Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login


I used to take a lot of macro shots of flowers as I traveled and did a lot of hiking in varying ecosystems. Playing with focal depth and framing was a great pleasure, and my shots were frequently something I was really proud of.

Then I had a roommate say in a pseudo off-hand passive aggressive way that she didn't understand nature photography - "I mean, it's not like the photographer made the flower, it was already there."

I really felt it undermined some of my best efforts, while clearly not understanding anything about photography. But then she also felt a $200 point and shoot was superior to all my oversized stuff.

I guess these days I'm too lazy to carry around more than an iPhone, and not interested in spending a lot of money on that hobby. I doubt that comment has had an impact on my passion for the hobby, but then again, I remember that comment with glaring clarity and it's been about 8 years.

It's obviously not worth dwelling now, many years later, but I think you should've dismissed her comment based on her premise ("it's not like the photographer made the flower..."). It is a hard balance between pursuing what you think is art and appealing to others; but if a critic's reasoning is flawed, then you're justified in having an air of superiority.

"It's not like the DJ is doing anything but playing other people's songs"

Reminds me of this anecdote.

Your camera takes great pictures.

Thank you. Your mouth gives great compliments.

"This picture is excellent, you must have a nice camera."

"This dinner is excellent, you must have a nice oven."

I more or less ONLY take photos of stuff I found. And usually kitsch, too. Insects on flowers, clouds, swans, street art is basically 50% of my photos. For me it's not so much "look at what I've made", but "look at what I've found!". Maybe there is still an element of pride in it, but it's more the pride of a kid bringing sea shells home from the beach... and it's not my problem if boring adults don't get that :)

Having said that, having worked with a photographer for a while, I don't consider what I do "real photography"... that woman thought about shots for months, planned them for weeks, made them in hours or over the course of days! Now that is actually what it says on the tin, "painting with light".

So without any bitterness, I simply cannot call what you and I do, no matter how much we enjoy it, the same thing. It would be like comparing writting a shopping list to "writing", to Kafka or something. It may seem to be the same act to the casual observer, but it really isn't. But then again, by that standard most professional photographers aren't photographers either. Hmm I'm rambling, sorry; that woman impressed me loads, what can I say. So obsessed, so good.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact