The modern obsession with being a specialist in photography

When asked what sort of photography we enjoy or do, many of us in photography tend to want to narrow the field. The automatic answer is either portrait photographer, landscape photographer or street photographer etc….

This is all well and good, but the tendency with all of us is that when we find what we enjoy,  we simply carry on shooting it to detriment of expanding our photographic experiences.

I love shooting architecture, landscape and cityscape which made a lot easier since I live in a city. On the other hand, I love seascapes, wildlife and would love to improve myself in portraits and studio work. So when I’m asked what type of photography I enjoy, I rather give a list other than putting myself in a box.

I also love to travel so when I am lucky enough to visit somewhere new, I try to document it for myself which I prefer to do using a 35mm film camera. What I love most about it is that travel photography is indefinable and since it is for myself, there’s no need to be a specialist. Being able to shoot whatever I like and want, it allows me to be free and creative.

I have come to the realisation that this is what is good for me. Being forced to something I’m not confident about has helped me to improve myself but also boosted my confidence by making me realise that I am not as hopeless as I thought.

Something I love to do is to look at the work of some the greats of photography. Something a lot of us don’t do a lot of. The question that comes to mind is that “Are any of them specialists?”. A couple of my favourite photographer are Sebastiao Salgado and Irving Penn.

If you have a look at Salgado’s portfolio, you will find portraits, wildlife, landscape, documentary and with Irving Penn’s work you will find portraits, fashion, still life, food, street and even landscapes.

If I have to tell you what attracts me to Salgado’s work is his ability to draw you into and image and tell you a story. His ability to present you with multiple subjects and not be crowded. As for Irving Penn’s work, my favourite has to be his street and still life work. His has a sense of humour that can be seen through his images. As for his still life, I love it’s intimacy and the huge differences that moving inanimate objects fractions of an inch can make to an image.

I love being in control and nothing makes me happier than having my camera and my tripod. I love all aspects of photography and creating pictures, but the idea of doing the same thing over and over again defeats the purpose of creating to me.

I order to spark my enthusiasm, it is a good thing to step away and do something new and come back with a fresh mind.

Here are a few images that I’ve created while attempting to reboot…….

Streets of Florence with 35mm

 

Calm and beauty of Khao Lak

 

Fragility series
Start of portrait series

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