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Follow my journey into photography...

Discussion in 'Web Sites of Interest' started by cambridgescene, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Fen,

    That's not "old school", that's "new school". Old school employers wanted to know if you could do the job, not if you had a piece of paper. In other words, they formed their own opinion of your abilities, based on your work; their knowledge of their own business; and their opinion of you as a person. They is not rely on someone else's opinion, in a different field, written on a piece of paper.

    I fully accept what you say, that many employers today do in fact demand pieces of substantially worthless paper. But this is a result of the poisonous cult of managerism, today's substitute for actually understanding the business in which you work.


  2. mikeh201355

    mikeh201355 Well-Known Member

    That is where I agree with Geren. You are making assumptions as to why OP is taking a diploma.

    But at its core it seems we (you and I) have the same response to the 'please like me on facebook' request. We also need to bear in mind that the use of the words 'friend' and 'like' has different definitions for the facebook generation than it does for you and I: you only need to see the internet chatter when someone describes themselves as having 5,000 'friends' (my response is "WHAT???").

    Unfortunately the issue is ours (making assumptions) as much as it is the OP (not understanding where we are coming from). Both sides need to cool off a bit.
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kath,

    Highlight: so did I. Here's news for you: almost NO-ONE has the level of confidence you attribute to me. Anyone who does is likely to be stupid or inexperienced or both. Or maybe just lucky and lacking in introspection. It's interesting how many people attribute all their successes to their native wit, charm and intelligence but associate all their failures with bad luck.

    The only way to "prove yourself" is again and again, against your own standards and (where appropriate) employers' standards.

    In one sense, I "wasted" the time I took getting a law degree. I had the choice of an LL.B. or a BA Fine Art in photography. I chose the former because it's basically a degree in BS. So is a BA Fine Art but an LL.B. is more generally applicable. What I should have done is either dedicated myself to writing or started working for a local newspaper.

    By my late 20s I had decided that very few people would have the faintest idea of what I wanted to do, or of how to go about it. I therefore saw very little sense in jumping through others' hoops -- the more so as I knew what a law degree from a good law school really means, which is, as I said, BS. A Ph.D. had its attractions but after a stiff argument with an admissions committee in a Department of History of Technology, that didn't look attractive either. The basic problem was that all the admissions panel were historians of the sociological persuasion: none knew a thing about technology. What would have been my Ph.D. thesis was eventually published by The Focal Press as A History of the 35mm Still Camera. Those familiar with the subject have been quite kind about it.

    So: this is why I have no faith in any piece of paper much shorter than my own explanation of what I know about a subject.


    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    No. See post above. And indeed my reply to you. Here is part of it again: My beef is that he gave me no reason whatsoever to take any interest in his progress, whether by showing me brilliant pictures (I followed the link, which proved to be a waste of time, hence my pique) or by asking meaningful questions.


  5. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I suspect we could split hairs on this subject all night and not have anything much to show for it.

    My degree will be in Communication Design, specialising in Photography for the last two years of the course. This means that over the four years, I will be indulging in learning about typography, layout, art history, critical thinking, illustration, animation, prototyping, coding, electronics, graphics, film-making, casting, laser-cutting, various different types of software, more advanced darkroom techniques and will have access to large format, and medium format cameras, enlargers and printers and scanners, woodwork and and jewellery making tools and a whole host of other resources that otherwise would not be available to me - as readily or with as much expert help on hand to guide me.

    I'm not 18 any more. I'm less and less likely to sit back and agree with everything that our tutors tell me. Last year I made decisions that my tutor disagreed with and at 18 or 19 I'm sure I'd have bowed to his opinion and changed what I was doing. At 46 I argued my case, did some more research to back up my point and won the toss. Right now, none of our tutors are full time lecturers; they all have their own practice working as designers and/or photographers and as such I do value their opinions, but not slavishly.

    This is a life experience for me. This is widening my horizons, and making contacts and to some extent, the bit of paper is secondary to all of that at the end. But Fen is right, there are people (and actually the ones I've come across have been definitely in the "old school" camp) who feel more comfortable with knowing that you've a qualification even if they haven't actually insisted on it.
  6. mikeh201355

    mikeh201355 Well-Known Member

    Having been involved in recruiting (not in photorgaphy!) many times this is very much the case: a well-composed shortlist of applicant will include at least 3 people who could, on the face of it, equally do the job. After that you are looking for the merest reason to select one over the other and if that is a meaningless piece of paper or the way they shake your hand then so be it.
    If those pieces of paper are a major factor then you had better look at your recruiting process.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kath,

    But I don't think we are splitting hairs. This goes straight to the heart of my original reply. You have explained why you are doing your degree and what you want from it. The OP didn't. He just said, "Look at me", and when challenged, left in a huff.

