Don’t blame the viewer, except……

Written by Daniel Gregory

I am a Whidbey Island, Wa based fine-art photographer and photographic educator. I am a core faculty member of the Photographic Center Northwest, as well as an instructor for CreateLive and KeblyOne . I also regularly presents at regional and national conferences. I also the host of the weekly podcast The Perceptive Photographer which focuses on the challenges and day-to-day aspects of living as a photographer.

August 31, 2020

Episode 286

Sometimes I hear someone say something and it gets me thinking about my approach to my photography. I recently overheard someone say don’t shoot the messenger. This got me to thinking about how many times we blame the viewer for not getting our understanding of our photographs. 

This week’s podcast is all about how we can help to overcome our frustration with others when they just don’t get our work. It is easy to blame the viewer as just not getting it, but I believe there is an opportunity for each of us to step back from our work and think about our approach. Are we as clear as we can be with our story, emotion, composition, and frame? Do we know what our work is about? Do we have clarity of purpose in our work or is it still vague in our mind? We can’t really expect someone else to get it if we don’t on some level get our own work, can we?

The one exception I have to not blaming the viewer is around personal experiences. When someone creates their work, it is from their experiences. When we tell them that it isn’t true, not what happened or worse this is what I would have photographed, we invalidate their experience. When we look at the art or photographs that someone has created that is meaningful to them and we say it doesn’t matter what do you think it says about them? So I don’t blame the viewer when it comes to fuzzy ideas in photographs, but I do have and issue when it is dismissive feedback because of what someone else has experienced, and that is my exception to the rule. 

Please remember to keep safe and wear your mask!

Also, don’t forget that there are a couple of new workshops I am offering. Each workshop will run for 6-7 months and is limited to six participants. There is a foundation workshop about editing and workflow and an advanced workshop about finding more meaning in your work. You can get more information from the Workshops/Teaching menu above or using one of the links below.

Perceptive Photographer Foundation Workshop: The Developing Image

Perceptive Photographer Advanced Workshop: The Meaningful Image

 

Gear used in the podcast

One of the questions I get asked frequently is what sort of equipment do I use to record my podcast. I have used a variety of equipment in the three years that I have been recording, but here is the current list of equipment that I am using. Also as an FYI and full disclosure, the links are affiliate links to Amazon.

Rode Procaster XLR microphone
Rode Boom Arm
Rode PSM Shockmount
All three Rode components a kit
Focusrite Scarlet 2i2
Adobe Audition (part of creative cloud subscription)
LogicPro X
Macbook Pro
OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock
Headphones

Affiliate Links

This website may use affiliate links. This means when you purchase something through links marked as affiliate links (usually noted by a *), I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I personally use or have tested.

New Course at KelbyOne

You May Also Like…

AI and Computational Photography-When is it no longer a photograph?

AI and Computational Photography-When is it no longer a photograph?

I have been asked a lot recently about what I think about some of the new tools digital photographers have at their disposal. Many programs now offer “AI or machine learning” to help edit photographs. Now with the click of a few buttons, you can replace skies, change expressions, or quickly composite images together.

In today’s podcast, we talk a little about a few issues that arise when you think about the nature of computational photography and the language and words we might consider when talking about photography moving forward.

The rules and repeatability of composition

The rules and repeatability of composition

In the end, I think we all want to make interesting photographs, and the composition and framing are so much of that experience. The more you can be aware of composing, the more interesting and accurate stories you can tell. Being aware also gives you something else that is critical to photography–repeatability. You can repeat something repeatedly because you understand what happened and not just got lucky once with an accident. At the end of a day of photographing, knowing that we’re able to get the image you wanted because you understood the composition’s impacts making the editing and selection process that much more fun.

The joy and pain of muscle memory

The joy and pain of muscle memory

In this week’s podcast, we look at the impacts of muscle memory on our photography. Muscle memory, or the body’s ability to do something without thinking about it, is an important aspect of working as a photographer. This memory allows us to be able to quickly and efficiently do our jobs. From settings on the camera to keyboard shortcuts in a program, being efficient can really make a difference in how we can do our work. Yet, there is a downside. Anyone who has spent too much time hunched over a desk knows that bad things can happen when muscles remember bad things. Hunched over a desk can make our backs and necks hurt for days as the muscles unwind. In our photography, bad muscle memory can reinforce bad habits or make us a little lazy in our approach to editing and working. Spending some time to sort out what is good and bad about our muscle memory habits might make us better photographers and a little less sore.