Why would anyone want to be a photographer? The reasons may be as numerous as the number of photographers in the world, but most photographers probably share the following 9 reasons.
A Lifelong Hobby, Interest, Passion and/or Profession
Whether you never advanced beyond the skills of a casual photographer with a camera that costs a few hundred dollars or you become a full-time professional with thousands of dollars invested in equipment, photography should never bore you and you can enjoy the experience throughout your life, at any age. In fact, your interest in photography is likely to change and evolve as you mature from your younger years to middle age and then to your senior years. Each phase of your life will provide you with new perspectives of the same subject matter, so the landscape images you shoot at 21 can be entirely different than those you capture at 81.
Psychologists will tell you that having the opportunity to create, even if your photographs never appear in a magazine, gallery or museum, is vital to a fulfilling life. Only a few are born with the aptitude and raw talent to be a consummate musician, composer, painter, sculptor or illustrator. Photography, however, is one creative outlet that many people can enjoy and with which they can excel to be recognized by others as being creative.
Many people struggle with learning a technical skill similar to the difficulty of learning the skills to become an artist. Most of us just don’t have the right mindset to be an auto mechanic, carpenter or a rocket scientist. Photography provides us with the opportunity to learn the workings of complex equipment—cameras, lens, lights, etc.—and successfully operating them.
Photography is likely to take you places you’ve never visited and you would not have known existed, both globally and locally. It expands your geographical, historical, natural and cultural knowledge and experiences. It gives you a much greater sense of citizenship of your hometown and the world.
An Expanded Vision
Photography forces you to see the world differently, whether it’s the little slice outside your backdoor or on the other side of the globe. Everyday objects and places that others take for granted or have simply overlooked assume new meaning and compel you to photograph them, so you can help others see what you see and what they’ve missed.
A Source of Joy and Happiness for Others
Photography is rather meaningless unless you share the visions you’ve captured with others. Some people may not like to be photographed, but virtually everyone likes to look at photographs. For families and groups of friends, photos are the greatest record of what occurred during their lives and how they lived their lives together. It represents a bit of immortality, preserving the memories of people long gone, so new generations have a better understanding of their roots. In addition, in this age of social media, photographs can easily be shared with total strangers, eliminating the divides between people and cultures, celebrating both our diversity and how similar we all are.
A Sense of Accomplishment
Much like being a creator, photography can provide you with a sense of accomplishment; and, again, it doesn’t have to relate to fame, but simply providing someone with a picture of himself or herself that will always be treasured. The time you spend learning photographic techniques and how to operate a complex piece of equipment and the money you invest in that equipment is repaid again and again whenever you’re able to reproduce the vision in your head within the physical dimensions of a photo.
Becoming a photographer at virtually any skill level can open doors to opportunities that may not have otherwise come your way. It could be as simple as always being asked to serve as the “official” photographer for all family events and gatherings of friends or discovering a new career or the one you’ve always been seeking.
A Member of a Unique Community
All photographers are members of a unique group of people because of all the reasons above. It’s a society or fraternity you automatically join simply because you have a camera and you shoot with it regularly. Again, you don’t need to be famous or make money with your camera to be a member in just as good standing as the most honored professional. You can always define yourself as a photographer and that will be meaningful to just about everyone in your life or you meet throughout your life.
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