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The Angry Photographer

The Angry Photographer

The Angry Photographer

The Professional Photographer – © Copyright 2010 by William Beem

I was watching a live webcast yesterday that was marketed as a critique of HDR photographs. Unfortunately, it was attacked by the angry photographer who hates HDR. People were invited to submit their photographs for critique – both about their photography and their HDR technique. While that was happening, even before during some discussion on the show of HDR as it relates to photography, the angry photographer in the live chatroom went on a rant about his hatred of HDR, how it’s a bastardization of photography, blah, blah, blah.  Nothing I haven’t heard before.

Here’s the thing – I don’t want to call out this photographer by name, or even the show.  Those who were there already know and I see no benefit to naming him to others. However, I don’t want to keep calling him “the angry photographer” in this post, so I’m just going to make up a name to refer to the angry photographer. Let’s call him Dick.

Much of my own photography is HDR. Not all, but probably more than 50% falls into that category. I’m sure this Dick wouldn’t like my photos at all, based upon his plethora of rants and insults about HDR.  That’s OK.  There’s an old saying:

Opinions are like assholes.  Everybody has one.

One of the things that I often enjoy about watching this webcast is the conversation with other viewers. It’s often quite friendly, but a few folks have started to disturb the peace lately. One other person was booted out a week or two ago for his comments, despite several warnings. I wondered for a while if they were going to boot this Dick in the ass, but he remained through the show.

I don’t mind that some Dick has a different opinion than I do.  Seriously.  There are plenty of people in the world who don’t share my views and that’s OK. On the other side, I see a lot of things that I don’t like. Most of the time, I try to keep my mouth shut if I don’t have something positive to say. If I disagree with someone that I don’t know very well, or in front of a large group, I try to be careful how I express it.  So rather than say “That sucks!”, I’ll try to say “Perhaps I would have done it differently.” Something to that effect.  I’m not perfect, but I make an effort to be respectful in most circumstances.

Unless you’re a Dick. When you show a blatant disregard for everyone else, then I figure all bets are off. I’ve lost respect for people who display no respect to others.

As I mentioned, this show was billed as a critique of HDR photos.  If you truly despite and detest HDR photography, why would you show up to such a webcast? Why spend an hour spewing detestable insults against a form of photography in the presence of people who are clearly interested in it? Why be a Dick?

Believe it or not, most people are not interested in your unsolicited opinion. We can accept an unsolicited opinion as part of a group conversation, such as the chatroom associated with this webcast. There are limits to that acceptance, though. When you spew a dozen hateful comments about the topic of the show within a couple of minutes, you’re being a Dick. When the conversation turns to something else (such as the issue the hosts are currently discussing on the webcast) and you keep bringing up your hateful comments, you’re being a Dick.

Dick made some comment about real photographers liking WINE instead of KOOLAID.  All I know is that he did a lot of WHINING. It made me wonder if he was having a WINE ENEMA during the show. That would explain what was stuck up his ass.

There is a time and place to express your opinion. I have a blog so I can share what’s on my mind. Folks can read it or not at their own discretion. The reason I wanted to watch this webcast is because I valued the opinion of the hosts. There are some very knowledgeable and helpful folks who often show up in the chatroom, too. It’s just that I’m not watching for their opinion that goes on a rampage against the topic of the show. If you feel so strongly about an issue, then share it on your own platform. Only a Dick would try to hijack someone else’s audience to spew his hateful message.

I used to work with a man who frequently repeated this phrase to folks in our business meetings.

It’s interesting that you have an opinion, but it’s irrelevant.

The first time I heard him make that comment, I thought he was a Dick. Fortunately, I discovered that my initial assessment of him was incorrect. I learned that he was a very well informed man who had been in our field for years, though it was very new to the rest of us. He used this comment to both release his frustration and to explain why opinions didn’t matter. There was often a relevant law or business practice that superseded the direction we had to take. Lots of people have opinions. You can talk about what you think we ought to do in a meeting, but you’re just exposing your ignorance when our path was already dictated by law or policy.

HDR isn’t law, but it’s here as a tool. As discussed by the show hosts, HDR became a tool for the masses when Apple included it in iOS. You can take HDR photos with your iPhone now. It’s not going away, so your opinion is irrelevant. It’s here. Deal with it, Dick.

P.S. The photographer shown above is not angry and he’s not a Dick.  He’s a wonderful guy.

About William

Author, Photographer and IT Manager. I have a fondness for chocolate. I also own Suburbia Press and Aperture vs Lightroom. Follow me on Twitter at @wbeem.

Comments

  1. Michael White says:

    /bravo Excellent post, William :) I get told all the time by “traditional” photographers that I use HDR as a crutch. My reply is usually “No, I use it as art” :)

  2. Just finished watching the podcast (missed the live broadcast yesterday). Yeah…he whined….A LOT. Was that you that asked “cat pee in your Cheerios?

  3. Tom Bricker says:

    Great and humorous post. Beyond just HDR, I think there’s a bit of a ‘battle’ in the photography community among the old-timers and the new guard. While there are some types of processing I don’t care for personally, I realize that my opinion is exactly that, my opinion, and it hardly invalidates the art form.

    I think it can be frustrating for some photographers to see poorly-done (in my opinion ;)) HDR praised by the general public simply because it looks so much different than “normal” photography. You can take an amazing, well-composed, and thoughtful photo with a nice prime and conventional processing and not receive nearly the same reaction as someone who processes a thoughtless snapshot by button-mashing HDR.

    Once again, though, this does not invalidate HDR as an art form. I myself really want to get into HDR more. There’s a lot of fun to be had there, I think.

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