16 Jan What Makes You a Photographer?
*This post features some of my oldest work (when I was just learning photography).
A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective. — Irving Penn
I wish I could say I started off on a film camera that was passed down to me, like all the cool photographers out there.
But my love for photography started with my good ol’ Sony point and shoot. I took that bad boy with me everywhere I went.
The closest thing I got to film was with my thrifted (now obsolete) Polaroid 600 film series and my Minolta X-370, which I never developed (silly me). There were the occasional disposal film cameras I used from time to time, but aside from that, it was mostly digital (although I do dream to own a Hasselblad one day).
I started getting into photography when I was in my preteens? I can’t really remember what age, but I do know I got my first DSLR when I was about 20 years old. It was my world. I stopped wanting anything but gear and lenses for my new toy.
I was so obsessed with it that I read the entire manual. Yes. The manual.
So now at age 27 and still doing photography, I guess you can say I’m passionate about it.
The thing is, I never called myself a photographer until recently.
Someone once told me that anyone can be a photographer these , especially with high-tech camera phones available to one’s disposal.
This made me believe calling yourself a photographer was highly overrated.
By definition, a photographer is someone who takes photographs, but there is more to being a photographer than just pointing and shooting.
They are powerful and influential individuals who take effective photographs that make us aware of ourselves, our emotions, and aware of the world we live in.
A good photographer must love life more than he does photography. — Joel Strasser
To me a photographer is someone who captures with intent — whether they’re a professional or an amateur.
A photographer is…
… an idealist who not only captures raw emotion, but how captivating one’s soul truly is.
…an expressionist who provokes emotions and moves you with a single photograph.
…an optimist who finds beauty in the mundane, making you appreciate the small things.
…an educator who sheds light on different cultures and real issues happening globally.
…a documenter who documents history and impactful moments in one’s life.
…an influencer who inspires you to stop, think, and view things from a new perspective.
…an artist who make their visions and imaginations come to life.
…a risk-taker who is bold enough to hop fences, trespass through private property, and ambitiously lingers around for the perfect sunset.
…a storyteller who shares challenges and triumphs of one’s travels and experiences.
…a connector who bring all kinds of people together without language barriers.
…a student who is constantly learning to better themselves and others.
…a healer who helps people get through the most unbearable times of their lives.
…a motivator who inspires people to get out there and make a difference.
…a communicator who presents powerful messages no matter what language one speaks.
…a realist who accepts and captures the world for what it really is.
I can honestly go on, but I think you get the idea.
So you see, a great photographer doesn’t need a ton of fancy gear. They have the ability to work with and maximize what they have.
Knowing your gear, rule of thirds, and composition is important, but if you don’t have intent, then what are you capturing?
A true photographer is unpretentious.
When you capture with a purpose — and I don’t just mean for likes or for bragging purposes, but a purpose that is far greater than yourself — you will become a powerful photographer.
I didn’t call myself a photographer until recently because I cared too much about what everyone else thought.
I was waiting for approval. I was waiting to make a lot of money from it. I was waiting to get published. I was waiting to know “everything” about photography (impossible btw).
The truth is, none of that stuff really matters.
You become a photographer when you realize your love for photography and when you accept that you are, in fact, a photographer.
When you have purpose and are making a difference, even with just one person.
Yeah, so what if everyone and their mamas have access to taking quick, easy, and “horrible” photographs and are “ruining” the art of photography.
Stop worrying so much about what they’re doing, that won’t make you any less of a photographer. It should already be embedded in you.
You don’t need to let people tell you otherwise — they have no idea what you’re capable of. You don’t need to let people tell you otherwise — they have no idea what you’re capable of.
So when can you really call yourself a photographer? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. When did you start calling yourself a photographer?
May your journey be filled with light,
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