Fauxtography Fail

By Johnny Beaver

PhotoCFI love photography, I have photographer friends and a photographer wife. This is not about the art, but about a gross trend within the ranks of those that practice it. You know the ones I’m talking about, I’m sure of it… the tearful egomaniacs that spend more time on Facebook and web forums complaining about how tough it is to be a photographer than they do actually taking or editing pictures.

Everyone has at least one of these fauxtographers on their friends’ list. You know you’ve seen it, the dreaded photography-themed graphic with a list of snobby sayings designed to make the art-form reek of mystique, but instead comes off sounding whiny and sad. Because I can’t seem to avoid the barrage outright, I’ve decided to go with the grain and seek out the mystery behind it all.

“Better gear makes better photographs,” is constantly listed as a “stupid thing people believe about photographers.” This is obscenely engorged with comedy. You see, better gear actually does make better photos—when the person in question is completely unskilled. The irony is that these folks are the ones that file this into their main rhetoric.

“Your friend can shoot your wedding, but he won’t be as good as a professional!” is from that same list. This seems as good a time as any to say, “No sh*t, Sherlock.” Seriously, people already know this. I mean, golly! I can’t imagine anyone on a budget EVER settling for an amateur over a $1,500 invoice. That’d just be totally crazy. Totally.

Next up is a widely toted list of things photographers hate that I’m particularly fond of. It includes such gems as “Not having enough money for all the equipment I want,” “Trying to decide on the prices to charge,” and “People keep asking me to shoot in places with the worst lighting ever.” Wow, right? It’s like there’s this magical bubble that they all live in, and it’s full of a shocking number of people who aren’t photographers and don’t know about lighting! God forbid you have to use your knowledge to work with a client in order to achieve what they want.

And that’s not even to mention that these viral complaints are mostly composed of the same crap everyone else deals with in their profession. I was a recording engineer for years and was hit up for literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of free work and didn’t make a peep, because that’s just how it is. People are rotten, but only a fool will confuse a lack of understanding regarding their profession with unconsciousness. Yet these kiddos wail and moan if someone even farts and it sounds like a request for a pro bono session.

So, the mystery… unsolved. I just know that it’s both annoying and interesting that it’s always photographers. There’s got to be some kind of psychological link to be explored. Just as I was writing this, a photographer I know that just bought a really pricey effect suite decided to complain about a client saying something to the effect of, “Wow, that’s so beautiful! Is it photoshopped?” How can you complain if you literally did photoshop it?

I dunno. Anyway, check back soon. I’m developing a guide to help these lost souls spare everyone around them. Here’s what I have so far: Step 1 – Pull head out of ass.