What Does It Mean to Be a Photographer?

What Does It Mean to Be a Photographer?

What is photography? One place to look for the answer is a dictionary. The online version of the Oxford English Dictionary describes photography as ‘the art or practice of taking and processing photographs’.

Mirriam-Webster is a little more specific: ‘the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)’.

But what these rather dry definitions lack is an insight into the art and soul of photography. To make things a little more personal, I asked myself what photography means to me.

It may help you understand my point of view if you know a little more about me. I’ve been involved in photography for over 20 years now, ever since my parents bought me a Ricoh KR-10m camera one Christmas. Now I’m fortunate enough to make a living from it. Not as a pro photographer, but as an author writing about the artistic and technical aspects of photography. Photography is a major part of my life, one of my major passions

The first thing that photography did all those years ago was give me a hobby. Photography has given me something to do and learn about in my spare time for many years. It must add up to many thousands of hours of enjoyment. Twenty years on I’m still learning.

A friend of mine once told me that the place she lived in is boring. That may be true, but I think what she was really saying is that she lacks something to do in her spare time. Life is better when we have a purpose, something interesting to look forward to at the weekend. Photography gives me that sense of purpose.

Photography also gives me creative fulfilment. It helps me express myself artistically, and that’s a wonderful thing. Creativity is a major part of my life. I write articles and ebooks for a living, and built a website to support the business.