There are many of them out there , they are the people that give a picture first place in a competition and nobody knows why . Everyone who looks at the picture thinks " I would have deleted that picture if I had taken it !?" . Meanwhile the person judging those pictures is usually trying to show that they understand the ''deeper meaning'' of the image regardless of whether it is actually appealing or not .
Why "Amateur wine connoisseurs " ?
Because it reminds me of a story about this guy who always used to annoy everyone with his "knowledge" of decent wines . One day we swapped the contents of two bottles , we put cheap wine in a bottle with a fancy , 'expensive' label . We presented him with the bottle and after reading the label he held it up to the light and pointed out how he could now recognize the excellent colour of an expensive wine ..... we looked at each other sideways . Then he proceeded to pour a little into a glass and swirl it around before sniffing it and telling us how much better the aroma of a good quality wine is before sipping it and saying " You don't get taste like this from a cheap wine !" ..... we never had it in us to tell him what we had done though - you kind of feel sorry for people like that :( .
Now in the world of photography [ basically in any occupation ] you get "Amateur wine connoisseurs" .
People who have learned something that they feel is a little more than what the 'average' person knows and they are quite proud of themselves for understanding it to the point where they feel slightly superior to those who don't have this knowledge .
The "Amateur wine connoisseurs "[ " AWC's "] have often studied many famous photographers to learn how to get "unique" images , rather ironically. Often the "AWC" who worships his hero photographers will go out of his way to justify anything that doesn't look right to the average person in one of their images while trying to show their superiority in understanding this 'hidden meaning' by explaining exactly why the image is good and why the artist 'broke the rules' and how they personally understand that 'deeper meaning' that couldn't possibly be wrong ..... because of the "label on the bottle" [ the artists name ] .
Those same people would probably give a beginner photographer who produced the same image a list of reasons why the same image is wrong but because they find out that an image was taken by one of their hero's they will fiercely defend it from any criticism and ridicule anyone who doesn't like the image .
Seriously , a picture is supposed to say a thousand words so if someone has to actually explain each aspect of a picture then that picture has failed in what it was supposed to convey .....
Get real , think for yourselves , those hero's you worship may be talented people who have made a name for themselves but they are still only human - they make mistakes as well and perhaps as they progress they may look back at some of their images from the 'early days' and wish they had done them differently ..... while the AWC will continue to believe for all eternity that that is how a 'unique' image should look ... because of the 'fancy label on the bottle '.
In summary I'll mention that there are artists I admire for their work, many of them produce good work consistently , but I never judge an image by the name of the artist , I don't have any "hero's" , I only see them as 'stepping stones' to glean what you can from them before moving on - how do you make progress if you are limited to judgments made by other imperfect people ? You would only be limiting your potential to the percentage of what you can remember about others .
So learn to think for yourself , have an open mind , and beware of falling into the trap of becoming an "AWC" who judges by the label on the bottle rather than by what " looks , smells and tastes right " !
25 / 06 / 2010 - this was contributed by "JGI" of nikoncafe :
In another forum I used to frequent, there's this know-it-all guy who swears up and down that he can hear the "audio signature" of a McIntosh tube amplifier. So they arranged a meet for him to "judge" another member's McIntosh setup. When they played some scores with high dynamic ranges, he praised the "warm fuzzy sound" that's emanating from the exotic components, and how the highs were so defined that he thought there were actual cymbals in the room. When the audition was over, they showed him what amp was actually being used... a cheap Aiwa receiver bought from Wal-Mart! The poor guy never posted again in that forum.
While discussing this article on the forums I also thought about the possibility that we could go totally in the opposite direction to great benefit . If we can make sure we don't become an "AWC" who pretends they recognize a "good" wine due to the label on the bottle perhaps we could become skillful enough to recognize a potentially good wine in a bottle with a cheap label ?
We may be quick to point out the mistakes in a beginners photo but do we ever recognize the potential in the image that exists if their mistakes could be corrected as they learn more ?
I suppose we could compare this to being able to recognize a wine that will be good once it 'matures' .
Quoted from Ed Sharpio of photocamel
"What is worse than a simple AWC is a IHW (Intransigent Hero Worshiper). This is a photographer who latches on to a a popular photographer/teacher and becomes not only a student but a disciple. This teacher becomes a god and anything that is done that contradicts or innocently strays from the ways of his or her Deity is bad, evil, sacrilege and unadulterated crap! Every judgment or critique that comes out of this person's head is based on his cultism or tribalism. These folks want to be clones of their teacher, however, they will never rise to the level of their teacher because they tend to follow him or her mechanically and don't realize the nuances where the real genius lies."