Photographer or Picture Taker?

I’ve noticed that my language has changed since I took that manual exposure class last summer.  Some are obvious:  shutter speed, white balance, histogram, aperture. Others…not so obvious.  I no longer take pictures.  I take photos.

Is that snooty?  It feels somewhat snooty.  According to Webster’s Dictionary I’m actually being accurate, not snooty.  The definition of picture is “a painting or drawing,” while photograph is defined as “a picture made using a camera, in which an image is focused onto film or other light-sensitive material and then made visible and permanent by chemical treatment, or stored digitally.”

Let’s go with that.  Accurate.  Not snooty.  I still have yet to refer to myself as a photographer, which is somewhat ridiculous and speaks to my lack of confidence.  Let’s allow Webster’s to again education us:  a photographer is “a person who takes photographs, especially as a job.”  Hmmmm…perhaps I’m putting those photographers on a pedestal.  Perhaps someday I’ll be ready to climb up on the pedestal myself.

I ordered prints of my work for the very first time a couple of days ago, thanks to a nudge from my friend, Lisa, over at graydaysandcoffee (thanks, Lisa…it was good for me).  Of course I’ve printed copies of photos I’ve taken in the past (back when they were mere pictures).  But, they’re the very first prints since making the leap to manual exposure. They came in the mail today.  I’m not quite sure what to think of them.  I mean, on one hand I’m a bit impressed. There is definitely more there than just point-n-shoot.  And there are some rich textures, vivid colors, and silky water.  I think, that if I didn’t know that I had taken them, that I would be quite impressed.  But, I do know that I took them. Which makes critiquing them…easy? Hard?  Hard.  Easy.  Confusing?  Yes.  This one…depth of field a bit too shallow.  That one…looks a little overexposed in that right lower corner.  Nice composition there. Another DOF a little shallow.  There are a couple, though, that although not perfect, I find captivating.  It’s like a warm hug from Olaf the snowman.  There’s something there. There’s growth.  There’s progress.

I read an article this week called “How to Self-Critique Your Pictures.”  The author recommended focusing on technical components (the nuts-n-bolt like exposure and focus), artistic aspects (the emotional aspect of the photo), and goal setting (create an action plan).  It’s a bit overwhelming.  I mean, how long can I stare at one photo before my head explodes?  I sometimes wonder if all the photos that I post on the blog are a detriment to my education.  I post a lot of photos.  Not all of them spectacular.  Perhaps, instead of posting a lot to fill the blog, I should instead be very thoughtful and selective and critical.  Which would significantly decrease the number of posts.  Which, I guess, isn’t a bad thing.  But I don’t know if it’s a good thing, either.

Or, maybe I just continue with the babble and post fewer pictures.

That could get tedious.

For you.

Or, I could pick David DuChemin’s The Visual Toolbox back up and start working it, again. I put it down after reading lesson 3, wherein he told me to read my manual.  So, that’s what I’ve been doing.  It was a long manual.  400+ pages, if you’ll recall.  I only have one chapter left, so perhaps it’s time to return to The Toolbox.  If my photos keep improving perhaps I will no longer have the niggling thought that I might want to consider posting less.  Right?

That’s all she wrote.  Or, that’s what has unraveled from her brain tonight.  Oh, and here’s a picture of the moon, which was high overhead when I got home this evening…too tempting to resist.


4 thoughts on “Photographer or Picture Taker?

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