I remember flipping through a Newsweek while I was studying photojournalism in college, seeing an unremarkable photo and thinking, “Pshh. I could have shot that.” I arrogantly overlooked everything else that goes into being a working photojournalist and felt like I had already developed the tools necessary to work at a high level.
After more than six years on the job, I know I’m exponentially better than I was then. But the most important lesson I’ve learned in that time is just how much further I have to improve.
I see this I-could-have-done-it-better attitude pretty regularly during ill-advised visits to the comments section of sites like PetaPixel. There’s no shortage of snarky sites poking fun at the deluge of bad photography out there, perhaps none more famous than You Are Not a Photographer. Some like nodding along to posts bemoaning the telltale signs of amateur photographers, and feeling superior to those who are just trying to enjoy photography.
I’m frequently frustrated about the photos that get the best reader response on the Tri-City Herald’s Facebook page, where middling reader-submitted landscape photos burst with “Likes” while the visual reporting of interesting things in the community blend in like a wallflower.
Doesn’t anybody want to dance with this gallery of a cool charitable event?
I often wonder if some people in other professions have the same disdain for amateur attempts in their wheelhouse. Do general contractors scoff when they drive by people slapping together a fence?
It’s hard not to get worked up about stuff like this, but I’m trying to let it go.
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