Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On Being a Photographer

From Reuters Blog:

"I have never really quite understood those whose thought processes creak to the conclusion, ‘I have a camera therefore I am a professional photographer.’ Nowadays it’s, 'Have you got a camera and a laptop?' And there you have it. Invest a couple of grand in some sophisticated equipment and you too can see your pictures in lights and call yourself a professional. I always wanted to be an RAF test pilot, so maybe if I bought myself a jump suit and a pair of RayBans I could become a Top Gun? Being a musician, if I bought the right drum kit surely Paul Simon might let me take Steve Gadd’s drum stool for the forthcoming Royal Albert Hall gig? Somehow I think not... and so, what is it that gives those with no experience or qualifications the right to assume the mantle of professional photographer?"

Wow! How many times have I crunched that same question through the soft, gray, gears of my melon?

Please don't take exception to this. I'm guessing most of you don't fall into the above referenced category. Why? Because you're reading this and reading this means you're probably willing to take the time to learn, whether by trying to follow along with my ramblings, checking out other sites, and in many other ways. Learning, by the way, is a never ending process regardless of your levels of skill and experience.

No one gets good at this thing we do simply by purchasing the very best in gear, turning the dials to auto-modes and creative-zones, and pointing the camera and snapping the shutter. Photographers improve by learning and practicing and learning and practicing and learning and practicing some more. They expand their skills through experimentation, trial-and-error, and failing. That's right. Failing... Failing to transfer the images they see in their minds onto film emulsion or a sensor. But then they set out to find out why they failed and, once they think they've figured that out, they try it again and, sooner or later, they succeed! Once they've done that, succeeded that is, and they learn to succeed consistently, they're ready to call themselves photographers... maybe even pro photographers if that's what they're going after.

The pretty girl at the top is Nautica, one of my favorite models! I snapped this one last week. Nautica is sweet, sexy, and knows what's she's doing in front of a camera.


fastpitch17 said...

Let's see. I have owned camera equipment since 1971. Worked hard in learning various technics that have interested me. Picked up the camera and have set them back down now forover 35 years. Entered the digital world of photography when it was an infant and you paid $900.00 for a 2mp point and shoot. Now into the DSLRs where I get the latatude to do more and push harder. Still, it is Photography on a budget. Have sold some work to publications and have had people ooo and aww over some of my work. I don't have a laptop but am on my 7th desk top computer.

Professional? Not even close. Advanced amature? Probably not. Lifelong student and always seeking to learn? yep, that's me and will always be so.

Thanks for all the good info Jimmy and love your work. You do your models a great service by bringing out their special qualities.

jimmyd said...


You, sir, are a photographer.