Respecting the Art of Photography

     I think there is a tipping point in the world of photography where the photo goes from being a snapshot to being a picture that encapsulates not just a moment, but a generation as a whole. This is something that any photographer worth their salt is trying to captivate. You never really know the weight of your image until much later. When you are photographing something that is fast-paced, be it a war or a riot or even a concert, everything is happening all at once. There are flashes popping off, people yelling, people bumping into you, but in that moment, you–the photographer–allow that shutter to be released, freezing everything. That moment in time and space is yours, and no one else’s.

     Apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Tumblr make sharing art of any kind very easy.  However, does this mean that we should share everything? In my own opinion, I think some things are better left in your camera roll on your phone and should never see the light of day. When you see a photo from a photographer, do you think that they just went out and took one photo and called it a day? No. They most likely took multiple photos, and the photo that you are seeing is the best that they have to offer. There is a reason that a good photo has the power to make you stop your endless scrolling–even if just for a moment. It captivates you in a way that a picture of latte art or of your friend’s meal doesn’t. It may make you think about the issue at hand, or it may remind you of a time in your life. It may give you a glimpse into a world unknown to you.

     We as a society are constantly forced to see thousands of photographs a day. What I am suggesting is that you merely think before you cast an image into the world. If you already consider yourself a photographer, then for the love of everything good please try to make strides forward in your work. There is nothing more painful than to hear of a “photographer” not knowing any of the great photographers that have come before them. Just like every art, you have to study it! Learn to take a good photograph and stop relying on Photoshop as an artistic crutch. You don’t need a fancy camera to start; I started with my phone, then moved to film, then moved to digital. Take your time to compose an image; don’t just blast away with endless abandon. Like all things, this is something you must work at. Finally, stop confining yourself to only taking one kind of photograph. If all you take is over-edited landscape photos, then try photographing people. Do things that are difficult, because art was never meant to be easy. Art is valued, so create a meaningful body of work and stop worrying about your followers on Instagram. There will always be people with more talent, and there will always be people with less. If it is attention you want for your work, then consider getting off of Instagram and getting on Tinder.

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