Photography – Why Ken’s Wrong

Photography, at least second hand photo gear, is one topic where Ken Wheeler receives some qualified respect from his YouTube peers. Find out why he’s still wrong about the art, craft and business of photography.

Ken Wheeler is best known as the Angry Photographer. So you’d think he’d be an expert, working, full-time photographer.

As with many aspects of Ken’s life, the truth about the situation is surprisingly odd. Virtually no-one has ever seen a professional quality, studio photograph taken by Ken Wheeler.

Worse, the Angry Photographer has been caught representing the work of other photographers, such as Robert Haldane, and Elena Polakova as his own on his YouTube channel. There can be no greater sin than this in the professional photography world.

There Can Be No Greater Sin in the Photography World

A few professional photographers have invited Kentucky Ken to join them on photo shoots. These have included Jason Lanier and Darren Miles.

In both cases, the Angry Photographer’s results were underwhelming. The high-end, professional gear he brought along was very impressive, but compared to his hosts, his results were not.

Ken Wheeler has an Instagram site. On it, we can see a few selfies and snapshots featuring him, his homes and his pickup truck.

A Few Selfies and Snapshots of His House and Truck

Unlike all other professional photographers, we don’t see any examples of product photography, weddings, formal portraits, fashion models, still lifes, sports, wildlife, or landscapes. Nobody has been able to locate a website or professional portfolio promoting Ken Wheeler as a professional photographer anywhere on the Internet.

The Angry Photographer has retorted that his portfolio is for paying customers only. That would be an odd approach. Most photographers use their websites to market themselves to as many potential clients as possible.

They may keep specific finished products out of the public eye to respect client privacy, but their portfolios aren’t a deep, dark secret. Many wonder if the Theoria Apophasis creator has a photographic portfolio at all.

Many Wonder if Ken Wheeler Has a Portfolio At All

To give Ken Wheeler his due, he does display substantial knowledge about vintage cameras and especially lenses. He also demonstrates his repair and maintenance skills on his YouTube channel.

The Angry Photographer claims to have studied photography at the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Daytona, Florida and seems to have worked in a camera shop. His role appears to have involved both sales and repair tasks, so he has product knowledge, especially about film-based Nikon cameras and lenses.

However, he’s applied that knowledge in an odd way. The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis is a gadget collector rather than a photographer.

Gadget Collector Rather Than a Photographer

He claims to own “hundreds of Nikon lenses.” A typical working photographer needs about half a dozen of them.

These would include a normal lens, a wide angle lens and a portrait lens. Depending on their specialty, they might also use a macro lens, a telephoto lens, and a tilt-shift lens.

As in any trade, tools may accumulate over the years. An experienced photographer might still keep a dozen or more less active lenses on a shelf somewhere.

No Photographer Needs to Own “Hundreds of Lenses”

Even so, there’s no practical justification for any photographer to own “hundreds of lenses.” The self-styled Angry Photographer compulsively hoards every lens that hits the market without ever taking a picture.

In the early part of his YouTube career, Ken Wheeler gained impressive numbers of viewers and broadly positive feedback. This was for his videos reviewing new and second-hand Nikon products, especially the lenses he collects, repairs and sometimes even sells.

He often shared tips that could save hobbyists some money if they were willing to settle for used and obsolete gear, such as lenses with no vibration reduction or autofocus. Even so, some viewers thought his advice could be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Hostile, Aggressive Personality Was Off-Putting

His hostile, aggressive personality was off-putting for many viewers, although some found it entertaining, in a freak show kind of way. Others found him excessively attached to Nikon and biased or even hostile toward other brands, particularly Canon.

Nevertheless, many professional photographers concede that Ken Wheeler has informed them of helpful features of their equipment. They admit they wouldn’t have picked up these arcane hints from anyone else.

More recently, Ken Wheeler is far less committed to Nikon. It seems he had a dispute with them over borrowing product samples to review on his channel. He’s been advocating mirrorless photography products made by Fujifilm since then.

Costly, High-End Tools Few Can Afford, Even Professionals

The Angry Photographer’s recent recommendations have been directed toward Fujifilm’s premium-priced, medium format cameras and related lenses. These are costly, high-end, professional level tools that few photographers, even at the professional level, can afford.

Ironically, the Angry Photographer is now complaining about a similar dispute with Fujifilm, which also seems to have stopped lending him gear to review. Apparently, Fujifilm doesn’t think the creator of Theoria Apophasis has enough photography content to justify having him review their products.

Since he no longer borrows Fujifilm cameras for free, and he can’t afford to buy them, he’s reduced to renting them for short terms to review them. He’s tried reviewing cameras sight unseen, but that only drew ridicule from his peers and his viewers.

Doesn’t Earn Significant Income from Photography

Oddly, Ken Wheeler has shelled out his own money on every model of Fujifilm’s elite, professional GFX cameras, each costing upwards of $10,000, when you add in the specialized new lenses they require. These additions to his camera collection are especially peculiar because, by all accounts, the Angry Photographer doesn’t earn any significant income from professional photography.

So, here’s why Ken Wheeler is wrong about photography. He’s not a professional photographer despite trying to give his viewers that impression. He doesn’t take pictures, he collects gear. Professional photographers refer to amateurs like him as having “gear acquisition syndrome.”

Although viewers found many of his early equipment recommendations helpful, they find his current videos more grudge-based than evidence-based. Also, most of the photo gear that the Angry Photographer now reviews is out of the reach of virtually all his viewers.

Doesn’t Rank Among Most-Viewed Photography YouTubers

Ken Wheeler doesn’t rank among the most-viewed photography YouTubers. The top-rated channels are all run by working, professional photographers.

These A-list commentators discuss topics like composition, light, shadow, finding subjects, storytelling, and many other creative aspects of their craft along with regular, unbiased gear reviews from all major brands. The Angry Photographer is a one-trick pony who has lost his credibility even on the product critiques that once earned him a modicum of respect.

It’s also impossible for many professional photographers to overlook Ken Wheeler’s misrepresentation of the intellectual property of others as his own – his greatest sin of all.

Ken’s Evidence

Ken Wheeler, Photography’s National Enquirer
Photography Review
The Downfall of the Angry Photographer
The Shoot Between Jason Lanier and Ken Wheeler
The Ken Wheeler Interview and Photo Walk
Official Angry Photographer

Published by David Morton Rintoul

I'm a freelance writer and commercial blogger delivering content services to selective business to business marketing clients. I have extensive experience in content creation, technical writing and training, working as a consultant and later in management roles with many of Canada's most successful organizations. Specialties: Content Marketing, Social Media, Technical Writing, Training and Development

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