Dismantled disposable film camera

5 types of photography that are just plain annoying

…including genres of which I’m just as guilty. Come join me in the ranty corner.

Today’s soundtrack brought to you by a bunch of clowns

1. Candid camera

Regularly or exclusively taking photos of people who haven’t posed for or agreed to them is icky and weird or, as the yoof dem say*, “wicky”. This may be partly jealousy talking – I’d like to be better (or competent, perhaps) at street photography but my attempts invariably look like they’ve been shot through a filter of disgust and shame. I’m not talking about random-tourist-in-frame either – I mean those images that collect bystanders like butterflies, many of which seem to be composed through windows or surreptitiously from below waist height. Anything that happens below waist height is automatically a bit seedy (it’s in the Bible) which is why we say such things are “below the belt”. Apparently if you convert to black and white afterwards it absolves you of guilt, but I’m yet to be convinced. See also shades of Peeping Tom.

* They don’t.

Man viewing art in a gallery

2. Other people’s art

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not the emperor and arbiter of good taste* – but there’s a fine line between documenting graffiti, gallery work etc. to make it more widely available (or even as a remembrance of something awesome you saw, did or felt) and basking in stolen glory. Perhaps this is a very niche aspect of social media, in which photos are traded for points and in which the act of looking – and taking the photo – is almost on a level with having ‘done a Warhol’. It’s not though, is it?

*I’m waiting to hear about my application.

Woman with sun flare for a face

3. Women: photographs of

The world of classical art was dominated by male artists and female subjects, and that’s all so obvious as to barely warrant comment. Fast forward to the glorious Now, an era so techno-laden you can take a photo on a watch faster than you can check the time on it – and yet not much has changed. It’s not that I don’t like photos of women. Some women are interesting to look at and, likewise, so are some photos. But most photos of women are all the same. They could in fact be all the same woman wearing a wig. Or, more likely, wearing a wig and not much else. If women are interesting, surely photographs of them should have something more to say than “boobs”? This may also be jealousy – but then I also have boobs, so I don’t think so. But boring? Yes. That.

A chicken

4. Bird photography

I feel like a dubious scoundrel for admitting this, but pics of birds leave me cold. Plus, Hitchock ruined them for me. Also, I live in the North and I see and hear birds all the time. Someone down the road owns chickens (or does a very good impression). There are even some (birds, not neighbours) who’ve taken residence on my roof. Now, I don’t even eat winged creatures out of respect, but their constant cluck-cluck-crapping all over my stuff doesn’t impress me. Sorry.

Woman taking a selfie

5. Selfies that aren’t

Some selfies (the clue’s in the name) which newspapers love to re-print clearly are shot by someone else not in the frame. So they’re not selfies, are they? Righteous indignation aside, the word selfie – an upstart in etymological terms – is already undergoing a shift in definition and will probably just come to mean “a photo of a person”. Or probably, as far as newspapers and magazines are interested, “a photo of a person with boobs”. See above.


Words: my own. All rights reserved: no copying, pasting or re-using without permission.

Dismantled disposable camera: my own.

Art gallery viewer: Igor Miske, via Unsplash

Woman with sun for a face: Issara Willenskomer on Unsplash

Chicken:  榮達 陳 on Unsplash

Woman taking a selfie: Annie Spratt on Unsplash