I often read news about “self-taught” photographers showing their amazing work and how cool is that. I never really understood why is such a big fuss about being self-taught, but I am starting to get it.
I have learn most of the photography I know from Internet – from blogs, tutorials, forums and others. Took me 2 years to actually start differentiating between the good information and the bad information which was a huge step since it helped me narrow down my Internet sources to around 5 or so.
These 2 years also costed me a lot just to see how some equipment works because I did not know any photographer around here that could show me how to use equipment that I don’t have access to. And you can’t really rent stuff around here. Many times I had no idea what I am buying.
For example, I have like a bunch of light modifiers that I do not use since they tend to be very impractical, like a flash mounted small plastic softbox and a “light bender”. I also bought a 400 Euro Tamron 70-300mm lens that I used twice. I borrow it indefinitely to a good friend because selling it felt just wrong…
Right now, most of the resources are wasted. There is no place on the Internet where you can actually learn more than just practical knowledge. I have no idea how I will improve the rest of my photography from now on which scares me (from a theoretical perspective). I still need a lot of practice, which is good, but I am not sure it will be enough to help me take the next step. Advancing further means that I need a mentor, someone who can teach me beyond craft. Someone who can teach me art, the actual Art of Photography.
My days for reading the usual “Top 3 tips for improving your Photography” are over. I am beyond rules and classifications. I am doing now “intuitive educated composition” which means basically that I don’t rationalize composition but I am qualified to talk a lot of bullshit about it. I do, of course, have many Photoshop retouching techniques to learn but that is an endless pool of knowledge. Photoshop is infinite these days. And it doesn’t help with the improving my “vision”. I think vision is a good work which I know from David Duchemin, one of the photographers I really like.
So yeah, being self-taught beyond just technical information and how to’s is indeed a big deal.