Ignorance is Bliss

I've been doing quite a bit of learning lately. Photography, lighting, Portrait retouching, how to pose models.  Would you like to know what I've learned? I've learned that I was happier when I didn't know some of the things I've learned. Ignorance is bliss.  Sure, you may feel confusion because you don't know how to do something, but that is nowhere nearly as frustrating as going online and getting upset when you see things that are “wrong” in your own photos, or those of others. If you really want to put a cherry on it, read all the comments that say “Great photo!” when you know it's a piece of crap.  It has to be, because everything in it is wrong.

You can't imagine the horror I've witnessed:

  • Poses with no accent leg
  • Canoeing in the eyes
  • Women trying to look seductive with their head tilted back
  • Lighting that casts shadows on both sides of the subject
  • No pores!

Those are just the problems with my photos. Then there are the conversations on the Internet.  People speak with authority repeating the same thing that someone told them, never knowing that what they're saying isn't really true. They use words like “specular” without knowing what it means.  It makes me angry. Then it makes me cry.

Why, oh why did I ever bother learning these things knowing that the rest of the world wouldn't bother? It's foolish to have knowledge when most people are satisfied with “common knowledge.” It's better to be wrong with friends than right by yourself.

Heed my warning or share my suffering. It's better to be one of the ignorant masses than the intellectual elite. Don't learn. Don't try to improve yourself. Just hangout with everyone else and be like everyone else.  If you take time to learn, you just may differentiate yourself from others…and that would be Hell.

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  • Ty Freeman August 18, 2011   Reply →

    I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I remember how I happy I was just a year ago, creating crappy photos and getting compliments from people. The blind encouraging the blind. Then I decided I was going to master this craft (big mistake). The more you learn, the more critical you become of yourself. I can’t say for sure the last time I was actually “happy” with a photo that I’ve taken. It seems to be an illusion. Damn if I know how professionals sleep at night, knowing the pictures they delivered to customers are so flawed. Perfectionism overtakes you at some point, and trying to get back to the old days of ignorance is no longer an option. Welcome to purgatory.

  • David Hodgins August 19, 2011   Reply →

    You forgot a step…. join Flickr. If you ever plan on learning, though, stay as far from Flickr as you can. Once you start to learn, learn, all those comments and “perfect capture”s you used to feel so proud about will mock you every time you read them.

  • Gareth August 20, 2011   Reply →

    William, your photos are great. Your site is one of my RSS feeds. I look at your photos with inspiration and aspire to be as good as you are one day.

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