Read it

Everyone on this site must read this, you'll know which level you are...hint 'most of you are level 2...i.e. the 5th paragraph of level 2'

Posted by Eric on Thu, 06/13/02 10:41
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Comments by Eric on Thu, 06/13/02 10:43

A must Read

Comments by Steve-O on Thu, 06/13/02 10:53

I ain't gonna read it and you can't make me. So there!

Comments by Al Trick on Thu, 06/13/02 10:55

And the truth will set you free! :-))

Comments by ambrosia on Thu, 06/13/02 11:19

Black is black, and white is white. Any questions?

Comments by Derek on Thu, 06/13/02 11:27

Which level are you, Eric?

Comments by Tony Scheuhammer on Thu, 06/13/02 11:33

I'm happy to admit that I'm one of those "poorer rich" amateurs (Canon SLR user) who's gone "straight on to create great art"!! :))

(That would be 6th paragraph, Level 2).

And I'm sure everyone here agrees. Because even though I don't post fuzzy B/W pictures of poor people, I do post fuzzy pictures of other things, like flowers. Undeniable artistry ...

Comments by Eric on Thu, 06/13/02 11:41

I am hopelessly in level 2 also. I didn't mean to imply that level 2 was a bad thing (after reading my post it sort of seemed that way). To me level 7 and 2 are the best, but I don't imagine I will ever be at 7.

The fuzzy B&W line just struck me as very funny, because a large majority of the pictures posted here are just that and people here just love them. Yes, some of them are excellent and I would consider art, but I think most are just bad pictures.

Comments by Brian Kosoff on Thu, 06/13/02 11:47

It's very funny. I can only guess that he (ken Rockwell) thinks of himself as a "7" which is an artist. According to him, I'm a "6" which on his scale is a "wh-re". But I guess I'm in good company as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Renoir, Ansel Adams, etc would all be "6's" as well.

Comments by David J Sullivan on Thu, 06/13/02 11:49

About the only things than belong in pigeon holes are pigeons.

Comments by Christel Green on Thu, 06/13/02 11:51

Apparently I`m a 5...
Quite a fun thing to read actually :)

Comments by grant on Thu, 06/13/02 11:52

apparently im 0

Comments by T.S.Sullivan on Thu, 06/13/02 11:53

I don't know...personally I question anybody who talks about the spiratualality of art and then uses a YELLOW background for his page

Comments by Christel Green on Thu, 06/13/02 11:57

Good point Tom!

Comments by Derek on Thu, 06/13/02 12:06

It was very funny. I'm an amateur and proud of it. I'm too poor to even think about being a "measurbator" or "rich amateur," but maybe, from reading the article, that's a good thing. It is hard sometimes not to fall into the trap of thinking you need better and better equipment to attain a certain level of mastery.

Comments by Eric on Thu, 06/13/02 12:12

Yes, I just posted it as something funny. The guy sounds like a bit of a nut to me. There is another article on his site where he says the internet is the worst place to go for photography advice....he says this on his INTERNET site??? How ironical.

Comments by Simon Coyle on Thu, 06/13/02 12:17

I'd be a lot more impressed by this guy's column if:

- the site design didn't suck.
- he'd bothered to run a spellchecker.
- it was funny.
- he's wasn't talking out his exit hole.

Comments by Amitabh deshpande on Thu, 06/13/02 12:41

it was funny because he seemed so serious about his rating.
Im a poorer rich amateur!!woohoo!!
i saw a few photographs on there and they were quite good.

Comments by hil on Thu, 06/13/02 13:00

taking a look at his photo, id say he has some other issues about 'ratings'

Comments by Juliette on Thu, 06/13/02 13:17

i wanna be as far from this clown as possible....consider me in
the negatives. say... -547

Comments by Brian Kosoff on Thu, 06/13/02 13:53

This guy is funny, he write's that;

"Professionals shoot Nikon SLRs, Mamiya medium format and Calumet 4x5" cameras. They cannot afford gear as good as most serious amateurs.

Professionals don't have websites."

