Friday, December 3, 2010

Self taught?

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from photography for the last month. I went home for a vacation that turned out rather different and longer than expected. After dealing with a lot of things, I am slowly getting back into planning my business and doing research.

One thing I've come across often in my research, and it's a big peeve of mine, is a number of photographers claiming to be self taught. Self taught? Really...When you read more of their biographies, they mention that they've had some workshops, maybe learned from so and so. As far as I'm concerned, the vast majority of these people are full of it. If you've taken some night classes, the odd workshop here and there, gotten a little mentoring from other photographers, you can hardly call yourself self taught. Were you asleep when these people were teaching you? Or are they just an inconvenient fact to ignore for your ego?

The only people truly self taught picked up a camera, maybe a few books and never learned anything from a live person. There are a few out there, but not many. I certainly don't consider not taking a photography program at college to equate to self taught. I, for instance, am working my way through a night program as I can afford it over a significant period of time, take workshops in specific techniques and work with a mentor. I have taught myself some things from books, but that has hardly been the majority of my learning.

Do I have a point to this, besides a little venting? Certainly. I think we need more honesty and self examination in this business and less self aggrandizement and marketing bs. Otherwise you start believing your own hype and end up diminishing yourself overall.

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