Thursday, November 14, 2013

Everyone Thinks They Are a Photographer

I am so frustrated!  I am so angry at myself.

I ran into some employee in a local store last weekend. Actually he walked up to me trying to be flirty. I was in the electronic supply section which just so happened to be stocked with super-duper huge lenses, darkroom supplies, lights, and backdrops. The employee asked, "Before I show you this lens, are you a photographer?"

"Yes, and I'm going to school to learn more."

"Well, I'm a photographer too and I'm tempted not to show you this lens because you are my competition. Who do you shoot for?"

"Radio Memphis."

"What do you do for them?"

"I photograph local bands and musicians in studio during live performance."

"What famous musicians have you photographed?"

"I photograph local musicians and although they aren't famous yet they are trying to make it big."

He brags that he photographs Beale Street and he has photographed so-and-so and who-you-ma-call-it.    I am bored with the conversation because I'm not really interested in name-dropping.  He asks me for a Radio Memphis business card because he wants to take my job. I give him the website and the name of who to contact.

He goes on to ask, "What camera do you use?"

I tell him the model of my camera.

He says, "Oh."

I do not have a super-wonderful, majestic, state of the art, latest model camera.  I'm not ashamed of my camera either. My parents gave it to me as a (ridiculously extravagant to me) Christmas gift a couple of years ago and I love it like I would love a first born child. She goes everywhere with me. I am rarely without her.

The man goes not to tell me I would get better photographs if I upgraded to at least his model of camera.

That's nice. I can take criticism. In fact, I'm my hardest critic. So nothing that he is going to say can equal the amount of hatred and disappointment I've heaped on my own work or given myself. I can certainly take criticism from someone that is looking at my work and telling or suggesting what I can do to improve. But, this man1  Yes, this man has never seen my work before. He is doing the equivalent of adding salt to a meal he hasn't tasted. That shit pisses me off.

I interrupt him from his megapixels and flip screen options on the camera talk because it seems recently that everyone with a digital camera thinks he is a photographer.

I giggle. "It's not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean."

He stops and for the first time looks me in the eyes.  Yes, I just gave his camera-talk a sexual innuendo.

I offer him my best and sweetest smile, "Meaning, it doesn't matter what camera you use as long as you know what you are doing with it. You've never looked at my work so you wouldn't know my areas of difficulty. If you want to know the truth, I'm good at photography. My problems arise in Photoshop and color correction, but that is the nature of the game now."  

He does not listen to one word I say.

"Well, I don't need Photoshop.  My photos are perfect exactly as I take them. I've had some real, professional photographers look at my stuff and they tell me that I'm a professional. I've never needed to color correct anything."

That is it. I am pissed because I know he is full like a dirty diaper.  This man is photographing in an environment like Beale Street where he does not have control of lighting, reflection, or shadows and he wants to tell me every portrait photo is perfect. I am not a confrontational person so I walk away.

Now, I'm looking at my latest critique grade in my photography class where I am obviously having issues with color correction.  I am angry with myself for practically failing. Well, it's not anywhere near a failing grade, but the grade is not to the standards I hold for myself. Suddenly I feel the urge to go back to that store and punch that man and his perfection right in between his squirrelly eyebrows.

Lights out! Color correct that!

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