I know this first hand.
Just read the comments on this satirical post on “21 Signs You’re a Real Photographer.”
Best example I can think of is when camera owners who fancy themselves as photographers criticize a working photographer’s pictures.
Some background: Joe Klamar, a freelance photographer for AFP (Agence France-Presse) flubbed on an assignment where he had to photograph US Olympians.
His pictures and the accompanying stories went viral understandably due to the current sense of patriotism sweeping the country during this summer’s London Olympics.
Afterwards, a gallery offered to showcase his photos in an exhibit.
If you look over the comments in the Peta Pixel website, you can see many of the commenters don’t include much information of themselves.
Whenever I want to respond to a comment, I usually try and find a back link to research a little about that person.
I feel it’s important to get a sense of whether that person has the credentials or just the know how to be taken seriously.
I can sympathize with Joe Klamar.
I’ve been there and I’ve done that.
It’s Picture Day for a (insert sports team’s name…)
The first time I was sent to photograph the LA Lakers for Picture Day, I had no idea what to expect.
I didn’t know how much time I would have with each person, nor did I know how much room I would have to work.
In these assembly line or cattle call situations where each athlete is sent from one photographer’s setup to the next, it can be very stressful and intimidating.
Photographers know that good pictures take time but also control over lighting.
I remember each Laker player just giving me maybe 5 exposures and mind you that was in the film days.
The ‘bigger’ the player the less time I got simply because everyone was under the gun to get good pictures of the stars compared to the unknown rookies.
Remember also in order to get ‘good portraits’ you can’t just leave the lights where they are, in the same position, especially if you don’t want all your pictures to look the same.
If it were just strictly mugshots I was after, that was fine.
Place a chair in front of a backdrop so that everyone would be the same height and there would be no need to make adjustments due to their height differences.
But I digress…
Show your work to participate
My point is that old idiom, “walk a mile in my shoes,” has validity.
The internet thrives because of discussion but in folks, let’s try not to be so chicken-shit about it by hiding behind anonymity.
Change your profile to include a hyperlink which displays your photography.
As far a Joe Klamar’s work goes, I think he did fine for what he had to work with.
I just think he should be honest that he never intended to make those types of pictures in the first place.
Most working photographers who are honest will tell you that mistakes happen.
I just don’t think his original intent was to take those types of pictures.
I certainly wouldn’t want to portray my subjects like he did.
It’s one thing if Joe Klamar went in search of each and every one of those athletes on his own expense and time, then he would be free to interpret his subject this way.
I believe I should always take a picture that portrays my subject in the best possible light, as if they commissioned me personally to do it.
Joe Klamar had a happy accident and from the looks of it, he will be reaping the benefits of this one, so more power to him.