Three Photographers Walk Into A Bar

Three Photographers Walk Into A Bar: consumer, prosumer, and expert. The conversation eventually gets around to photography.

The consumer is not wooed and romanced by the craft of photography but by its content.

In other words, through the eyes of a consumer, what a picture says (content) is way more important than how it was created (craft). Fair enough. It’s the message, not the medium, says the consumer. Duh.

To this consumer, if there is any love-affair going on here, it’s the stories behind the images themselves-how they feel about the images they embrace. Not at all…buttons, dials, menus, features, functions, shiny objects.

The prosumer, very much like the consumer, does have an innate appreciation and admiration for subject matter, but, this group, in particular, is more fascinated and obsessed with the tools and techniques of making the images-gear, accessories, apps, mechanics, techniques, technology.

Prosumers are definitely tech-nerdy and geeky when it comes to photography. They seem to find an uncanny and blissful ability to look beyond subject matter into the high-tech and applied science of photography. Fair enough again.

Experts, the smallest group of them all, but perhaps the loftiest in concept and approach, understand well that, photography, at its core, is a seamless combination and integration of everything-technology, technique, tools, talent. None of these exist in a vacuum. They all work together.

Experts, the grumpy ones anyway, have an intolerance toward those that can’t seem to elevate and raise-up photography beyond science to art. Ugh.

I find myself, almost on a daily basis, pleased talking to all three groups, consumers, prosumers, and experts, about picture-taking and making.

Each group, as I find, if you listen closely and carefully enough, has something unique and special to share and contribute to the wider conversation of photography-same destination, different paths.

I can easily and readily identify with the subject-passion of consumers, the technical dweebiness of prosumers, but, most of all, I have the softest spot and affinity with and toward experts.

For, in my experience anyway, it is this group, most of all, and most importantly, that sit at the banquet table of light, color, design-the building blocks for just about every remarkable and memorable photograph anyone takes.

Yes, subjects and stories are important. Yes, apps and equipment are also important. But neither of these matters at all, if the image itself, is not bathed and drenched in light, color, design.

Oh glorious photography…speak to us. Teach us about your great self. Guide us in our journey. We are all ears.

Back to the bar. The consumer orders a blonde and light domestic beer. The prosumer orders a stout and strong IPA. The expert orders…a shot of tequila, and perhaps a second and third round.

They drink, they laugh, they exchange notes, they all celebrate life-behind-the-lens, in their own way. Life is good. Photography is better.



Jack Hollingsworth