We all have different concepts of being a photographer, what it means, what we do and how we do it, so in this article I want to look at what being a photographer means to me. It’s more than just picking up a camera and taking photos… Much more… Let’s do this.
I’ve always loved taking photographs, and many photos at that. I take photographs to capture the moment, and I learned the hard way that you need to take many photographs wherever you go.
I had a theory many years ago where I would only take a handful of photographs with each outing, hopefully that meant I would not only produce less photos, but better photos because I took my time and thought about things more. However, looking back, and seriously thinking of this philosophy, it was a huge mistake. The time period where I did this is seriously lacking in photos, but more importantly, it’s lacking in memories and shots of things that I simply missed.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a photographer over the decades, it’s that you can always delete your shots if you take too many images, but you cannot recreate a shot if you miss it. Now we use digital cameras, there’s no need to be thrifty with your images. Most importantly, I learned the concept of taking less photos was more detrimental than I thought at the time. Other than lack of material, the old adage of you don’t get better by doing things less, really rang true. You can be more creative, take better shots, have more to choose from and have more memories by taking more photos.
As a true photographer, the sense of wanting to see my work in print is immense. Each time I take a photograph, I envision it hanging on my wall, or placed in a photo album. You don’t see your photos as they should look until you print them. When printed they look very different to how they look on a computer screen, and take on a new life of their own.
Printing photographs you’ve taken means you can touch, feel, smell and study your photographs. They’ve been taken from something which isn’t real and all very digital, to an object of desire. And what’s more, they are with you forever, and printing for others is the best gift you can give. It’s the reason we all loved using film, and the reason some people are going back to that format.
Every photographer likes to pigeonhole themselves into a little box. A huge amount like to call themselves street, landscape or portrait photographers. Perhaps if they’re professional photographers who only do one thing for a living this is true, but for the vast majority of us, it’s really not. Yes, I’ve earned a little over the years with my landscape photography, and I was guilty of calling myself a landscape photographer, but I took a step back and looked at what I really do.
I decided on the term documentary photographer for myself, because that’s what I do. That’s what a lot of photographers do. I document life, everything from family, to landscapes, to sunsets, to places and people and pets and more. I want to encompass everything and be free from the shackles and constraints of being a one trick pony.
Exploration is great, and in more ways than one. I love to explore not just places I haven’t seen before, but I love to explore different things in photography. The thrill of finding somewhere new, the thrill of finding a new way to take a photograph. I explore every avenue, and like to spend a little time before moving to the next
I am not a digital artist
With digital images, a lot of people feel the need to spend hours editing their images, or editing just one image. Ok, I enjoy the odd artistic edit of my photographs, but I am in no way a digital artist. I am a photographer first and foremost. There’s nothing wrong with those who want to become digital artists, it’s a great extension of the art, but it’s not photography for me.
For the most part, I like to get the image I want straight from camera. Spending time setting things up as I want before the shoot takes place. I will then perform minor edits, straightening, cropping, raising shadows, dropping highlights, adding a vignette, but I do as little afterwards as possible.
There’s a strange concept by a some photographers, that the camera doesn’t capture the image you see. I’m not sure why there is that thought, and it does seem to be a minority of photographers who have that mindset. I look back at thousands of old colour photographs, and thousands of my photographs which are not edited, and they’ve captured things exactly as they were. I’m not one to believe this nonsense, and I’m certainly not going to spend hours removing objects from an image, cloning out something because I don’t like it or adding something into the image to make it look better… Unless it’s for artistic purposes and I’m in digital artist mode (which is getting less and less these days).
I enjoy photography so much that I love getting others involved. I do it because I like to share my love of photography, and hopefully it will set a spark off in someone else to enjoy taking photos.
Great Photography Walks South Wales, One Camera One Lens and my own social media, along with participation and administration of numerous other groups. I’m there because as a photographer, I just want to share all I have with everyone.
I am: A photographer
And it comes to the end of my article, where I tell you, I am a photographer because I’m all of these things and more. One of the biggest thrills is seeing others work who I’ve helped get involved with photography, they too are now photographers…
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