Tabi basa & greetings everyone. Today I’d like to talk about “Beware Of Hypocrite Photography Friends”, which is something that I believe a lot of us has experienced but doesn’t have any platforms to freely express themselves regarding this topic for fear of retaliation or backlash from those who might be triggered. In an ideal world, feedbacks are welcomed, especially constructive feedbacks to help us to improve. But whoever eats the chilli, he/she will feel the burn. (Siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedas 🌶️🔥).
Disclaimer: Read at Your Own Risk. This article is written for educational reason only without any malicious intent behind it.
WHAT IS A HYPOCRITE PERSON?
According to Merriam-Webster, hypocrite person is a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. In simple words, “cakap tak serupa bikin”.
HYPOCRITE PHOTOGRAPHY FRIENDS
Since we’re talking about photography matters, let’s stick to photography-related examples. For example, you are a newbie photographer that recently discovered your passion in photography.
You saw a lot of your photographer friends posting their images at their soc-med, be it Facebook or Instagram, and receiving a lot of compliments etc.
Because of that, you posted one of your artworks at your social media (Facebook, Instagram etc), hoping that you will receive feedbacks etc.
CALLING BAD ARTWORK A GOOD ARTWORK
Being a newbie, your composition is weak, wrong subject placement or probably your skin tone is off, poor subject & background separation, unusual colour temperature (too blue or too yellow), but at your level, you won’t be able to tell, thus relying on your friends to give feedback to you for improvements.
However, within your Facebook friends or Instagram followers, there are some hypocrites. These hypocrite friends gave you fake compliments. They compliment your shitty artwork, giving you excessive flattery and even compared your artwork to those made by legends, be it Lindsay Adler, Bruce Gilden, Henri-Cartier Bresson; calls you “masta”, although deep in their heart, they know that your artwork is terrible and has long way to go.
As the result, you feel good, dopamine free-flowing and you might say to yourself, hey, I don’t need to attend photography courses since I think I am good already?
WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?
A. THEY ARE INSECURE WITH YOU & DON’T WANT YOU TO IMPROVE
There are few common reasons, but one of it as a manipulation. Praise often used by these hypocrites to manipulate you into doing their bidding. Since you are good already, then you won’t strive to be better. You won’t see the need to improve your photography compositions.
They also might be insecure with you because you actually are more passionate than them. If you keep your momentum, sooner or later, you will overtake their technical capabilities and be better photographer. Hence, they compliment you, hoping that you will not improve further.
B. YOU CANNOT ACCEPT BAD FEEDBACKS
On the other hand, they know that you are the type that can’t accept bad feedbacks. Otherwise, you will be angry, post negative things, boycott them etc. They know that you will justify your artwork, no matter how shitty it is. Hence, they don’t have any choice but to compliment you.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
First and foremost, you need to be honest with yourself. What do you want to achieve? If you want to be good, learn from actual photography masters, those who actually have won awards from prestigious bodies in photography world, not some self-declared masters.
I am thankful to be able to acquaint with several masters such as Anthony Barlan Mendoza & Sean Andersen. From these masters, you will learn a lot.
In fact, if I were to start again, I would attend their workshops first. From there, I will be able to learn more from other senior photographers, especially those who is willing to invest in their trainings.
Gears are important too, but don’t define yourself based on whatever gears that you have. I suggest you purchase a gear that you can rely on for a long time. Your most important ability is to be able to see and discern good from bad photographs.
DEALING WITH HYPOCRITES
First and foremost, it can be emotionally draining dealing with them. In front of you, they will talk nicely. But behind you, they will talk terrible stuff about you, even to the level spreading of rumours about you. Their intent is never not malicious.
Because of that, don’t even bother to keep them in your circle of friends. They are best remain as acquaintance (kenalan).
Secondly, stay cool & don’t take things personally with them. You need to develop emotional resilience when dealing with them. You actually have the power to respond to whatever situation you’re in. Take time to look into their accusations clearly. Gain some distance and don’t react. It will fuel them even more.
Lastly, find a new circle of friends that actually can help you to achieve your personal goal. If you want to be a good portrait photographer, mix with masters in that area. There is no secret.
In this life, no one can entirely run away from these hypocrites. But you can always choose your circle of friends. For me, friends are someone that you can say direct, unfiltered feedbacks but will remain friends. That’s how we improve. Otherwise, if you can’t be frank with them and can only say nice things, are you even friends at all?