(a street scene in gent, belgium. i shot it with my big-girl camera.)
it was at that moment that she pumped her fist in the air and whispered to herself:
“don’t let the bastards get you down.”
you see, as of late i’ve read a few articles and it has me thinking, remembering … this has happened to me. i can relate. there are people out there who actually feel threatened by people like me (and me). i find it absurd, of course, for so many reasons. and i tried to blow it off at the time that this so-called friend of mine kinda, sorta went off on me.
“i’m not going to help you with this because i’m not going to feed into the problem of everyone thinking they’re a photographer. it’s stealing work from professionals like myself.”
i’m being kind, really, making her grammar and spelling and sentence structure much better than it really was. i’m being kind, really, because what she really told me in no uncertain terms close to two years ago now was to “fuck off” and “get out from behind the camera. quit playing photographer when you ain’t got no skills.” it was more or less that rude. i unfriended her and moved on my way, cameras in hand. hell, i’ve even purchased a new camera since she said that to me. don’t mess. seriously. i’m not in the mood, pleaseandthankyouverymuch.
i suppose it’s not all that different from when journalism started its long, painful death and every reporter i knew was whining and blaming every blogger in the universe. i can’t tell you the amount of times i heard something like this: “i’m losing my job while some two-bit loser mommy blogger just grabbed the attention of Procter & Gamble and now has more readers than our entire newspaper … and she sits at home in her pjs.”
yup. it happens.
but back to the photography issue. there’s a lot of talk (again … still) about the accessibility of cameras and phones that shoot photos and how everyone’s a photographer. but not only that, some people think everyone who isn’t a “professional” is now a “cheater” because we use filters and square formats that somehow make us think we’re all award-winning photographers. and when award-winning photographers, you know, “real, professional” photographers, use their iphone to shoot award-winning photos, the world gets its panties in a wad because, well, that’s not REAL photography. real photographers don’t use filters. real photographers know how to correctly adjust the ISO. they know what shutter speeds to use when shooting basketball games and how to shoot stunning photos of dewdrops on flowers with amazing bokeh in the background. and then there’s white balance and that pesky f-stop function that none of us “wannabes” must know a damn thing about because we’re too busy applying the 60s filter to our square images in instagram and sending it to our 1000-plus “friends” on social media.
it’s enough to get me rattled, people. rattled.
i’m not out there pretending to be anything but what i am, which is someone who has loved photography since the end of high school. someone who has owned a handful or two of different types of cameras, from point-and-shoot to early digitals to a nicer DSLR and now a diana. i do this for fun, people. i like to make pictures. i like to remember things how i saw them in a moment in time i can never get back. i like to go on adventures and take photos of what i see.
i am not out there stealing any “real” photographer’s clients. i’m not even trying. i don’t want to ever shoot a wedding. ever. i don’t want to wipe snot from kids’ noses while i shoot a family sitting in a field. i don’t want to do this for a living, because you know what? it would then be work. i don’t envy “real photographers” for how they make a living. for me, this is what i want. i want to do it for FUN. i want to do it to relax. i want to go on a walk and take photos of nature and sometimes of my own zany kids in it. and i want to do it without rolls of the eyes and rude comments. and if that scares you, intimidates you, makes you feel uncomfortable, well, that’s your problem to solve.
next weekend i will set off for palm springs to spend several days with a group of lovely, amazing photographers. there will be varying degrees of expertise among us. some of them make their living selling their own photography. others, like myself, do it for fun. i have made a tiny bit of money shooting photos, i must admit. but it’s not my goal. and this trip is coming at the perfect time for me, when i need a break. when i need the comfort of other people who share my passion and oftentimes see the world in the same way i do: through the little rectangle viewfinder of a camera. i can’t wait for the adventure we’re all about to take together. i can’t wait to see what amazing things we find. and i just know our photos, well, they’ll kick ass.
deal with it.
(a street scene in new orleans. i shot it with my iphone using the hipstamatic app.)