The best photographer isn’t the best photographer

Who’s the greatest, the GOAT?


I think in many cases there’s a distinction between the best and the greatest. The best technical guitarist isn’t the best to listen to. The Beatles or Elvis or The Rolling Stones were far from being the best musicians technically. George Best or Lionel Messi haven’t won any world cups, the greatest prize in soccer. Skill doesn’t necessarily equate to success.


Maybe there was a time when the best photographer was the best technician. So much discussion is still about the best camera, the sharpest lens, the fastest focus, the best Photoshop techniques or lighting or filters or presets. Technical detail still matters, but it’s all secondary.


The most successful photographers, at least financially, are mostly now those with the marketing skills. The bloggers and YouTubers and influencers. The ones that know how to play the Google and Instagram algorithms. Of course many are also excellent photographers.


But behind all that, behind the technical and marketing skills, are what I’d call the real elements of success.


To me, the most successful photographers, in what they create, plan and execute the greatest projects. The most ambitious or unique or difficult or with the most important message. The photographers that are doing the work that nobody else is doing.


To reach people’s hearts and minds. Whether that’s with a brush or pencil or keyboard or voice or guitar or camera.



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Headshot, portrait, street and documentary photographer in NYC and Jersey City

alastair.arthur@gmail.com

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