Wrong-headed-notions-in-photography

Without singling out any particular group, person, or publication I need to speak up about something that I consider completely wrong-headed. I hear it over and over, it's subtle and never the main point or topic of any conversation, article or interview. It's the notion that the photographic endeavor of shooting friends and family is somehow less important than photographing some other subject matter that is not friends and family.

Over and over you hear how much you don't need any sort of decent photo gear to shoot friends and family as in the mini interview that I was reading about the gear a particular serious amateur photographer carries around with him. The paraphrased quote - "I carry a Leica M9 to do my street photography and a cheapo point and shoot cell phone for taking pictures of friends and family" - is what prompted me to write this. Not only does this imply you can use anything to shoot friends and family it also implies that this activity is some lowly endeavor like taking pictures for selling crap on e-bay.

The big manly lens is for serious work - you might want to get something else for friends and family or just taking pictures of your kids. etc etc. I hear this all the time from all sorts of photographers. While I would agree you don't need expensive equipment to photograph your friends and family it's also true that you don't need expensive gear to photograph anything.

The issue I have is that there is a prevalent, consistent, subtle message that shooting friends and family is deserves no serious attention. I have always found this strange and in my not so humble opinion completely wrong-headed. Unless you have nobody you care about that is close to you friends and family is probably the most important thing you will ever photograph - no matter who you are. If you make images for a livelihood, of course those images are important to put food on the table. Important images that put food on your table may be very important in putting more food on your table. This does not mean that somehow that elevates them above images of your friends and family.

I think this is probably a "man thing" as that is where I observe the effect the most. Even my pro-photographer friends from the past and present seem to have this embedded into their photo mantra. Most of them men, almost never photograph their friends and family. This ranges from landscape, to fashion, to wedding photographers. In fact they all know I spend a lot of time photographing my kids, my friends, and my family. Here is the funny part - they never mock me or tease me about it. They never suggest that I use my cell phone instead. What they do ask is that I actually spend time photographing their kids. You have to be kidding me - right?

Just something to think about - I think most of them somehow picked this up from offhanded statements like the example I pointed out at the beginning of the post.

Don Quixote signing off for now.

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