Dunning Kruger Effect: Why Insecure People Can’t Take Good Photos

Nov 10, 2016
32
13
zim said:
That's how I feel about exams and qualifications for any of the 'arts' delusional and meaningless.

.... And camera clubs :)
Mostly true. My wife skipped grad school for a music comp degree because she didn't want to become a copy of whoever she studied under. However, she needed the foundation of undergrad school to master the theory.

I steer clear of any of "club" based on some hierarchy of greatness. I look for a community of practice where all members have an equal and valid point of view, even if they are trumpet playing Nikon users ;)
 

Otara

EOS RP
Jul 16, 2012
300
83
Photography has a subjective aspect in judging quality, but we are generally still aiming for 'something', whether its more keepers, better framing, more unusual aspects, more consistent style or whatever.

The simplest thing to take away is the idea of looking at our old pictures and using this concept to see its a _good_ thing if you feel they're worse in some way than your current ones, because its means you've progressed in whatever way you wanted to progress.

But if you're happy with whatever youre doing, then yep thats all that matters, the self appointed 'photography police' arent very important, and I suspect those are the people you're critiquing rather than the effect itself.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,827
1,055
Southeastern USA
OP, are you in a creative rut? Has your work been consistently panned?

Why else would you believe art is meaningless? For that is the essence of your C- essay.
 

RunAndGun

EOS RP
Dec 16, 2011
349
40
The original and subsequent follow-up posts, to me, read almost like a lawyer laying out that his client "doesn't suck" and here's why "legally" you can never prove he does.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,623
176
AlanF said:
It is such a profound piece of science that Kruger and Dunning were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2000.
Maybe their research and paper were due to the Kruger-Dunning effect? ;D
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
AuroraChaserDoug said:
I'm going to steal a quote from Igor Stravinsky and say that photographers capture photons, that's all.
How about Debussy, the image is the blank space between the photons? :)
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
AlanF said:
Tyroop said:
Didn't know there was a thing called the Dunning Kruger effect.
Really? It's been all over the Internet for a while now, a term often used with the name of the current POTUS.
It is such a profound piece of science that Kruger and Dunning were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2000.
Alan, I understand you do hard science, but there's value in social science, when done properly (too often not the case). BTW, the Ig Nobels don't merely (dis)honor bad science, they also call attention to legit science that has some humor value. From their web site:

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.
 

9VIII

EOR R
Feb 8, 2013
1,843
0
One point needs to be made clear, I am in no way refuting the validity of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I am pointing out that it’s impossible to apply it to something that inherently has no objective measure of progress.
Dunning-Kruger requires the ability to track progress, photography has no such method.
And again, I have constantly affirmed that Dunning-Kruger is very real in the sense of someone practicing the skills of reading exposiure, and I’ll add that one of the reasons I love manual focus lenses is it adds another element of skill to photography, but the pictures themselves can only be meaningful to me or anyone else for a fleeting moment, and that meaning is different for everyone.
 

9VIII

EOR R
Feb 8, 2013
1,843
0
YuengLinger said:
OP, are you in a creative rut? Has your work been consistently panned?

Why else would you believe art is meaningless? For that is the essence of your C- essay.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,308
498
9VIII said:
https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/04/10/why-bad-photographers-think-theyre-good

So there’s this video doing the rounds right now, apparently a lot of people think it explains something about the psychology of photographers, and it may, but it doesn’t reveal what most of the commenters posting about it think that it does.
There’s no need to watch the video, the premise of applying the Dunning-Kruger effect to Photography is ludicrous.
From your rant it seems you are conflating two things: competence and affirmation.

Photography is a subjective medium but it still has its technical aspects that you may arrive at by learning or by luck. Which is why you have a boatload of Uncle Bobs who think they can take a photo as good a wedding photo as any professional and cannot understand why a professional charges hundreds or thousands of dollars and tells their family members they are fools to pay it. The difference is that a professional with their technical knowledge is more likely to get you a worthwhile photo irrespective of conditions or location.

People seeking affirmation from posting on the internet is a different thing and nothing to do with the Dunning Krueger effect, which is about the person's opinion of their own abilities - I think a lot (most?) of us at some time have critiqued a photo only for the poster to hurl abuse and make it clear that despite posting in the 'critique' section all they want is people to say 'nice shot'.

If you post is criticising people's misunderstanding of the D-K effect, I agree. But that is not what I get from what you wrote. In fact, the original video is nothing to do with 'insecure' photographers but is about 'bad' photographers - two completely different things. So even your own thread title is confusing.
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,425
1,577
Alberta, Canada
Interesting topic. I, like many, am an individual who is both concerned about what others think and also inclined to say, "it's their problem". A bit of a perfectionist when I detect that good or great output is within my capability. I tend to become driven but what I produce is only ever "pretty good". As Mike says, there is lots to learn and the best way not to learn is to get in a huff when your work is criticized honestly or even unfairly.

