What is a photographer? This is like asking what is a sportsman or any other group of people that share something in common. Although photography is a relatively new-comer to the long list of varied activities that we, as human beings indulge in, lets visualize the hunter / gatherer of some few thousand years ago armed with just a spear or rock. Moving forward to our photographer of today who is also armed but with a small lightproof box and adorned with some glass - out there hunting - not for food - but still trying to ‘capture’ something of interest!
We have previously described the development of photography in the article / BLOG under the heading of The Future of Photography.
Perhaps now we should take a closer look at the person behind the camera.
The first point to consider or be aware of is the fact that the camera ‘functions’ in two directions. The obvious one is where the camera / lens is aimed at the subject of interest and the second direction is the opposite or reverse direction. In other words in building the image space we also ‘record’ something about the photographer and this is reflected in the final outcome or image. Lets pursue this further and attempt to provide more clarity.
Each one of us has been and continues to be influenced by our past history (the ‘baggage’ we carry with us), our education, culture and surroundings.
Two photographers standing more or less in the same spot will, in all probability, photograph different images! Why? Each one of them will ‘see’ and ‘feel’ differently due to the above influences and as a result, attempt to build different images.
This also explains to some extent why viewers of our work react differently to the same image.
Because of the above and to provide better objectivity, judges in photography competitions are guided by strict guidelines. Never the less we still see and experience a certain bias in the evaluation process of our photography.
Since we like to sub-divide our species into sub-groups, we also do this with photographers. For example there are those that focus on nature that includes everything from fauna to flora and everything in between. There are others who prefer landscapes or people including lifestyles. There is also photojournalism and travel photography where sometimes the borders get a little blurred.
Most photographers see the world in color but before color we had (and still have) black & white photography or monochrome. Our subject material is almost endless and we as photographers decide which topic(s) interests us most and place our time and energies in that direction.
Photographers as individuals tend to work alone or in very small groups.
They do however get together from time to time to display their work in exhibitions or meet in camera clubs. These events provide opportunities to get together, discuss new technology and obtain feedback on their creative work.
Like most creative work there are trends and a changing emphasis on what is considered of public interest and / or ‘politically correct’.
However I believe that a true artist must follow his own beliefs and perhaps even more important, his heart and inner feelings!
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