Two kinds of photographers: those who make pictures, and those who talk about it.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Jeremy, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    From Ken Rockwell's web site. He has nailed it, the objections of many NG
    posters notwithstanding. Interesting food for thought:


    There are two kinds of photographers: those who make pictures, and those who
    talk about it.

    This observation is a distillation of my Seven Levels of Photographers. I
    wrote the original around 2000. It's been translated into thirteen other
    languages, for a total of fourteen.

    This "two kinds" also applies in every other area of mans' interests:
    racing, hunting, sexcapades, fishing, bird watching and you name it. As we
    say in racing, "The BS stops when the green flag drops." In photography, the
    BS stops when you ask someone to show you their photos. In all these fields,
    the guys who spend the most time talking are those who do the least.

    I had an epiphany in 1989. When I searched through over 15 years of my
    archives dating from 1973 looking for some of the great shots I knew I must
    have made, I found nothing! The good shots only existed in my imagination! I
    realized that all I ever did was tell myself that I was a great photographer
    just because I knew every nuance of technique and camera and lens design. I
    had nothing to show for it. From that point on I decided to stop worrying
    about the technology and focus my considerable expertise and creative
    instincts on creating photos instead of reading about it.


    Those who make photographs always have more photos to make or editing to do.
    There isn't any computer time to waste on forums. When in front of our
    computers we would rather create a new image or play with a new tool. There
    are an infinite number of tricks to learn on Photoshop to help us make new
    images. I never have enough time to work on my computer. I wish I had more
    time so I could create, print and share more images. There is only so much
    time. We can either talk about something or go do it.

    If I had more time I would share more of my images here. I make over 1,000
    shots every week on my D200 as of April 2006.

    Creatives usually have no time for forums. I make the time to do the
    informative parts of this website thanks to your help and the ads.

    Too many people get sucked into wasting creative time reading a zillion
    comments from total strangers on forums, discussion groups and chat rooms.
    Some people start believing what they read.

    A huge problem with forums is the people who post the most shoot the least.
    These forums make it tough to know the credentials of the posters. More
    weight is given to well-spoken frequent contributors than a competent
    professional who might step in to help. Worse, the crankiest members of the
    forum will proceed to heckle the one guy who knows and tried to help, and
    then he never returns.

    Photographers tend to be crummy writers. Forums are overloaded with comments
    from the people you most want to avoid. Many of these people don't even own
    the gear they're discussing; they just like to talk! Not that all the
    information is bad, but it is disproportionately weighted in the wrong

    Look at any forum on any subject from art to zebras, and you'll see many who
    spend more time calling each other stupid than discussing the topic. Many
    who live in these forums take more pleasure in hurling epithets than in
    discussing the topic. As any high-school psychology student knows, these
    guys are confirming Freud's observations that all human action is based on
    making oneself feel important. I prefer to do this by creating bitchin'
    photos. Forum posters find it easier to try to look smart by posting as much
    as they can. Don't let yourself get distracted by the bickering or people
    trying to throw out a lot of information to look smart. Go make photos and
    see for yourself what looks good.

    Euphemize these as "forums" or "online discussions," but they're still just
    chat rooms. They're the best places to get the worst information, since the
    least educated are the ones who contribute the most. Those who know the most
    are too busy making more photos to spend much time there.


    Other sites use forums to make money. See the ads on their forum pages?
    Those sites make money by letting you write their content.

    Things are different today. The Internet went commercial. Other sites we all
    know were started, like this one, by individuals in the 1990s to help others
    share our love of photography. The others were sold by their former owners
    and are run today by corporations for profit. I'm still just me.

    People ask me to add forums. I would do it since it would bring in more
    money so I could do more, but I won't do it because it runs contrary to the
    whole point of this site. I'm trying to share what I've learned. If you want
    to read what other people have to share, read their sites.

    Adding forums would distract you with all sorts of unqualified garbage, and
    I'd have to take too much time away from adding new articles to police the
    turkeys who'd cause trouble.