Most pros who shoot 35mm shoot Nikon or Canon instead of using a Leica 35mm SLR because they need system size and availability of components and parts through out the world. If you're a pro working in some remote area of the country or world, they might just have a nikon or canon lens locally to buy or rent, but leica SLR they won't. Many pros consider 35mm cameras "expendable". After they put 5,000- 10,000 rolls through them they simply replace them. I know quite a few shooters who loved the Nikon FM series because they were cheap enough to be long term throw aways.

As for mamiya, most pros shoot mamiya because it's 6x7, which is advantageous over 6x6 size wise, especially when you're checking lighting with a polaroid, and is a widely distributed MF system. The most popular pro MF camera is probably hasselblad,but Mamiya is gaining market share. For MF I use Rolleiflex 6008i's because they have the best MF lenses on a removeable back MF camera, and Mamiya 7II because they have great lenses, are 6x7 and very portable.
As for most "pros" using Calumets, I can't say that is true or false nationally, it's not true in NYC. The reason why one would use a cheaper view camera is to be able to put your money into lenses, which is what really determines the image quality anyway. Pros also need to have far more lenses than amateurs would, as well as having to use a great deal of resources to pay for lighting gear. Most still life shooters I know use Toyo or Sinar. Personally I use Sinar P2's. I also have a web site as do many of the Pro photographers I know, so I guess his generalizations have a great many exceptions.

All in all he seems to have great disdain for anyone who has ever been paid for a photograph or has sold/shown work in a gallery. One can imagine that he may have come to that POV due to a lack of success in those areas.

Comments by Steve-O on Thu, 06/13/02 13:57

OK - ya got my curiosity up and now I just have to take a peek!

Comments by karen h. on Thu, 06/13/02 14:20 is funny.
bet he's a fun guy.
he says straight up it's satire....

Comments by SGuy on Thu, 06/13/02 14:30

yeah uh huh. we all read his stated intent but what about the Tyson intent?

I agree he has problems and the main one being that he shoot nature. We all know nature photographers are social outcasts without lives. They shoot deep in the woods and then spend the rest of their lonely lives in the darkroom burning and dodging leaves.

Also he has some people shots so we know he is a voyer.

Only people who shoot star patterns and show pictures of haleys comet are normal. We all know that.

Comments by Brian Kosoff on Thu, 06/13/02 14:33

Karen if you read his other writings you'll see that his "7 levels" may be labelled satire but is consistent in it's attitude with his other writings.

Comments by karen h. on Thu, 06/13/02 14:39

oo....i am sure you are right Brian....
i just skimmed the thing with humor in mind as that's how it was titled....haha....
i wasn't starting anything ;-)

Comments by hil on Thu, 06/13/02 14:48

btw just noticed the pic on his frontpage (posted above) is either a left-handed camera or flipped horizontally.

real nature photogs would never perform such Heinous manipulation!!! hehe

Comments by SGuy on Thu, 06/13/02 14:52


I'm ready to start something with anybody who doesn't have a picture of haleys comet.

actually I just had a very interesting semester of instruction that was very anti commercial, and the humor spoke more about how they felt then their formal teaching!

dripping venom, fangs slashing all around I barely escaped with my grades intact.

Comments by Barak Yedidia on Thu, 06/13/02 14:52

It's a left handed camera. He comments on it on his "about the artist" page.

Comments by Steve-O on Thu, 06/13/02 15:28

I just got Hale Bopp. Is that an acceptable substitute?

Desperate in Cincinnati

Comments by Art Sands on Thu, 06/13/02 18:30

So Eric - are you Ken?

Comments by Warren L. Foil on Thu, 06/13/02 18:35

I'm fairly new to the site...I have no idea what y'all are talking about, but if it's a chance to scorn, deride, pooh-pooh, or otherwise make fun of someone, let me know...I'm in!

Comments by Paul Bracey on Thu, 06/13/02 20:10

hil, my very first thought when I saw that was, "Boy! SOMEBODY is overcompensating for something pretty bad!" *grin*

Comments by Art Sands on Thu, 06/13/02 20:25

Warren - you're a fast learner. :-) Some interesting posts to date also.

Personally, I really enjoy keeping a good fight going - gives me a nice warm feeling inside.

