Ahhh, the MWAC. I’ve often wondered how much time has actually been devoted to debating her on photography boards. She even has her own Youtube channel which (and please don’t take offense this) I happen to find completely hilarious, even though I’m about 20% MWAC myself. I’ve thought of doing another MWAC focused article, pointing out her faults and favor, but alas…that’s been done to death. Besides, there are so, so many other interesting personalities in the Photography World….and from my observation, we are all WACky in our own ways. Below are just a few of the fabulous personalities I’ve come across in the biz, and as always, I have to issue a statement before reading, just to make certain we are all on the same page. Here it is:
WARNING!! IF YOU DO NOT POSSESS A SENSE OF HUMOR OR THE ABILITY TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF, PLEASE DO NOT READ! THE FOLLOWING COMMENTARY IS NOT FOR YOU!! YOU WILL FEEL THE NEED TO WASTE PRECIOUS TIME AUTHORING AN EMAIL DETAILING YOUR EXTREME UNHAPPINESS WITH THE GREAT OFFENSES YOU HAVE ENDURED AT THE ‘JUST FOR FUN’ OPINIONS EXPRESSED BELOW!!! ONCE AGAIN, IF YOU ARE JUST NOT MUCH FUN, PLEASE MOVE ON!!
Alrighty then, now that I have that base covered, we can proceed. I challenge you all to notice a few of the other personalities that abound within our most interesting of industries. I’ve even given them little acronyms for your reading pleasure, and if you make it to the end, you can find my own WACky personal personality mix detailed.
The E.W.A.C. (Established With A Camera)
The EWAC has been in the business a long time, and he is quick to let you know about it. EWAC’s are a wealth of both knowledge and judgement, almost always own traditional studios, and typically don’t have Facebook pages because they are still skeptical about the whole Facebook thing taking off. The EWAC is either a long-standing member or plays a leadership role in every lettered photography organization in the world. He typically is amused by the MWAC, but doesn’t feel threatened by her, mainly because he knows he is on a higher rung of a much more established food chain. EWAC’s love admiration, and have worked hard to deserve it. To identify the local EWAC in your town, find the most exclusive high school, and determine who has had the contract forever on their senior pictures. Chances are, it’s an EWAC. What makes EWAC’s awesome: They are an absolute wealth of knowledge, and they did it the hard way. They are typically wonderful and professional businesspeople as well. What they could stand to learn: Much of their style is dated. By taking just a few stylistic cues from younger, fresher photographers, they could reach a broader/changing crowd. Often though, they are too set in their ways to even consider such a notion. How to spot an EWAC? They will “test” you by talking about things like “ASA” (instead of ISO) and various film types almost immediately, right after they invite you to come down to their studio.
The T.W.A.C. (Techie With a Camera)
The TWAC was probably at his professional peak within the tech industry during the late 90′s or early 2000′s. He worked for either an up-and-coming dot.com or as a computer programmer before he got into photography, and is very, very gear oriented. He’s been in the business for around 10 years. The TWAC absolutely loves photography boards, but only the ones that the MWAC’s don’t hang out on, and he is completely obsessed with flash. The TWAC is often easily frustrated by his lack of creative insight, and often “doesn’t get” what makes a photo aesthicically appealing to someone, when it is clearly technically inaccurate to him. There is nobody the TWAC hates more than the MWAC, basically, because he feels she has stolen a lot of his thunder over the last ten years or so, even with her criminally blown highlights. TWAC’s will talk to you forever about their gear, and are more impressed (naturally) with the technological aspects of their equipment than it’s artistic limits and abilities. TWAC’s absolutely love things like backgrounds, green screens, Image Stabilization, and wireless triggers. They never shot in film, and are, of course, very very interested in technical accuracies within a photo. The carnal sin of the TWAC is displaying a photo with blown highlights, and he will immediately lose respect for anyone who does. The TWAC also typically hates brightened skin. What makes a TWAC awesome: He is ridiculously brilliant in a very particular way, and he is obsessed with accuracy. One could argue that he is responsible for keeping a generation of photographers honest about what makes an accurately exposed photo accurately exposed. What TWAC’s could stand to learn: Art is subjective, and photography is art, and art is risky. Taking a few creative risks, even at the possibility of blowing a highlight or two, will help him to grow & become more artistic. How to spot a TWAC? He will try to bait you into a conversation to determine whether you know the difference between a 32 bit version of Photoshop and a 64 bit version of photoshop, right after he asks about whether or not you got the lens with Image Stabilization. TWAC’s also love to debate the technological differences between Canon & Nikon, and are often very into photographing cars.
The C.W.A.C. (Creative With A Camera)
The CWAC (Pronounced: “Quack”) is completely obsessed with the artistic elements of a photograph, and significantly less interested in things like technical accuracy. She values a photograph based on how it makes her “feel” and although she probably won’t say it out loud, considers herself “above” most stylistically traditional forms of composition. She is slightly detached from the realities of the business (pesky things like bookkeeping and networking) and is much more likely to let “karma” do her marketing for her. The CWAC often produces very unique images, and her style is continuously changing. She naturally has a very artistic eye, and doesn’t have to work very hard to create an amazing capture. She “just sees” things that others don’t, and defines herself by her “gift.” The CWAC is either tremendously successful or makes about $700 a year off of her photography….there is very little in-between. She typically has about 20,000 followers on Pinterest, and Although indifferent about it, she is popular among the MWAC crowd (in fact, many CWACs are former MWAC’s but they refuse to realize it.) Even the EWAC’s can see her potential, yet everyone agrees that she could benefit from a bit more organization and discipline. The CWAC is often a trendsetter without trying to be, and gets along quite well with the TWAC crowd. In fact, highly scientific research has proven that many a successful marriage has formed by partnering the fascinating CWAC with the disciplined TWAC. When combined, they can make an unstoppable team. The CWAC can be very emotional, sometimes to her detriment, and she values creativity above all else in the photography world. She does not value things like photography contests, and instead, considers “inspiring others” to be the ultimate prize. What makes a CWAC awesome? In case you haven’t figured it out by now, she is incredibly creative, unique, artistic, and is often setting new trends in the photography world. What a CWAC could stand to learn: If she could ever learn to acknowledge rules as having value, learning a few of the time-honored laws of the photography and business world could actually improve her work. She has also got to get organized, or at least hire a bookkeeper and an accountant, or else she could find her sweet-little-self in big trouble with the IRS. How to spot a CWAC: Look to Pinterest, Facebook & the blogosphere. One thing CWAC’s almost all have in common is that they are cyber-comment generating machines and typically have about 20,000 followers on Pinterest.
