I Have To Get This Off My Chest

There’s something that’s bothering me about the online photography community that I want to get off my chest. I know I can’t control how people behave but I think this is worth opening a discussion about.

Don’t feed the trolls.


  1. Don W. Yee says

    Hi Ted,

    It’s sad that we live in a world with internet trolls. There are so many unhappy people out there using the internet and some get the twisted joy of tearing others down. Some just want validation to their sad reality. You on the other hand are always encouraging but also honest about how hard a career in photography is. You do have a thick skin and you probably ignored most of the trolls attacking you. It’s really hard to stomach when someone else is attacked. That’s hard to ignore and you had the courage to speak out.

    All the best,

  2. says

    Following your dream…

    Perhaps it also depends on who you, the dreamer, happen to be; that, in the sense of where your talents lie as compared with your desires and dreams? The two are not always logically entwined.

    I’m not criticising your conversation with this particular young man – I have no idea what your letter to him contained – but advice is often fraught with potential dangers, especially if we offer it without really knowing the person’s circumstances (much as with your point about trolls), and youth is terribly vulnerable. It’s difficult enough knowing the best thing for ourselves!

    I’d say that encouraging someone to take up photography as a hobby (delightfully old-fashioned term, that!) is fine, but any advice about the professional side of it is something else, and I’d leave offering advice (to any young person) on that subject well alone. As you say, it’s about as tough a life-choice (which it has to be) as they come, and even the hours you put in don’t always equate with the career result you get out.


  3. Chris says

    Three points to make:

    1) The young woman asked a question. I believe the answer was sincere, well-meaning, and in keeping with the overall vibe of optimism that the show puts forth. What else could one reasonably ask for?
    2) As an educator, I see every day that greater harm can come from letting naysayers sway one from trying something difficult, be that photography, musical performance, creative writing, whatever.
    3) Because there’s such a thing as intrinsic worth, those who are driven to accomplish something will strive to do so regardless. Ray Bradbury was ridiculed for collecting Buck Rogers comic strips as a child. After a period of depression, he decided his critics were nuts. The the rest is history. If you’ve got a bell to ring, ring it.

  4. says

    Love your videos Ted and this one is spot on. I was afraid that I was the only one that was turned off by this very thing. I am a photography enthusiast therefore I follow many sites, blogs, FB groups, etc. in an effort to further my photography. On many of these groups, it pains me when I see someone ask for “CC”; cue the medics. Invariably these poor well-meaning persons are “sliced and diced” about the horrible contrast, poor composition and mundane subject matter of their mediocre photo; often times by someone with “Pro Photographer” in their bio. I shudder to think the damage that these self-proclaimed experts have done to someone who is just starting out in this fantastic thing we call photography. These folks, myself included, come to these groups with an honest hunger to get better, not to be gutted and humiliated. Critique can, and should, be delivered in a fair, non-demeaning fashion or not at all. I agree; FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!!
    Also, I like quotes too:
    “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”. – Thumper


  5. says

    Hi Ted – In my humble opinion you are 100 % correct regarding advising people that should try to realise their dreams – after all that’s what life is really about. Also your videos are great and I love your enthusiasm and philosophy regarding photography. You are also a very thoughtful and thought provoking videographer and photographer – hope you get to the UK some time soon as it would be good to meet up. Roger from Southport UK.