You want to be careful where you reveal yourself – where and when. If you let out too much too soon you risk being judged as a fool. Or worse – an expert. Of the two statuses, the first is preferable because no-one will berate you when they take your advice and then fail.
If you are in the photographic game ( known by other terms; fool’s quadrille, Blind Man’s Bluff-it-out Until They Pay Your Fee, or Squeeze My Aperture…) you are bound, sooner or later, to be in a situation where you know the right thing to say but the wrong people are listening. If you are in the fine-art photography world, the position is reversed.
In any case, someone turns to you and asks your opinion. If you are closer to the door than they are, and enjoy an independent income, you can give it freely. In other circumstances you must say what needs to be said, but say it in such a way that the listener really thinks that you said what they want to hear. It can be a delicate balance of truth, lies, and Hansard recordings. When in doubt,of course, it is good policy to hedge – and when you are absolutely certain it is good policy to be in doubt. A sage nod, a thoughtful expression, and a non-commital grunt can often make you into a hero.
If you really DO know the facts and can perform a valuable public service by stating them clearly and fearlessly, you would do well to remember the words of Alphonso Capone – a respected and totally legitimate Italian businessman in Chicago in the 1920’s: ” You can get a lot further with a smile and a revolver than you can with a smile.”. By all means destroy the dignity of your listeners, depress them mightily, and reduce the entire company to a state of embarrassment, but try not to do so before they serve the drinks and canapés. Otherwise you may terminate the party early and have to rely on getting a Macca’s on the way home.
We never advise outright lying, unless it is an election year, but we also realise that creative silence can be a boon to society.