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Quote: He who can does, he who cannot teaches
I always found that quote fatuous. Just because it was GBS doesn't make it clever. Einstein taught - so in Shaw's opinion he wasn't capable. I had a guitar teacher who was not only a superb player bit a talented teacher too.
If photographs are to be judged technically then yes, you need an experienced photographer to do that. If they are to be judged as pictures then anyone is as qualified as anyone else to give an opinion.
I've always found photo competitions a bit odd for that reason. You could compete for 'photograph with the least digital noise' or 'photograph with the most people in it' but judging on composition or pictorial value is utterly subjective and doesn't translate from one person to the other. It's like saying who is the better artist Manet or Picasso. The only answer can be Manet is the best Manet, Picasso the best Picasso.
I'm not saying there shouldn't be competitions but my reaction as a long time freelance to the question what is your best picture could boil down to 'the one that made me the most money', Luckily, I never wanted to be an artist!
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Unfortunately, there are a lot of posters who claim to be beginners, yet want to pontificate upon subjects as experts. Frequently forgetting that their opinion only carries as much weight as anyone else's on here, they argue to the nth degree with people that have a wealth of experience, and often resort to thinly veiled (and sometimes not so thinly veiled) insults when they don't agree.
There are some on here who have only been 'into' photography (by their own admission) since their first camera, which was digital and only a couple of years ago, yet feel qualified to argue vehemently about film/digital issues, different formats, processing/printing, legacy lenses and equipment, and so on. Knowing about something from reading is totally different from knowing something well. There are others who will argue about the merits of various equipment types, yet have only ever used one camera and a couple of lenses. Guess which they think is best? The ones they own, or aspire to own.
The fact is, you can generally claim things online, which are impossible to back up in fact. Wiki and other sites gives some the ability to sound knowledgable by looking up things online, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have the depth of knowledge to back it up, and often things are inaccurate on sites like these, but you can see the people that are genuinely helpful because others agree and back up what they say. The ones with lots of 'good critique' points for instance...you can only get them from recommendations from others, therefore they are likely to be giving you good critique from past performance. One can always choose to disregard it, but for some, any opinion that is different from theirs is wrong.
I also know teachers who are only a couple of points above their pupils...as long as they stay ahead, they are fine, but the real art of teaching something is to have an intimate knowledge of the subject, enthusiasm and the ability to convey it to others.
For instance, there are many here who offer courses and trips to inexperienced photographers, and while able to take decent pictures themselves, really only score on knowing the local area well enough to find good locations. Their teaching sometimes amounts to nothing much more than advice on which aperture/shutter speed/ISO to use, rather than anything more in-depth like artistic problems, composition, processing etc.
I know people who have been on these courses (which aren't cheap) and learnt absolutely nothing, as the tutor couldn't answer complicated questions.
But as has been said before, you don't need to be intimate with a subject to know if the picture is any good, but perhaps you are judging by different criteria to others more 'qualified'.
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