I hear it a lot: people believing that "real photography" only comes from "real cameras." And while I understand, perhaps, what they mean to say, I, kindly, disagree. Real photography doesn't come from real photographers any more than it comes from real cameras. It comes from real people. And in addition to that, it only comes if you use whatever is at your disposal! So whether its a smartphone camera, or an old film body, use it! And share your eye, your heart, with your people.
Even one of the world's most famous photographers, Ansel Adams, said, "A good photography is knowing where to stand." I love what he didn't say (which just so happens to illustrate my point): it's about a good camera, how much you spent, where you learned, or how often you do it. It's simply about being present, with whatever camera you have, and taking the photo you see before you.
Happy shooting, you fabulous people, you.
Today's post started as a Facebook post for my photography page, like they do every so often. Here's what I wrote:
I see it all the time in my photography practice - people longingly looking at my camera, as if I've done something magical to make a little money with it through the years. But it's not magic in the sense that it happened by chance, or only to the lucky few of us privileged to follow our passions in our work life. It is magic in the sense that when you touch it, something true about yourself becomes revealed through photographs that only you can create. #gomakemagic#whatdoyousee #goshootsomethingtoday
Let me continue by saying it's a work in progress. I have days where I doubt, where I fret, where I go look for a day job. It's hard 1) owning your own business, 2) running a business based on perceived luxury, 3) that requires you to put yourself and your craft out there for praise and criticism. In short ... it's not easy to follow your passion into your work life. So I'm not advocating that everyone quit their day job to go open their artisan business tomorrow.
I am advocating the demise of perceived elitism in the work of the arts. I create amazing photographs that change me, inspire me, and sometimes help others with my camera ... and so can you. Whether you start with your iPhone or your new DSLR, start. Because you, and the rest of your community, are missing out when you don't. When you leave your camera on the shelf, or in the car, we miss out on the world you see; we miss out on being transformed by your perspective; you miss out on the same, and the joy of sharing in it with those around you.
Given what I've learned about life and beauty and how we grow spiritually, art isn't a luxury -- it's often a deprived necessity. Beauty has a power to go in deep inside and transform us, bring us hope, and inspire courage. I need more beauty around me, and I wonder if you do, too.
Oh, you do? Great. Go make some today. Join me in capturing the truth and beauty of what's around you today--maybe a sunset, a piece of fruit on your table, the patch of grass outside your office. When you do, please share it with me on my Facebook page. I want to see what beauty you find today. I'll do the same.
Today in my role as Education Manager at Tuttle Cameras a former student of mine I hadn't seen in well over a year came back to the store to take a photo class. I recognized her immediately in that familiar but it's been a while sort of way. She looked the same and different at the same time.
As she beamed at me, she began to share with me where she'd been and what had happened over the time away like old friends do. As she did my heart began to break.
This woman had conquered a mountain of illness and related health challenges. Some of her experiences were down right traumatic. I was stunned. And she was smiling. We hugged.
It reminded me that although these relationships start with a lot of camera talk, we move through the layers. I hear about their families, they hear about my passion projects and art. We so often become friends. And I like it that way. Because most of the time people are amazing beings; fascinating because of our differences, familiar because of our similarities. Bonded by them both.
I can't wait to see who else I get to meet and work with in 2016.