When are you a real photographer? - or how to stop judging!
Hui, I don't actually know how to start this post, I am just a bit annoyed right now - not only because my laptop seems to do whatever it wants to by turning on and off how it likes to and closing all the things I've been working on but because something is really bothering me lately and I need to get it off my soul now somehow so I thought I might share it with you.
I do photography for quite a while now, about two or three years to be correct. I started small and taught myself a lot, never did a professional photographer education but learning a lot by doing and trying things out. I upgraded my equipment through the years, am thinking about getting a better camera soon, also experimented with post-production, editing programs and styles, and tried to find my own way into photography - into ART! But recently I found myself way too often in conversations with people who asked me questions like "Oh you do photography, how many cameras do you have then?" - " Oh, you wanna live from that, are you sure you are able to?" - "How many jobs did you do so far?" - " Oh, you don't have a professional education?" a n d s o o n. And to make that clear, I am not talking about the questions they have, but the way they ask. "Oh, you wanna live from that?" They doubt what you do, they don't think you can make it, they don't take you seriously, THEY JUDGE YOU! And that it is, what makes me so very angry! It took me so long to call myself a photographer! All the time I was so insecure about what I was doing, my parents did not believe in me and made me doubt myself as well. It wasn't easy from the start. To be surrounded by people who do not understand what it means to be an artist, who do not know our struggles and difficulties, they don't know what kind of feeling it gives you. I know that artists have to deal with such judgment of others, but I just hate how people just judge by their first impression. Yes, of course, I could have done a professional education as a photographer but I stuck in a study already when my passion for photography started. Of course, I could have quit that study and start anew and just let 2 years of university be for nothing. Of course, I could have spent all my money to have the best and newest camera and photography equipment. Of course, I could just do an ordinary office job, drown in my self-pity and self-doubt and stay in my little nutshell for the rest of my life. But I can also just finish my study, as I do now, so I haven't studied for the past 5 years for nothing. I can do another education for photography still in the future. I can also just learn by myself and not go with the standards. I can use my money with sense and not just waste it, using the camera I have to create beautiful photos, that have an own style and personality. I don't need an education, the best gear or anyone who tells me what is right and what is wrong as a photographer, I just need myself and my love for capturing life and my own kind of beauty! And I am so sick of explaining myself! I think it is really sad that people are like this, that they tend to judge and make other people smaller than they are. If someone tells me of their passion, I love to listen and support them, because that's the most beautiful thing in life - someone who has a dream and something he or she lives for. Why should I tell them all the things they've done wrong or could do better? Do I know that person and their life or their way to the point they are now? Do I know if they maybe already do the best they can? WHO GIVES ME THE RIGHT TO JUDGE? Nobody! And I wish that more people would understand that. Just because you don't have a paper which says that you successfully finished a certain study it doesn't mean that your work isn't valuable or good! It is so sad because it makes me not wanna talk to people about my work anymore, even tho I actually like to exchange about passions and dreams. I am a semi-social person anyway, and to be confronted with so much ignorance and lacking understanding doesn't really help it.
But I will hold onto my dream to work as a photographer and artist. I know it is not the easy way to go, but I want it so I am ready to work for it. To learn and to improve. I am not perfect and I will never be, but I work with passion and love and that is so much more important than any gear or experience I could have! So if you are a painter or writer, movie maker or whatever kind of artist, please never let anyone bring you down or tell you that you are not! Because you don't have to have an exhibition, the noble prize for literature or an Oscar to be a real artist! Hold onto your dream and work with your whole heart, and sooner or later it will pay off and people will see that they were really wrong!
Lots of love,Michelle