For The Love of Photography

One lazy afternoon, I sat beside my laptop, clutching a steaming cup of tea between my hands. I had begun the laborious process of organising my digital photo albums. I sorted methodically through years worth of memories, feeling a pang of nostalgia for times and friends I had since forgotten. Every now and then, I turned the screen to show a friend my favourite photos.

In between photos, my friend asked why I didn’t take photos anymore.

I paused. I hadn’t made a conscious decision to stop taking photos, but he was right; when I was a teenager, my camera may as well have been surgically attached to my hand. Since then, I’d taken photos on special occasions, but had ceased to use my camera just for the fun of it.

I LOVE this picture. I’m sure there are millions of better pictures of roe deer in the world, but this one is mine.

After a moment’s thought, I told him it was because I couldn’t afford to keep up with it; I didn’t have thousands of pounds to spend on a new camera or new lenses. My friend frowned, and asked me why it mattered. In that moment, I realised that it didn’t.

I suppose I felt as if there was no real point to photography if I couldn’t compete with other amateur photographers. Photography became a source of stress; if I didn’t select the right shutter speed or aperture, I would blame myself for ruining the shot. If I scared off my subject by being too heavy-footed, I would agonise over the missed opportunity. I would take photos, feel happy about them, and then compare them against professional photos until I began to wonder why I’d bothered.

Since my friend forced me to confront my neglect, I’ve grown to love my camera again. I take it with me because I like taking photos. It doesn’t matter that I’m not the best photographer, nor that my camera is battered and worn—because photography shouldn’t be about other people. If you enjoy taking photos—if the capturing the perfect shot makes your heart swell—then that is what photography is all about.

It doesn’t matter if your photos aren’t as good as someone else’s. It doesn’t matter if they have a better camera, twenty different lenses, or millions of followers on Instagram. The fact is that there will always be somebody with more money than you, with a better eye for composition, or even just with better luck—and I’m here to tell you that none of that matters.

4 thoughts on “For the Love of Photography”

  1. This is so true! It’s so hard not to compare yourself to all the amazing shots on instagram and lust after the latest kit. I have a little bridge camera that I take all my photos with and I love just messing around and seeing what shots I can get. Something I used to struggle with is the feeling that I “ought” to be capturing everything – it actually became stressful going for a walk in nature without my camera in case I saw something really cool that I’d miss taking a photo of! It’s sometimes nice to leave the camera at home and just enjoy the moment 🙂 do you ever feel like that?

    1. Exactly! It’s also hard to remember that Instagram is basically every photographer’s “highlight reel”; it’s easy to see all of these amazing photos and think that they’re totally effortless, when in reality a whole lot of hard work has gone into them.

      I totally understand what you mean; I still sometimes fall into the mindset that I need to capture EVERY beautiful moment that I come across when I’m out in the ‘wild’. I often intentionally leave my camera at home to try and detach myself from that mindset, but sometimes that just ends up with me being frustrated at myself for ‘missing out’ on a beautiful image. It’s so important to live in the moment and take the time to appreciate the world we live in. We need to remember that beautiful moments have their own intrinsic value, regardless of whether or not we have a camera to capture it!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Lucy!

  2. Hi Emily, thank you for this post, I can so relate to this! I only joined Instagram in about April and it is hard not to compare myself to the pros. I went for years through life thinking that my memories were enough, but they are just not the same as actually looking at a photo. I love photography now and that makes me see things differently 😊. Jessica.

    1. Hi Jessica! Sorry it took me so long to see your comment; they often get lost in my spam folder.

      I’m so glad you could relate to this blog. I think it’s something a lot of photographers feel, but very few talk about. I love being able to look back at photos I’ve taken; I see it as a way of illustrating my memories!

      I’m glad you enjoy photography as much as I do. Thank you so much for your comment!

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