Some 16 months ago my colleague and I have started the Street Photography Workshop in Zagreb. We have had many amateur photographers who attended the workshop and had lot of fun in our regular photo walks. They met other amateur phtographers, exchanged their experience about photography, different styles, different photography equipment and many of them made new friends.
As a part of our workshop, we have invited well known photographers, to spend 45-60 minutes with the workshop attendees who have then asked them different questions about their view on photography, their experience, their best and worst moments as street photographers etc.
We have had really famous Croatian photographers as our guests: Marija Braut – two times, Slavka Pavić , Stanko Abadžić, Neda Rački and Zvonko Radičanin.
One day, I have invited a younger photographer to be our guest and to spend some time with our new workshop group.
She said, she cannot do it as she felt not being in a good mood. That bad mood lasted too long so I tried to find out what was the real reason for not wanting to be our guest. It is, in fact, a good promotion for someone like her.
Few weeks after that I found out a true reason for not accepting our invitation. She said to me that by educating those amateur photographers, I am in fact, making ourselves more direct competitors. “Tomorrow, she said, they will be your competitors. It is a small market and you are giving them the knowledge?”
Of course, I could not believe what I was hearing. What would stop me sharing my knowledge with the people eager to learn. Is that a fear that someone would earn more than me? Or maybe the market is so small that there is no room for all good photographers? So, what is the solution? Not to communicate with anyone so I can keep all the jobs for myself?
I was just asking her to share the knowledge, to share her experience, to talk about her style. Just to share.
Obviously there was nothing to share.
I do like to share my knowledge. The more ideas I give others I become more creative. I am not afraid that someone will copy me or take my ideas. Even if they do, there is a something called style which differentiate us from others.
In our Street photography workshop, we sometimes take the same street scene and we have many different results. We frame it in a different way. Of course, the younger attendees, who have not developed their style yet, will try to copy one of the more experienced workshop attendees, however that is where they train their confidence, where they just want to see that they are able to take a good photograph, too. Later on they develop their unique style and they learn how to share the knowledge and help others learning what they have learned from us.
Street photographers should be free from all fears to be focused on the essentials and to be able to pay attention to the world around them.
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