Prop and Roll


Faux French for fake. It's also a snarky word that photographers use in referring to other people who do photography who aren't up to "their standards"  whatever those are.   Professional Photography --or whatever  that is in this day in age is a field that is FILLED with pretentious jerks.  Why do I say that?  Because I've done my time as a true professional in the field of Education - I am a "professional." I've worked for years chasing degrees and certifications to achieve that goal and never once did I call myself a "Professional Teacher" -  the fact that you have to USE the term "professional" as a preface to what you do indicates that it is not as professional of a field as you wish it to be.  I do not call my Doctor a "Professional Doctor" - I do not call my Lawyer my "Professional Lawyer."   So perhaps instead of calling myself a "professional photographer" I should say that "I take pictures." I take a lot of pictures, all the time.   

20140604-IMG_2538North East Nebraska

Lovely Nebraska in June 

In a perfect Libertarian world we would all be respected for the knowledge that we have whether or not it has the seal of approval of an academic institution and knowledge acquired wouldn't be judged by the standards of a test or a tax you pay to the government to have a certificate that tells you what your talents and skills are.   

20140605-IMG_9242Nebraska Fields - Land in Nebraska-2

The Symmetry of a Field in Nebraska in June 

The thing about photography and the age of digital media is that anyone can be a "photographer" in fact almost everyone out there has some photographic skills or knowledge.  After all you all know how to throw a filter on your picture in instagram and you know it looks "better" to you.   But you may not know why Instagram is successful or why those warm filters make you think the world looks better.  

20140602-IMG_2055Kansas Summer Day

The beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas near Manhattan 

But there is a whole group of "professional photographers" who desire life to be as it was in the good old days of the 90s.  Just as there were this same group of photographers who lamented the technology that Kodak brought to the world in the late 19th century (go research the history of photography and you will see that nothing has changed).  The death of the "industry" of photography they cried as individuals gained the power over their images.   The death of the studio and professional photography.   

20140824-IMG_4721Shawn's Family_

Portraiture-  a toddler does not care that it is portrait day.  

Sure, I could pay over $300 a year to join the Professional Photographers Association. I could pay more money to join any other associations to give my skills validity.   I love attending workshops and there is a lot I want to learn, but I don't have an extra $30 a month to throw around to be part of this group.

20140619-IMG_4243South Dakota Near The Missouri River

The beautiful Missouri River Valley in South Dakota 

This craze for accredidation can be traced back to the history of academia and this idea that we need these professional societies and organizations to guide us through research based methods of learning.  The fact that we accept this as the way it is without question is one issue I have with society. I reject that society needs to be viewed primarily through these institutions and organizations.   This is why indigenous knowledge isn't always respected.  This is why to some degree I reject the western institution and it's ways.   How many art school graduates are not successful artists?  They went through the policy and procedure to gain the rubber stamp of approval yet, something is "missing" in their work, their eye, their charisma, they are an artist on paper yet have not found commercial success. 

20140619-IMG_4259South Dakota Near The Missouri River


The rolling hills of the Missouri River Valley and Lake Francis Case in the background just on the South Dakota Border

I think one big complaint of established photographers who are in the "business" and making money with photography, they resent this continual entry of  "new" photographers who are becoming "passionate" about the "art" --  while lacking in technical skills they launch a "Photography Page" on Facebook almost immediately and begin looking for victims to shoot.  While the "established" photographers cringe as the heavily filtered, poorly exposed, out of focus, vignetted images with fifty likes show up on their Facebook feeds.   The problem is not the lack of technical knowledge -- the problem is we know people are paying for it.  I look at my portraiture from three years and absolutely hate it, but we know that it is a learning process.

20140619-IMG_4413Sunset along the Niobrara River in Boyd County Nebraska_

Sunset in the Niobrara Valley near Butte, Nebraska 

But I love beautiful photography.  I love beautiful landscapes. I have decided that most people starting out in photography who established photographers and serious hobbyists like to call "fauxtographers" because they are too liberal when they edit their images.  If they posted most of those images untouched or not-filtered they wouldn't stand out so much.   

20140619-IMG_4425Flower along Niobrara River in Boyd County Nebraska_

I believe that everyone can recognize "good" photography.  But I do not believe everyone knows how to see. I think recognizing the aesthetics is natural. I do not believe most people will dedicate the time to know why they recognize good photography.  They do not have the vocabulary to express why an image is good or what makes it good.  The learned photographers, those who are obsessed with learning and absorbing all they can about the information are not all 'professional' nor are they all 'fauxtographers.' There is a spectrum of learning in this world of photography.  

Your viewers do not always know what you know, you in some way are the purveyor of vision, whether through a telling portrait, sweeping landscape, or the details of a macro. 


Everyone can see, but not everyone knows what they see or why it's good or bad.  Photography is a journey of observation, an education in how to see, a way to view the world.  So I don't care what anyone calls me, a fauxtographer or a professional photographer.  Your opinions are not-valid in my world.  I carry my lightproof box and I capture the world and that makes me happy.  

Photography is telling a story, some of us are more skilled at telling a story than others.  Others are just beginning their journey, they may not "see" now, but give them a few years and they may go from a "faux" to a "pro."  


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Well said. Too much pretension out there.
Love your work.


Love love love the first photo. A nice flat stretch is much appreciated in NH where Im usually fighting my way over mountain tops.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)