Cheap Photographers

One of the frustrations that I go through as a photographer is when people do not think what you do is hard work. I hear comments like “All he has to do and click some snaps with a camera”. Thankfully in wildlife, people cannot complain much, but in India I know how badly photographers are treated.

Infact people go out and spend a lot of money in buying paintings. But when you ask the same for a fine art photograph, they say..”Oh he just clicked it in few seconds.. why should we pay so much”. No one puts the cost behind years of learning and hard work to get that photograph.

Anyway came across this cool video. See how it feels like


  1. Mahesh Devarajan · September 16, 2009 Reply

    Guess because of the cost associated with photo equipments their is a tendency to believe that the equipment makes the image and not the person behind it. This type of thinking seems to exist with some fields and not in some…Have not heard anybody saying something like “this guy owns federer’s racquet so he should be able to play like federer”. Guess once in a while to prove the hardwork that is associated image making photographers should may be shoot with a basic point and shoot and show that the person behind the camera and not the camera itself that matters.

  2. Atul Chitnis · September 16, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for FINALLY making your journal mobile friendly!

  3. Nagesh Kamath · September 16, 2009 Reply

    It’s the same age old misconception = “The camera is the difference. Not the photographer”. What does the photographer do. Just clicks a button. The arm-chair critic’s life is so easy πŸ™‚

    An epitome of bad photographer treatment in India is how a wedding photographer is treated! While not being a professional photographer, I have photographed a friend or two’s wedding and in all quite a few of the junta attending (who did not know who I was) assumed I am another of the “paid” wedding photographers and I have had an “interesting” conversation or two then πŸ™‚ Told me a lot about how much they value the “paid” wedding photographer’s job!

  4. amoghavarsha · September 16, 2009 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more, point well made. There are a lot of galleries in India that still don’t treat photography as art while the western world has moved on far ahead.

  5. Vinayak Hegde · September 16, 2009 Reply

    Hit the nail on the head. You could substitute photographers with programmers and it would make sense as well. Worse yet, I have heard comments like “You were lucky to be there at the right moment” (when you spend hours waiting for that perfect shot) and “You have better equipment” (as in – we could have easily have done it too πŸ™‚

  6. taj · September 16, 2009 Reply

    Picasso was sitting in a cafΓ© when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin β€” but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: β€œHow can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” β€œNo”, Picasso replied, β€œIt took me 40 years”

  7. Roma · September 16, 2009 Reply

    So true. Only a knowledgeable person can appreciate the effort thats gone in, everyone else is just in it for the bargain.

  8. Diabolic Preacher · September 16, 2009 Reply

    There are also those people who’d think Photoshop is the magic wand for all photographs. They’d never appreciate the patience stretching to hours for a “right at the moment” photograph.

    @taj example of Picasso is really interesting.

  9. Pramod Viswanath · September 16, 2009 Reply

    Does people also know that only high quality image is worth ‘processing’? And, no matter how hard you try with the photoshop – you cannot fix a junk image/RAW file, right?! Or will they just say – Oh this is a manipulated image – how can you get a background like that! I would put it this way Kalyan – first people should understand the science part let alone seeing it as an art. I am with you on this post πŸ™‚ and we are light years behind compared to other countries that I hate to name!!

  10. Sharath · September 16, 2009 Reply

    It might also have to do with the awareness level of some of the people. Some people who come from a physics background, may not be able to appreciate the art, but certainly recognize the science behind photographs. But by and large as your post points out, people come to conclusions based on their limited exposure to arts and science …

  11. Rajasekar · September 16, 2009 Reply

    It is sad that people don’t appreciate Photography as an Art, particularly in India. It is perceived that the high end Camera is the sole reason for a better image, even by photographers sometimes. Blame it on digital technology or whatever, ever since consumer digital SLRs mushroomed in market, anyone who could buy that becomes a photographer which doesn’t happen in any other Art forms.

    Sometimes I wish photography technology shouldn’t have evolved and stayed with Film days.

  12. Pradeep · September 19, 2009 Reply

    Kewl ! video

  13. Deepa Mohan · October 21, 2009 Reply

    Totally agree. I am also often seeing people who attend wildlife or photography workshops, but do not want to observe even the basic rules, have so much of ego that they have no respect for the person whose workshop they have come to attend.

    I too have a favourite story….a famous fashion designer was approached by a fashionable lady, who asked him to make a hat for her. He took a length of broad ribbon, and folded it this way and that, and pinned it…and said, “Voila! There’s your hat!” and then asked the lady to pay. “What!” said the lady, “It’s only a length of pink ribbon, why should I pay for that?” The fashion designer calmly reached across, shook the ribbon free, and gave it back to the lady, and said, “Well, then…here’s your ribbon!”

    But..this is happening also with art, Amogh. People seem to think that producing incomprehensible art is the same as producing abstract art…I have seen such daubs pretending to be art! So, too, for music, where often, being famous is substituted for having talent!

    Leave alone artistic endeavours. I was told recently, “how difficult could it be to take care of a baby? you just have to feed her, bathe her and put her to sleep!” Yeah, right, I said to myself…it’s obvious, O Speaker, that you’ve never cared for one!

    The problem becomes acute when the professional wants to charge money…instantly our bargaining instincts kick in, and we actually sometimes run down the skill in an effort to make it more affordable!

    This, however, has always been the case, and will continue to happen. One has to write these down as the cost of experience.

  14. ashok pai · October 22, 2009 Reply

    Apologies for twisting the debate here, but it really boils down to this:

    Service in India is not appreciated because of the feudal mentality.

    – no dignity of labour, we still have maids for our daily chore.
    – There’s lots of people who’ll do it for you for cheap, we’re a populous country.
    – If not you, there’s always another shop.
    – Skill/talent amounts to nothing, especially since its intangible.
    – We don’t believe in paying for what’s due, we tend to pirate at the drop of a hat. no, I do not support Disney/ RIAA/ MPAA, etc the bad west and its version of copyrights twisted to meet their end, I’m talking about the hard working individuals, like companies that sweat and make video game, and their work is not compensated for, Indy musicians who produce real good music, but aren’t compensated for.

    it finally boils down to we as a nation adapting the worst of the west as we are growing, add to it the feudal culture, and we have the resulting mess.

  15. Jesu · November 13, 2009 Reply

    In the years that I spent as a Video/Film editor, what really struck me was that, studio owners would spend lakhs of rupees to buy the editing machine, software, carpeting for the editing suite, A/C, fancy furniture etc etc. Go to extremes to ensure the machine is taken very good care off and then pay the editor a meagre salary and treat him really badly.. And after years of getting bad work out, the only lesson that they have learnt is not to spend so much on the machines and decor. So you now have poorly paid editors and badly maintained machines in poorly kept rooms. No A/C even in some cases.

    Where editors get more importance than the machines, you invariably get good work out..

    @Deepa Mohan – we have a one month old baby and I know exactly how you feel πŸ™‚


  16. Aline de Souza · February 22, 2010 Reply

    That’s exactly how I feel when doing art/handcraft. People look, find it lovely, but when told about the price, they refuse to pay, saying “this is something anyone can do, even I can”. So do it! I defy most of them. And they say: “oh, I got no patience, or time, or blablabla…” No one says a word about knowledge. This is something you have to know how to do, first of all. Afterwards you tell me about how easy it is to it when it is already done.

  17. Ankur Dinge · March 25, 2011 Reply

    Very true.. experienced that many times.. Its very sad that people do not appreciate the work of a photographer. Hope the population of admirers increase soon and the awareness continues to spread in the country and the world…

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