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.
Working with friends is fun. Case in point: this photo shoot for Bailey Fine Art Printing. Curtis is the premier fine art printer in Souther California. I've had the privilege of knowing Curtis for over ten years, back to when we both started out working at Tuttle Cameras. We rubbed shoulders every week as we sold film during the day, and practiced our craft in the back studio after hours.
Curtis focuses his craft of precision and nuance. He's a technical wizard, but he still feels the essence of the photo. It's a rare combination, and I'm so glad I'm still close enough to his shop to get my work printed by this master in his craft. He makes my photos look better then when I took them.
Bailey Fine Art is updating their website, and so when it worked out for me to shoot a few images of Curtis' work I was elated. Not only do I get to represent someone I deeply respect through my craft, I got to do so in the company of a good friend.