I was recently commissioned to write an article sponsored by Sigma UK for Landscape Photography magazine under the " Turning Pro" moniker. I say "sponsored" but I didn't benefit from it in any way, so I guess they paid the magazine for the article space. No money (or free lenses) were offered in my direction, so I was able to be pretty honest in my writing about the lenses they loaned to me. Now to be completely frank, I never read landscape Photography magazine as personally I can't get passed the poor typography and design ethic. It reminds me of how websites looked in the 1990's. Anyway, the lady I liaised with there was lovely and seemed to appreciate my irreverent humour and maverick attitude so if I ever get to meet her then the drinks are on me. ;-)
Now, unfortunately (surprise, surprise) the article was heavily edited, which is a pity as the original article was pretty refreshing in it's honesty. Honesty of course, I find admirable, but as is usually the case there's always someone who misses the plot. A bloke felt the impulse to leave a comment saying he felt a bit cheated that I didn't reveal the secret of how to become Ansel Adams in two sentences. I'm sure that anyone with a modicum of intelligence reading this will of course realise that it's impossible to teach someone to become a creative artist with your own unique style by copying someone else's EXIF settings from a Magazine article. He also bemoaned that I criticise social media a lot. Well, all I can say is that if you spend less time posting on social media or leaving comments on websites, and more time practising your photography skills, you might actually become a pro yourself one day. ;-)
Anyone who knows me that reads the article will no doubt discern my irreverent humour is on display throughout, well... what's left of it. I guess my dry wit is just too dry for some people. ;-)))
You can read the published version of the article with all the funny bits and swear words removed here. It's not as funny as the original though, so I thought I'd post some of the content they removed below for your viewing pleasure. It's a pity they didn't leave it in because ironically, it adds context to the other paragraphs they retained. ;-)
I meet a lot of aspiring photographers when I present at Photo Shows for companies that I partner with. Unfortunately, 98% of them ask “What camera did you use to take that?” or they ask about the settings I used to capture a particular shot, or what lens I used, or what software I processed it in. My heart always sinks a little at this, as they are so caught up in talking tech that they forget what real photography is primarily all about. Being creative and working hard to develop your own unique signature style. This constant focus on tech and copying other peoples settings thinking it's a fast track to developing your own unique creative identity baffles me. As an example...
I once had a meal prepared by my favourite chef Marco Pierre White. The food was delicious. Needless to say I didn’t insult Marco by saying “You must have a great cooker to cook like that mate. What were the settings you used on it to get that meat so tender?” Like all creative arts, you will always find certain people who are just naturally talented at a particular skill. That cannot be bought, or taught, no matter how many YouTube videos by "Guy's who never really made the grade to becoming a Pro Photographer" you watch.
Ultimately, when I talk to the people who think that it’s the tech that matters above everything else, it dawns on me what happened to all the train spotters. Now I realise that they all attend FOCUS in Birmingham masquerading as photographers. I also find it weird how some people who are patently not photographers feel quite comfortable classifying themselves as photographers. Its odd really, because I wouldn't dream of misrepresenting myself like that. For instance, I still have a pair of Adidas Beckenbauer Supers at home that I wear for weekend kickabouts with my mates, but I don't call myself a football player. I cook the dinner every night but I don't call myself a chef. Bizarre! Anyway, you'll usually find these blokes on gear forums on websites like DP review having inane discussions about Lens MTF charts, or arguing why their Sony camera is better than their mates Nikon, or vice versa. I now refer to these people as Anoraks. In saying that, at times the internet seems like it's been invented for anoraks, or narcissists, and in particular social media...
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