There seems to be a sort of ‘Cult of Photography’ wherein photographers (both long-time practitioners and enthusiasts) blow the importance of photography way out of proportion and will even let it ruin their personal/family lives. Photography is a tool, not some shimmering path to immortality or a stand-in for religion.

— (9/27/13 on my Facebook page)

I enjoy photography. But I have always found blind, single-minded adherence to a set of values by a group of people to be a warning sign indicating I should keep my distance or risk losing my objectivity and open-mindedness.

For me, photography is more than a hobby but less than a religion. Photography will not “show me the way” to salvation or whatever.

Photography’s proper place in my life is as a tool of my mind. The power is not in the practice of photography; the power is in the practitioner’s mind.

Photography does not suddenly transform someone into an artist. Photography does not give you something to say, it’s just a means for visually-oriented communication. You still have to come up with the “thing” to say.

This notion that by having a camera in your hand you can happen upon a masterpiece, become famous and be set for life is totally a fairy tale. It’s one of the reasons so many people take up photography but then quit when they find out it’s not that easy.

Many see photography as an easy way to make art. So now the world is inundated with people making digital photos they hope will be seen as art, thereby conferring on them the title of “artist”.

I recently saw an interview with an artist talking about Cindy Sherman’s work (Cindy Sherman is one of the most successful photographers of our time). He said that Sherman’s success is all about the work she does in creating her characters; the photo is just the way of recording her work; the “magic” is what she does in front of the camera, not behind the camera (where she never is anyway).

Photography doesn’t magically give you something important or artistic to say. The magic is in your mind…and that’s what you should be working on (i.e., the contents of your mind; your thoughts) if you want to create works of any consequence.



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