Great Photographers – or otherwise

What makes a great photographer?

I was watching a video the other week, by American Photographer Ken Van Sickle, whose work, in my opinion is truly great.

His words in the interview were as follows

“If you were there when the Hindenburg caught fire, that would be a great photograph.  But you’re not a great photographer because you can’t repeat that in every day things. A great photographer is consistently able to make something in a style that is personal to themselves”

and I think we should take his words to heart.

I also read an article about how photographs can be popular, but not great – sometimes not even good.  I see this all the time on FB, less so on Flickr, and even less so on 500px – but as FB seems to be taking over the whole world, with even insurance companies now thinking to rely on what people post – I do wonder what their reaction would be to those who only post pictures – great pictures – with  no comments.

I was trying to explain last night – to a group of photographers, why my commercial images wouldn’t work on the competition circuit.  The images are not bad ones, they are pretty good in fact (I wouldn’t get the repeat business if they weren’t) – but they just would not be what the competition judge would want to see.


Here’s one from a job I did recently -it was in the papers…  It’s the Royal British Legion Parachute drop at Chatsworth Country Fair.  It told the story, in context – but out of context and in a competition, it would probably do not so well.  Does this make me a worse photographer?  No, of course not.  But if I pushed this onto social media – it’s very likely that it might get a few ‘likes’ but probably not a lot of attention.

The Green Woodpecker image that I put on FB last week, and on my last blog post, certainly generated a multitude of great comments, ‘likes’ and favourites.  Both images needed the same amount of skill, speed, and ‘getting the exposure right’ – but each received a different response.

So, what I’d say to you is – keep taking pictures, don’t let lack of ‘likes’ get you down – keep going, do what you like doing -take the images that YOU like and enjoy.

In the meantime, I’m on the downward spiral to retirement, and totally looking forward to it……

Keep shooting !

Author: Diane Seddon ARPS AFIAP CPAGB BPE3* - D Seddon Photography

I am a retired freelance photographer, based in Louth, Lincolnshire.

One thought on “Great Photographers – or otherwise”

  1. Diane, as ever your comments are “spot on” ~ should I bother about Facebook “Likes” …… certainly NOT. A like by a certain person or type of person probably means more than 10 average FB “Likes” from people who I’ve never met and I know little of their photographic knowledge to be able to judge the relevance of their “Like.” Indeed a Facebook silence is more useful than some likes. What we always need to remember, as you have reminded us time again is that photography is an art form and “one person’s meat is another’s poison.”
    Thanks for another inspiring blog comment.
    Ps – you can’t retire yet 🙂 ~ your input is too valuable!


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