Share the knowledge, share the joy

It occasionally seems as if there are two types of photographers – those who are truly passionate about their work, and who wish to share that passion, and those who use their knowledge and technical proficiency as a means to proclaim their superiority.

Those who take the latter approach frequently dismiss the work of less experienced photographers, or belittle them for asking what they see as foolish questions. They guard their knowledge, and the position in society they believe it gives them, like a precious jewel.

I believe this explains why some film photographers were – and in some cases, still are – dismissive of digital photography. The invention of the digital camera is perhaps one of the greatest moments in the history of photography. Because of the instant feedback one receives, digital cameras drastically shorten the learning curve. It takes significantly less time than it used to for beginners to become technically proficient. This means more people taking up photography, and more sticking with it for the long haul. In my opinion, some photographers felt threatened by this fact. If more people suddenly developed into skilled photographers, others would no longer appear unique(of course, whether or not they actually ever were unique is debatable). I don’t believe the “knowledge hoarders” feared the competition as much as they feared the threat to their social status, or more accurately, to their own ego.

I am an egalitarian. I believe everyone should have equal access to knowledge and opportunity. If I possess information that could prove helpful to others, my instinct is to share that information. This especially holds true with regards to photography. If more people become proficient as photographers, this can only benefit the art of image making. And of course, more skilled photographers means more beautiful images for all of us to view.

So if you’re good at something – photography, or otherwise – share that knowledge. Encourage others, don’t discourage them. If you truly love what you’re good at, sharing that passion will benefit us all.

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