For quite some time I have been thinking of creating a photography/ photographic equipment oriented website. The reason for that was that the mainstream photo websites were all lacking in one or many ways. Don’t get me wrong there are amazingly good resources out there, not without problems though. Let me list those problems/issues I had with many websites:
- by far the biggest problem is IMHO the huge sea of wrong information. Even at some good websites the ratio of “correct” information to “wrong” information is quite low unfortunately. On the Internet anyone can say anything and you have almost no ways to evaluate the credibility of any statement unless you know the topic well enough yourself. The problem arises because you don’t need to be an expert in order to create a website or post on a forum. And (not surprisingly at all) the most vocal users/websites don’t possess the necessary expertise in areas they are dedicating themselves to. Look, when all you do is posting on internet/maintaining a website, you really have little time to study so you can not become an expert. While if you are an expert you normally do not have time for posting on the Internet. This is the general picture, of course there is the whole spectrum of expertise present on the Internet. But the trend is: the more someone posts the less professional he is. And this creates a strong imbalance in favor of low quality information.
- second biggest problem (related to the first one though) is that living in consumer society the information is often driven by the companies that provide products (or services). Take for instance the widespread belief that a better (newer) tool will make you a better photographer. It is so widespread that most don’t even think about it, it resides at subconscious level. It manifests itself in the urge to buy the latest newest and more expensive tools. Another example would be the topic of what parameters are important in a digital camera. Even someone who doesn’t know anything about photography or technology “knows” megapixels are important. This kind of “knowledge” is only based on what was promoted. I.e. the information is being spoiled by motivation.
- digital technology is developing so quickly that even the big mainstream websites can not keep up. Take the camera feature selection tools available on some of those websites. Any time I have checked them they either were hopelessly outdated or full of useless parameters (the ones the public has been convinced were important).
This whole situation is especially confusing to people who are new to photography. I remember very well my own journey through that huge sea of low quality (or even plain wrong) information. Even though I have a strong scientific background and have some understanding of digital and camera technology it took me some time to get to the real information and I’m still learning. In this journey I have learned the following 3 important rules which have helped me a lot:
- Rule #1: The most important component of the camera is that thing just behind the viewfinder. (It’s called “the photographer”).
- Don’t take anything you read on internet for granted. Even if the poster sounds “knowledgeable”. personally I employ a series of credibility checks such as (but not limited to) the following: 1) checking posters photography 2) checking posters expertise background 3) of course the common sense. What complicates things is that even experts can err and the proportions of their errors are proportional to the size of their ego :). Why do experts err? It is simple, a good photographer may have poor knowledge of technology and vice versa – a tech-expert may be a noob in photography.
- Do your own research – of course you need to be qualified enough for that. Or at least double check with a credible source.
So back to the topic of this post. What is the goal of this blog. #1 goal is to provide a slightly different (from the “rotten” mainstream) perspective on photography and photography equipment. Maybe some sort of a guide for navigating the vast sea of available information. There will be the following type of posts here:
- posts on photography basics
- posts on photography equipment (equipment reviews or technology basics)
- photography related news I find interesting or relevant
- links/references to interesting web resources on photography
- posts on software
The idea is to have at some point a selection articles on various topics and I encourage everyone to submit such articles. In long run, it would be nice to have a group of reviewers here to discuss and review the articles submitted for publication. Maybe user forums too. Maybe galleries. I don’t know yet myself if wordpress will be able to provide the necessary framework.
For now I will start with a very basic blog and we’ll see if it evolves into anything bigger.