One of the best photographic experiences a newbie photographer can have is to find a good teacher who is enthusiastic and cares about the craft. I find it very interesting to chat with other photographers, not so much about specifics, but about their thoughts regarding art, styles, social media etc. And over the years I’ve gained many valuable insights from friends who photograph and like to share their thoughts.
I’ve also met a different type of photographer – the ones who are very secretive and guarded. They are careful not to divulge any tidbit of information regarding their photographic process. It’s as if the world would come crashing down on them if anyone found out their ideas about photography. This always makes me chuckle because i’ve been doing this long enough to realize that somebody’s photographs are a result of the way they see…their particular vision of the world. That’s one of the things that makes the craft great – the fact that we all see differently and interpret the world differently. So in that sense there is nothing to fear. I can teach classes for weeks and the thought of being cloned doesn’t even enter my mind. My vision is unique to me and it’s constantly evolving over my life time. I have nothing to hide regarding my thoughts about art or photography, and nothing to hide regarding the techniques I use. For the most part it doesn’t matter. My experiences and opportunities are going to be different than yours.
I thoroughly enjoy looking at photographs. And even more still, I love to rejoice and cheer for friends who have taken great photographs. However, many photographers these days it seems are involved in a feeding frenzy – like a pack of cannibalistic piranhas. Oh life has to be so competitive all the time. It’s human nature to be selfish and have a personal agenda for the most part. If you can find another photographer who cares about your work just as much as they care about their own, then you’ve achieved something quite rare.
So my advice to someone wishing to learn about photography is to seek out someone with experience, someone who is a good teacher, someone who loves to share ideas, and someone who’s only agenda is to help you be a better photographer. This kind of person doesn’t fear sharing information because they realize that the true power of their photography is in their eyes and in their heart.
Call me old-fashioned, but a good photography community should be like a healthy marriage. If you are willing to share a relationship with someone and sleep with them, then you should be willing to share your phone too.