In much the same way that a father cannot imagine life without his children, a photographer may not be able to imagine their lives without their camera. Even when the camera is not in-hand, a photographer is driven by photography. The way they approach and observe the world is through the lens, even when the lens isn’t there. Photography is very much a lifestyle choice, and that is of course a great thing.
From the Photographer’s perspective…
I’ve now been shooting about 17 years. It is my stress relief, it is my creative release and I feel that my life is made better with photography. I admit that I may have a biased view (as would anyone else who’s reading this as we are all photographers). But I feel I have some evidence to support my feelings. During my time in college, I didn’t spend much time shooting with my camera. I could tell you that it was because of my coursework. I could blame it on a severe shortage in income. But the reason doesn’t matter. What matters is that college is a stressful time, and it would have perhaps been in my best interest to spend some time with my camera. It may have helped me achieve a better balance through those years. And if there’s one thing I have learned since, it’s that I am most productive, most efficient and most happy when things are in balance. The years immediately following college was a stressful time once again. It wasn’t until I started shooting regularly again that I achieved balance, grew happier and generally lived a better life.
There are of course many other benefits to making photography part of your lifestyle, not least of which is how much you will grow as a photographer. Living the life of a photographer is really about passion. The more you spend time living photography, the more respect and more love you may have for it (though admittedly, there are a certain percentage that could grow to loathe photography, but they shouldn’t have been there in the first place). You will learn that photography is more than taking pictures, more than even sharing pictures. It’s about finding other photographs taken by other photographers and admiring their work. It’s about reading and longing for the latest accessories and gear. So much of the photography lifestyle has nothing to do with the actual act of taking pictures. But it is in these moments that one will grow as a photographer. And these moments are only available if you have chosen that lifestyle.
From an outsider’s perspective…
Let’s face it, to some, we look pretty goofy. We use crazy camera straps, we carry flashes bigger than our fists, lie on the ground or climb trees to get unique perspectives. In short, we simply have a lot of odd behaviors and desires. On the surface, there’s not a whole lot going for us from an outsider’s perspective, other than the fact that we may create fantastic photographs. But we go about our ways, doing our goofy things and lusting after the next big photography gadget or gear and we do it without concern or care for the thoughts of others. Our actions, or more precisely our reactions, get noticed. And with that comes respect. Passion resonates, and most people have respect for those with passion.
Our friends and families benefit as well. Photography teaches us patience and compromise. It also teaches us to deal with disappointment and frustration. These are qualities are great assets in our dealings with others. One might say that photography improves our marriage qualities. Hear that single folk? Photography can help you. I jest, of course, but there’s some truth to that statement. All of these skills and qualities help to shape us – to balance us. Balance emanates from us. We are happier, more relaxed, and that improves our interactions with others. How is that not beneficial to others?
Of course there is also the benefit of your friends and family always having a photographer around. That sort of thing can come in handy.