I must admit that I have never really thought of identifying myself with a particular photography specialty. When I was earning my living photographing people, weddings, family portraits, and such, I might have said that I was a portraitist, but not so much anymore. Nevertheless, when I was talking with a woman that had recently become a member of a local photography club, she mentioned that someone had told her she should always have a specialty and wondered about mine. I couldn’t be specific in a response.
I suppose that might be a good way to learn photography and that could be why other members are suggesting that to her. Choosing a particular course of study and getting real good at it is a great plan.
This woman told me she was having a great time learning photography and enjoyed her interaction with the new friends she was making at the photo club. But, she was worried some members would be critical that she hadn’t chosen a specialty because she likes to photograph lots of things and asked me what my specialty was.
Although I have a shop where I sell used camera equipment and I regularly teach classes, after 40+ years I have retired from client work. Nowadays I am just enjoying photography and can be very selective if I want to, but mostly I choose anything that finds it’s way in front of my camera. Everything is an exciting opportunity. I told her that, and suggested there are a whole bunch of really good photographers wandering around that are like me; opportunists when in comes to their subjects and who don’t specialize.
I have positioned a couple monitors in my shop so that people don’t have to crowd around my computer when I want to show them a particular picture. And for classes I set up a screen and turn on my digital projector. So I selected a file that I sometimes use and scrolled through it for her to show her how much fun I have photographing everything.
As readers can see from the posted images, I just enjoy photography.
French painter & photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue said about photography, “It’s marvellous, marvellous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I’m going to photograph everything, everything!”
My specialization is the “art of photography” and I can do that with any subject that catches my eye. Specialization by technique or subject would be too limiting for me (“that’s my story and I am sticking to it”).
If the only medium you create with is photography, I am sure you are right Derek. I appreciate your insight.
I have had a hard time calling myself an artist when it comes to the photos I make. You, of course, will remember when my job was to document and construct images to sell our employer. It is so hard to get out of that mind set.
(Gosh, while I worked for the PR department others actually took credit for my photographs)
I am like your “story” now and agree that one subject would be limiting.
Yes I have heard that advice, especially if you want to make a name for yourself. Luckily I’m happy with my name being right where it is, so can shoot the world! 🙂
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Ha..well put fragg.
As the old saying goes, ‘variety is the spice of life’. I have never wanted to specialise, preferring to have a go at all types of photography. I guess that makes me a ‘happy snapper’, but I also think that this gives more opportunity to learn. The problem is that at my age, making the learning stick, becomes a challenge.
If I were younger and wanting to carve a career in photography, then maybe the specialisation route could make sense.
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But ain’t it fun just being an opportunist.