Why You Should Be A Photographer

Accessory   Linda Photographer

picking the view

getting the shot

shooting Field patterns

I recently received an email from a friend that included a fun article titled, “54 Reasons Why You Should Be a Photographer.”

The author, Lauren Lim, began with, “Being a photographer is seriously awesome.” And continues, “I’ve compiled 54 really fantastic (reasons)…After you read all these reasons you’ll probably be even more inspired by this medium, and be itching to get out and shoot more.”     Reading that introduction intrigued me and, of course, I agreed with him when he wrote, “I think everyone should get into photography. You don’t ever have to do it professionally. That’s not what being a photographer means. Being a photographer just means you really love photography.”

The list of “54 reasons why you should be a photographer” didn’t really include 54 different reasons; it was pretty much made up of the same reason written over and over in different ways. However, I did select seven that I really liked and I think they are prefect as to why anyone should practice the art of photography.

1. “Capture a memory that you can have forever.”

2. “See the beauty (I’ll add the words, through you lens) every day.”

3. “It’s a creative outlet.”

4. “Share your perspective.”

5. “Express yourself.”

6. “Tell a story”

7. “Can make other people think.”

The exciting medium of photography began with inventors like Joseph Nicephore Niepce, when he succeeded in creating the first permanent image. Louis Daguerre with the “Daguerreotype” and Henry Fox Talbot’s “Calotype” that were instrumental in helping us with the first of that list, ““Capture a memory that you can have forever.”

There were the pioneers of photography like Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell and Eliot Porter that showed use how a photograph would help us, “See the beauty everyday.”

Jerry Uelsman, Duane Michals, Edward Seichen and Man Ray were among the first to split with traditional photographers and might even have said, “It’s a creative outlet.”

When I read the words, “Express yourself.” I immediately thought of the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and Annie Leibovitz.

The last two about how photography can, “Tell a story.” and “Can make other people think.” Absolutely had me thinking about the wartime photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and Annie Leibovitz. and street photographer, Weegee.

I only mentioned those photographers that had a hand in the beginnings of photography and started us all thinking of the things we all might add to that list. And I am sure without hesitation readers can add pages of modern photographer’s names.

If you feel the urge, be sure to let me know if you have additions to “Why you should be a photographer”.

As for me I’ll just be content with Lim’s words, “Being a photographer is seriously awesome.” And “Being a photographer just means you really love photography.”

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com

Photography and Light

back lite Frog Ferry ride Helmkin Falls tree fogcolor car 1Sky view

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”  That is one of my favorite quotes by George Eastman, American innovator, entrepreneur and founder of the Eastman Kodak Company that popularized the use of roll film and was one of the major forces that brought photography to the mainstream.

Photography is really all about light. When photography was first invented it was called heliography, which means writing or drawing with the sun.  Scenic or landscape photographers should be concerned with the quality of the light they are capturing, and portrait photographers definitely should be involved with the light they apply to make flattering portraits of their subjects.

We use terms like intensity of light, reflected light, backlight, and horizontal light when describing the details of a photographic composition.

When I refer to the intensity of the light, I am considering the harsh light in the middle of summer when I struggle to retain detail because of the contrast between the shadows and highlights in a scenic, or when in the studio I determine the number of lights, their individual output, and how to position them for the best portrait.

Our camera’s sensors see reflected light.  Two factors that I take into consideration are the amount of reflection that comes off different surfaces and how much colour I can actually capture. Both reflection and colour are subject to the different textures of surfaces, and governs how much light and colour I can actually capture for my final photograph.  Colours change as they reflect off different surfaces.

Backlight provides the drama that separates a spectacular image from an even-toned, ordinary image as it builds a rim of light around a subject and draws the viewer into a picture. The horizontal light of morning and evening can make a composition dazzle. When the light is soft as on thinly overcast day it sometimes is especially colourful, and appears to even be three-dimensional.

Most people I know are concerned about the weather, but to me weather, such as rain, snow, or even the hot, clear, cloudless days we get during the summer here in Kamloops can be dealt with.  When I say that, depending on the subject I have chosen to photograph, I am selective of the light I want.  I get up early in the morning to photograph the geese on a nearby pond, and I want the light sunny and bright so I can see the sparkling colour of their eyes. When I set out to capture a broad landscape I want blue sky with appropriately placed white, billowy clouds. For scenes of a waterfall I hope for some overcast clouds, and when I prepare to photograph a wedding I hope for an overcast day with high clouds.

I have been told that the problem with photography, as apposed to mediums like painting, is we must take whatever light and subject matter we have available and make it work.  Because we don’t always get everything in a scene just as we want, photography is also about problem solving.  However, if we choose another perspective when dealing with the light in our composition, then we shouldn’t look at light as a problem to sort out, but as an opportunity to work within a particular light range that will allow for unique moments as we make each of our images very personal.

I will finish with a quote, I think I have used before, by noted wilderness photographer Galen Rowell. Rowell was one of those scenic masters whose books, writing, and photographs are a must for those studying the art of landscape photography. Although Rowell was talking about landscape photography, I think his words apply to every type of photographic endeavor, “I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot’. My first thought is always of light.”

I always appreciate any comments. Thank you, John

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com