Tag Archives: forum

The Know-It-All, Blog Commenting, Elitist Photographer

If you spend any time on photography websites and blogs, and especially if you read comment sections, you have probably seen your fair share of “know-it-all” photographers. And let me say, this phenomenon is not unique to the photography world, but it seems there is a higher a-hole ratio within this niche. These comments usually come in the form of simple, to-the-point declarations like, “basic stuff,” or “old news,” or more elaborate and thought-provoking diatribes like, “this post is completely useless, every photographer should already know this.”

But whatever form it comes in, know this: Human beings don’t know things until they do. We aren’t born with the knowledge of our ancestors pre-programmed into our craniums. After exiting the womb, the bowl of noodles between our ears does not automatically assimilate the entire store of human intelligence.

To the “Know-It-All” Photographer, with Love:

See, this is how things work (and I know I need to explain it thanks to your inane blog comment): There was a time long ago when you were born, and like everyone else, you didn’t know anything. Then gradually you learned, and then you learned some more because there were people willing to teach you. This wasn’t always “basic stuff” to you of course, and I’m guessing back when you were learning, you wouldn’t have found it constructive for someone to go around assuming everyone should already know this stuff. Please, tell me if I’m wrong.

Just because you know it, doesn’t mean the job of teaching is over. If the blog you commented on was entirely geared to professionals and know-it-alls like you, then maybe “basic stuff” would be an appropriate comment. Instead, it’s just pretentious and elitist.

So it would seem there are those who get an extra special dopamine rush when they discover they know something that someone else doesn’t, particularly after they proceed to point it out. But this is entirely unimpressive. There are millions and billions of people on this planet learning new things every day, and millions and billions of people who will come along later and learn those things again.

So you know something that someone else doesn’t? Good for you. Bravo. Give yourself a nice long round of applause.


Then get over yourself.

There are those elitists who go around on forums and comment sections, trying to be the internet and topic police, telling people they are “noobs” and to “go read the FAQ,” and “don’t end your sentences with a preposition.” But these people really just clutter things up. It would be easier and better for everyone if they would just answer the question and move on, or better yet (assuming they can’t refrain from smugness), just don’t comment at all.

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Don’t Be ‘That’ Guy

Photography is a great hobby, and for some, a great profession. And yes, photography is an art. Anything that human beings create can be considered art. And as we know, art is subjective. Sure, there are some paintings, or sculptures, or photographs which most people agree are great art. But even with the greatest works there are detractors, and that’s fine. People should not fall in line. People should not follow. People should go with their instincts and what moves them. If you don’t think a piece of art is good, there is no problem with saying so, but what you shouldn’t be is “that” guy. Don’t be the self-righteous prick who goes on message forums, or photo comments on Flickr and acts like a complete ass. Don’t be like this guy:


Is it just me, or do most of the people posting here not know what street photography is?

Here are some of the more cringe-worthy shots I’ve found, without much searching needed. These types of pics also seem to be the norm in this group’s pool.
DSCF1088-Edit by ziengler

그녀의 뒷모습 by Kangheewan
Poverty is the mother of crime. by Ripped Defiance

Rusty Fence Post by Shawn Harquail

Bologna - Il “quadrilatero” - Via Drapperie by Massimo Battesini

Bologna -  "Il quadrilatero" - Via Pescherie Vecchie by Massimo Battesini

Like I said, don’t be “that” guy. You think this is not that bad? You think he has a legitimate complaint? Even so, there are more respectful and tactful ways to go about critiquing the work of others. This is not one of them:

Took a look through your stream, your stuff is mostly poorly composed, underexposed, generic snapshits as well. I guess I’ll let the pictures do the talking instead, instead of the poser who took them.

Well at least he got a bit more specific, but still entirely unhelpful. This definitely ranks high on the prick-o-meter. But it gets even better (or worse). Because it’s not enough to punch people in the face for no particularly good reason, but he also has to pat himself on the back at the same time:

My pictures pretty much perfect. I’ve shot for the Red Bulletin, and I have my work up in galleries in SF. What do you do, besides take poorly composed snapshits of the homeless and people’s backs?

I’ll say it again, don’t be “that” guy.

I think most people in the photography community are not like this guy. Most people are helpful, courteous and truly care about their craft and improving the craft of others through constructive criticism. Unfortunately if you spend any time at all on photo sites, blog comments, or message forums, you will soon find out there is a sizable contingent of egotistical, self-important, sanctimonious assholes. I’m sorry, that’s what they are, and it needs to be said. These people need to be ignored. They are trolls, or at least they behave in troll-like fashion. Do not engage. Stay away. Do not give them fodder. In other words, don’t feed the pious photography trolls.

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