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Did you feel like you didn't belong?

xKncptRagex

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What I mean is: When you first took a photography class or first took an interest in photography, did you feel as if your peers looked down on you? Maybe even annoyed by you?

I've only been shooting for about 2.5 years, taken a beginning and intermediate photography class, and am now in a studio lighting class. Throughout these classes it just seems like the other students have been far more advanced than I was/am. I see them in class, I see them in the studio, I see them in the lab. They all look like they're good friends, they converse with ease, they have fun being there. Whenever I walk in to the studio or lab I feel like I'm looked upon as an outsider, never taken seriously, or even thought of as dumb for not knowing how to use a light meter (which I still have trouble with).

So, how about the rest of you? Have any of you ever felt similar feelings?
 
As a photographer, I tend to find myself a loner. People around me aren't photographers so I just do my own thing. My family aren't interested to see my photos anyways.
In a group, say a photography meetup in an outdoor setting, people just go on their own and do their own thing. Most of the time, people don't interact with each other unless they already know each other. They show up, take photos and leave. May be it's must my luck, I've never made friends through such setting.

Class wise, I am not too sure. I've only taken an intro class while in college. So most people are noobs to begin with and there's no "competition". I want to say that your case is unique, whether the issue lies with you, your classmates or other factors. I have this friend who is good hearted, wants the best for people, never had bad intention but everyone finds him really annoying. It's the way he approaches people, the way he speaks, the way he structures his questions.

If you think the problem lies with your "lack" of knowledge that others are looking down on, then spend more time outside of class time to learn about the stuffs that you don't yet quite understand. Learning happens outside of class time anyways. Prepare yourself well before the class, so you won't be wasting time on asking questions that you should already have the answer to.
 
The problem has nothing to do with photography, it sounds like you are not very good at mixing with strangers, just talk to them and don't think they are better than you
 
So you're saying fellow students in the same classes as you are looking down on you? There's too many unanswered variables. Are you considerably older? It appears you're taking classes whenever time is convenient and not like a structured 2/4 year college course. Maybe those other individuals are more agressive in their learning outside the classroom? Or as gsgary stated, maybe your social skills need some improving?
 
you may need to find another avenue to bond with them on, other then photography?

a lot of the time people will stereotype people in a classroom setting. it quite common when a lot of people get together that may not know eachother. the people that may have taken classes before may have already made bonds or "clicked". its somewhat natural to stereotype because it make it easier for you to remember people if you can associate them with something you already know.

I know this may sound stupid, but do you look / act different?

Im going back to college myself, but not for photography, my situation is a bit different cause in my program people are a bit older, most are my age or older. still in some of my intro classes i do sometimes find myself out of the norm, because im not a guy that parties and drinks, i have a wife and that stage of my life is over. most of the time these are just classes you go to to get a grade, and not much else.

you may want to start up a conversation about the class, before or after. i have started conversations like that with people in my class like "what does this guy want us to do" or "that test wasnt as bad as i thought" or "that was funny in class" etc... usually most people in the class will want to conversate a little on that topic.

i also do know where you are coming from as far as saying "im looked down on because i dont know about something" i do think its somewhat common in class situations or any situation with multiple people. put those same people in a situation where its just you and them, i bet they would act a lot different, and you probably would work together and they would help you with the things you dont know. its probably mostly just the fact that they are in a group setting.
 
matthewo said:
you may need to find another avenue to bond with them on, other then photography?

a lot of the time people will stereotype people in a classroom setting. it quite common when a lot of people get together that may not know eachother. the people that may have taken classes before may have already made bonds or "clicked". its somewhat natural to stereotype because it make it easier for you to remember people if you can associate them with something you already know.

I know this may sound stupid, but do you look / act different?

Im going back to college myself, but not for photography, my situation is a bit different cause in my program people are a bit older, most are my age or older. still in some of my intro classes i do sometimes find myself out of the norm, because im not a guy that parties and drinks, i have a wife and that stage of my life is over. most of the time these are just classes you go to to get a grade, and not much else.

you may want to start up a conversation about the class, before or after. i have started conversations like that with people in my class like "what does this guy want us to do" or "that test wasnt as bad as i thought" or "that was funny in class" etc... usually most people in the class will want to conversate a little on that topic.

i also do know where you are coming from as far as saying "im looked down on because i dont know about something" i do think its somewhat common in class situations or any situation with multiple people. put those same people in a situation where its just you and them, i bet they would act a lot different, and you probably would work together and they would help you with the things you dont know. its probably mostly just the fact that they are in a group setting.
It's called a pub, pints and wings :) never fails breaking the ice lol.
 
I felt exactly like you did before I walked into my first lesson. It was only an introductory lecture/seminar to outline the kind of things we'd be doing over the next few months but I just felt like I was out of my depth. I knew for a fact that 95% of the people around me already had formal qualifications in photography, and at quite a high level, so I dreaded the moment when we had to share what we knew.

