I still have a hard time calling myself a photographer, and an even harder time trying to classify myself as any type of artist. I am more apt to say I do some photography work. And when someone compliments some part of my work, whether it’s the composition, lighting or the subject, I usually say my grandfather was an artist, and that I must have gotten some of his talent.
Now, that being said, there are a number of pictures I have taken, and periodically displayed, of which I am very proud. I know they are good…some very good.
And sometimes I take pictures of things because I liked the way they looked at a certain moment, like the fire escapes I photographed in NYC. I really wasn’t looking at these as great pieces of photography, but rather something that was interesting to me in that moment.
Photography for me is a hobby. Yes, I photograph races (triathlons, mud runs, etc.) and make some money doing it, but I also enjoy doing that because being at the finish line of these races is very inspiring...and I get to be there to capture some great moments. I often look back through these race photos and find a number that I like mostly because of the emotion of the moment. It’s not my moment, but it is my photo and I love capturing the story.
So again, I take pictures because I like taking pictures, and I usually take pictures of people, places and things that I enjoy. I have photographed some family portraits for friends and some other group events for people close to me as well. These have been low-key shoots, and I enjoy these as well.
However, three different people have asked me if I shoot weddings, and my quick response was, "no." While the money may be good, I still view photography as a hobby, and shooting a wedding would certainly take that hobby to a different level.
I often say, I take pictures for me. If you like it: great. If you want a copy of it: that can be arranged. If you don’t like it: it’s no skin off my teeth.
A couple of weeks ago our church had its annual SummerFest, which included an arts and crafts show. So I bought a table and had about 30 of my prints on display for sale. I was pleased to sell a few prints, and take some orders for a couple of others. I also received a great number of compliments which is always very nice…and humbling.
However, one person I know was flipping through the prints and saying how much she liked this one, or that one, and then she got to a print of bikes that I have and she said. “Oh, I don’t like this one.”
I was taken back a bit by the statement. I wasn’t really offended, just surprised that she would make the statement so frankly. I was almost amused by it. Knowing my photographic philosophy, and that I shoot pictures for me, I simply smiled and responded by saying, “So don’t buy it.”
She then stated again, “I just don’t like it.”
I responded with a smile, “you don’t have to buy it.”
It was a friendly exchange, and I am pleased to say I was very comforted in my response. I certainly could have taken offense, but the fact that I didn’t proved to me that I am still shooting for myself.
If you like it: great. If you want a copy of it: that can be arranged. If you don’t like it: don’t buy it.
P.S. - Now there was one other lady who was looking through my photos, and complimented me on so many of them. I did say to her, "You know, if you really like them, you can take them all home with you. We can make that happen." She and her husband both laughed, and took one of my cards.