Welcome to The Contrarian Photographer

Floating Market Workers in Viet Nam

Welcome to my new blog, If all goes to plan you will be inspired, challenged, informed and most of all you will enjoy the journey.  

I guess my blog title gives some indication or my approach.  Yes, I have some strong beliefs on photography and how it relates to my life, but I figure I’ve earned the right to them and the right to travel my own path.  If you’re interested we can walk some of that path together.

This is not going to be a camera site, let me make that very clear.  I’m not one to change cameras every other week because some marketing machine has told me I should,  you won’t see many camera or lens reviews unless someone sends me gear for review, or I get a rush of blood to the head and buy something new.   

I don’t see too many suppliers sending me gear anyway, cause I am happy to call a spade a spade, and I don't intend to drive traffic to this blog by doing "me too reviews" I won’t be bought!.   And if there is a review of some gear I have bought you can be pretty sure I will like it anyway, otherwise I wouldn’t have opened my wallet.

So moving on, to give you some insight into what makes me, ...well me.

I detest fashion and trendism, I see it as the evil work of marketing machines intent on parting you and your money for tenuous artistic advantage, and no, I don't have a problem with capitalism, just some of the more cynical aspects of it. That’s not to say that there isn't some great gear and trends out there in photography land, there is of course and I embrace them, but I just think there is too little discernment in photo web land.

So here is my real reason for “being”, blog wise of course.

I firmly believe that most photographic challenges are not resolved by throwing money at the problem via a never ending stream of new gear but by you applying, skill, knowledge and creative juices.....you cannot buy great results and it pains me that people feel all they need to do is buy X camera or lens to get the results they crave.

There is no shortcut to photographic maturity, you need experience and experience takes time. You don’t go from newby to accomplished photographer in 6 weeks, 6 months or even 6 years!  Given 60 years of constant effort you will probably get there, yep a full lifetime!

I reckon I was a rubbish photographer when I was 17, but guess what over 35 years of effort I did get better and these days I think I know a bit more than most people who pontificate upon the interweb on such matters and given a brief I can produce whatever is needed hopefully artistically and certainly technically. So, pretty please, excuse me if after 6 days of experience with your new camera, you want me to believe it is the best thing since spooled film I don’t exactly concur with your viewpoint.

I am utterly convinced that accepted photographic wisdom is the enemy of creative outcomes, that it stifles exploration, experimentation and dis empowers photographers. Those who make headway in this arena do so because they ask the unasked questions rather than regurgitate the accepted common knowledge and wisdom.

As an educator I would love nothing more than for you to pose me or yourself, “those unasked questions”.

Everyday there are posts on internet forums claiming Nikon is better than Canon etc, or telling you have have a particular approach to succeed, or you need a certain camera  or lens type to give a particular look.  So much of it is utter rubbish rattling around in the echo chamber of the web and built upon the “passed on accepted wisdom” of other photo forum lurkers who post first and think later or perhaps even worse the work of hidden marketing machines who seek to increase sales of a particular product via subversive activity. 

Most of those forum posters I might add, seem to actually take very few actual photos and if they do usually they are not testing or demonstrating what they purport to be showing.  (Oh and since when have photos of your cat or dog become the gold standard for proving all things technical in relation to photography). No dear reader, rarely do the posters actually test stuff out and experiment outside the box and when someone actually does the “powers of accepted wisdom” often descend upon their prey with gusto and downright nastiness to kill any spark of progress.

In photography, I really believe you should enjoy the journey, you should be open to the new, you should say “why not” and give it a try, explore and revel in dead ends and missteps. Deliberately misuse your gear, tinker with applications, throw caution to the wind and forget about what the critics want to tell you, including me if it suits.

Chances are that many things I post you will disagree with, chances are you won’t like my choice in photographic subjects,  the cameras and lenses I use and a whole raft of other things about me and my site.  ( you won’t be getting posts with pictures of impossibly pretty women for a start, I have one beautiful wife and I don’t need to stoke my ego by shooting photos of lots of other glamorous gals)  Well, anyway your divergence from my view won’t change a thing for me, I hope my blog helps you, inspires you and of course helps built my brand and business, but I am not indebted, I do this because I want to, I do value feedback though....


If you wish to comment please be civil and even handed and support your argument with facts, examples and good research, that way we can all be winners.

And finally, since I know some people will ask me, “what gear do you use”?  Frankly I can and often do use pretty much anything handy, I run Photography workshops for a living so I have to know my way around all the brands and options, without resorting to manuals.

Though, given a choice I run Sony, thus lots of my articles will refer to Sony gear and the options they offer as examples. Ultimately my friends you have to make a choice and I chose Sony because despite the quirks they are innovative and for my needs offer the tools that suit my style.

Don’t bother trying to bait me into “this or that is best” arguments, I am not here to justify any choices, yours or mine. 

Ultimately I want you to come here because my posts provide you with something useful or inspiring or perhaps they just help you solve a problem.

Brad...The Contrarian Photographer

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