There is great satisfaction in seeing progress unless you're only interested in mediocrity. The progress can be hard for an outsider to recognize but a sincere individual can perceive it and it provides motivation to do better. Surely, not many people believe that their only purpose in life is to satisfy themselves and not care about what others think, so for me it's a balance between the two.

Jack
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
6,348
4,465
Orangutan said:
AlanF said:
Tyroop said:
Didn't know there was a thing called the Dunning Kruger effect.
Really? It's been all over the Internet for a while now, a term often used with the name of the current POTUS.
It is such a profound piece of science that Kruger and Dunning were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2000.
Alan, I understand you do hard science, but there's value in social science, when done properly (too often not the case). BTW, the Ig Nobels don't merely (dis)honor bad science, they also call attention to legit science that has some humor value. From their web site:

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.
Ig Noble prizes are awarded by far the most frequently to the hard sciences - see https://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2018 - and most of them are for the laughter and not for thought provocation. Eg VW got the prize for Chemistry for their work on diesel emissions. One of my friends got one for levitating a frog in a magnetic field.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,827
1,055
Southeastern USA
9VIII said:
YuengLinger said:
OP, are you in a creative rut? Has your work been consistently panned?

Why else would you believe art is meaningless? For that is the essence of your C- essay.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
Politely questioning your frame of mind is not a personal attack. A grade of C- isn't a personal attack either.

Several others in this thread have already pointed out the silliness of your original post.
 

9VIII

EOR R
Feb 8, 2013
1,843
0
Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/04/10/why-bad-photographers-think-theyre-good

So there’s this video doing the rounds right now, apparently a lot of people think it explains something about the psychology of photographers, and it may, but it doesn’t reveal what most of the commenters posting about it think that it does.
There’s no need to watch the video, the premise of applying the Dunning-Kruger effect to Photography is ludicrous.
From your rant it seems you are conflating two things: competence and affirmation.

Photography is a subjective medium but it still has its technical aspects that you may arrive at by learning or by luck. Which is why you have a boatload of Uncle Bobs who think they can take a photo as good a wedding photo as any professional and cannot understand why a professional charges hundreds or thousands of dollars and tells their family members they are fools to pay it. The difference is that a professional with their technical knowledge is more likely to get you a worthwhile photo irrespective of conditions or location.
Right, and thus in the future the best wedding photographers will be robots.

That's not what people are talking about when they try to apply Dunning-Kruger to photography.


Mikehit said:
People seeking affirmation from posting on the internet is a different thing and nothing to do with the Dunning Krueger effect, which is about the person's opinion of their own abilities - I think a lot (most?) of us at some time have critiqued a photo only for the poster to hurl abuse and make it clear that despite posting in the 'critique' section all they want is people to say 'nice shot'.

If you post is criticising people's misunderstanding of the D-K effect, I agree. But that is not what I get from what you wrote. In fact, the original video is nothing to do with 'insecure' photographers but is about 'bad' photographers - two completely different things. So even your own thread title is confusing.
The contention is with the premise of an objective aesthetic style, which fundamentally cannot exist.
 

9VIII

EOR R
Feb 8, 2013
1,843
0
YuengLinger said:
9VIII said:
YuengLinger said:
OP, are you in a creative rut? Has your work been consistently panned?

Why else would you believe art is meaningless? For that is the essence of your C- essay.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
Politely questioning your frame of mind is not a personal attack. A grade of C- isn't a personal attack either.

Several others in this thread have already pointed out the silliness of your original post.
Giving a negative rating to the original post is a personal attack.

Giving any rating at all, positive or negative, is just a tactic to distract from the discussion.
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,127
318
The longer I get into photography the more I believe there is no possible way of measuring whether a photograph is good or not.
People may like one sort of photography and dislike another but whether its good or not is unknown.
I am studying for a degree in photography and its opened up a completely new world of photography when most of what might be considered good photography by the general public (nice landscapes, colourful photographs, beautiful model shots) would be considered completely cliche and unworthy of study or interest.
It terms of academic photography I would think insecure people would take the most relevant photographs in Contemporary Photography. They view the world differently and show a less perfect world.
I must admit I do like looking at beautiful photographs on 500px but I would conclude they are completely meaningless like a sort of photographic candyfloss, beautiful at the time but instantly forgettable and overly sweet.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,623
176
9VIII said:
"Experts" take money for their "expert" advice, only to justify and perpetuate that mindset in the newcomer that their advice will some day hold similar value, when in light of time and the inevitable change of culture, everything you "know" about photography now is ultimately meaningless.
Many great artists had great teachers, others didn't. Some find mastering the craft easy, others have to learn. Sure, there are also many "teachers" and "experts" who will just try to make money, and the internet let them make a lot through a wider audience, and there are bad teachers as well - you have to avoid them.

