'Fauxtographers' - Internet misinformation and the decline of reason.

These days when new gear is announced on review sites, the comments sections are full of the usual troll/shill/fanboy nonsense that passes for 'discussion' on the photographic internet these days. Anytime I read stuff like this, one thing strikes me as significant. I have never in all my years as a photographer ever encountered anything like this from any of the many professional photographers I have met and engaged in conversation with. It seems this is a phenomenon that only emanates from amateurs, hobbyists, leisure photographers and in Ken Rockwells wonderful description, 'fauxtographers.'

I have personally encountered some extraordinary blinkered thinking from those with the budget to buy expensive cameras but lacking the talent to do anything with them. 'All professionals use Canons.' 'Nikons are superior to Canons in every way' 'No one will use DSLR's any more in 2 years time.' (from 2007) etc. etc. are the type of comments that 'enthusiast photographers' have 'shared' with me. The professional photographers I have encountered however are somewhat different. They are curious about new developments and open minded in their choices. They may well stick to what they have been using for years, but they do that for well defined reasons and certainly don't lay into everybody else for making different choices. 

And the difference is easily explained. When taking pictures is your living and how successful you are means the difference between being able to pay your mortgage or not, decisions tend to be made on what gear to use in a somewhat more pragmatic way. The questions professionals are likely to ask are:- 'Am I using the best gear for what I do?' 'Is there something that does what I do better?' 'Is my outfit cost effective?' 'Am I getting left behind?' And yes there are many who have the same brand allegiance as the internet fanboy, but that is usually after many years of trying different things. And even when it seems the decisions have all been made, I have still encountered that curiosity I mentioned earlier.

I have been in many discussions about the benefits of this brand and that. A good example was a Formula 1 photographer of my acquaintance, who used Canons and some mighty big lenses. As someone whose back was beginning to give way under the kit he used, he was very interested in lighter small gear. However, the fact that Canon set up service centres at the Grand Prix circuits, repairing gear and cleaning sensors for free and with a selection of lenses and cameras to cover any breakdowns, he would have struggled to find that support with any other manufacturer. And for whatever reason, the brand obsessed fanboy seems to ignore many of the basics and operational difficulties of their chosen devotion and so we get the usual ill-tempered, ignorant, argumentative tripe that fills the forums. But then I guess photographers who make a living from what they do have less to prove.