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.
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.