Respect is a funny thing. In my opinion, there are two types of people, those that you have to earn their respect and those that give respect that you can lose by your actions or inactions. I fall into the latter. I assume that peoples intentions are inherently good. I believe that most people are good hearted and aren't out to cause harm. Lately i've been noticing this paradigm in the photography community.
Over the last year I have seen articles, YouTube videos, Facebook posts and more discussing how a certain type of person isn't really a photographer because they use x, y or z type of equipment. How iPhone photographers aren't really photographers or if you've never shot film you can't possibly be a professional. Photographers going after other photographers because of some perceived lack of skill or knowledge. And don't get me started on the whole over use of the "everyone is a photographer" line. If I hear it again i'm going to scream. There is even an angry photographer YouTube channel. Sorry but I just don't get it. What's to be so angry about? I know there is a segment of the photography industry that feels that the profession is being somehow diluted, that the more people offering photography services at a poorer quality will somehow ruin photography as a profession. I get that it's hard to watch someone with weeks or months of experience charging for their photography when you spent years getting your art degree and worked as an apprentice or second shooter for years before you branched out on your own. I get that. What I don't get is that they are considered your competition. If your photography is top notch and you carry yourself in a professional manner and you have years of experience to help you shine, why would you be threatened by someone just starting out?
I look at it this way. If someone loves photography and they are able to charge for it, then more power to them. I'll even give them my two cents if they ask. I'll share some of my experiences and help to encourage them to succeed. What I won't do is try to break them down. The world does enough of that. I am also a realist. It has gotten harder to make a full time living as a photographer. People no longer print images. Most photography services include digital images as part of the basic shoot cost. The days of charging for individual prints is dead. People expect digital files and they are shocked when they are more expensive than what they would spend on a cup of coffee. News outlets and businesses are no longer using in-house photographers. Images are being submitted to media outlets by the thousands by so called ireporters. The fee being only recognition. It is a changing world.
Because it is a changing world we need to adapt and overcome. We need to expand our skill sets into digital media. We need to understand the new environment and use it to our benefit. People are succeeding by creating multiple outlets for their images. From social media to Podcasts and YouTube channels. It's adapt or die time for photographers. I believe with hard work and perseverance you can succeed and that you are the only thing that is getting in the way. Don't listen to the little voices in your head or the people that are waiting to rip your images to pieces. Work on your craft and keep looking until you find your tribe. Demand respect and ignore and excise those that don't, they win when you engage!