But there were and there are also great teachers - and they don't expect their students to think like them. Just look at Bernd and Hilla Becher at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf...
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,623
176
AuroraChaserDoug said:
zim said:
That's how I feel about exams and qualifications for any of the 'arts' delusional and meaningless.
.... And camera clubs :)
Mostly true. My wife skipped grad school for a music comp degree because she didn't want to become a copy of whoever she studied under. However, she needed the foundation of undergrad school to master the theory.
While exams and qualifications won't certify anybody being an artist, you may need a plan B in your life. If you artistic career goes nowhere, exams and qualifications may help to find a better paid job (teacher, curator, editor, etc.), unless you already have other skills and qualifications that allows you to earn a decent living. And even when you study to get them, nothing hinders you to follow your inspiration and developing your style.

I've seen art schools dropouts ending to work as supermarket cashier or in tattoos shops.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,308
498
9VIII said:
Mikehit said:
9VIII said:
https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/04/10/why-bad-photographers-think-theyre-good

So there’s this video doing the rounds right now, apparently a lot of people think it explains something about the psychology of photographers, and it may, but it doesn’t reveal what most of the commenters posting about it think that it does.
There’s no need to watch the video, the premise of applying the Dunning-Kruger effect to Photography is ludicrous.
From your rant it seems you are conflating two things: competence and affirmation.

Photography is a subjective medium but it still has its technical aspects that you may arrive at by learning or by luck. Which is why you have a boatload of Uncle Bobs who think they can take a photo as good a wedding photo as any professional and cannot understand why a professional charges hundreds or thousands of dollars and tells their family members they are fools to pay it. The difference is that a professional with their technical knowledge is more likely to get you a worthwhile photo irrespective of conditions or location.
Right, and thus in the future the best wedding photographers will be robots.

That's not what people are talking about when they try to apply Dunning-Kruger to photography.
Isn't it? Have you asked them? Which comes back to my point about...what is your point? That the video is wrong or peoples' interpretation of it is wrong?
I am not sure if you don't yourself understand what the D-K effect is about or if you ware saying people critiquing the video don't know.


9VIII said:
Mikehit said:
People seeking affirmation from posting on the internet is a different thing and nothing to do with the Dunning Krueger effect, which is about the person's opinion of their own abilities - I think a lot (most?) of us at some time have critiqued a photo only for the poster to hurl abuse and make it clear that despite posting in the 'critique' section all they want is people to say 'nice shot'.

If you post is criticising people's misunderstanding of the D-K effect, I agree. But that is not what I get from what you wrote. In fact, the original video is nothing to do with 'insecure' photographers but is about 'bad' photographers - two completely different things. So even your own thread title is confusing.
The contention is with the premise of an objective aesthetic style, which fundamentally cannot exist.
In that case it is you missing the point of the video: which makes it interesting that you told people they did not need to watch it, just take your word that your interpretation is correct - in a way is the very embodiment of that the video is about :eek: .
The video is about the basic photographic competence which is independent of what the photographer is trying to get across. Photography, as any art, is about communicating an idea and no matter how subjective the output is, it takes a competence to communicate that. I liken this to Ansel Adams' observation that there is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept: knowing how to get the concept across is about competence in the medium.
 

NancyP

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 17, 2013
1,297
14
Camera club competitions - I have never understood those. Project anonymized images at a rate of four per minute, discard half, project remaining images, discard half, etc until there is a rank order 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Judge of the competition doesn't comment on images or on criteria he considered important.

I don't get to learn from others' mistakes, I don't get to debate criteria, I don't know who shot interesting but technically imperfect images, I don't know anything about the context of the images, I don't get to know individual members' interests or anything else about them. Socially, it's a dud.

Biggest waste of time - when I attended that club, I would exit after the guest talk, before the competition, using excuse "must get to bed, I have an early day ahead". (True. Competitions would drag on to 10:00 PM sometimes. Most of the attendees are retired and don't need to be coherent at 7:00 AM.).

Many or most amateur photographers are not in it to become acknowledged as excellent at a genre of photography, they merely want family and community photos, proof of bird sighting (or way to ID bird definitively), snaps of something they'd like to own or copy for decorating their house, ID that flower, etc. A proportion of the above "many or most amateur photographers shooting for own satisfaction" like to improve their craft, because it is interesting to work on skills and on communicating ideas.