I really want to stop getting annoyed by stupid photography articles, videos and comments
Being a creative person can sometimes be draining on your mental health. I had a pretty crap December, spending most of it at home recovering from pneumonia. I missed being out taking photos, but I also realised how important health is, both physical and mental. I also realised that the two of these are not separate items, and working in the creative industry can be a strain on both. Everyone has their own pressure points, and discovering those, and learning to work around them is part of dealing with it. One of the issues that I realised gets me too worked up is when I read some stupid nonsense written about photography.
It may be easy to say that you should just avoid all the noise, but part of the job of being a photo blogger is to engage with the industry, and be aware of what is going on. One of the things that I’ve noticed over years that I’ve been doing this, is that there is a lot of nonsense written/recorded about photography. I know that many of you reading this are probably saying: “Duh”, but It seems to be getting worse. The amount of disinformation, and incredibly bad advice seems to be growing exponentially. It’s not just among fringe sites or small blogs either, it’s among large, popular sites and personalities.
I think one part of this problems is the fact that several popular photography sites and communities are crowd sourced. They seem to publish articles from anybody, and many times I’m reading stuff that is either just wrong and in some cases dangerous, as it teaches bad habits or false information to readers. I’m guessing there are no proper editors at these sites, or if there are, they just don’t care.
Another issue is that some of these sites publish articles that I know are from either camera or software manufacturers but that isn’t specifically clear from the article. In news papers and magazines you’re supposed to clearly denote when an article is a paid advertisement, but on blogs, some publishers just don’t bother.
There’s another issue too with “bubbles”. If you’re a fan of a certain brand you may get a lot of your industry news with sites that are friendly to said brand, but that too may be quite misleading. This leads people to have an unfortunately biased and inaccurate view of the industry as a whole, which then leads to angry comments from people that thinks they know what’s going on, but are actually just going off misleading information, or company PR talking points. A lot of this stems from fan sites cherry picking information about cameras or companies that compete with the one that they’re a fan of, to make the competition look bad. It’s kind of crazy really, but the carry on of some die hard fans sometimes rivals that of what you would expect in politics.
Now, I know this shouldn’t affect me but it does, because it filters down to smaller sites like mine. People end up with preconceptions that are just wrong, and then they ask you why you don’t do something in a certain way or use (or don’t use) a certain product in a certain way, and you have to correct their misinformation. Sometimes that’s the end of it, but other times you then get hate mail, because someone is so worked up about a particular product or brand, they really don’t want to hear the truth.
And then there’s YouTube. I have nothing against YouTube as a platform, and as a YouTuber myself (I kind of hate that term) I really appreciate what the platform allows independent creators like me to achieve. But, there are some prominent YouTubers in the photography community that are, and I mean this with all due respect, full of shit. This really came to the fore when Canon and Nikon announced their full frame mirrorless cameras last year.
It became apparent really quickly, that the general reaction of bashing these cameras was going to be click bait gold for some people, and so they jumped on it, publishing sensational videos, that were not only incorrect, but used pseudoscience and crappy journalism to pretend to be “unbiased” while pushing a sensationalist narrative, which was really clear was pure click bait. Different YouTubers were falling over themselves to see who could bash these new cameras the most. That really annoyed me, because it debases the platform as a whole.
I know this all sounds kind of ridiculous, but that’s what you have to deal with as a photo blogger. It’s part of the package. I just have to become better at compartmentalising it, and dealing with it, and separating out the noise from the signal. I will continue to do my part to provide the best information I can, unbiased where possible, and doing my best to make sure that people understand that I’m just giving my opinion when not.
I always wanted to keep my blog as positive as possible, but on the other hand, its hard to stand back and watch as this kind of discourse and disinformation is damaging the larger community, and I feel guilty not calling it out when I see it. Not that my tiny insignificant voice will make much of a difference, but it’s better than nothing.
So what’s the solution to my original problem? It think it’s two fold. It’s kind of like that alcoholics anonymous pledge that I’m undoubtedly going to butcher. Grant me the patience to endure the things I can’t change, and the strength to change the things I can. I want to be better at ignoring the things that are just noise, and if I can help correct a misconception then I will do my best. That’s my other New Years goal.
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