Enigma Photography (Please don’t be “that” guy.)

Actual "enigma photographer" in action.

Actual “enigma photographer” in action.

Don’t be that guy. I guess you could say I was a little naïve because I really did not think he existed. The enigma photographer. Rather I thought it to be a myth or some sort of urban legend. But to my utter surprise it was as true as the sunrise you’ll see tomorrow. Before I get into the unrevealing of this horrid tale I would first explain my mindset at the beginning of my digital photographic life.

My first digital camera was a Hewlett Packard 2 mega pixel (count them… 1, 2 mega pixels). I did not even own a computer at the time. I had no email address, web presence or PayPal. I didn’t know an ISP from a JPEG. I loved that C-200 and I soon filled the 8 mega bite card and I could only view the photos on the tiny screen on the back of the camera. I had to call a friend to ask; what to do next? My dear friend said “you need to download them to your computer.” My what? “Or you can go to a camera shop and they’ll put them on a disc.” What do I do with the disc? “You put it in your computer.” My what? …Hummm I guess I need to get a computer. I didn’t have the money because I just purchased this state of the art digital camera. So I shelved the camera full of photos until I could get a computer and that was several months later. Seriously my life into digital photography got off to a very slow start. I had no idea what the workflow of digital was at the time. Only thing I knew was it was all the rage and boy did I feel stupid. So time passed and I educated myself on what I was getting into and since then the process has always been this; take the photos, download, view, edit, share and or print. But I never forgot about how stupid I felt when I shot my first digital photos and had to wait several months to view them.

So I have heard this legend of laughter about photographers that purchase a DSLR and shoot photos by the hundreds or more and never view them. Ok, a bit hard to grasp I know, so let me explain. As most of my blog visitors know I have a small BBQ catering business and while out on a job this past summer I seen this enigma in action. He was a normal looking young man, he arrived at the party in the earlier stages and I noticed his DSLR. It looked to be a mid-level Nikon and he appeared to be somewhat of an amateur although he was taking the time to compose his shots and he seems to know the proper way to hold the camera. So my wife and I are preparing food for the serving time, but I kept watching him as he was getting shots of the arriving guests and all the hugging and salutations. So one thing you have to know about on-site catering; when I am setup and I’m cooking & preparing food in my makeshift outdoor kitchen, we’re under a small tent with aprons and gloves trying to keep a standard of cleanliness. Hey we’re preparing food, right! Well for some reason unknown to me, this food prep area has a sign that only cigarette smokers can see that says “PLEASE COME SMOKE CIGARETTES HERE.” It has always been that way. So this older gentleman walks our way and fires up his smoke and a conversation with me. He was cool, an older family member and also quite interesting. So while I’m working and listening to him, he notices me watching the guy with the camera. He says “look at that fool, taking all those photos that we’ll never see. I stopped what I was doing and asked what he meant. He goes on to tell me that the boy is his nephew and he does this at every family get together. The boy and his father both take hundreds of photos and this in turn makes the other guests not take as many photos because they assume the nephew or his father will email or post them to social media. Wrong! They just leave the photos on memory cards or they download them to disc and never get around to doing anything more than that.

So I took what he said with a grain of salt because I found it hard to believe someone would spend money to purchase a DSLR to shoot photos and never look at them. So as the party moved on the guests all sat down to eat and afterwards the cigarette guy comes back to have the “after dinner smoke” and brings a few fellow smokers along. Again I find myself talking to this man when the father & son “ace photography” team comes walking up and the uncle/brother starts to rip on them about taking photos that nobody will ever see. At first his brother says “that’s not true.” The uncle says “ah come on where are the photos from”; and he rattles of five past family events that they photographed and no one ever seen the photos. I speak up and say “is that true” and the father goes on to say that yes he was guilty of this horrible way of photographing family events and other events and travels only to leave all the photos on CDs or on memory cards. His theory is that he will one day sit down and organize and edit all the thousands of photos. Yeah right!

So it was not a myth and I seen it with my own two eyes, “enigma photography” in action. Hey it takes all kinds to make the world go around. So all I have to say is “don’t be that guy.”

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