The problem with photography today is not Instagram, Selfies or other Snapchat. It is not the devaluation of the value of professional photography. No, those are nothing compared to the massive influx of a pernicious disease infecting modern photography.

The problem with photography today is that everyone writes about photography. Not that is a problem onto itself if the quality was present; but it’s not. Everybody claims to be an expert on the topic while very few excel at it.  From the buzzfeed wanna be sites that will sell its soul in exchange for a vaguely viral Go Pro (OMG !, it’s going public)  video that could satisfy its “clicks and likes” addiction, to the self-proclaimed “pro master guru ninja” that can spew lines upon lines day after day about how to achieve photography greatness ( although he never did), you can read everything and anything about photography today.

No need for any credentials, if you know how to write and set up a blog, you are on. Just write and they will come. They will believe, even if you have never sold a picture in your life, because printed text yields authority. If it’s on the internet it must be true. This trend has been exacerbated by the fact that less and less photographers are making any reasonable income from their trade. So instead, they turn to their wanna peers with fables of greatness in order to sell them snippets of wisdom or information usually borrowed from somewhere else.

It is not so much the gear porn sites that bother me, or the “here is the latest photo book/exhibit ( although their sense of taste should sometimes be questioned), nor those that pretend to teach you, for the N th time, how to shoot the perfect portrait. Those, in a way, are quite un-harmful ( most of the time). The real killers are those that pretend, with authority, to either give you advice on the business of photography and/or those who will do analysis of current trends in photography. A short look at the biographies ( sometimes very hard to find), will show you that the writer has little to no experience in the field he pretends to be an expert. Just an opinion, based on articles they have read somewhere else.

The world of professional photography is not that big and, in the western world, most people know or have heard of each other. If not, a quick phone call or email will confirm or deny the provenance of an individual. So pros know who to read and who to dismiss. In the amateur, beginner, semi pro world, there is no such knowledge and that is whom these websites go after. Not because they actually care about what they write, but because they have something to sell. Classes, workshops, books, photos, ads,T-shirts for sale are all pretty good signs that what you are reading is only click bait. Of course, some talented people will also have some of these for sell, so it’s not a dead giveaway.

It is so painful and annoying to have to read the out most stupid article written by a clearly uneducated idiot whose sole claim to notoriety  is to have a good writing style.It is almost sickening to have to see shotgun written entries that are clearly like cheese in a mice trap. It is saddening to see decades of knowledge being buried under an insurmountable amount of static noise. Social media has made popularity a badge of authority . If you have a lot of followers than you must know what you are talking about. Or you must be a good (great photographer) because you have 100K + followers on Instagram. Truth is, they are judged only by their social media status rather than any real talent or experience.Plus, they could have bought those followers.

Sure, anyone is allowed to write about anything they want and they should. However, there should be a limit to who hands out advice to others. It’s like the person who talks the loudest in a room and interrupts others with dead serious affirmations they just made up opinion. Their only strength is their foolish ability to be convincing mostly because they never doubt themselves.

Unfortunately, there is no remedy for this besides readers insights and judgment. There is nothing illegal in being a loud  incompetent and in most capitalist countries, fooling idiots is seen as a valuable skill. We will see no end to this rise of “experts” sites and erroneous infopinion ( information + opinion) travelling from some sites to sites, polluting an industry already battered by the lack of responsiveness from its key players. With no authority prevailing, it’s a land grab and may the loudest win.

I will be speaking this coming Tuesday about Technology and photography. Make sure you attend by registering :

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Author: pmelcher


  1. “Everybody claims to be an expert on the topic while very few excel at it.”—

    Every #tutorial ever?

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