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Declare Independence

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

Independent thought is the most scarce resource in photography today. Not talent. Not money. Not technical ability.

Blogs, books, magazines and even workshops parrot each other - and always have. Which photographers have remained interesting throughout? The ones who were doing what the others hadn’t considered. It’s, by definition, the only way to stand out.

In the 1960s, touring with a rock band as their photographer was not what the pros were doing. Those unique, timeless images have made worthwhile careers and worthwhile lives for those photographers. Touring with a rock band as their photographer today wouldn’t matter half as much, because it’s what the pros do. It’s not unique anymore. It’s a well-established process.

What unique images can you bring the world today that the pros aren’t?

The dependence we have on pros to tell us how to shoot and how to present our photography serves to only make our work just like the thousands of other photographers who listened to the same message.

I’m not pro and I know some of the “pros” out there who are dispensing the advice are only pros at dispensing advice. Without naming names, some are downright con artists.

How can you tell the difference? You can’t. You have to decide if the advice makes sense to your particular brand of photography. You have to decide if reading this article is a good use of your time. You have to decide if the writer is credible. That’s what independent thought is about.