I Am a Photographer

I am not a “tog”.   I am a photographer, and there is a difference.  I respect this amazing craft that was born in a box with a pinhole and used as a drawing aid.  I am in awe that the first exposures took an entire day to create.  It amazes me that the first portraits, daguerreotypes, could not be duplicated; each was an original.   My heart breaks thinking of the artist, who after each session, delivered his artwork to the client trusting her to protect and cherish it. The vast amount of money, equipment, and knowledge the first photographs required is humbling.    My mind runs through the great photographers of the past who made the advancements we take for granted today, when not a moment of our lives is left undocumented.  George Eastman, who didn’t think it unreasonable for everyone to have a camera, built Eastman – Kodak on the principle, “You push the button, we do the rest.”  And we did.  Automatic cameras have always created a beautiful image, and the quality just keeps improving.  Photography is literally in everyone’s hands, but that does not make everyone a photographer.

Before photography was ever invented, the rules were set in place – the rules of the artist:  line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color.  Photographers have only one medium: light.  To create a photograph that evokes emotion in the viewer, the artist has to know how to bend, shape, and block light.  This knowledge takes education and experience.  Currently trending is the blown out look – an exposure that eliminates all shadows from a subjects face.  In fact, it is the most popular look out there, and most cameras automatically create it.  However, there are a few artists who still use light to create shadows, and I’m willing to bet that when you see an image created by one of these individuals, it gives you pause, and you look a little longer as you’re pulled in to the story of the capture.  I have much to learn, but I aspire in my work to be one of those individuals.  Those rare individuals who care about the rules, and the physics, and the history of this great craft called Photography.    So, please, don’t call me a “tog”.