WARNING, SORT OF RANT POST AHEAD
I don’t like to write rant posts, rage randomly, and gossip about this/that certain person. I usually find these types of posts very useless… maybe except for some entertainment value. Yep, I am a believer that if you have real-life issues, you should face it and solve it. Ranting and escaping online sure does not help unless you are asking for advice from your close friends.
So what is this post all about? It’s about a certain breed of photographers, and how they are ticking many people off with their stinky character. Nope, no actual names will be given as this is not a flame and shame post.
It’s about what I felt so strongly for this certain “type” of photographers, and a sharing of my personal thoughts on moving forward in a positive manner, away from all the salt, pepper, popcorns and bullying.
INTRODUCING THE ALPHA MALE PHOTOGRAPHER
Welcome and meet Pipaluk John Dancious Doe (not a real name), the protagonist of this story and the embodiment of the “certain type of photographer”. John is young man who dabbles in the mystical arts of photography like I do. But of course, this boy is no legendary master and has just broken into the photography world for a couple of years.
At the first impression, John seems like another guy who wants to do photography as a hobby, nothing too ambitious nor serious. But deep inside, John is a whole new level of photographer who seems to enjoy the love of “winning” and getting “attention” – an alpha male photographer.
WHAT THE HECK IS AN “ALPHA MALE PHOTOGRAPHER”?
For you guys who are not too familiar with the animal kingdom, the alpha male is the leader of the pack. The one dominant male to rule them all, by making many loud noises, has sharp primal instincts, crash buildings, and does heroic chest thumping.
The human photographer version of an alpha male acts pretty much in the same way, and some typical examples of an alpha-male behavior goes –
- Show off their expensive camera gear to other photographers with lighter wallets.
- Be very vocal about the number of likes they have on Facebook.
- Serial flash their Facebook friends list with a couple of rather famous people in it.
- Demand that the “weaker female species” serve as servants to carry camera gear and keep stuff for them.
- Be very proud, and even trademark their award-winning “unique” style of photography.
- Make a huge ruckus online when someone “copies” their style.
- Demand that they are always right, others are wrong. Will not apologize for their mistakes.
- Dish out their experience, number of likes, and/or qualifications to abuse authority. I.E. “If I say you are wrong, you are”.
- Pushing other photographers aside during conventions, demanding that they are in full control.
- Acting like the star photographer during mass shoots. Expects all other photographers to stop shooting and help instead.
The list can go on forever, but in summary, “alpha males” are proud, snobbish show-offs who generally like to degrade the rest of the population to “push themselves up”.
BEING ALPHA IS A FORM OF BULLYING?
I am sure that some people are not going to agree with my view here. Are the “alpha” behaviors a form of bullying? To me, yes, it is a passive-aggressive form of trying to display power, showing who is the one in control, and taking advantages of the others.
It is rather apparent (to me at least) that alpha photographers love to push someone to be on the short end of the stick, despite the other parties not liking it. That, to me, is downright bullying. Feel free to disagree with me, but that is how I see it, that is what I think needs to be addressed in a way or another.
ADDRESSING THE ALPHA BEHAVIORS
I may not be a world-famous superstar, saint nor psychologist, but here are some slices of nitty issues that I think could be better addressed by the modern day alpha-photogs… or anyone who has displayed alpha behaviors for the matter.
What is the goal/purpose?
Showing off camera gear, be a serial flasher, and shine bright like an idiot? I don’t know. What is the purpose of doing so? Are alpha photographers asking to be robbed, or just seeking attention? What is their ultimate goal in doing photography? If it is attention, there are better ways other than being a walking dick.
I do think that it is more important to have an actual positive goal for doing photography, rather than just “making a ruckus for the sake of popularity”. For example, my goal is to bring fictional characters to life, have fun during shoots, know a few more new folks, and share the photos for more to appreciate. That simple, and it does not have to be a “noble” goal of any sorts.
Show off, but be humble.
Yes, it is the information age and we are more open to things these days. Feel free to share your works but I do think there are more advantages to taking in criticisms. If you receive criticism on your works, reflect and improve. Arguments are good when they are constructive. Thank the people who trash your works and tell you what you did wrong.
Likes are just a number.
