Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Wrath - Seven Deadly Sins Of Photography

Self Portrait of Author - Image © David Toyne

Wrath is disproportionate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred, frustration and anger. These feelings manifest as a denial of the truth, both to others and to ourselves. Our anger is often our first reaction to the problems of others. Impatience with the faults of others is often related to this.

The seventh and final deadly sin of photography has two distinct aspects, both of which will negatively impact your photography.

The first effect is in your dealings with people as subjects for photography. Imagine for a second being photographed by a frustrated angry photographer. Any little thing that's wrong is a major issue and it's all your fault! Would you like to be part of this experience? Would you relax and be yourself? Can you give your all to a photographer like this? Finally, in all honesty do you feel the best image of you could be made in this circumstance? I suspect you know the answer to this already. The tension and stress it would create between the belligerent photographer yourself would begin to show.

With any picture featuring people as subjects the relationship between the models and the photographer is critical. Tension and negativity show in the end result. It's because of this that a wrathful photographer renders themselves unsuitable and ineffectual when photographing people. Whole swathes of photography become denied to them. This will of course only increase their frustration and they will probably blame everyone else as usual. So the first lesson is Don't be that angry photographer. Kind words and patience go a long way. People who show the virtue of kindness are usually the best people photographers as people enjoy being around them.

The second trait is more subtle but can be very insidious when the wrathful photographer uses it. Sadly they use it freely on less experienced photographers or on their subjects. This trait is the destructive criticism of others. They very fond of delivering wholely negative critique in order to vent their anger. They don't like to receive any advice of critisism themselves. Even very reasonable and helpful remarks will be met with a vitriolic response. They certainly won't listen if any advice is given (See the sin of Pride). Criticism is their crutch. It makes them feel better and absolves them of responsibility for their shortcomings.

You need to watch very carefully for unfounded critisism. More so if you're starting out in photography. At the start a series negative and unfounded critiques from these wrathful people can severely erode your creative confidence and dampen your enthusiasm. Worse still you might get stuck in the thankless rut of trying to appease these pompous idiots. The trick is to spot the wrathful critic early on. This is suprisingly easy as a wrathful critic offers only negative thoughts or an insult in the guise of opinion. No advice will be forthcoming nor any indication of where you got things right or how to improve your work. Tact will not be in evidence at any time, under any circumstance. What they say will only hurt and not be designed to help it will make you feel confused and upset without justification. Any questioning of their negative attitude will meet yet more hostility. If you get sucked in then before you know it you're in their world being angry and frustrated right back at them. Moral of the story? Just walk away. It feels better removes their power and proves you the better individual.

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