    Old-wives-tales float all over forums because they are repeated so often.
    This is why so many people believe things with no basis in fact. Fact is
    easy to learn: go make your own photos and experiments and you'll see. I'm
    amazed that people will research Raw vs. JPG for a half hour on forums, but
    never bother to take the five minutes to make two shots on their own camera
    to see. Another example of an old wives tale is that UV filters rob
    sharpness, plastic zoom lenses aren't sharp or that 16 bit looks any
    different. Go shoot for yourself and see. Most of these tales are decades
    out of date.

    Chatting for many people is a weird little hobby in itself.

    If you want to get information from these forums, be sure to check out any
    poster's images first. If you want to make images like they do, then heed
    their help. If their photos suck, then run away!

    I'm embarrassed that I spend as much time as I do making this website. I
    also spend a ton of time photographing. You can see some of my work in my
    gallery and more recent shots at my travels. I don't spend much, if any,
    time adding to my galleries online.


    The guys and girls of whom you've never heard are the ones making all the
    great shots. They aren't giving workshops, promoting themselves or being
    paraded around by Canon, Nikon, Sony and Epson promoting gear.

    The people whose work I admire the most don't show it, and if they do,
    usually have klunky websites at best.

    Girls make better pictures than boys. The girls just do it, while the boys
    are talking about who has the best camera. You'd vomit if you saw all the
    guys I do paying for workshops who stand around discussing noise figures of
    Canon vs. Nikon while the magic 60 seconds of light passes them over at
    sunrise in some remote scenic location.


    Of course not. As anyone familiar with forums knows, most of them spend most
    of their time calling people stupid.

    One of these days I'll share my resume with you. I haven't bothered so far.
    I prefer to let my photos speak for themselves. I make loads of mistakes and
    learn by paying attention to them, not by reading some chat room. Keeping an
    open mind lets me get smarter. I still have a lot to learn, but after over
    30 years of continuous experimentation I also have a lot to share.

    "I am always learning." Michelangelo.

    'The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the
    ones who do." Steve Jobs, Apple Computer. Sure, I'm crazy, and so were
    Copernicus, Galileo, the Wright brothers and Neil Armstrong. Galileo did his
    most important work while imprisoned for his crazy views. For five years
    after the Wright brothers flew, the most respected scientists of the day
    were still writing articles proving flight was impossible and media derided
    these first flights as hoaxes!

    Experts told us all that airplanes, telephones and light bulbs wouldn't
    work, even after they did. Do you really want to listen to a bunch of
    anonymous chit-chatters? I prefer to do my own photo experiments, and you
    should, too.
    Jeremy, Apr 14, 2006
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  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    Lest anyone wonder why I posted that article, I was struck by Rockwell's
    frank assessment of the fact that NGs attract a lot of self-styled experts,
    that spend more time posting than they do whatever it is that they lecture
    on. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone in particular here, and the
    phenomenon exists on most NGs, not just this one.

    Still it was refreshing to see someone bluntly say what many of us have
    known--albeit intuitively--for a long time:
    Ken has hit this nail squarely on the its head.
    Jeremy, Apr 14, 2006
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  3. Jeremy

    Beach Bum Guest

    Some of us even do both - in this way we can learn from other peolpe's
    experiences. :)

    I really enjoy Ken's web site and his photography. But sometimes he can be
    a little sensational. :)
    Beach Bum, Apr 14, 2006
  4. Jeremy

    Frank ess Guest

    I once wrote a nail-smacker in three parts. It explained how my friend
    The Overconfident Considerer had generated his theory; how he arrived
    at the appropriate method of proof; how precious and useless was the
    entire exercise.

