9. There will be an unspoken rivalry between a large portion of the “fine-art” and “commercial” students.
This is an interesting topic. Everyone starts out in the same place. We just like making pictures to the best of our abilities. However, in time, we all learn what our interests are, and in the grand scheme of things, create work that falls into the commercial category or the fine-art category. The commercial photographers start to see the fine-art ones as pretentious, and the fine-art photographers start to look at the commercial photographers as cheap, non-artists. (I’m generalizing a lot here, but bear with me).
As far as I’m concerned, being a commercial photographer doesn’t make you any less of a photographer than someone who creates the highest grossing fine-art prints. As long as you know your craft, and have a creative vision that’s a bit outside-the-box, you’re a true artist - whether you shoot people, landscapes, dogs, objects, or anything else imaginable. On the opposite side of things, fine-art photographers aren’t all pretentious (although I absolutely know that some are). I had a very interesting interaction with another student this morning that made me think about this.
We recently ended up in the same Portraiture class and hadn’t really talked all that much up until today. He told me how he used to think that I was a pretentious fine-art guy up until we started the same class together. He went on to say that after hearing me critique other classmates last week, he realized that his presumptions had been wrong and that I didn’t actually pass any judgement toward the commercial shooters and that my comments were “spot on.” We went on to have a solid conversation. I have a lot of respect toward him for telling me that, and it really meant a lot. (He’s a very talented photographer as well).
So, the moral of the story is something like this: keep an open mind and don’t get sucked into the rivalry. It’s childish.
To be continued…
1. It’s all a competition. No matter what genre of photography you and your classmates fall into, you’re all in this unspoken competition to one-up each other. How can you realistically expect a group of people who are all being thrown into the exact same field, trying to make a living to get along?
2. Expect snide comments. Refer to Figure 1.
3. You will constantly question yourself. This is just part of the process. It’s those that stick with it that actually end up making it.
4. A lot of critiques are useless. Not all of them by any means, but a lot of the time other students have agendas when it comes to critique. I learn more from my critiques with chriscoephoto, recent graduates, and my actual professor to be honest.
5. The clique mentality is strong. I don’t think I need to say much more.
6. Everybody lies. (Or at least embellishes). Refer to Figure 2.
"Oh yeah, I get paid $xx,xxx for a day rate!"
"Yeah, I’m going to get represented by xxxxx Gallery."
"I shot this with film."
"Yeah, I use color zone system."
(That last one was an actual quote from an established artist, not a student. So it’s not just photo school, it’s all of photography.)
7. There will be drama.
8. Most people will dislike each other by graduation. (I don’t even want to go to mine.)
To be continued…
I went out for a drive this evening to shoot for my project. I went through a roll or so, potentially got some decent shots, but was frustrated nonetheless. Then on my drive home I came up with a concept for a new project and started working on it a bit. All in all, it was a productive evening I suppose.
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