Friday, September 11, 2015


There's a thing that we might think of as the online photography community. There's a bunch of web-famous people (Arias, Hogan, Reichmann, Thein, Kim, etc) and a cadre of actually published guys (Kelby etc) and a bunch of clickbait news sites (PetaPixel, FStoppers, etc), and these people all have people who follow and comment on their posts and web sites. Sometimes there's a forum where people have long conversations about color management.

There's a strong thread of 'pro photographer' in this bunch. A few pros. A few retired pros. A lot of fake pros. And a huge seething mass of wannabees.

This group thinks of itself as everyone, as far as I can tell. The position appears to be, roughly, "We are the photographic community. We buy the cameras, we make the images, we are the serious photographers. We take our craft seriously. And then there's some bums out there with cheap cameras and cell phones and fuck them they're just taking snapshots."

This community worries a lot about the end of photography. They wring their hands and gasp in wonder at multiple billions of photos a day being uploaded to facebook etc. They wail that it is impossible to be noticed. They get a smugmug premium package, and grouse that nobody except their mom is buying canvas wraps of their shitty landscapes, indistinguishable from all the other landscapes. They bemoan "image theft" and rail against people who download their pictures and use them in brochures without permission.

Then there's the other community. It is, I suspect, a lot bigger. This community doesn't give a damn about your Zeiss Otus mumble blat. They're taking pictures. They're making Art. They're finding audiences, or not, as the fancy strikes them. They're publishing books and magazines. They're not gear fetishists, although many of them are fetishists. They take blurry pictures of feet. They take abstracts. They shoot a lot of nudes. They mostly don't give a shit about sharpness or leading lines. They're obsessive about girls, or cats, or stars, or vibrations, or color, or dance. They love Polaroid cameras. They're all obsessive about Art, and they just go out and make it. They're not practicing, they're not building their skills, they're not saving up for that lens. They're just getting down to the business of making Art.

They're publishing on the web, sure, but also in print via a 100, a 1000, 10,000 different channels. They're reaching their fanbase, their audience, their friends and family. They're making things that satisfy themselves and others.

They don't give a shit that Sony's newest sensor has the best DxOMark scores. They don't give a shit about your show in the local Gallery (ach-coffeeshop-choo). They think your derivative second rate copies of pictures from 1940 suck, when they bother to think about you at all, which ain't much.

The Photography Community has never heard of any of these people, and that's just the way these people, these actual Artists, like it. Fuck off, you gearheads, with your half-assed never-realized pretensions. With your photo contests and your cute little blue ribbons. I have fat girls sitting on record players to photograph. And when we're done photographing we're going to get high, go dancing until 4am, and then we're going to fuck like extremely loud dogs until we pass out.

(Not actually me, obviously, I am old and tedious. The scruffy buggers with the polaroid cameras.)


  1. Brilliant summation.

    I hope you don't mind - I linked to this post on my Facebook page. The more people who understand what you said, the better.

    Kind regards from Australia

    1. Don't mind a bit!

      To make it more concrete, there is an experiment I think I mention elsewhere: get on kickstarter. Search for photo book projects. Filter to only fully funded projects. Look at the total number. It's impressive.