I have always been one in life to live with making do with what I have and recently I have been having to make do with what I can do, mobility wise. Today marks a week since I felt a little stiff in my right hip, as if it needed to be stretched out but no matter what, I couldn’t stretch it out. By Saturday morning I was hardly able to walk or bend over or anything. It appears somehow I have done some soft tissue damage and will take some time to heal. Sleeping flat make it’s nearly impossible and full of pain getting up in the morning so sitting up in a comfortable chair helps a lot. Thus for a week now I have been sleeping while sitting on the couch and doing what I can, when I can, how I can.
Because of the situation in order to take picture I have to do things within my limits and let’s face it, there’s not much sitting in ones living room for one to shoot. I struck it lucky though as it’s the holiday season and the Christmas tree is up and glowing. So I pulled out my cameras and took some shots. Thanks to a zoom lens I was able to zoom in and make some snaps. I shot digital and I shot film as well as instant peel apart film. I’ve had some nice success with three photos making it to my Flickr stream which is odd for me as I hate flooding my Flickr.
The point is despite my situation I was able to find something to shoot and get some gems out of it. It made me think more of people with less mobility and the challenges they face being able to photograph things let alone finding things to photograph. I think maybe they look at things differently. I honestly don’t know, I just know my recent bout with limited mobility has helped me to look at things a bit differently in order to indulge in my love of photography.
The term “professional photographer” seems to get thrown around a lot these days. People are more focused on title rather than the experience. Kind of like how society puts more into ones job title, or social status and the phone or car they drive. The art of the photograph I feel is being lost sometimes for the sake of an empty title in life.
It used to be one would work hard for years perfecting their skills and eventually becoming a professional. Many others took amazing photographs and never announced they were a professional let alone a photographer at all. Take Vivian Maier for instance, no one ever knew of her work as a photographer just that she did some traveling and worked her life as a nanny. Very private she spent her days off walking, exploring and taking pictures but nothing more was known let alone seen of her work. Luckily it was discovered and brought to light and is worth looking into. The point is she never gloated about her photos but clearly she had an eye for what she did. Her pictures were for her pure enjoyment and nothing more and it seems there are more people leaving that behind. They get a camera and take some pictures and the moment they take pictures for someone else, whether paid or not, they want to add “professional photographer” to their title in life. I’ve met people who have cooked for two years yet call themselves “professional chefs”. It just seems sad to me.
Even a service or group like Nikon Professional Services in my mind does not make one a professional. I know a hand full of people who got membership despite not actually owning two or more professional Nikon bodies let alone the lenses required. They certainly do not work full time as a photographer nor have it as their sole or primary means of income so what makes them actually a professional? I don’t know but I also was told one needs to keep an updated inventory of body and lenses thus staying current with Nikon gear to maintain being a professional in their eyes. I understand that as a true professional keeping ones gear up to date is part of the expense of being a professional but it seems to me more like a sale gimmick rather than an endowment of professionalism. I mean so many great photographers past and present have shot some of their best stuff on old equipment.
The more “professional” work I see the less I think it compares to those who shoot for their own enjoyment who are not trying to impress others or gloat about the photos they take. And while not against the digital age and the technology we have, it is sad to know so much is being done in post that could have been done with the camera if said professionals truly were the title they placed upon themselves. I guess using a title sounds good and drinking from a camera lens mug makes others feel more like they are what they claim to be which is easier than admitting they have little understanding of the art of photography let alone its history.
When it comes to Flickr and its social aspects I try to practice appreciation towards those that share their kindness with me. So when one comments on a photo in kind or adds a photo of mine as a favorite I try and do so back. When I do this I look through their photos and find one I truly like and that speaks to me.
Now with that said, many times I find photos that are quite interesting and curious as to how they got the look they got? At the very least I can look at their EXIF data to see how they started before any editing but more and more I find the data is not there because the user has turned this option off and I wonder why. I’m just curious because it’s nice to help one learn from. When you see something that sparks your imagination you wonder how such a thing was done and it’s nice to learn from others even if not directly. It’s also sad when one makes an interesting photo and they write nothing about it.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just a weird personal thing of mine but sometimes it interests me to know how but I guess it’s none of my business. Sure, I could write them and ask but on a day when you see so many lacking any information it becomes too much work.