Be An Expert Beyond Photography
From my perspective under these trees, I realized how insignificant we really are as humans. We are part of something much larger and we have a responsibility to respect that; as humans, as photographers. But how can we respect and appreciate this world and all its cultures if we are narrow minded and ill-informed? We owe it to our craft to be well rounded.
Photography is not simply about documenting what you see; it’s about communication. With your camera, you are communicating ideas and wisdom. But how can you possibly communicate anything if you don’t understand what is on the other side of your lens? You need to know about and understand your subjects. Only then will you know the best way to communicate your wisdom.
It cannot be denied that Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry or Annie Leibovitz are masters at the technical side of photography. Without the technical knowledge, they could not have completed their jobs. But their work was iconic for what they mastered outside of their photographic techniques. Adams knew (and loved) the National Parks like the back of his hand. McCurry, famous for his photojournalism and his award winning photo Afghan Girl, was an observer and became an expert on the cultures he was committing to film. Leibovitz, who has photographed thousands of celebrities, has become a pop-icon herself by being an expert on pop-icons first and foremost. These photographers are well-known for their photography, of course. But these famous photographers are identified by what they identified with. We know more about the world through them because they communicated their expertise. But it was not their expertise in photography that they passed on. It was their worldly wisdom.
So I challenge you to explore your other interests with your camera. Follow in the footsteps of these famous photographers. Communicate your expertise.