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Declare Independence

This is a chapter from the book A Lesser Photographer.

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

Websites, videos, books, magazines, and even workshops tend to parrot each other. Which photographers have remained interesting throughout? The ones who were doing what the others hadn’t considered.

In the 1960s, professional photographers did not usually go on tour with musicians. Those photographers who did wound up shooting unique, timeless images that have made for worthwhile careers and worthwhile lives.

Today, touring with musicians is what the professionals do. It’s not unique anymore. It’s a well-established process. And it doesn’t have the same impact.

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

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

Some of the “pros” out there who are dispensing the advice are only professionals at dispensing advice. Some are downright con artists.

How can you tell the difference? You can’t. You have to decide if the advice makes sense for your photography. You have to decide if reading this book is a good use of your time. You have to decide if the writer is credible. You have to decide how to spend your time in this hobby. Don’t let someone else decide for you.