    His theme: "Why are people named 'Jeremy' prone to parade publicly
    their precious and useless exercises of intellect?"
    Frank ess, Apr 14, 2006
  5. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    Your offensive comment proves the point that I make in my signature line,
    doesn't it . . .
    Jeremy, Apr 14, 2006
  6. Jeremy

    no_name Guest

    And based on the available evidence, we know which kind you and he are.
    no_name, Apr 14, 2006
  7. Jeremy

    no_name Guest

    As if you hadn't already provided adequate proof yourself.
    no_name, Apr 14, 2006

  8. An unusually accurate assessment by KR there: Like the bulk of photo
    NG/forum posts he disparages he so often spouts a great proportion of BS
    Simon Stanmore, Apr 15, 2006
  9. Jeremy

    Matt Clara Guest

    As Kurt Vonnegut said, there are two kinds of people, those who go around
    saying "there are two kinds of people", and those who know better.
    Matt Clara, Apr 15, 2006
  10. Jeremy

    Annika1980 Guest

    There are two kinds of photographers: those who make pictures, and those who

    One wonders then why anyone would listen to him?

    So it's OK for him to shoot a lot and spend his time on his website,
    but not OK for others with less of a financial interest to shoot a lot
    and talk in forums?

    This just proves what I always say: "All people who make
    generalizations are idiots."
    Annika1980, Apr 15, 2006
  11. Jeremy

    Skip M Guest

    The irony of Ken Rockwell saying those things on a website that amounts to
    his own private forum didn't strike you? ;-)
    Skip M, Apr 15, 2006
  12. Jeremy

    Alan Browne Guest

    Ironically astute.
    Alan Browne, Apr 15, 2006
  13. Jeremy

    Alan Browne Guest

    It doesn't take a pile of intelligence or imagination to state the
    obvious, so it's appropriate that you quote Rockwell.

    You either talk the talk or walk the walk.

    There are several around here who are all hat and no cattle.

    Esp. those who make great claims about their high shooting pace and
    having had photos on the cover of wide circulation weekly magazines but
    have never, not once, posted a competent (never mind 'great') photo.

    For most of us here, photography is a hobby / pasttime. Other things in
    life often take precedence. Family, home, work.

    Regretfully, my shooting pace has dropped to a few frames per month; for
    that matter so has my posting on rpe35mm, etc.

    I missed the last SI and haven't even shot for my own mandate.

    I have a ton of equipment and a brand new tripod and head.

    Vice Rockwell's idiotic statement, I have a lot of great images from the
    past 12 of more serious application, and several great ones from over 20
    years ago.

    I have other projects that are bubbling to the surface that will take
    more time. I'm travelling at double my usual pace and this is
    infringing on a lot of free time.

    I hope to travel to the southwest US this summer on vacation.

    Have Hassselblad will travel. The son of a friend of mine is an oft
    published photographer (4x5 generally). I hope to go on a few days hike
    with him this summer.

    Alan Browne, Apr 15, 2006
  14. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    Why should it matter where he originally posted it? His assessment made a
    lot of sense, and some of the responses that I received serve only to
    confirm it. It amazes me how some people are eager to chime in with
    personal insults rather than address the subject of the posts.

    Perhaps we should all get back to the "Film vs. Digital" discussion that has
    held this NG in a headlock for the past year.

    OK, I'll start:

    "Which is better, film or digital?"
    Jeremy, Apr 15, 2006
  15. Jeremy

    Colyn Guest

    Colyn, Apr 15, 2006
  16. Jeremy

    Scott W Guest

    You have to wonder where Ken comes up with some of his expert advice,
    such as

    "Forget the silly debate over pixel counts among digital cameras. There
    is little visible difference between cameras with seemingly different
    ratings. For instance, a 3 MP camera pretty much looks the same as a 6
    MP camera, even when blown up to 12 x 18!" I know because I've done
    this. Have you?"

    Of course if he posted this bit of wisdom on a N.G. he would have to
    defend this position, on his own site he can put forth his rather odd
    mix of advice and not have it questioned, at least not on his own site.

    Scott W, Apr 15, 2006
  17. Which is better, raspberries or strawberries?
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Apr 15, 2006
  18. Jeremy

    Scott W Guest

    Raspberries are better, I thought everyone knew that.

    Scott W, Apr 15, 2006
  19. Jeremy

    Alan Browne Guest

    Your agends seems to be " How to waste people's time and NG bandwidth. "
    Alan Browne, Apr 15, 2006
  20. Jeremy

    Paul Furman Guest

    The irony of even talking about this issue struck me.
    Paul Furman, Apr 15, 2006
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