Because I have a nice camera

The other day, I got a comment from a photo I took of them.

“Wow, you must have a nice camera!”

“Um, thanks,” I grimaced.

I think I know what they mean. Then again, let’s go through some analogies that have probably been exhausted.

  • To a chef: “Wow, this dish tastes fantastic! You must have an awesome oven.”
  • To a painter: “That piece looks immaculate! Your paint and brushes must be exquisite!”
  • To a writer: “I loved your novel – what version of [insert document processor] do you have?”
  • To a musician: “I loved that song! Your guitar has to be expensive.”
  • To a baseball slugger: “You’re an impressive hitter. Where did you buy your bat?”

Let’s go about this another way. Let’s say you watched a terrible indie film, and your friend was the leading role.

“So, how’d you like it?”

“I really liked the costumes.”

Look. It’s the tool, but only to a certain extent. Those are backhanded compliments — an insult in disguise. You might have the best intentions, but…no. Stop it.

More elaboration? Read the post and comments, too:

  • Eric Cheng — “You must have a nice camera: Part 1 and Part 2

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

4 thoughts on “Because I have a nice camera”

  1. Bryan,

    I know exactly what you mean! It’s a pet peeve of mine when someone says this. It’s like…yeah, my camera’s nice, but don’t I have anything to do with the photos??? Good post. I am totally with you on this.


  2. Blast, and I was going to buy the same camera that you have just to take photos as good as yours. But seriously, I completely agree. I think it’s something in society where we can’t accept that someone has more skills than we do, so we seek to monetize their skills by associating them with expensive tools.

    There is a story of the great violinist Heifetz who was approach while exiting stage by an individual who remarked, “It was a lovely concert, your violin sounds beautiful.” In response, he held the violin up to his ear and replied, “Funny, I don’t hear anything.”

    Anyways, that was a great post, you must have one of those really expensive keyboards.


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