Comments by Jorge Recio on Thu, 06/13/02 20:40

with black bg is pretty better

Comments by Art Sands on Thu, 06/13/02 20:44

Jorge - como esta?

Comments by Garry Schaefer on Fri, 06/14/02 11:25

LOL, Jorge. Black bg! Glad to see that your sense of humour is intact. All the best to you.

Comments by hil on Fri, 06/14/02 12:22

i think art was probably correct. 'eric' aka ken...

Comments by Eric on Fri, 06/14/02 12:53

Actually I am not Ken. The biggest difference between he and I , from what I can tell of his writing, is that he seems to have a real disdain for anyone who doesn't think as he does. I rather enjoy, and get along with people who don't think like me.

I don't know nearly as much about camera's or photography as he does either.

Comments by hil on Fri, 06/14/02 13:02

ok! phew

Comments by Tony Scheuhammer on Fri, 06/14/02 13:34

don't worry eric; hil believes that there are about 1/2 the people in the world (or at least here on PC) as there really are.

Comments by poetry on Fri, 06/14/02 14:05

Tony - that many!?


Comments by Bradley James Scarbrough on Fri, 06/14/02 14:10

This is silly. I refuse to be categorized.

Comments by Tony Scheuhammer on Fri, 06/14/02 14:31

BJS - I was going to put you in the DGP category (damn good photographer), but seeing as you refuse ...

Poetry - maybe less. But she's right 75% of the time, so you never know ... :))

Comments by Lydia.S.K.Butler on Fri, 06/14/02 15:00

I have a canon, but that took me two years to buy on HP, and I can't afford anything else, not even a filter.....I am poor. What does that make me, I don't know anything about technology, and I have no money, and I make no money from photography, and I am starting to babble!!! Oh GOD, I post black and white fuzzy images, I think so anyway, I don't want to be level two, it sounds horrible.


Comments by Paul S on Fri, 06/14/02 20:36

Finally I had some time to visit Mr. Rockwells Web Site.
According to my therapist,this was not a good idea.
After 2 hours session on anger controll, he gave me a homework for the weekend. I'm supposed to place Mr. Rockwell into one of the following categories:
a) Pathetic little bastard
b) Narcissistic little bastard
c) Arrogant little bastard
d) Full of himself little bastard
e) Full of $hit little bastard

I'm afraid my therapist needs some therapy now.

Comments by hil on Fri, 06/14/02 20:38

lets email him and ask him to visit the thread.
it may even become 'mega'

Comments by Paul S on Fri, 06/14/02 20:46

Actually, I did e-mail him, sorry Mr. Rockwell copy of the comment above, because first; I would like to give him a chance to defend his POV, second I need help with my homework.

Comments by Ken Rockwell on Fri, 06/14/02 22:46

Hi boys,
I do my site for FUN. It's a private site done only for my freinds and I as JOKE. As everyone can read, I do it to share my snaps, and started putting up irrelevant technical stuff so I can look it up when I forget.

If some of you folks actually beleive what you read on the Internet, I've got some offshore investment work-at-home opportunties for you, too! I don;t care at all about gear, and have to giggle when the innocent start argueing Canon vs. Nikon. Even funnier is when people take my jokes seriously and start having cows about it!

I can't help it if you don't know me personally.

Just got back from 2 weeks of shootin,'
Ken R

Comments by Simon Coyle on Sat, 06/15/02 06:53

Well yeah, you said it was satire. But at the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if you believe some, if not all, of that 7 Levels piece.

Where do you place yourself, incidentally?

Comments by Barak Yedidia on Sat, 06/15/02 09:42

"Hi boys,"????

Comments by Eric on Sat, 06/15/02 12:05

I can't beleive the man himself is now involved in this! I honestly thought a few people would think this was funny and it would go away.

Comments by Juliette on Sat, 06/15/02 12:28

gentlemen take polaroids

Comments by Juliette on Sat, 06/15/02 12:29

lydia quite stealing my lines :)

- number six

Comments by Lydia.S.K.Butler on Sat, 06/15/02 13:31

I knew I had seen The Prisoner quoted somewhere, didn't realise it was here, SORRY JULIETTE, plaguerism is one of my pet hates too.

