I first read the expression on a sign in front of a church in Akron years ago. but think about it as it applies to being a photographer and artist. You have to have faith in yourself. You have to believe in what you’re doing. You have to understand not only the craft, but the human spirit. And, it’s the human spirit that should be at the top of your list.
The definition of an ultimate photograph is one that moves people. You can’t move people and create images that tug at their hearts if you’re not comfortable with your own heart. So, it all becomes sort of obvious – it’s faith in yourself that creates confidence and builds your strength of character and gets your heart where it should be.
So, if the world around you has filled you with a little doubt now and then and challenges your faith as an artist, then how about thinking about the following:
- No career field, with the exception of modern medicine gives the world what photographers do! What would a newspaper look like without photography? Or, a wedding album? The list goes on and on.
- A wedding album is the first family heirloom of a brand new family! The dress will never be worn again. The food is gone. The band has stopped playing, but the wedding album will last forever, sadly, longer than half the marriages performed today.
- Your images capture memories. You’re the eyes of your client. You’ve been hired to capture the moments they missed, whether it’s at a wedding or a "day in the life" shoot of their children.
- Your clients have hired you because they trust you. Think about the meaning of the word “trust”. No matter what you’ve ever done in your life, right or wrong, here’s somebody who simply has put their faith and trust in your abilities to tell their story.
Nobody can teach you to have faith in yourself – that church slogan is dead-on in that it’s caught, not taught. So, how to catch it and keep it? Stay focused on your career path and your subjects. Learn every possible technique you can. Make it a point to understand photography before you push the shutter button. Know your gear – know your lighting – know your lab – know your clients. And never ever compromise on quality!
So from Edward Steichen:
"Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man."
And from Harry Callahan:
"I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting!"
Illustration credit: © Creativa - Fotolia.com