    You could say that this is at least partially the result of his age. Yes, fair enough. But if he's forever treated as a child, never being asked to explain himself or defend his actions, then he'll go on being a child. He has to grow up sometime. Now is a good time to start.

    It may sound tacky or patronizing to say "I respect your opinions." It isn't. I'll respect most people's opinions if they can be bothered to explain them. You not only explain them: you do so with honesty and clarity.

    Sooner or later the OP is going to have to learn to do the same.


  8. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    I don't basically disagree with you. I think I read the OP's comments with a slightly more favourable interpretation than you did, but in reality, having clicked through to the relevant Facebook page, I didn't feel an overwhelming desire to like and follow their page because I have, like you, no real reason to do so. I took exception to the way you phrased your reply because it seemed very rude to me. If someone, a respected someone in the photographic community had talked to me when I was that young the way you did to this person, I'd have been incredibly upset. Perhaps I needed to get a thicker skin and perhaps you see your reply as a means of helping someone to develop that, but I feel there are ways and means of expressing yourself without being un-necessarily unkind in the process.

    Best regards


    (Oh, and I don't know if I read your comment incorrectly or not, but pretty much all of the bad stuff that happened to me in my 20s was very definitely of my own doing; I was too stubborn, too arrogant and too easily distracted. Bad luck had nothing to do with it.)
  9. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    Roger's absolutely right, all any qualification shows is that you were able to meet the requirements of whoever gives out the qualifications. The proof of this is out on the roads everyday. The majority of drivers have passed their test, they are qualified to drive a car, yet how many bad drivers do you see?

    I doubt if any of the students of the great artists of the Renaissance were bothered about getting a qualification.

    Finally, if you get through to the interview stage for a photography job and don't get it, it's not because you don't have a qualification, it's because either they liked someone better or they had a better portfolio. Qualifications are used at the sifting stage but by the time to get to an interview it's all about how you come across and whether your work stacks up.
  10. Olderbutnotwiser

    Olderbutnotwiser Well-Known Member

    Qualifications definitely have a place, not just in academia but also in the real world. What matters is the credibility of the awarding body. A diploma from a website following a few hours of watching YouTube videos, answering multiple choice questions and uploading work that may or may not have been dome by the person named on the certificate is, of course, pretty worthless. A properly audited, supervised, delivered course with a regulated level of achievement required at a creditable establishment and overseen by a proper awarding body is a different thing altogether.

    Of course it's not as good as real world experience. Of course it’s value is diminished as the qualification holder gains experience but, to use the example of the driver given above, our first choice would be to be driven by an experienced, qualified driver, our second choice would be a qualified driver, very much the last choice would be an unqualified driver who just said he knew how to drive….
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Quite. It's unfortunate that it's even part of the sifting stage, but we have to accept that a lot of professional managers choose to rely on a piece of paper written by someone they've never met, in an academic environment thoroughly divorced from the professional world. They do this because they are professional managers, not professionals in the field in which they are interviewing.

    I've not been on an interview panel in over 30 years, but it was very easy then. We were interviewing prospective technical/advertising copywriters, so their applications were quite a good guide as to whether or not they could read and write. I don't think we even looked at their so-called qualifications.


  12. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    Good qualifications have a place but the trend now is gaining qualifications for qualifications' sake. This leads to a target mentality that changes behaviour away from educating about a subject to educating how to achieve a qualification.

    Degrees have now become so devalued that I would have grave concerns about my daughters going to university when they're older. Not only do you have to enter into a large amount of debt (presuming you don't have a rich family to support you) to get your first degree, you now have to go on to study a Masters of PhD. to be held in the same esteem as graduates were 20-30 years ago. This isn't progress.

    I've recently been considering going back into full time education but I can't find a course locally that will teach me what I want to learn. I have no interest in gaining a "qualification" I just want to learn.
  13. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    Roger, it's even worse than that. In my last place of work the managers were not professional managers, just people promoted to their respective levels of incompetence. I longed to have what you could call a "professional manager."
  14. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    And if you get through the the third stage of interviews...
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Barney,



  16. Olderbutnotwiser

    Olderbutnotwiser Well-Known Member

    This is absolutely a problem brought about by giving educational establishments targets based just on league tables
  17. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    If you get through to the third stage then it absolutely isn't the lack of qualification. Any doubts about that should have been dealt with at the first stage.
  18. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    It's not just education, it's now endemic throughout the public and private sector. :/
  19. Manamarak

    Manamarak New Member

    Wow, there is a lot of anger here. The guy just put his work out there. It's like a TV channel, if you don't like it, tune to something else. If you don't want to follow him, don't. If you don't want to study photography, don't.

    I for one will be checking out the facebook work, and if it is good, I will follow. I think the idea of watching a photographer develop may even prove helpful to me improving my own craft.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014

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