Photography is a difficult thing

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Atahualpa Regular Member • Posts: 343
Photography is a difficult thing
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I have this view of photography being a form of art with which one expresses feelings of emotion, beauty, etc. And I have this view of grabbing a camera and taking some pictures of what jumps before the lens, basically a photocopier of reality.

I am into photography for almost 20 years and fully self taught. I am into digital photography for more than 15 years. I feel like I took quite a tour of photography already, like landscape, portraits, macro, wildlife, street, architecture. flash and studio, and of course film (color, b&w, 135, 120, positive, negative). I joined other people in photo clubs, printed images as bigger posters, shared them online, commented, liked, etc. I worked with photoshop, lightroom, capture one, darktable, etc. Soon it'll be 14 years that I got my first DSLR.

But when I ask myself what kind of photographer I am, I have no answer. I never found to be at home in any category like doing something over and over and being happy with it. So I wonder, what is photography to me? I don't know it really. Sometimes I am just playing around with a camera, sometimes I am just snapping at what I see and other times I feel like I create an image or try something new like astro.

I don't think photography as an art form requires pictures that "look arty", instead I think the art is in forming a coherent/consistent expression. Any single photo may be anything and nothing. It's impossible to tell. I am happy when I get a good shot, but when I look through all my images, I feel a bit sad. I am looking for something of a voice or theme in these photos and it's really hard to find it. Yet, it's kind of dissatisfying to just keep snapping and clicking. So many photos and some good, some poor, some almost alike. Sometimes I ask myself why I keep all those pictures. When I rate my images as I process them one by one, what good is it to keep an image that I wouldn't assign even one star (*)?

It's strange, but I feel after 20 years and tens of thousands of photos, I still have not found a place in photography.

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