Comments by Art Sands on Sat, 06/15/02 13:37

This thread continues to get more interesting. I was wondering if Ken would show up at the party/fight/discussion. Maybe Larry can bring Barbie :-)

As in all good satire Ken, your 7 levels of photographic enlightenment has degrees of truth - maybe a little threatening to some.

You have some nice shots which I would put more than a few levels above "snapshots". Please post some of your new stuff here on PC.

You wouldn't be the first somewhat cocky or arrogant photographer to grace this site. :-)))

Comments by Simon Coyle on Sat, 06/15/02 14:45

Yeah, there was a little truth to it. Although what I found most revealing was the high level of detail Ken went into regarding makes of cameras and such.

Comments by Art Sands on Sat, 06/15/02 14:53

Would agree with that Simon - Ken may be a closet measurbator. :-)))

Comments by T.S. Sullivan on Sat, 06/15/02 14:59

"Gentlemen take polaroids
They fall in love, they fall in love"

Comments by Michael Bond on Sat, 06/15/02 15:28

The text we were referred to was written by someone with chicken brain - his cultural references, orthography, and way of expressing his ideas lay beyond any acceptable level.

Someone called Eric - by the fact of his reference - put himself in the same category.

Sorry I read it - the text is a typical product of a 1990s yob spit out by American high school system.

Level of photography of the said person leaves no doubt as to the correctness of my diagnosis.

Comments by Michael Bond on Sat, 06/15/02 15:29

Sorry for my foreigner's typo - his ideas etc lay BELOW any level of acceptability

Comments by Barak Yedidia on Sat, 06/15/02 15:29

...speaking of cocky and arrogant photographers...

Comments by T.S. Sullivan on Sat, 06/15/02 15:30

lol barak

Comments by karen h. on Sat, 06/15/02 15:38

Barak has BINGO!!!

Comments by Cathy Hartland on Sat, 06/15/02 15:41

Help, I am trapped in the purgatory between level 4 and level 5. Please pray for me.

Comments by Ken Rockwell on Sun, 06/16/02 10:16

I don't know what level I'm on and don't care.

Heck, I don't even consider myself a photographer.

I do respect the efforts of anyone who expends effort in creating
anything unique, even if it sucks.

Sorry not to be much fun, I've been out shooting the past two
weeks and need to head out for another.
Ken R

Comments by Ken Rockwell on Sun, 06/16/02 10:29

Oh yeah, lest anyone think I favor any particular level, I need to
add that "artists dress very poorly, and no one ever sees their
work since they have crummy ability to promote themselves.
Those that do drop down to Whore."

A bit of a sad paradox, actually.

I'm outta here for today. Later I'll add the reference from the Mary
Alinder bio of Ansel about how he stopped making great images
in about 1947 after which he mostly made images for the
purpose of teaching, which unfortunately means my favorite
photog was a whore. Alinder consistently refers to the fact that
Ansel was consumed with raking in cash.

Comments by Brian Kosoff on Sun, 06/16/02 16:56

Ken from your writings I can only surmise that you have never spent much time with any artists and that your statements are based on assumptions and common misperceptions held by the ignorant. To say that ""artists dress very poorly, and no one ever sees their work since they have crummy ability to promote themselves. Those that do drop down to Whore." shows a lack of any real experience in the art world. While there are those who might meet the criteria of your ludicrous statement, there are just as many, more in fact, who do not.

There is no dishonor in succeeding, and being financially rewarded for your art as long as you have been true to your art. In other words if you choose to do work of a certain nature or style because that is being true to how you see the world and how you express it, and you are not doing work specifically to cater to a market demand, then you are an artist, and not a "whore" as you so elegantly describe them. The statements that you make make it quite clear to all who have read them that your "7 levels" rant was not satire, but represents your true opinions and attitude.

Comments by hil on Sun, 06/16/02 18:22

Actually, I think Ken's problem is the satire was just badly written.
The 7 levels are really 7 stereotypes. Putting them in a rank is confusing.
There are Snapshooters, Equipment Buffs, Amateurs with too much money, Tradesmanlike Professionals, Art loving Amateurs, Pimplike Professionals, Self-professed Artists. A bunch of stereotypes doesn't mean you have to be in there somewhere. But those 7 stereotypes really do explain away a great portion of photographers- just hang out in a camera store for 20minutes and you'll spot one of each. Probably it comes from the way the art of photography pushes into the world technology more than any other art form (of course, you could say its because the technology of photography pushes more into the art world than any other technology).

