There are a lot of photographers out there writing blogs, conducting workshops, and generally promoting their art and I follow quite a few of them. One of them, I’ll call him famous since he’s very highly regarded in the photo community, who shall remain nameless writes and shares opinions and images. He and I don’t much like each other and that’s okay. Several years ago we had a “spirited” debate online and ultimately agreed to disagree. Since then there has been no attempt at reconciliation and I doubt there will be. Heck, he probably doesn’t even remember the incident. This photographer’s writing style is a bit too stilted and formal for me but that’s okay. It’s his blog, not mine and he often makes some very cogent points or shares some nuggets of wisdom that I wouldn’t otherwise find. And it helps that I really admire his photographic talent. So I read his blog. As I said, he does come up with some good points and recently referenced an incident from his youth that really struck home with me. Those of you who know me are aware that I’m something of a grammar Nazi. I regularly call people out, (and frequently get called out myself) for bad grammar, misspelled words, incorrect punctuation and other travesties of the English language. This in and of itself is amusing since I was probably in the bottom third of my Language and English classes in school. My blog entries are known for the liberties I take with the language and if I were able to send one to him for review, my 7th grade English teacher would probably turn over in his grave. But none of that stops me. I’m famous among my family and co-workers for correcting their grammar and pointing out spelling errors. To the point where many of them are almost always cranky with me. Oh well….I can take that. But back to the point. Bad spelling is one of my biggest pet peeves. Sometimes I’m not sure if grammatical errors are a result of bad grammar or bad spelling. When someone uses the word “then” and intended to use “than” is it a spelling error or grammar error? A recent commercial starring Alec Baldwin as a substitute teacher decries spelling classes. “Spell check? That’s not a subject, it’s a software” Mr. Baldwin declares to a class of young kids. But I beg to differ. In reading the other photographer’s blog he related something that was told to him by an English teacher: “It doesn’t matter what or how eloquently you write, if you can’t spell nobody will ever take you seriously.” (paraphrased) Combine that statement with Mr. Baldwin’s line and I think we’ve come to a major problem. Too many of us, myself included, use spell check and move on. This leads to many instances of bad grammar and blatantly incorrect context. But hey…I used spell check and it said I was okay! “I would rather visit your sister then my sister.” Yep, it goes through spell check. But does that mean we’re visiting one sister or two? Did the user mean to use the word “than?” Is your sister going to be crabby because we’d rather visit my sister? Or okay since we’re going to visit both of them. Do you see what I mean? In closing, keep one thing in mind: JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING CLEARS SPELL CHECK DOESN’T MEAN IT’S RIGHT!! Use your words….and your brain….correctly. I will attempt to do the same.