Saturday, April 28, 2007


Addiction and photography? Well, it can be if you answer the question, "Do you take your camera with you almost all the time?" Which means is photography a part of your being or something you can choice to do or not do? That's what makes one difference in photographers. For some it's simply what they do and who they are, and for many it's something they enjoy and often passionate about, but they can put it down for periods of time. And some are both, meaning it's their addiction, but they also know some times you have to put it down.

When I read about commercial and professional photographers, it's clear they have an addiction with photography. They like the work, but it's not about being a photographer that matters, it's doing the work they love with a camera. They like capturing images, and they'll go where they can to get the images. Some work as photojournalists to go all over the world, where we see their images in newspapers, magazines and on the Web. Some work on assignments, such as National Geographic, often going where they love to capture image for a project or portfolio. Some of these simply like to go and photograph, and they'll sort it out later.

And some work in other areas, fashion, portrait, wedding, studio, nature, landscape, architectural, and other types of photography they enjoy. Sometimes it's not always their preference, but a photography that pays the bills where they can do the photography they like when they can find the time. One commercial photographer told me he works as a portrait and wedding photographer to afford the money to take a month off for his nature photography.

And following up on several other posts describing photography, I'll add one about photographers, what makes it an addiction whether you're a commercial or professional one or a serious amateur photographer. In this post I use the 3 A's, attention to detail, attitude, and aptitude.

Attention to detail is something we use in many endeavors, and photography is no different. This last week I had brain fade when learning my 4x5 camera and digital camera, see here and here. But that's the advantage of learning and proximity, I can go back another day and try again.

But it shows the value of paying attention to details, and in photography it's an advantage to simlify some aspects of the process where you can focus on the parts you want. I learned this doing field work with the USGS where you had to have a consistent method and process when you serviced field equipment so you can focus on everything around it such as problems, environmental conditions, changing weather, etc.

I've translated this to learning large format photography. The mechanics of learning to use a 4x5 camera is straight-forward process, you just have to practice it enough to make it faultless, and remember you will make mistakes now and then. The key is noting when you do. This frees me to focus on the important issues, like the composition, exposure, etc.

Attitude is something we all have, it's a matter of balancing all your emotions and feelings with your thinking to get the work done, and be open to the new things. Photography is often about improvisation and imagination, and to be open you have to have a good attitude. There's so much on this, but it can be reduced to simply enjoying your photography, from the moment you start looking to the final images.

Ability and Aptitude, explained by Wikipedia is about your experience, knowledge and talent (EKT). It's about what you know and what you can do, and how you use it in the expression of your photography, the images.

And so in the end, we all get an A, it's how we use our A's that matter.

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