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Open Letter from a Photographer

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

How to become a photographer?

Buy a DSLR
Click a selfie with it
Make your own page, “*firstname* *surname* *photography*”
Post random pictures every day with your watermark on it

If you laughed at the joke, or cracked it at some point in your life, or shared the following meme, please read on.

You, sir, are a royal idiot.

People not receptive towards something new, is not something new. You have haunted people in the previous ages for stupid things like playing football or even wearing a watch. Your hypocrisy today lands you in a constant mockery of those who shoot photographs with DSLRs.

Photography is an art, and much like all other arts, you do not perfect it in a day. I do not realize why you ridicule amateur photographers. Everyone starts off as an amateur. Nobody is born a Steve McCurry. When we upload our first photograph on Facebook, we expect some admiration and some constructive criticism. Making us an object of ridicule is not helping our case. It isn’t doing any good to your image either. You do not become a hero by making fun of a beginner. Quite like how you do not become a hero by making fun of a fifth grader for not knowing trigonometry.

When you find us on the streets, you sneer at us. You smirk when we get into awkward positions to capture the perfect moment. The best of photographs, Sir, are often a result of the camera’s angle. If we are ready to lie flat on the ground to get that perfect perspective, I believe that you, with all your suit-and-tie glory, should learn to appreciate it, for that is something you will never be able to do. Unless of course you trip over, a far less glorious thing to do than to shoot photographs.

Let me now come back to the ‘joke’ I had started with.

Buy a DSLR
Click a selfie with it
Make your own page, “*firstname* *surname* *photography*”
Post random pictures every day with your watermark on it

What is wrong with buying a DSLR? If a person wants to take decent photos and has the money to buy one, who are we to judge? We do not judge if a person buys a point-and-shoot camera; so why judge when he buys a more expensive camera? Just because the focus can be altered?

Clicking a selfie. It is not wrong when you click a selfie with your new iPhone to show it off. It is not wrong when you pose alongside your new car and take a photo, upload it and tag everyone. Who doesn’t feel proud when he buys a new gadget? We merely wish to share it with you! On a social media created for this purpose, I do not see what is there to be judged on.

Soupayan takes a quirky selfie
Soupayan takes a quirky selfie

Who likes lack of organization? These photography pages do a remarkable job at organizing their photographs, so that you need not browse through irrelevant content on the person’s personal profile to find the photographs he has taken. Often, the popularity of their pages lands them wonderful opportunities. (Do visit the pages of Anirban SahaSayon Kumar Saha and Soupayan Dutta. Those will prove my point.)

Watermark. A watermark is a means to identify the person behind the lens. So, next time you see a painting, call up the painter and opine, “How narcissistic of you to put your signature beneath that painting!” While you are at it, why don’t you call up Adidas too and let them know what you think of them for putting their logo on almost all the shirts they make?

Warhol did the unthinkable!

Photography is a brilliant thing, with its only variables being speed, light and time. It freezes time, something that even your Pantene’s and Garnier’s Anti-ageing Creams cannot do.

So the next time, you try to be all nasty in front of (or behind) a photographer, remember what we do.

We frame you.

We shoot you.

And then we hang you out to dry.

By Surya

I am a student of Computer Science and Engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology. I like finding out about as many things in the world as possible!

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