– warning, this post talks about the lazy photographer

So I like Peter Mckinnon. 

He makes great videos, and I envy his online presence. He just has this Charisma that makes you want to keep watching.

In fact, sometimes I will record myself, imagining myself as a vlogger, and then I quickly remember why I have chosen to write.

Video format is not easy, and for some reason, wow…..do I really sound like that? Do I look like that?

But it’s more than that, why do I keep saying, “um, ah, so anyway, yeah”

Like, wow dude, you really suck at this. So then I go back to writing.

I’ll let Peter McKinnon do the videos. 

He’s good at making anyone, a new photographer, an experienced photographer, or someone in the middle of the journey, feel pretty good about themselves.

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The Lazy Photographer

Well, that didn’t take long. I mean it was right there at the start.

But it wasn’t really Peter’s fault, it was more the guest. I like to think Peter had a reactionary expression of “I don’t know man, I’ll just let you carry this one.”

What was his guest’s name again, oh yeah, Garrett King.

See, according to Garrett, a lot of you “good photographers” are lazy. It’s a hard truth to swallow. Let me give you the quote in case you didn’t watch the video.

"I truly think a lot of lazy people can get away with being a good photographer because they can edit their way to success, that's a dangerous path." – Garrett King Share on X

Now, I’m not quite sure what the dangerous part is. It’s a journey and nobody starts and ends in the same place.

You should expect to go down many paths throughout your photography journey, some that you will look back upon and laugh at.

There’s no danger in it, only growth.

That leads us to the first part of the quote.

You lazy fuckers…

OK, I definitely paraphrased there but look at you all. Just a bunch of dorks sitting around with your digital cameras, wasting away hours in Lightroom or Photoshop, and just editing your way to success.

Why don’t you step up and be a real photographer? Go Film and then we will see what you are made of.

Why? Because….

Film is Way Cooler than Digital

OK, I mean I get it.

When I watched Stranger Things and saw Jonathan take all those photos and then run back to his dark room and develop all his film I thought, damn that is cool.

I want to do that too!

But, here I am, still shooting digital for the most part. 

I do have an older film camera but you know, I just send the film away to be developed so it’s a little less exciting.

But still, with film, you have to slow down. 

You can’t just spray and pray like a lazy ass. You actually have to stop for a minute and compose your shot. You have to think.

You only have so many shots and with each shot, you can hear Eminem’s voice in the back of your head cheering you on.

“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime” – Eminem

I mean this shit’s life dawg.

Wait, what just happened?

OK anyway, where was I, oh yeah, One Opportunity.

One opportunity, will you catch it or did you accidentally push the button and take a photo of your jeans when you were walking down the alley?

Do you need any more reasons why film is cooler than digital?

You do?

Film aesthetics: Look, you have to select and buy what kind of film stock you’re going to use. You can’t just push buttons on your computer like you do with digital.

Nostalgia and Vintage Appeal: Film photography carries a sense of nostalgia and vintage appeal that digital can’t really replicate.

The aesthetic qualities of film, including grain, color rendition, and imperfections, all evoke a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era. 

There’s just a charm there that is undeniable.

Tactile Experience: Film feels a little more hands-on. Even the act of loading film into the camera makes you feel creative.

And what about manually advancing frames, and the anticipation of waiting for the film to be developed? 

All these factors contribute to the hands-on experience.

Learning the Fundamentals: Well, since you can’t just look at your photo and adjust your settings, film photography is going to force you to understand the fundamentals of photography now rather than later.

Unpredictable Results: Unlike digital, where you can instantly review and delete photos, film introduces an element of unpredictability. 

Film type, exposure settings, and development process all affect the final outcome. 

Unexpected and sometimes serendipitous results can spark creativity and inspiration.

Timelessness: Film photography has a timeless quality that transcends dorky trends and technology.

Now are you convinced that Film is way cooler than digital?

Basically, this is what Garret is telling you in a pretentious kind of way. 

Now Garret’s work is great, I like it a lot. And, he’s not really wrong in a lot of ways. I mean, I just went over all the ways film is pretty cool.

But here’s the thing.

You are not lazy just because you prefer or are still shooting Digital

Let’s be real for a minute. There seem to be two schools of thought on this.

One group feels that unless you get everything right in-camera, do minimal editing, and now apparently “shoot film” you’re lazy.

You’re a slacker, a less than, maybe not even a photographer at all but some sort of visual effects artist.

Let’s call this Group 1. Group 1 loves to let Group 2 know what’s up.

Now Group 2 don’t give a shit.

Group 2 never tries to tell Group 1 what to do. 

They don’t preach to you about your process. They don’t care if you spend minimal time editing your final photo. They don’t care if you like a more natural aesthetic. And they don’t care if you shoot film.

They just look at the end product and say, nice shot man. Then they go back to editing their photo. Do you want to know why?

Because a lot of the people in group 2 actually enjoy the process of editing. They view editing as an extension of the digital photography experience.

It makes them feel like they are taking 1 more step to embed themselves into the work. It makes them feel like they are in a dark room.

Let’s not forget, the darkroom wasn’t just a place to develop your photo. It was also a place to play and experiment.

Dodging and burning, Double Exposure, Bleach Bypass, Solarization, Cross Processing, Painting a Print with a Penlight, and many more techniques were all born from the days of the darkroom.

Maybe they weren’t photographers either, maybe they were chemists playing with chemicals. No, that’s ridiculous.

And so is the notion that you’re somehow lazy and just editing your way to success when you shoot digital.

First, Photoshop, Lightroom, and whatever other editing software people are using take hours upon hours to learn. They take skills to use them effectively.

Second, Not everyone with a digital camera is spraying and praying. That typically stops after you realize the headache of going through hundreds of photos that all look the same.

Slowing down and taking the time to observe and plan your shot is not a film-only concept. 

Digital friends, if you need to be forced, try going out with just one small memory card.

Finally, for a lot of photographers, cost is a barrier. 

Continuously having to buy film and then have it developed is a cost restraint that can delay progression.

With digital, you can buy a camera and practice photography until the cows come home, with little more investment.

So why then do photographers keep trying to climb on the backs of other photographers to push them down? 

Garrett could have made all his points about how film is a refreshing change for him, how it has slowed down the process, and all its other merits without suggesting that a lot of photographers are just lazy and editing their way to success.

Like, what is the point of that? Especially on a channel where you know there are beginners still trying to learn the craft and unsure about their journey.

A journey he took!

So friends, if you are editing your way to Success then keep doing that!

Don’t let anyone tell you what success has to look like. 

If you are a “good photographer” and people genuinely like the end product then keep doing what you’re doing.

Especially if you are enjoying the process.

If you are no longer enjoying the process then by all means, keep exploring. Turn over some new stones.

A lot of people don’t enjoy editing all that much and for them, maybe the natural progression is to end up with a film camera in their hands.

Either way, do what you love.

Final Thoughts on Editing Your Way to Success

Photographers are not editing their way to success. Photographers are editing their way toward who they might be tomorrow.

It’s a journey, we are all on it, creating our own path and using the tools and techniques available to us while building our unique skillsets. 

Whether it’s through the meticulous process of film photography or the digital realm of editing, each photographer finds their own rhythm and style. 

So let’s drop the generalizations and embrace the diversity of approaches in this art form. 

After all, photography is about expression, creativity, and the journey, not about conforming to someone else’s definition of success.

Carry on Good Photographers!

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