10 Photography Myths that the Monkey Busted



Copyright : Monkey.


It is just as well, that the monkey selfie was made on the 175th year of the World Photography Day and that it shattered some of the most hallowed photography myths. The monkey selfie in an Indonesian jungle was arguably the best photo to come out of nature photographer David Slater’s camera. No wonder he is fighting tooth and nail for ownership rights to the picture.

With the highly advanced cameras available in the market today, the question, that can anyone and his monkey take a good photo, has been suitably answered. Here are some other photography myths that  float around.


  1. The camera doesn’t lie: This is perhaps the most bandied about photography myth. The camera does lie and lies in a million little ways. You not only choose the focus, the angle and the composition but also the time of day – all impacting immensely on how the photos eventually turn out. For example the Taj Mahal photos shot across the river, in the morning or evening light, makes the dirty Yamuna look crystal clean.


Boatsmen wait for passengers across the Yamuna. The boat is painted in the Indian Tri-colour to attract tourists. (sanjay austa austa)

The Yamuna looks all clean and blue in the morning light.


  1. You don’t take a photograph, you make it: This phrase was coined by the legend Ansal Adams himself. And sure, back in the day, they actually made photographs. Adam and the photographers of his vintage would trudge heavy cameras and tripods over hills, vales and city streets and deliberate carefully before pressing the shutter. Photography was then a long drawn process, unlike the shoot-check-delete and then shoot again photography of today. Photographers use that phrase today out of a sense of defensiveness. They feel that what they are doing is a bit too simple.
  1. It doesn’t matter what camera you use. If cameras didn’t matter professionals would not lug those wrist-breaking monstrosities for assignments. To admit that cameras matter, would be to belittle ones own photography skills. That’s why photographers always get offended if you ask them what cameras they use.
  1. You get hired because you take great photos. Majority of clients cannot distinguish between a good and a bad picture (This includes newspaper editors). More often than not, you get hired because someone knows you rather than that you have a great folio. That your name shows up in search engines is another reason.


Oblivious to the world. Even as the photographer peers into his viewfinder looking for wildlife,  a huge stag passes him by. Picture: Hans Kruse / London Media

Oblivious to the world. Even as the photographer peers into his viewfinder looking for wildlife, a huge stag passes him by. Picture: Hans Kruse / London Media


  1. Photographers see more than the average person. Its actually the opposite. Photographers see much less, busy as they are squinting one-eyed through their tiny view-finder. The photographers are too busy ‘capturing’ the event or scene that they miss out on the experience almost entirely.
  1. Just because you have a DSLR doesn’t mean you are a photographer. The monkey selfie proved beyond doubt that any monkey with a DSLR can take a good picture. The monkey even owns the copyright to the picture according to Wikipedia.
  1. All the great photos in the world are shot by professionals. Today everyone has a camera and there is always someone at the ready to capture a significant moment as it happens. Photographers usually arrive when the event has happened. The best photographs from major world events like conflicts, or natural calamities have been shot by amateurs. Similarly the best photos of the 2014 Indian General Elections were shot on Instagram by hobbyists.

This photo from  Narendra Modi’s  rally shot on Istagram by an amateur Ravi Mishra was one of the defining images of General Elections 2014. .



  1. I shoot in the RAW mode because I am a pro. Photographers like to talk about how they shoot only in the RAW mode as if it’s some skill. It not. Shooting in RAW just gives you the latitude to make up for all your flaws later in Photoshop.
  1. If you shoot blurry black and white photos you are an artist: No one wants to be seen as a philistine. Therefore no one argues against art even when its obvious its trash. So if you shoot and don’t get the picture right you can turn it into black and white and say its high art. Truth is, blurry, photos are often just blurry photos. They are not art.
  1. Your First 10,000 Photos are your worst. French photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson, made this comment long before the digital era. Today perhaps your first 10 million photos are your worst. And if you shoot ten frames a second, multiply that by ten.


A blurry picture is often just a blurry picture.

A blurry picture is often just a blurry picture.










7 Responses to “10 Photography Myths that the Monkey Busted”

  1. Lisa Beth Aronson says:

    I still think that this monkey picture is not real

  2. Aasheesh Aghori Mehta says:

    Best article.. i was debating the exact same things with one fellow a few years ago.. hi5 austa ji…

  3. Ramesh Pathania says:

    very interesting Sanjay. agree with most of your points.

  4. Priyanka says:

    This made me laugh! Really nice article about photography.

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