


  11. Thank you for this post. I have seen the website you mentioned and I constantly worry that someday my stuff will end up there. I love photography and I have a passion for learning about it. That being said I know I have a long way to go. I wouldn’t want the label as fauxtographer or momarazzi which is also why I would never use that label for someone else.

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