I am often reminded of an aphorism that used to be at the bottom of my e-mail messages: “When a finger points at the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.” It generally stems from superficially understanding something and presuming a fuller one. This superficiality plagues even those who claim to have superior intellect and “God-given” gift of certain abilities, or perhaps it happens because of this self-focused attention.
Recently, I commented on someone’s blog on a series of writings about the “rules of photography” and pointed the reader briefly to an earlier post I wrote several years ago: Rules, Learning, Experts. The author of the original article, upon probably a superficial reading of what I wrote, decided that it was a prescription for good photography and totally missed the boat. The argument he “opined,” and implicitly attributed to me by putting it in quotes “because the rule matters more than the photograph.” In fact, not only I did not say anything of that sort, my post was about the unnecessary nature of the rules and how expert, a.k.a good photographers do not think about the rules.
You see, I made the point in my comment on his post, essentially self-congratulatory of his preternatural talents (his words), that using self as a unit of analysis was a flawed approach in most situations bar self-criticism. Being certain that he had superior intellect and a God-given gift of photographic talent, he had to find fault with my writing. Had he attempted to understand what I wrote rather than react to it he would have, perhaps, seen that I was essentially writing about the importance of not being bound by rules and how beginners in any endeavor become too bound by them.
Another point that he entirely misses and misquotes my post relates to the “intent” which I also attributed to good photography, photographer, photograph not only in Rules, Learning, Experts article but in at least one more post I have on my site. Perhaps due to my lower intellect than this individual, before I posted a comment on his site I read many of his posts to understand his position. And, although his style pompous and aggressive, I found some of his ideas on photography close to mine and decided to write a comment in response to one of his posts. However, his “preternatural” abilities apparently allowed him to fully understand my position on photography after a cursory reading of one post and compelled him to write that misquoted and totally misunderstood response to that.
Well, what can I say, “When a finger points at the moon, ….”Note: I am not providing a link to the other Web site as I do not intend to engage in his kind of discussion.