Are You A Photographer?

Photograph: © Guy Roger Thomas

I have the strangest notions that if you love taking photographs, have invested in a semi-decent camera to nurture this love, and if you have “an eye”, then you are indeed a photographer.

I remember trying to convince my flatmate of this after seeing some of her amazing shots and also a close friend of mine in the US whose photographs will soon be shown in a gallery.

Many people I know have never taken a lesson in photography in their lives.

As my friend Guy put it, ‘If you have a good eye for shots, all you have to do is read the manual for your particular camera.’

Of this, I have no doubt. So much of taking photographs, after all, is based on luck.

Photograph: © Matt Taylor

I’ve taken amazing shots by accident because despite my clumsiness, the lighting was perfect, or my reaction was quicker and more knowledgeable than my conscious thoughts.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t a high level of knowledge and preparation that goes into taking photographs.

The Fruits of Study

In fact, I have seen the results of studying in the field by way of another friend in New York, photographer Corren Conway, who takes incredible photographs of performers while sometimes dealing with huge concert crowds.

Another friend based in London, the incredibly multi-talented Matt Taylor, also seems to have benefited a great deal from study. His shots are crisp and dynamic, always giving the subject so much character.

Yet, photographer Guy Roger Thomas creates a professional finish to his photographs as he seems within them to study light, aesthetics and the micro-world of things we take for granted.

Photograph: © Nancy Elser

It may be important to remember exactly what photography is about, especially as people on the street with mobile phones are taking the place of photojournalists, who cannot be everywhere at once.

Anyone can snap pictures at a kid’s birthday party, and that’s fine because it does exactly what it sets out to do – record memories.

Yet, photography is a field in which one often wants to capture the world through a lens in order to present the way they see the world. ‘See this sunrise the way I see it, ‘ says the photographer.

Thanks to Adobe Photoshop, quite often the message is ‘See the world the way I’d like it to be.’
In this way, the photographer becomes a painter or a maestro conducting an orchestra.

If you are picking up that camera to capture the world through your eyes, you are indeed a bonafide photographer.