Last Year, as we were traveling in Greece and across the U.S. I began to take out my phone and take pictures of what was around me. And when I came home I kept it up. Now, I have fallen in love with photography and I still take pictures on a daily basis. My phone storage and SD cards are overflowing with snippets of my life. I began to take photos because I love to keep memories for later, and I love to capture people as they are. I love having pictures of my friends, especially ones where they are smiling. It’s documentation, it’s a way of journaling.
But as I jumped into the world of photography and started to share some of my pictures I ran into a wall which I am still trying to get over. In a 21st century social media obsessed world it seems as though everyone wants to be a photographer. This, I have no problem with. However, many people will buy a camera, have no idea how to use it, and claim they are a photographer because of their fancy equipment.
And those who are phenomenal photographers and actually make their living off of it, have a lot to keep up with. They have to keep taking pictures and “creating content” all the time in order to stay afloat. But they have years of experience under their belts and they know how to market their work. Many people see this hard work and think they are just “lucky” or they only pay attention to their follow count. But then they try to do exactly what they do. Everyone has become so obsessed with how many followers and likes they are getting that a lot of photography has lost its charm.
I recently began to watch a photography course taught by Annie Leibovitz. I was immediately in love with most of her work. Every picture holds a deep story. They are all unique and totally original. It is professional yes, but that is not even the most important part. The pictures feel alive. They are focused on and wrapped around their subject. She does not make a call for any model to come shoot with her and pose everything just like everyone else does. She photographs remarkable people in their natural habitats or doing their favorite things. And by doing so she captures their souls. It was such a breath of fresh air to watch a master at work than simply scroll through social media and see thousands of people doing the same things.
I am not a professional photographer. I do not have millions of followers on Instagram. I am just a girl who likes to take pictures. Not to create content, or boost my following, but because I love capturing the world around me in these small memory boxes. I love filling my walls with prints of my friends and my favorite places. It does not matter to me that photography has become “mainstream” because that is not the point. For me, the point is discovering the world and carrying it with me. Or capturing people I love and admire just being themselves, or feeling emotion. Photography has bridged gaps for me. It has brought me many new friends. People are less weirded out if you contact them saying “I am a photographer, and I would love to take pictures with you” than if you just say “I think you are cool, do you want to hang out?”
So here’s to photographing your life just to be able to carry it with you.