Photography is usually seen as a hobby more than a discipline, and perhaps the major reason behind this is because it s a highly flexible thing to practice. It doesn’t really matter if you do it for money or for pleasure as long as you do it in a passionate way.
I remember taking up photography exactly in 2009 after a high creative necessity. I was studying Management (which I finished) but there was something ticking me, I needed to create stuff. I tried drawing, I sucked; I also tried making music, but it wasn’t quite my thing. Finally I started writing, and I found a great relief, but I still needed to make something more visual than simply writing stuff. I stumbled into photography, and now I have given my life to it.
I don’t consider myself as a professional photographer since I make very low income from making photographs. I’m more of a professional photography related writer, and I must say, photography is my great passion in life. Today I want to share with you my very own and personal thoughts about the great things photography has given me after taking it up in a serious way.
1. It Takes You Out
We are currently living in a social state in which we are privatizing the public spaces more and more every single day. How come? Simply by taking a lot of activities from the outside world into our own private spaces. We are less prone to go to the movies, we now stream stuff. We eat less out than before thanks to the marvellous delivery apps on our mobile devices. We even work more from home nowadays than before.
Ergo, we are currently less involved with the outside world thanks to all the great solutions technology offers to us. The great thing about photography is that it takes you out for good. Yes you can make a lot of photographs within your house, but it isn’t that fun as going places. Do you remember Pokémon Go!? Well, the great success of this app wasn’t the fun but the fact that it makes people get out from their houses, and photography is able of doing something like this.
2. You Don’t Need To Be A Professional
You can literally be anything else and you can still be a very good photographer, or at least somebody that has a great time thanks to photography. I first knew about this after listening to Valérie Jardin in one of her podcasts. She was telling about how once she was prompted by a girl about being a pediatrician or a photographer. She told her to tilt for medicine, because she could always be a photographer after all; but it will be very much harder for her to have both if she decides to go with photography first.
3. It Is a Great Excuse
We are so drawn away from other people that photography kinds of pushes us back into being in touch with other individuals. As a documentary photographer and researcher, I’ve found that photography is a powerful excuse for simply hearing what others have to say. If it wasn’t for photography, I would be way more disconnected from reality than I already am.
Sometimes, it isn’t about the photographs at all but more about hearing others out and understanding more about them. You have no idea how much certain people appreciate being listened to. And perhaps you can’t even start to imagine how many great stories surround you and your life.
Photography is a great ignition start for that social interactions that seem to be fading away more and more as technology paradoxically get us closer to others but further from those surrounding us. Photography forward us into getting closer to people that otherwise we wouldn’t be even talking to.
4. It Makes You Think Differently
I don’t diminish photos taken with smartphones, but for me the fact of carrying a camera with me makes me feel kind of guilty for not seeing the world differently. Having the camera with me is a constant reminder that I need to pay more attention to everything surrounding me, from light to the moments.
If you are able to see different, then you are definitely able to think different as well. There are many things happening around us that we are simply taking for granted, and photography wakes us up in that sense.
5. It Keeps Our Surprise Ratio Higher
And speaking of modifying the way we see, there is an implied thing about being able to feel surprised against reality thanks to photography as well. Think about the things that are extremely common to you that could be seen as extraordinary by foreign people visiting your hometown. Those things are the ones that you should still be able to be surprised of.
Let me tell you a brief story about my outrageous country. It is extremely common to see people being transported in a very reckless way. Long time ago, a cousin from Brazil came to visit us and she came with a friend of hers. He was blown away from these trucks carrying people in such an unorthodox way. Another similar thing happened to me when I visited Argentina in 2012. In my country, pedestrians cross streets anywhere but the actual xings. In Argentina, these crossings where highly respected and they are even spotlessly painted. It simply blew my mind, and locals couldn’t get my surprise. It is hard to think like a foreigner, but try hard and you’ll see a lot of meaningful and surprising things in your own hometown.
6. It Allows You To Meet New People
From people inside photography communities and clubs to strangers on the streets, photography helps us meeting new and sometimes very interesting people. Communities are filled with many types of photographers as there are many types of people too, so don’t feel bad if sometimes you find yourselves with a moron or a bully.
Speaking of communities, I want to give you folks an excellent tip, hang out with other photographers, even if you don’t like them that much. Hanging out with peers will keep creative blocks further than if you were practicing always alone.
7. It Makes Travelling Even Better
Travelling is awesome, but photography really does make it better, as long as you don’t avoid enjoying for taking photos. You need to be able to balance things out, and the best way to do it is to simply use the minimal amount of gear. If you carry all your lenses, bodies, tripods and even drones, then you won’t enjoy the trip.
Having somewhat clear photography goals will make your travelling more enjoyable, but you need to leave room for actually enjoying being there. One of the biggest mistakes people are doing these days is to forget to experience the travel. Just remember how much it is costing you, and you’ll put your camera aside for a while.
8. It Never Stops Growing
I’ve been a huge admirer of Josef Koudelka since I first saw this photograph. Right after knowing more about his life, I can properly tell you that photography never stops growing. He first started a career as an aeronautical engineer in 1961 but after taking up photography, he never came back to the engineering world. The main reason, because this discipline had already taught him everything that he would ever need to know about it. Photography on the other hand, is still teaching him stuff.
I’ve been shooting for 10 years now, and I still feel like a young apprentice and I know there is a still a long and steep road to walk. Photography has seen me study for my BBA, MsC and currently my PhD, and it will still be my greatest companion in life.
9. It Allows You To Share
Photography is one of those disciplines that lends itself to open the doors of empirical knowledge. A lot of what I know about photography has been self-taught, and here I am, teaching and writing about it at a professional level. This opens the opportunity of sharing every single bit of knowledge we have with others and vice-versa.
10. It Can Save You
Last but not least, photography is so powerful that it can even save you. I’ve heard a couple of testimonies from peers in which they clearly state that photography has saved them from drug addictions and alcoholism. And not because of the expenses, but because it gives them huge amounts of beautiful experiences.