The moment came when we were told that we were going to do a photography quiz, basic questions that anyone photographer should know. The kind of questions asked were "what does ASA stand for?", "What does ISO stand for?" or even "name the photographer that produced this work". You'd bet that anyone who had studied photography at college (British style college) for 2 years previously would know these things. Wrong.

I was shocked at the few things people knew, I assumed it was because they were nervous or shy. However, there was one question that my group spent the most time on. We were asked about the exposure triangle, we were given a base exposure and was asked what would happen to the shutter speed if we closed the aperture down however many stops but wanted to retain our base exposure. I sat there working it out, assuming my group was doing the same, and I declared my answer (which ended it being correct, just so you know). I asked what everyone else had got but to my disbelief the other four people in my group had failed to even start working it out. I was genuinely shocked.

I walked out of the classroom with a sense of despair. I'm not saying that technical knowledge is everything but I'd expect that students of photography should know what technical aspects are required to produce an image. I'm also not saying that I'm hugely knowledgable myself, I just expected people who were apparently qualified to be better.

Also, a lot of people remain just as useless to this day.
 
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Most photographers in this area are so far on their high horse they've escaped our atmosphere. There's one guy who shoots for our relatively small newspaper here, and he WILL NOT give you the time of day AT ALL unless you are a photographer he deems worthy of your time. I think it's just the nature of the profession.

It's not like math where there is an absolute right and wrong answer. so people think that they have to do SOOOO much better in order get recognition...I guess. And if they aren't that good they just fake it to protect their self-esteem.

What I found funny in the Intro to Photography class was that most of the students has such an air of unwarranted superiority. It was both amusing and tragic.
 
...I think it's just the nature of the profession.
Ehhh... I'd dispute that. Most of the true professionals I've met (those whose services are in demand and who make a LOT of money with their camera) have been very friendly, down-to-earth people. That's because they're secure in their world. The people who tend not to be are that intermediate group of "I want to be the next Anne Leibovitz" but all I can find is this lame job shooting for a small-town weekly. These are ones that I find have the superior attitude.
 
I've been in the business for a very long time and yes at times have felt like an outsider in some situations. For the most part, being one of the more experienced photographers I find that some of the new guys are "shy" around me, they have no reason to be, I think it's just human nature. Sometimes we give off vibes that make us seem to be a little distant or unapprochable. I have to agree with tirediron, most professionals are pretty easy to get along with.
 
The professionals who are doing well are generally easy going and friendly. It is the ones struggling to make a living who are churlish and afraid of competition and giving away any secrets.
and...ahhh so you're one of the newbies in class who don't know anything *LOL* it's okay, study hard and you'll get there.
 
I want to say that your case is unique, whether the issue lies with you, your classmates or other factors. I have this friend who is good hearted, wants the best for people, never had bad intention but everyone finds him really annoying. It's the way he approaches people, the way he speaks, the way he structures his questions.

Sounds like me and you're friend have a lot in common. I'm not certain that people find me annoying, which is exactly the opposite of what I want to be, but I get weird reactions when I try to talk to people.

So you're saying fellow students in the same classes as you are looking down on you? There's too many unanswered variables. Are you considerably older? It appears you're taking classes whenever time is convenient and not like a structured 2/4 year college course. Maybe those other individuals are more agressive in their learning outside the classroom? Or as gsgary stated, maybe your social skills need some improving?

I'm actually right around my age group. It's still community college, so just about the whole class consists of 18-24 year olds. There are a few that are much older in their 40s and older. As for me taking classes when it's convenient, I actually take classes when I have room in my schedule. I'm a Political Science major so I haven't had much time to take photography classes. If it was up to me, my whole schedule would be photography and nothing else. I agree with you that my social skills need improvement but I feel that I cant be that bad that I sense these feelings.

I know this may sound stupid, but do you look / act different?

I'm hispanic. There's me and a slightly older lady that are the only hispanics in the class. I don't want to attribute it to race or the way I wear my jeans or the types of clothes I wear. As for acting differently, I think that may be the reason. Just about everyone in the class is extraverted, whereas I'm more introverted. I think that's a trait that every photographer should have though. You need to be outgoing, very personable, easy going in order for you to be successful. Something I'm definitely working on.
 
im an introvert as well. my fix for that has been trying to put myself into uncomfortable situations and force myself to interact with people and just get better at it. i just went to my local photography club and it was mostly people 20 years older then myself who were into doing the contests and bird photography and such and i thought what am i doing there. but then i decided even though there older and into diffrent types of photography im sure there are plenty of things i could learn. so im sticking around to get to know them better.
 
Sometimes...

Here is the deal. Some people will always be better than you. Others may not be as good as you. In any case, just work to be the best YOU can be. Then you can find peace.
 
slackercruster said:
Sometimes...

Here is the deal. Some people will always be better than you. Others may not be as good as you. In any case, just work to be the best YOU can be. Then you can find peace.

Lol I kinda feel out of place in my computer science because I weight lift and my size.
 

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