After our SNAPP event a couple of nights ago, I came home and started doing the usual check of websites/mail accounts/feeds before hitting the sack. There’s this Meetup group that I co-organize here in Tampa. In that group a couple of people had gotten into a dust up about an image.
Apparently one of the photogs in the group took an image of someone and was (in their opinion) heavy handed in the processing. Rather than talk to this person in private, you get things that are posted like “Overzealous processing.. ” or “I didn’t know doing hallucinogenic was required before processing” or “this is what’s wrong with HDR”
My favorite of all of these was this one, which I HAVE to quote.. exactly:
(If I was just a dumb model, I wouldn’t have opinion on this matter; but I’m a professional photojournalist, and feel the compulsion to clarify some things) ….we’re photo professionals–we’re supposed to aspire to professionalism. But you will never see this sort of zealous over-shopping done in print because it is amateur….. but I feel like no one is doing anyone a service if we never identify that this is a problem.
I sat there just wondering… “Man, that’s quite a bit of nerve ” (I actually said something a LOT more colorful than that). He prob made that person feel horrible! It made me think back to another set of events I experienced not too long ago. Same vibe, different circumstances.
As much as i don’t want to have a problem with this – I do. Here’s how I see it. There is a BIG difference between TEACHING someone and SCHOOLING someone. Want to know what the difference is? read on.
Here’s the gist:
- There is a technique or style that is -overused- . Like waay too much. Or that something isn’t used at all.. and should be..
- People feel it upon themselves to stand on a specific side of an argument, then preach from that side.
- People’s mission becomes to LEAD you to this solution.. which is their answer..
- You will be treated like an idiot for overusing – or not using at all – said technique or style
- People will use their (industry experience/book knowledge/SAT Scores/Letters of Recommendations/whathve you) to justify why you are wrong in doing X
- People will feel the need to have their voice be heard, no matter what, calling you out on your heretic, misinformed, ill positioned, thoughtless ways through the use of a comment, forum post, tweet, what have you.
I love to teach. It’s my favorite thing to do (I totally think it has to do with never being able to get on a Broadway stage or something…cause im a horrible actor). I really like being in front of the class showing someone -something- that they can find beneficial. I’ll share something, and try to say “So.. there it went, cool huh?” At that point, my inclination is to just let –you- decide how important this is going to be for you. I’d think that when you want to teach, you want to teach for the sake of teaching. You’re not really taking a stand one way or another.. you’re just presenting stuff out there, and saying “Well what do –you- want to do with it.” I guess its why I find the HDR argument fascinating. I dont think there’s a ‘side’ you need to be on. You just kinda learn the technique – and whatever side you happen to fall on – you do. It’s not my job to advocate a position, or pass judgement. It’s my job to teach.
Schooling is when someone uses that same amount of experience to say “Let me show you why you are misinformed”. In the end, what they may be showing you may actually be of benefit. The information may be correct, insightful, and revolutionary – but the intent is totally different. You’re not being shown this information for your benefit. You’re being shown this information so you can see how smart that person is – their benefit.
I got my degree in Education back at SUNY Plattsburgh – and this was one of those lessons that resonated the most with me. I remember my professor in our Block II Practicum talk about teaching, who it benefits, and how to present it, and how what you say can be completely discounted by your intentions. It was our job.. she advised .. “To teach to inspire change.. not to get validation for what you already know. No one likes a know it all, and certainly no one will listen to you.” It’s one of those things that I try to keep in the back of my head when im teaching.