Photographers, camera-wielding people of the world, we need to have a talk. I understand that there is a need within many people to create art, and I am no exception. Whenever I write, I feel fulfilled, like I’m chipping away at a monolith of marble to reveal the figure captured by my mind’s eye. The need to write is right up there with food and shelter. Creation of art is a worthy pursuit from which I could never in good conscience dissuade anyone…
But let’s be realistic.
Let this thought set the tone for the rest of this post: taking black and white photos of flowers with a DSLR does not make you a photographer. What separates photographers from people who take photos? Technical skill, knowledge of how to properly use equipment, and perhaps most important of all, an eye for the art. I know I’ll never be a photographer, or even anyone who is decent at taking photos. Why? Because I don’t have an eye for photography. Photos I take tend to turn out crappy or mediocre, and though I’m sure there are ways I could make improvements, they will only be marginal. Seeing as this is the case, I know full well that I should just stick to writing.
A constant source of annoyance for me is seeing someone I know take an interest in photography, instantly label themselves as a professional photographer, and start pimping out their new business: [insert last name here] Photography. Please be realistic. If you’re going to try to make a living out of this, at least put yourself in a position to do so. Read up on technical details, ask people (not friends) for honest feedback on your work, and get the right equipment. Blurry, noisy 1024x768 photos of baby nieces and nephews taken with a three-megapixel point-and-shoot with a smudgy lens are not going to cut it.
As I said before, I would never discourage anyone from creating art, and if it satisfies your needs, then by all means please continue to do so. Please follow your dreams, because you never know whose art will be recognized as something exceptional. If you just try, you have at least a small chance of success, but if you never even put forth the effort, then your chances of success are those of a fart in a windstorm.
Is this post going to keep any of you out there from snapping sepia-toned pictures of your pets? No. Does this post make me seem like a person who understands the plight of the amateur photographer, set adrift upon the deluge of like-minded photography enthusiasts who have flooded the professional photography market with their entrepreneurial ambition? Not at all. Does this post make me feel better about denying requests on Facebook to “like” three new photography businesses per day? Absolutely.