What is a photographer? I've asked myself this very question more than a few times over the last three years as I've explored the world of photography with an eye towards making better photographs. In addition to that question a whole host of other questions have popped into my head about what defines a photographer. Things like:
- Just what defines a photographer over someone who uses a camera?
- How will I know that I've "made it" and can now officially call myself a photographer?
- Should I compare my efforts to those of other people or not?
- Will getting new/better equipment make me a photographer?
and on and on......
Well, a few weeks ago a fellow photographer emailed me a link to what I think is a a very accurate description of what it means to be a Photographer. The following Manifesto can be found on Craft & Vision, a photography education and publishing site founded by David duChemin. Here's the text:
I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER
I am a photographer. I make photographs. I do not take them, shoot them, capture them or snap them. I do what I do to see the world differently and to show others what I see and feel. And yes, it really did look like that when seen through my eyes, mind and heart. Professional or not, I would rather make a photograph like an amateur does: for the sheer love of it. The tools of my craft are a camera and lens but the tools of my art are my passion and vision. Film or digital, it’s not how we make our photographs that matters, but that we make them. The gear I have is good enough. My camera doesn't need to be made recently for me to photograph the present moment. The brand of my camera is irrelevant to the pursuit of beauty and authenticity in my work. Megapixels are no way to measure a photograph. I want deeper photographs, honest photographs that are alive, not merely really big or really sharp. I hope the legacy I create with my work will be judged not by how many photographs I made in this lifetime, but what those few magic frames do in the hearts and minds of others. Comparing myself to others, or them to me, is a waste of my creative efforts and makes it harder to see the light, chase the wonder, and do my work. There is too much to see and create to waste these too-few moments. Art is not a competition, but a gift. I believe photographs can change the world because they have done so for me. I believe photography opens my eyes to a deeper life, one that recognizes moments and lives them deeper for being present in them.
After reading this a few times and thinking about it for a while longer I can say that this is exactly how I feel about my photography. I could not have said it better. We make photographs and present the final image though our artistic talents!
Being a photographer isn't about having the best equipment or the sharpest images, it's about making photographs that have an impact.
If you have wondered about what it takes to "be" a photographer I don't think you really need to wonder any more. Just do what you do, enjoy the process and strive to share something in each photograph you make. That's it.
A New Way To Support This Site
I really enjoy putting together, recording and producing this podcast and updating the website. I will always keep the podcast and website free as a resource to help fellow photographers but it is not without cost. To keep the podcast and website going I must pay for hosting for the website and podcast as well as purchase the appropriate equipment (microphone, software, etc.) to allow me to get the podcast out each week and update the website.
To help support the site I have some affiliate relationships with companies like Amazon. Whenever you click on a link and purchase something from Amazon I get a small commission. Your price is not impacted by this and it helps me out a little. To all of you that have utilized the link(s) I sincerely appreciate it. THANK YOU!!!
What if you are interested in supporting this site but don't necessarily want to purchase something? Well, now there is a new way to do that.
Last week I became aware of a site that helps people who are producing content (musicians, podcasters, artists, photographers, etc.) collect on-going support for their work. The site is called Patreon. I have setup a profile for the podcast on Patreon which you can find here: My Patreon Page.
If you want, you can support the podcast by becoming a patron and contributing whatever amount you feel comfortable with for each episode I produce. The Patreon site makes it easy and I have even come up with a few incentives for you if you decide to support the podcast. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will be a big help to me as I continue to try and build the best podcast I can.
Thanks again to all of you for your support of this site/podcast. I really appreciate it and am looking forward to the future!