The M.W.A.C. (Mom With A Camera)
She is, by far, the most hated individual among a huge portion of the photography world, but she absolutely has no idea why, and quite frankly, she is too busy to care. She has a blog to update daily with lengthy accountings of what her “Elf on the Shelf” has been up to, she has workshops to teach, and she has camera strap covers to order. She is typically out to cause no harm, but to the TWAC, she is “destroying the industry” by undercutting the competition and providing (gasp!) devilish digital files to her clientele. The EWAC doesn’t take her very seriously, and the CWAC is typically indifferent. The MWAC can be found in all socio-economic levels, and she posts about 7-10 shoots a month on her blog of actual clients, alongside at least 17 posts per month which exclusively feature her own children, each with fluffy descriptions about childhood and love. The MWAC is often very talented, but doesn’t take things like technical accuracy too seriously, and is a little too quick to define her “own style” in terms like “happy, love-filled, fun, and natural.” MWACs multiply faster than wet Gremlins, and although they may not be loved by all, there is no doubt that many of their accomplishments (like supporting their household when Dad gets laid off, or funding their child’s college account) are admirably driven by their love of family. What makes an MWAC awesome: She is, without a doubt, ambitious and highly competitive among her MWAC counterparts. She also takes time-management to a whole new level. While most of her friends are hanging out on Facebook or in Starbucks all day, she heads to a shoot after carpool then comes home to prepare a blog post right before she prepares dinner. Love her or hate her, she values family above all else, and she is primarily driven by a strong desire to take care of those she loves. Not exactly a bad attribute in a person. What an MWAC could stand to learn: Technical accuracy does matter, and it’s something to continually strive for. Maintaining a fair, but competitive pricing structure for your level of experience and local market is crucial, and intentionally undercutting the establishment is never cool. Don’t print your images at a place like Walmart or Costco, and dissuade your clients from doing it either….there is something just sort of cheap about that. But I don’t really need to tell you that. There have been literally volumes of cyber spiel’s, most of which are a little over-dramatic, written about the wrongs and evils of the MWAC. How to spot an MWAC: Look for the “About Me” section of her blog. After an extensive cyber-soliliquy detailing her journey from becoming a mother to starting a business, it will no doubt contain the phrase “I have always had a passion for photography.”
The P.W.A.C. (Photoshopper with a Camera)
Let me start out by saying that the PWAC is in no way overly concerned with actual photography. In fact, having a perfectly exposed image straight out of camera would be a bit disappointing to your typical PWAC, because there would be nothing to fix. PWAC’s are truly amazing creatures who have created their own micro-industry within the photography world which is entirely devoted to post processing. PWAC’s are typically quite talented in Photoshop and have truly taken post processing – which was once a basic finishing step within the photography world – and turned it into an upwardly progressing artform in which there is absolutely no room for an image, regardless of a how perfect it’s histogram is, that is straight out of camera . PWAC’s are best known for creating things like actions, textures, and overlays, and can turn out a Photoshop tutorial and publish it to youtube in less time than it takes you to take down your flash stand. PWAC’s are equally loved and hated within the industry….many EWAC’s feel they are breeding a generation of fake photographers by providing photo fixes instead of actual photography instruction. Many Techies feel the looks they create are over-processed and incorrect, yet, by the very nature of the TWAC, most can’t help but be impressed and a bit fascinated by these Photoshop guru’s talents, especially since so much of their work is done within a computer. What makes a PWAC awesome: She can take that run down, poorly exposed image you took last week of your dog and turn it into a piece of art suitable for framing using only her computer and her WACOM tablet. What a PWAC could stand to learn: Photoshop is amazing, but amazing photoshopping skills can never make up for the fundamental rules of photography, and combining the two – great photography & great photoshopping – is something she could stand to spend a little more time doing. How to spot a PWAC: she loves Before & After images almost more than she loves life itself, and fills her blog to the brim with them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little editorial bit regarding the various forms of complete WACks who lurk behind a camera these days. One final thought, in the spirit of being able to happily poke fun at myself, and encouraging others to find the joy in doing the same, I whole heartedly admit that, with the exception of the EWAC, I am an absolute composite of all the WAC’s listed above, with an approximate breakdown of: 20% MWAC, 30% Complete CWAC, 40% PWAC, and about 10% TWAC, but the last oe is only out of necessity. Technology has never been my thing. The point is, I’m okay with my mix, and you should be too, with whatever WACkiness you call yours. In the end, it doesn’t really matter exactly who you are in the Photography world, or how you got here. There isn’t an ideal prototype for “Photographer” just like there isn’t an ideal prototype for any profession in existence. We are all individual mixes of personality, experience, vision, and fault, and we can all stand to learn from and be inspired by each other, regardless of personality type.
Until next time, happy photoshopping. Or picture taking. Or whatever it is that you do that makes the world lovelier.
XOXO – PB