Follow Up: Pros, Please Be Kind

Photograph © Gaurav Mittal

Last week I ran a post: Pros, If you have the chance to be right or kind, be kind. Read the comments on that blog post, some of which are brand new.

The amateur photographer, who took the stunning photograph in this post, was the photographer who got bashed by the pro.

Here is the "amateur's" response to my post.

Harmony. Unit. Commitment. These were the words that resonated with the images I was making at the Bosque del Apache photography workshops with Rick Sammon and Juan Pons.

It was an experience of a lifetime, learning to photograph a variety of magnificent birds. Watching and photographing the majestic Sandhill Cranes gliding and landing in groups just made that message all too clear.

I was lucky to be in the company of some wonderful people and talented photographers, who made the learning process fun and a fulfilling experience. As an amateur photographer, I could only hope to be in the company of such folks and teachers who would guide me to be a better photographer and a better person.

Rick Sammon recently underlined an issue faced by an amateur photographer on his blog, “Be right or kind,” when younger photographers are treated harshly by pros, and I don’t mean constructive criticism because the essence of a true photographer of any skill level is the willingness to take adversity head on, weather it be criticism of their work or photographing in adverse weather conditions.

Growing up, we may all have experienced teachers in our schools that either left a positive impact or a negative impact, I’m sure you could relate to this well. I had teachers in school that scared the heck out of me and then there were those who I absolutely loved. This is the same situation: make it or break it.

The pros have to be responsible, not just in their art but also when it comes to imparting knowledge. I feel that it is one thing to punch someone in the gut to outright hurt him or her - and another to set the photographer on the right path. The amateur in question never got a fair review or least even a criticism, but got told to trash their work. That must have been a hell of a day in the photographer’s life! 

It was a heart-warming experience to see the outpouring of support and comments on Rick’s blog and on Google+. I would particularly like to point out comments coming from an “anonymous” writer as immature and no thoughtful.  On the contrary to claiming that a pro could be tired of constant stream of poor work, I feel it is a pro’s job to go through every photographer that comes to them and give them a constructive critique.

I don’t care what anyone says, but if you can’t do that, then you are not a pro! I can also assure you that the amateur is not a “Wuss”.  To come this far and have passion to learn is a work for a “committed” and not “wuss” photographer!

All that being said, it was a life changing experience for me to be in this workshop or I should really say a journey. We got good “constructive” feedback, which has taken my photography to the next level.  Our group was a dedicated group working together, helping each other and battling the extreme weather elements, each of us committed to be a better photographer.  It is only fitting for me to say that like the cranes our group had a strong sense of harmony, unity and commitment. 

My name is Gaurav Mittal and this is my story.