I do think that the younger generations are confused by the way of measuring success – Whoever has more social likes and shares is “better” these days. I appreciate it when people like my works. It’s kind of a recognition but likes are not an achievement. You can brag about it when you win an International award, but having a few Facebook like means nothing much as an accomplishment… Not until you have a million fans or something.
Copy creatively and be inspired.
Make a whole ruckus on “copying”, what’s the point again? I openly admit that I started with landscape photography, and Ansel Adams inspired a lot of my works. Now, you might see some traces of Von Wong and David Hobby in my cosplay photos. In fact, I will be honored if my works even manage to inspire anyone. The world is an open place, and I will gladly say – Copy creatively and be inspired to do more.
Don’t be a spoiled child.
Don’t be an ass. A full-grown adult man needs younger females to keep and carry gear? If anyone wants to stand in the “realm of photography gods”, learn to pick and clean up your own shit. Stand and walk on your own feet.
A rather famous person in your friend list in Facebook does not prove anything. My point being, a good photographer can bring out the best portraits of anyone. Respect is earned through real skills and proof that you can deliver the same quality with any “not famous person”.
Stop thinking that you are on top of the world.
Yes, it is the primal instinct to want to be the authority and in the lead. But when anyone puts their head above the clouds, there is no oxygen up there. They will eventually forget how to think. Sometimes, life is just like the kung fu movies. You will never know if the street sweeper or toilet cleaner might be legendary masters. Someone you deem “lower” may just kick your ass and teach you a lesson some day.
Share and learn.
There are plenty of chances in conventions and mass shoots. Shove people around and the next time, you might not even stand a chance against a “wall of photographers” in full defense mode. Seriously. Take turns to shoot, let everyone have an equal chance. You might even “steal” a good idea or two just by watching how the others work.
Authority comes with capability.
When things don’t go the intended way, throw a tantrum, “experience”, “qualifications” and “authority”. Shoot the others down as degenerates, and put the alpha up as a god. Expect the others to be convinced who is the better person. Why not demonstrate some actual skills and suggest better alternatives? Is this not a better way to demonstrate both authority and capability?
WHY NOT DO THE OPPOSITE OF ALPHA?
Granted that there are dorks who truly exist to annoy the heck out of people. But at the end of the day, I think it all boils down to where you want to go with photography, why you seek fame and the approach you take.
If the final destination is fame and recognition, I do think that beating your own chest, tooting your own horn, and stepping on top of the others is the wrong way to go. There is already enough cyber-bullying, flame, salt, and popcorns on the Internet. There really is no need to take it to the next level, into the passive form.
Fame will come naturally with recognition and achievements. There is absolutely no need to force someone else to be the “lower creature”, degrade, nor bully the others; The empty barrel makes the most noise, as the old saying goes.
Showing off your works is unavoidable if you want to be known. But personally, I think that the alpha behavior is totally unnecessary. Why not try doing the opposite of it sometimes? The path to fame might just become easier and faster.
- Accept criticisms, learn and grow.
- Copy, be inspired, let there be more positive friendly competition.
- Help the others and carry their stuff. This is how I have friends that I truly trust now.
- Give way, shoot together. Have more fun, meet more people.
- Just apologize for your mistakes. Nothing wrong with that.
ADDENDUM/EDIT – SALT AND PEPPER
Peace. It appears that a few people already took offense at this post, and misunderstood it as a passive attack post. I do sincerely apologize for some of the strong languages and possible personal connections used here. But I will re-iterate – The whole purpose of this post is not to pick on people nor to address grudges.
I have mellowed out the potential personal connections, and added quite a lot more “goodies”. Hope this makes my intended message clearer now – Have some self-awareness on displaying passive alpha bullying behavior. Treat the others with respect and doing the reverse of alpha might just get you more instead.
Well, I still keep my fingers crossed. The Internet has it’s own mind, haters, and memes after all. 😆 Regardless, my stand against these passive bullies remain, and thus, why this blog post stays.
Hopefully, this post conveyed a positive message. But even if you decide this to be a controversial post or plain dramatic entertainment – I still hope you guys have enjoyed it, and keep some good thoughts on moving in the better direction.
Thank you for reading, stay awesome and cheers!