Last March round the time that the world came to a screeching halt I learned a very startling yet sobering truth. A photographer is not essential and we are low on the list of valued professions, Ouch! People were out of work, and struggling to hold on to what sanity they had left, I assure you they didn’t much care if their headshots were up to date. Many of us were out of work and searching for ways to “work from home” like so many others just to keep things moving a long. Hmmmm, how does a photographer work from home you ask? Well we don’t, and then again we do. I mean it’s hard to see up shoots when you can’t leave your house right? See the trick is to see a photographers value beyond the camera , every artisan has a set of skills beyond whatever tool they use. This is the foundation on which the implementation of said tool is built upon.
Bare with me if that seems a bit confusing. Using a camera is not hard, Don’t get me wrong there is a lot more to it than point the camera and press the button, but overall anyone can learn to do it fairly quickly. So what makes great photographers… great?! I could go into a longwinded dissertation about this but ill keep it simple. Great photographers are great because they’ve mastered the agility to curate great photos. Knowing How to shoot, when to shoot, what to shoot, why you shot it, how you want it to look and how to get it to be exactly what you want it to be is what they’ve mastered. You can buy a camera but you can’t buy the eye behind the lens.
In the old days Photographers placed high value on the time they spent in the dark room, the editing process and the techniques they implanted to develop photographs mattered quite a bit. In modern times this has been replaced with the vast array of post editing processes that many of us use. This gets into the secondary and even tertiary skill sets that many great photographers have. A lot of us are really talented artists, musicians and all around creative minds. I myself was a music producer before I was a photographer and a fairly decent sketch artist before I was a music producer.
If you really think about it it makes a lot of sense , very few of us at 8 years old told our parents, teachers and any other discerning adult that we wanted to be a photographer when we grew up. Lets face it An Astronaut just sounds way cooler. There is a point to all this so let me get to it, many of us went in many directions and took many paths that lead us to where we are. Think of it like Lebron James Leaving Cleveland to go to Miami to Win a few Championships and then returning to Cleveland to win championship then leaving to go to LA and win a championship… Ok so if you don’t watch basketball then that reference went right over your head so let me put it to you like this. I wanted to be an Actor when I was a kid but i also loved to draw so always took art classes in school, I fell i love with music a decided to dedicate my self to it as a career path. One day I bought a cheap camera and started taking a lot of pictures for fun. See the thing is that The foundation for my photography career had been laid in what I had learned from these other endeavors. Short and simple the skills translate, and this is the reason we are so much more than the cameras we use. Much the like the way we translate an array of skills to photography we can translate then from photography. This is what created a career for me as a graphic artist/ designer, and also planted the seeds of ambition to be a filmmaker.. Wait didn’t I once want to be an actor?? well I guess these things come full circle.
Looks like I got little longwinded anyway huh? The good news is I was able to adapt to the pandemic by taking on several jobs as a graphic designer, the bad news is I really missed having the camera in my hand. Through it all I realized that when you have knowledge skill and determination you can make things work in any number of ways. I love my cameras but I am a more than just the camera , It is a tool of which I have many and I am not defined by it I define it.