Photography, for most professionals, has become a way to earn a paycheck.
In the last five years, there has been a fundamental shift in the way photographers think and present themselves. Although I stand behind my work and think my work is beautiful, I don’t expect students to be picking apart its meaning during Art 101 sixty years from now at their local community college. Photography, for most professionals, has become a way to earn a paycheck.
And this…I know in my heart, is a mistake. Sure, painters have been painting for profit and actors have been performing for their next meal for centuries, but they certainly didn’t pick up their interest in the craft for the million dollar paychecks it would bring in. There IS something to the phrase “starving artist”, you know.
Mr. Assisi (can I call him that?) couldn’t have summed up this post any better.
With the advent of digital, our craft has taken a brief blow in the past 10 years. Why do I say brief? Because, like creatures of adaption, the artists among us WILL emerge. We will learn to take this almost automated craft, and find the artistry in it. Our clients will come to expect a certain standard in a photographer’s work.
I feel as though my whole being goes into every photograph.
When I get behind a camera, I feel as though my whole being goes into every photograph. I feel like I speak through my lens, no matter my subject. No worries if, hours before, I didn’t want to get out of bed for the shoot. In that moment my camera has become an extension of my emotions, my feelings, and my absolute being.
Is this the same for every photographer? Does the camera become a type of meditation?
I read a comment in a forum the other day that said “I like to get my clients to laugh. Unfortunately, that also means that I don’t get very many usable shots.”
My first thought after reading this comment was,
“Then you’re not using your camera right.”
I would LIKE to say that I rethought my initial reaction and have come up with a less snarky one…but alas, the snark remains. As a photographer, your job is to make your camera an extension of your emotions. NOT the other way around. You don’t take a photograph because a bride is laughing. You take the photograph because the bride laughing, makes YOU laugh in turn.
When you smile…your camera smiles. (Oh man, this cheese sandwich is getting REALLY thick.) If you tear up during the father/daughter dance…that emotion is captured through your lens.
I feel as though with each photo, a little of my soul has gone to live in the image.
There are a few cultures who hold to the belief that photographing a person is stealing a little of that person’s soul. While I am, at best, a novice theologist..as a professional photographer and artist I feel this is a little backwards. After a 10 hour wedding day my feet hurt, yes…but more than anything, I am emotionally drained. In just 12 hours I have run the gamut of sadness, elation, loneliness, a heart overbrimming with love, and the joy of family reuniting. I feel as though with each photo, a little of my soul has gone to live in the image.
When I give a bride images that make her cry, it’s only because they’ve made me cry first. (That’s how I know they are the good ones.)
We see a completely different set of eyes than the rest of humanity.
So…the above gushing being gushed, what would the doctor suggest as a remedy for the aforementioned malady? Just be aware. Take a good luck at what you do and how you feel when you do it. Find that outlet that moves you. Find that inspiration.
Photographers, and any passionate human really, who realize it, are the lucky few who get to see this world differently than everyone else. Before we put that viewfinder to our eye, we see the vivid colors…the crop…and the feeling of the moment. We see a completely different set of eyes than the rest of humanity.
In the same respect, the passionate aviator can see the horizon before his wheels leave the runway. The writer can see the story before the rights to the movie are even discussed. The inventor can see the history of the world change before the first wrench is turned.
I believe that EVERY person on this earth is meant for something(s). Few are privileged or lucky enough to be able to find that passion, but if you’ve found that love in photography…then dive in like a kid with a pool full of pudding. Be proud of what you do. Puff out your chest and be ready to show your bride an image on the back of that camera that will make her eyes pour like Niagra Falls.
Snapping your shutter should never be just because someone has paid for it…but because you feel it is an exceptional moment worth your time, your passion, and just a little piece of your soul.
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