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Wordless on Wednesday




Wordless on Wednesday


Defining Oneself

The Dilemma
I have been “taking photos” for a few years now. I got my own digital camera for Christmas in December of 2006. For just over a year I wasn’t very serious about it. I would take a few photos at family events and some others here and there. After a while I found flickr. And by found I knew sort of what the site was but I started looking at a lot of photos. Then sometime in late 2007/early 2008 some people in my family got entry level Nikon DSLRs. I wanted one. Anyone who has ever bought one knows that they really aren’t cheap so I decided that if I couldn’t get my little Olympus FE-140 and take pictures a whole lot more that it wouldn’t be worth the cost. So in May 2008 I started to try to take a photo every day. I think I lasted until October of that year but it got me going. I got my Nikon D60 on my birthday in 2009. Since that time I’ve taken just under 9,000 photos with it. (I just checked: exactly 8,888.) My interest in photography has continued to grow. The question is can I really call myself a photographer?

I’ve noticed quite a few things in different photography groups and communities. People can be very opinionated. I don’t know if other hobbies or activities have such strong minded people but sometimes “established” photographers can have very strong convictions and end up being downright intimidating, dictating what is or is not photography, who is or is not a photographer. Here are some of the “crowds” I’ve observed and their definition of photography.

The Snobbish Crowd
There seem to be many types of snobs in the photography world. There are the film snobs who insist that if you don’t know how to work a fully manual film camera and develop your own negatives you aren’t a real photographer. The ones who say that if you don’t post photos that are “straight out of the camera” that you can’t call it photography anymore. The gear snobs, ones who say if you don’t have the latest greatest top of the line DSLR, only a $100 point and shoot camera, then you’re only a person who takes “snapshots.” Some people even go so far as to say that they feel you haven’t put enough thought or emotion in to the shot and are therefore not a photographer.

While it is true that an understanding of the fundamentals of photography, knowing to not over process photos, having equipment sufficient for what you are trying to do (you probably shouldn’t start a wedding photography business if you only have a tiny point and shoot), and having purpose to shooting instead of aimlessly pointing the camera, none of these things should limit you or be reason for another person to put you down.

The Hypercritical Crowd
Sweet Autumn - August 2008 This is a subgroup of The Snobbish Crowd. This group often talks trash behind other people’s backs, saying something along the lines “Did you see what they just uploaded to their ‘Photography’ album on Facebook? It’s a joke! They aren’t a photographer! It’s just a picture of a flower!” All of this with a “how dare they!” attitude.

I am going to admit my own guilt here. I have researched different photographers who have somehow got a website running and are posting portfolios and rates and so forth, presenting themselves as professional portrait photographers. I have seen some rather atrocious work and wondered how on earth the person ever got paid for anything. But we all started somewhere. I think people are too quick to forget that at some point, they probably took that same picture of a daisy and thought it was the most amazing photo they ever took. We should not be so quick to put down others. (The photo at left was taken in August 2008 with my Olympus FE-140. I used to think it was TOTALLY AWESOME and do still enjoy the photo.)

The Self Deprecating Crowd
I’ve seen this all over the internet and I think this Crowd bothers me the most. Someone has a blog, they have some sort of camera, and they like to take pictures. But when it comes to describing themselves in the “about” section they will go on about how they daren’t dream of calling themselves photographers because they are not worthy of the name. They “just take photos.” I’ve seen it outside of blogs, too. People who appear to be fairly accomplished and good at what they do compare themselves to big name photographers and lament that they will never be “that good” and so can not truly be called a photographer. It really bothers me when people say this about themselves in what is seemingly a grab for more attention, for people to shower them with praises. “Oh no you’re great photographer! You’re awesome!” And so forth.

I understand that people have doubts about their own work and artistic ability but most people are their own worst critic. From my own experience I feel that it is normal to have that sort of doubt. Here’s the thing, though: everyone is different. You might be completely comfortable with your own work. That’s fine. It’s also fine if you question your abilities, your drive, anything, so long as you don’t wallow in self pity and actually do something about it.

I am a Photographer
I have realized with photography, just like most things in life, we should not let anyone else define who we are. I recognize that I still have many many things to learn. I believe photography is like any other art form, comprised of artists who are always growing, always learning. Without this they can never improve. I have a long way to go in building the confidence that I need but one step in doing that is to say that yes, I am a photographer. That’s the only label I need; there is no real reason to dissect it further. I am passionate about what I do. Some of the photos I take are for me and just me. It really should not matter if anyone else likes them. What I want from the photos that I take for friends and family is for them to be able to look at the photos and to be able to remember the day, remember the events surrounding that photograph. It’s a way of preserving memories for them. What would this post be without at least a couple of examples?

June 1010

June 2010


Wordless on Wednesday





For now it’s all in my head


I’ve had a lot on my mind lately but just haven’t felt like writing about it. Some of it is work related so I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it publicly. The title of this post has some sort of double meaning. One positive thing to say about work is that I finally got my own office! I’ve worked there nearly three years and have always had to share. This may make me sound spoiled and/or privileged but I think things will go much better now that I have my own space.

There’s so much that could happen in the next few months but a lot of decisions need to be made. Not related at all but I would also like to come up with a new theme here since I feel terrible for leaving this one up for so long. I’ll have to start planning that. For now I’ll post some photos and ponder things some more.




Some information about the images for fellow photo geeks and the curious types:
Camera: Nikon D60
Lens: 55-200mm DX (non VR)
Focal length: 185mm for the first two, 200mm for the last two

Post processing: curve adjustments for more contrast and a slight blue color shift

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