A few words about spoiling the market and who loses by it

I started hiking in the mountains before communism fell. Back then, things were pretty straightforward; the only hiking booths one could get came from the company called Podhale. They weren’t particularly expensive (back then the price didn’t much matter; if you could only find an available pair). They needed to be broken in, were capable to hurting your feet so badly blood would flow; one soon learnt to wear double socks. With all their shortcomings, these boots had their advantages. Numerous advantages. Once you bought a pair, they lasted and lasted. Mine survived eight years of very intensive use. The soles gripped the ground like mad so you never slipped. They were so stiff they offered perfect protection to your feet and the stiff uppers gave perfect protection to the ankles. In all those years I never had a single injury. Plus I had a lot of fun whenever i was walking along a rain soaked muddy trail and, along with other owners of Podhale boots, could enjoy watching everyone else look like they had rollers tied to their feet.

1990s came and brought changes. The shops were cluttered with Italian boots that were made God only knows where (which usually mean China). They were comfortable, not at all expensive, they (almost) never hurt you feet. In other words; wonderful. Everyone rushed to buy those fantastic, beautiful, not so expensive boots. Then, about a year later, it proved that the boots would often lose their soles and the soft, comfortable uppers offered no protection to the ankles. Having cured the injuries, the penitent customers rushed back to the shop in search of the good old booths from Podhale but… they were not there any more. Deprived of its customers, the company went out of business. All that was left was to grind your teeth and spend a fortune on the really expensive imported shoes cause we already knew the cheap ones were a waste of money and a danger to our health.

Now, why would a photographer write about hiking boots? Because the same is true about photography and all other branches of economy. Whenever a cheap, low quality product claims the market from a good one, the latter simply disappears and, in most cases, never comes back. If the pseudo photographers taking pictures any way they come out, without thought, composition or quality manage to take the customers away from the true photographers, they will disappear from the market. Because contrary to pseudo photographers that got they equipment for free from the EU, for a good start, who only shoot outdoors cause they can’t afford a studio (and then those mean studio lamps wouldn’t work with a camera in the green mode)) and who makes his living by asking “would you like some catch up as well?”, a real photographer had to pay for his equipment, has to pay the studio bill or rent it for the shoot. He also devotes all his time to photography, first of all to honing his skills and staying on top which means he doesn’t have time to work in McDonald’s. If the customers choose the service only because it is cheap they will not only get a substandard product, but first of all in a year or two they will have no choice as the good photographers will have moved on.

The same is true about most of the surrounding world. Starting with a good clothes factory that was pushed out business by cheap Chinese product through a small town baker that stopped baking good bread because it no longer makes business sense through places like schools and universities.

So who loses? you answer that question for yourself.