Ten Ways Writing and Photography are the Same
I thought this would be a fun little post for a Monday. As many of you know, I have a number of friends in the photography business. They are at various levels of the business, and I always marvel at how similar their posts are to those of writers. This morning I saw a post on Facebook from Gustavo Alfaro Photography. I can’t for the time of me figure out how to embed this post, so I will just quote it: “Photographers are the most insecure people I know. Don’t believe me? Look at one and tell them their work sucks. Part of being an artist I guess… #needtostepitup #changingmyvision”
This post reminded me a lot of myself, I have a few insecurities. And well, it got me back to thinking on how similar the lives of the writer and photographer are. So her are 10 reasons writing and photography are the same:
1. We both never have time to work on our craft.
It is true. I’ve never seen a group of people complain about a lack of time more than writers. That was until I met photographers. We are remarkably similar in this. Our crafts take time, and there isn’t enough time to work on it. Sure, we have to feed the dog, water the lawn, clean the house, care for the kids, but that isn’t the reason we have no time. The real reason…
2. We both spend far too long on the internet.
And we call this time on the internet, research. Writers are getting character ideas, researching possible locations, getting ideas on character names, learning the difference between than and then. Photographers call it “getting shoot ideas.” or “buying props”. The truth is simple. Just look at our Facebook pages. We are too busy sharing cat photos, complaining we don’t have time to work, and writing blog posts about the similarities between… well you get the point.
3. Our friends and family don’t take our craft seriously.
Oh, you write books. How cute. It isn’t hard. HA! Sure. You take pictures all day. When will you get a real job. Hell, my phone takes pictures. See, to them it is a cute hobby. Your mom might love you, but your best friend is too busy to worry about this little hobby of yours. Secretly they all hope you will get a real job so that you’ll stop posting links to your work and go back to sending the Candy Crush tickets. Some even make fun little remarks like: “When will I see a movie about your book?” or “Was that your photo I saw on TIME?” or “So you still play make believe.” or “I bet it is hard to take pictures of beautiful women/men all day.”
No one promotes us. We are left to beg people to click like, or write a review, or vote in the photo contest. Only about one percent of your friends ever share anything you do. Not really realizing that that shared photo, or the nice review on a book you write, could be the referral you need. We all just want the acceptance of our communities, but it always seems out of reach.
4. There are tons of people in our craft with real talent who never see the light of day.
We both think our work is not good enough. As Gustavo said, we are insecure. It takes huge amounts of courage for us to show you what we wrote. For us to share it, and then for us to hear you say you don’t like it. There are some excellent talented people in our crafts, but they are just too scared to put their work out there.
5. It is easy to do what we do.
Just ask anyone who doesn’t do it. People who have never written a word come to me and tell me how easy it must be to be a writer. You just sit down and your computer and type. It sure looks that way from the outside, but when you try it you see it isn’t that simple. Photography is the same way. We all have a camera, all you have to do is point the camera and take the picture. It is easy. Being a writer or photographer is easy in the same way that being a brain surgeon is easy. I am sure I could cut scalps with no medical training, why the hell not.
6. We both spend more time editing than creating.
It is very much the case. Photographers go out for a three hour shoot and spend the next week editing the photos. Writers may type out a manuscript in one or two months, but then spend then next year promising the release date is around the corner. Editing takes the most time, and…
7. People have unrealistic expectations from the editing process.
Sorry folks, no amount of touch ups will make my fat ass look like Channing Tatum. I can spend a year editing a book, I guarantee that it will still be released with an error. Even the big publishers do it. Instead of focusing on what doesn’t matter, lets be realistic here. Perhaps I can look like George Clooney instead.
8. People assume we’ll work for free.
Why does your book cost so much? Can you just send me one? I’d love to buy your book, but I am broke. I have a great idea for a book. If you write it for me, I’ll split the earnings with you.
Hey, come to our wedding just bring your camera. Can you remove the watermark on this photo so I can print it at Walmart? Would you mind taking our family portrait, you know, for free?
9. We can’t wait to get discovered, just to show you we could.
We fantasize about how we will be discovered and start really bringing in the big bucks. How you will then wish you were nice to us when we were small time. We imagine you coming to us asking for our time or money, but we are just far too busy. We couldn’t possible sign anything right now, perhaps you could talk to our PR person.
10. We are both practicing an under appreciated form of art.
The number of active readers are decreasing. People don’t read anymore, that is why they want to see every popular book made into a movie or a TV series. And our print market is dying fast. Everyone one wants digital. Books no longer line home libraries, but rather stored “in the cloud” or on eReaders making the true value of a book seem somewhat trivial.
In photography, the digital camera has ruined film. And now that everyone has a camera on their smart phone, few see the point of hiring a photographer for anything anymore. Homes seem to rarely display photos anymore, instead they sit on the hard drives of computers, never really being appreciated for the art form they really are.