I always wondered what it would be like to be a photographer for TEN years. I looked at profiles of accomplished, “successful” photographers, and felt like I have such a long way to go. In some ways, I did. In some others, not really.
No doubt, I learnt a lot about not just photography, but life & creativity in general, as a result of sticking it out as a photographer for so long. It’s not a job after some time. It’s a way of life. It is how you do everything – making it visually seductive. Here “seductive” is not used in any “wrong” sense. Just the way it occurs to me.
Making poetry with anything you see is photography – to me.
I don’t have any “advice” to give, but a lot of my personal realizations & experiences to share with anyone who cares about photography.
I personally believe that photography can change you as a person. Not just your photographs.
Be The Best Friend To Your Camera
…and it will be the best friend to you.
I have never treated my camera as an object. Always treated it as my pet. Since the beginning. If I accidentally hurt my camera, I say sorry to it. If I give it in someone else’s hands, it comes with a strong warning – “you hurt my camera, you get hurt.” My camera was never an instrument or an object to me. It was my own extension.
And as such, it has never failed me.
I once clicked photographs in a downpour, without any cover. It was raining so heavily, that I could not even properly dry my camera afterwords. But my camera did not fail me. It worked just fine.
Take care of your photography equipment, like it has a life of its own, and it will take care of you.
Click When You Like
I have seen some professional photographers get fatigued of clicking photographs. Because they are so habituated to clicking when they “have to,” that they forget to click when they want to.
Being a professional photographer is one of the best feelings in the world. Only thing – don’t let it destroy your creativity. Do what you got to do for minting money, but always keep a certain part of your photography open to experiment and your style & creativity. Else you stop growing, you stop exploring, you stop being YOU. You stop being the person in love with your work. And that is where any creative disciple starts its demise.
If You Have a Camera, You Don’t Need Any Other Company
I see many photographers too busy showing off their equipment, too busy impressing girls, or “fans,” too busy with everything other than the subject they are meant to click.
When you are a photographer, be a photographer to the exclusion of everything else. Not only forget the people around you, forget whether you are a man or a woman or a kid or whatever. THAT is the extent to which you should be absorbed in your subject. Nothing else exists. You are fully absorbed in your subject. You and your subject are One.
To me, that is the only way to do photography.
Sure, I have hurt myself many times that way. Hit my head on roads, almost fallen, almost lost my wallet, almost run into a vehicle, gotten lost too many times etc. But observe the repetitive use of the word “almost.” I never really got hurt, because awareness always raises you. Doesn’t lower you. When you build the capacity to lose yourself in something, your awareness level is extremely high. Not low. You can save yourself whenever required. Today, I don’t even remember what happened to all those “injuries.” I forgot all about them, and they automatically got healed. I never took any special treatment etc. Whereas injuries I have from other types of hurt still persist after a longer period.
When you are a photographer, you are your own company. LIFE is your subject. You don’t need too many people to entertain or impress. The sooner you understand that, the faster you can improve your own awareness, not only of life, but of your own self too.