24 Feb Drowning In Good Advice
When behind the counter, I met people in the shop every day who were drowning in advice. They had decided that the river of photo knowledge looked fine and plunged in…only to discover that it was deeper and colder than they expected. As they swept past gurgling and thrashing, they wanted me to pull them out.
You see, they went to the internet for advice. That advice was given for free. And worth exactly what they pay for it, more often than not…There were official sites, unofficial sites, forums, fan blogs, and Nigerian scam sites. Frequently these last ones had the best photographic advice.
There was a fine line between not enough and too much reading. It was also a time-sensitive thing; leap in too soon for the information and all you got were company puffs and idiot speculation – go to the sites for advice too late and the camera you wanted was superseded and remaindered. The time frame could be as short as weeks.
The classic sign of information overload was the client with the looseleaf file of hand written notes and printer copies of computer screen listings – frequently annotated in colourful Texta. The person had 18 lines of enquiry going on with 36 of those lines intertwined between the front of the looseleaf and the back. If they had a friend who was an photographer they were likely to be in worse shape.
Helping out may have been impossible. Some were too far gone and drowned in the information river – to surface later as bloated corpses at the local library. Council workers removed them.
For the ones that were still saveable I said:
” Get a small camera. A simple one. Charge the battery and put in a card. Go take pictures. Save the pictures and look at them. If you like them, you are successful. Rejoice. Try to write down who the people are in the pictures as you will treasure this information in 40 years.
Turn off the internet…or use it to go look at pictures of kittens and scenery. You will feel better. “