Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blog #4 - The "Other" Affect and A General Introduction to the Photog Culture.

So I was sitting at my desk, contently working on a project for one of my other classes when it dawned on me that I hadn't done my blogging for the week! I guess it was all the confusion I had this week with going home a day early (I have been thinking it is a day before it should be since last Thursday) and then sleeping pretty much all day Saturday because of the just horrible winter weather conditions that we had (for those of you studying abroad, it was not horrible, but bad enough to merit staying inside and doing nothing all day. But anyway, on to the material for this week's blog...(In the nature of the assignment of explaining my culture to another student, I would probably sit him down and just tell him this as that is my favorite way to express my views about things - in long "rants" lol.)

As I mentioned in last week's blog I identify as being in two different cultures - the artist/photographer culture and the gamer-nerd culture. There is not really that much of a "group and 'other'" feeling in the gamer-nerd culture, or at least there isn't in my circle of friends as we are all primarily leisure players and play for the fun of it. Sure some of us are better at some games than others, but we are all pretty much on the same level. However, there is some feeling of an "other" group in my photography circles. I am primarily a sports photographer and as such I get into a lot of games for free. I covered the bowl game this year, and I was at the ACC Championship game covering the action with the other privileged photographers; but even with these impressive and niffty feats under my belt, I still have a sense of awe and wonder when I see a monopod with "Getty Images" or a press vest with "Sports Illustrated." I guess that technically I am a pro (or at least semi-pro) photographer, but when I see them I just get a feeling like, "Wow, today I get to shoot with the real photogs." Another instance of the "other" feeling in the photog culture is the feeling that most (I would be willing to bet all) photogs (or media photos anyway) feel about everyone else (fans, spectators, pretty much anyone who is at an event to see it, without a camera). I will admit that it doesn't make much sense for us to feel how we do, but they just represent a source of great annoyance because they frequently get in the way (not as much at sporting events, but sometimes like in this photo)

while we are trying to make a great shot for them. I think that part of the culture can be traced to the ethnos and identity that we have as "the media" and goes with how we see ourselves not as representatives of "the people" but the group that is there to represent whatever event we are photographing to the people.

Individuality is an interesting thing in the photog culture. While we are all looking out for ourselves and each trying to get the shot, once you are accepted into the culture as "one of the photogs" you gain a sense of belonging where you have earned a place and the respect of others. You find "your spot" at all the events (I have sat in the same spot at the basketball games for the past two years) and people know that is where he sits and this is where I sit and you don't cross those lines. (So while there is a "look out for yourself"-ness to the media side of photography and photojournalism, once you are "part of the family" there is a collectivistic side as well.)

Masculinity and the Uncertainty Avoidance Index are not really factors that are relevant to the photog culture. (I would say that at least most of the photographers I have seen are male, but that has nothing to do with something about the culture itself.)

Sometimes individual people can have impressive stories (mythos) and/or a cool photograph (teche/archon) but there are not really any that define all photographers as a whole. (Though there are some very amazing photographs that do factor into how we (as photographers) present ourselves to, see ourselves as being able to offer to, and how we hope that the "others" (in this case "the general people") see us. (This would be like us praising the work of some of the amazing photogs in the field like Mona Reader, Rod Mar, or another photog with multiple awards in their field.) The Power Distence Index comes into affect some here (with the mention of the "big names" in the field) but there really isn't an unfair distribution of "power" in the photog culture. I think that the biggest reason for that is that for one we are all just employees for someone (at least in the media circle) and as such there is a competitive aspect to the culture, but there is not a hierarchy so much as we respect the photogs who have been around longer and who are more skilled than us.

I hope that this blog post has been helpful to some of you to learn more about the photography culture. Hopefully next week I will be able to include some photos and maybe a video as my mic came in this week and I will hopefully be trying it out some. :)

Until next post,


P.S. for those of you who don't know what the "Other" I refer to in this post are, some short(ish) videos explaining that can be found here ->

and I also used some of the cultural dimensions from

1 comment:

  1. good comments on the photog community...

    I wonder about photo galleries and portfolios - are they archon? or techne? and how do they identify the group?