There’s Taking Pictures and There’s Photography

We live in a society where everyone seems to think that can do anything or is it everything?  Yes it’s a good idea to be able to do some repairs around the house.  To see some of the shows on TV or online, you’d think that the average person can also add a dormer, lift their home and replace the foundation, etc.  You are welcome to try those things if you want, I’ll leave it to the pros. A similar phenomenon existing in the culinary world.  Most people can toast bread, boil an egg, etc.  If you watch some of the cooking shows there are many dishes that can be made by the average home cook.  Does being able to make eggs benedict for a family brunch qualify you to be a the next White House chef? Not at all. The same mechanism applies to photography.  The digital age has simplified taking and sharing pictures.  However, being able to capture  a shot of your friends making fools of themselves on your phone is not the same as serious photography. If you want to see what I’m taking about, take a look at the pictures that are being shared in the online mass media (e.g Facebook et al).  Yes there are some very nice images being shared, most of them from serious photographers.  The majority are things like “look what I’m having for dinner” and a collection of other quick shots that have been conveniently uploaded for all to see.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with taking and sharing those pictures.  They are not serious photography. All the serious photographers I know, including me, take great pride in our craft.  We spend the time to capture the best image possible and then process those images via a variety of digital tools to get the very best out of the image.  I’m not talking about Photoshopping to create a false reality.  Rather we use the tools carefully so that the image we present is something we can be proud of and that the viewer will recognize as something that has a little piece of us trying to share something special. True photography is an art form.  For that matter there is a branch of photography known as fine art photography.  What constitutes a fine art photograph is up to the individual viewer, but typical fine art photography is some of the finest examples you can find.  After you’ve seen the shots from the phones, take a look at what some photographers I respect have available online:


One other thing about serious photographers, we are honored to have our work featured.  We do expect to be given proper credit for any display of our work.  Remember, professional photographers earn their living from that work, so if you want to use it, do the right thing and contact the photographer to get permission and if required, pay for the privilege.