I’ve been getting hate mails from a disgruntled blogger recently. I usually ignore them and file them in the evidence folder, but the latest one caught my attention. He said, (paraphrased) “you’ll never be as good of a photographer as I am, so you should just delete your blog.” This resonated with a conversation I had a few days ago that was already stewing in my brain, so here are the results.
He has a point. I’ll never be able to capture landscapes like Ansel Adams. I won’t have the visual eye that Henri Cartier-Bresson had. I’m pretty darn certain that none of my photographs will ever sell for the prices that a Weston or Steichen will. So if I can’t measure up to the great photographers or even come close, why bother? Why keep trying?
I can come up with an endless list of reasons why I should quit. I’m not that good. I’m still learning. I’m having trouble finding things to shoot that are worth shooting. It’s snowing (believe it or not, that’s a darn good reason!) It’s hot. I’m stuck in a rut of only shooting what I like. Everyone else has done this shot, why should I? And on and on.
It’s depressing. But only because I’m looking at the issue from one viewpoint.
Turn the argument around and try this – why shouldn’t I photograph? Give me one compelling reason why I can’t keep trying. I can’t think of one. And I honestly don’t think that the great photographers sprang out of nowhere with perfect techniques either – they too, had to learn. I’ve seen some pretty bad photographs from some of those guys I mentioned; some early work, and some experimental work that would leave you giggling. No one is an instant expert – everyone has to practice and perfect their techniques.
So for now, I’m not a professional. I don’t claim to be one. I’m learning, and I hope to continue learning for the rest of my life – stagnant work is boooorrring. I’ll cheerfully accept constructive criticism and feedback, because that’s how you learn. I’ll keep shooting even if my work is mediocre at best, because not shooting doesn’t fix that problem.
Given that I mentioned in another post that I’m really blogging for my benefit, why on earth should I delete my blog because one idiot says I should? Not a chance. And really, the great photographers need people like me for contrast, because otherwise how could you tell that they were great? Even mediocrity has a purpose.