I am writing this article on the basis of the myths I hear most often. You may not hear them, you may hear others, that’s okay. Please write your own and dispel them at your leisure. Here are mine.
1. Photography is about being a generalist.
Don’t be a generalist, be a specialist, an expert, not an odd job person.
2. If you don’t understand how your camera works you can’t be a photographer.
Learn enough but not everything. Focus on photography not technology.
3. Research is not important to the working photographer.
No research no understanding.
4. You have to pay to play.
You don’t! You don’t need to enter competitions and pay for portfolio reviews to get noticed.
5. You need a style to be successful.
Style is transitory, language is permanent. Focus on language, not aesthetics.
6. You will get paid to do what you want.
You will get paid if you meet the client expectations or the market needs, you will not be paid if you ignore these.
7. You need to call yourself an artist to be taken seriously.
There is nothing wrong with describing yourself as a photographer.
8. You can ignore social media.
You can’t. See it as a marketing, networking or information tool. Then you will see that it is essential.
9. People will buy your book because you made it.
Never forget that without an audience you will get few sales.
10. Reading has nothing to do with photography.
It has everything to do with photography. From reading we gain empathy, and the ability to tell stories. Just don’t think that reading about photography is the only reading you need to do as a photographer.
Other opinions are available.
Dr. Grant Scott is the the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019). His film Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay was first screened in 2018 www.donotbendfilm.com
© Grant Scott 2022