Aug 9, 2011

On Photography and Dabbling


I recently read Going Candid... by Thomas Leuthard. First of all, this is an excellent free e-book and if you have an interest in photography, you’ll probably find it useful. If you have an interest in street photography - definitely check it out.

One of the tips in the book is that if you want to been known as a street photographer, you should only post street photography in your flickr/500px streams. I would suspect that the same is true if you want to be known as a food photographer, portrait photographer, pet photographer, etc. What it made me realize is that I will never be a niche photographer. In photography I’m a dabbler. I want to document everything: The changing of the leaves, the small town I live in, places I visit...I want to share that with the world.

I’m a dabbler in a lot of aspects of my life. Like, all of them. Being a dabbler means that I’ve never been particularly great at anything. I’ve been good at lots of things, sure, but not really great. Great takes a lot of practice, and I’ve usually moved on to something new before that happens. Part of the reason that I still don’t know (and probably never will) what I want to do with my life is that I have never really had a strong passion for anything. And maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve spent a lot of time hating this about myself. But I’m trying to reframe my thoughts. Being a dabbler means that I can enjoy many types of activities, I can have lots of experiences, I can learn lots of different skills. And I’m done feeling bad about that.

In photography, I sometimes feel like it’s my duty to document life in every way I can. I imagine other artists feel this way sometimes too. Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But this moment in time? This one right here? It will never happen again. If I can capture that, in an interesting and beautiful way, I have to do so.

I’ll probably never be particularly talented in any aspect if photography. That’s my burden for being a dabbler. And I’m ok with that.

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