Comments by Brian Kosoff on Sun, 06/16/02 18:47

Hil, Ken has made similarly disparaging stereotypical statements in other writings on his site, as well as a few comments up on this site. There is a big difference between labelling someone a "rich amateur" or a "snapshooter" than labelling them a "whore". The vast majority of siginificant art produced over the last 500 years was produced either on assignment, commission or for sale. Artists have to eat as well. And most people who have pursued careers in art have not done so for a love of money but for a love of art. There are far easier and more lucrative ways of making a living. Succeeding as an artist is not necessarily a sign that you "sold out". And having talent at marketing yourself does not denigrate the quality of your work. Work of merit does not only come from starving, "poorly dressed" people who are unable to promote themselves.

Comments by Ken Rockwell on Sat, 07/06/02 16:10

So I win then, right?

Comments by Brian Kennedy on Sat, 07/06/02 16:23

Everybody wins.

IMO, Ken's writings have gotten angrier and angrier over time. Angry satire is not funny, but there is at least a partial truth to it.

Comments by B. LEE CODDINGTON on Sun, 07/07/02 08:56

You don't give the banker any meat and you don't give the butcher
any checks.

Comments by Christel Green on Sun, 07/07/02 09:07

Ah - somebody pulled this one out again :)

I think Ken is spot on with his satire, and the more fervent the denials, the more I believe it ;)

Comments by Robert Williams on Sat, 08/10/02 07:19

As far as the "left handed camera" goes, how did the product change his wristwatch from the left (in poster photo and about me photo)to his right wrist (home photo)?
........sorry Ken if I gave it away.

Comments by hil on Sat, 08/10/02 18:10

heheh i do believe u schnazzled him. the strap around his torso backs u up.

Comments by Robert Williams on Mon, 08/12/02 13:02

REST IN PEACE Galen and Barbara Rowell. Their plane crashed (08/11/02)before it got to the runway in Bishop Calif where the Rowell`s new Mountain Light gallery is located.

Comments by hil on Mon, 08/12/02 13:44

wow.. really
that is sad news

Comments by Cleeo W on Mon, 08/12/02 13:45

Yeah... I just went to Sure enough. Thanks for passing on the info.

Comments by Amitabh deshpande on Mon, 08/12/02 13:47

wow. thanks for posting that.

Comments by hil on Mon, 08/12/02 13:47

Comments by Art Sands on Mon, 08/12/02 13:54

This is a very sad moment - Galen Rowell was definitely one of the best.

Comments by hil on Mon, 08/12/02 13:56

i hope they didnt catch it on film/video... that would send BK into apoplexy

Comments by Brian Kosoff on Mon, 08/12/02 15:00

Sad to hear it. I was just out there 2 weeks ago and was going to pay my respects. We were forced back by the smoke from Sequoia NP and never made it to the gallery.

Hil sounds like a photo op for you if you hurry......

Comments by T.S. Sullivan on Mon, 08/12/02 17:28

didn't know this.......spent a lot of time on that website....definitely some very fine photography...a great loss

while we're on the subject of National Geographic photographers...did you see that Steve McCurry found her

Comments by T.S. Sullivan on Mon, 08/12/02 17:33

whoops...meant to add this

Comments by christian sereduke on Thu, 07/08/04 12:14

Thanks for your professionalism and thoughtful comments. We could all benefit from intelligent commentary on this site.

Comments by Art Sands on Fri, 10/19/07 00:14

an interesting post from the good old days

Comments by Lance M. Williams on Fri, 10/19/07 03:30

Yeah, I'm gonna read Ken Rocknotsowell...


Good one!

Comments by Tony Scheuhammer on Fri, 10/19/07 13:41

Ken Rockwell is a much better writer than he is a photographer.

Comments by Alias on Fri, 10/19/07 15:39

Bwahahahahahahahah !!!