Photograph above taken in Lake George, NY with a Leica MP240 (2018) (A Lake George boater takes his cruiser out of the water for the season)
Marketing vs. Real World Experience
How many times have you heard a photographer bitch about Ken Rockwell? Quite a lot I'm sure. In fact, all you have to do is go online and see all the YouTube videos from those that hate this man. You know, the RAW vs. JPEG idiots that has been ragging on him for years. But here's the thing; whether you love or hate him, there is a reason his site has almost a million hits a month. Ken Rockwell has real-world experience.
When it comes to sharing information, real-world experience is the most valuable asset any photographer can possess. So what is real world experience? Real world experience is knowledge based on practical hands-on application, as opposed to the abstract, theoretical, or idealized sphere of the classroom, laboratory, etc. So how does this apply to photography and composition? Everything.
There are many photographers out there that teach photography and composition but have no real-world experience. This means they have practically no body of work and spend all their time analyzing art and marketing books, videos, blog posts, etc., as opposed to building a respectable portfolio. This is a clear indicator of a marketer, not an experienced photographer.
Need a few examples? How about Eric Kim and Ted Forbes. These two are brilliant marketers but have little real-world experience and almost no portfolio. While on the surface this might seem insane, considering the number of followers they have online, this is the magic of effective marketing. Ted Forbes, who runs the Art of Photography website, doesn't know much about art or the art of photography. And what about Eric Kim? Street photography guru? Hmmm, not so much. Kim, who has flooded the internet with daily blog posts for years, actually does very little real street photography.
However, despite these rare examples of success from a few knowledgeable marketers, in the real world, it takes a highly trained photographer several decades of hard work to build a reputation and a respectable portfolio. And while I have nothing against successful marketers, if you want to be a teacher that has credibility and longevity, at some point, you're gonna have to pay your dues. There is no getting around this fact.
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