A friend of mine was talking on her blog the other day about a conversation she had had about “why” she takes photos, what it means to her to be a photographer.
It made me think about it (well I dwell on this all the time lol but it made me focus in on it a bit more) I take pictures because I must, I always have, even when I was just taking snapshots on my grandmothers Kodak and never developing them because I couldn’t afford it. I had to photograph everything. It’s no different today now that I do it more mindfully, or my skills have developed, then it was then. I cannot do anything else.
I was asked by someone a few months ago “what camera should I buy to be a photographer” she wanted a list of things, should she get a tripod before she got a backdrop, that kind of thing. I told her, to be a photographer you just need to take pictures. To be a great photographer you have to love it, you have to study fine art and commercial art and the world around you and light, but there is no laundry list. I do this because I must, I looked for something that was right there in front of me for years and now that I’ve found it, well it’s part of me totally, it could not be taken away any more then you could take away my skin or my soul.
What spurred this long, personal blog post… We watched a movie I’d seen years ago, Pecker and I remember watching it and loving it and then I completely forgot all about it (denial I hadn’t admitted I was a photographer yet!) But now I saw it with totally different eyes (and I caught all the photographer cameos and references whoo hoo history of photography and a photography book obsession)
Anyway if you haven’t seen it it’s a very sweet John Waters movie (and if you are familiar with mr. waters you’ll know he can be rather vulgar and this one does have a few moments) about a boy called Pecker who is in love with photography and how he is “discovered” and how he handles fame and turns that fame around. What photography is really all about is seeing the beauty and art all around you and Pecker shows that perfectly.
Some great quotes from the movie at cameraquest and the preview at youtube – the preview is totally pg13 but the movie isn’t so perhaps not for the easily offended (slight nudity and sexual overtones in a couple scenes)