The Serious Photographer

Walking away from a dream is sobering but freeing in the end…

I will never be a Serious Photographer.  I reconciled myself to that fact irrevocably and completely last night as I lay waiting for sleep to come.  I will never have the talent, nor will I have the equipment. I am a Serious Mother with hobby.

I know more than a couple of Serious Photographers:  Jared, Jodi, Jennifer to name just a few.  They have pure raw talent and let’s face it, the equipment to back it up.  And I know one photographer in particular, whom I shall not name (but is not Karen) who markets herself constantly with a weekend special here, a senior mini there, two shot special in between.  She does not have the raw talent to back it up, but she is working to find her place.

Perhaps one day, I will find my way to a great lighting set-up, a Nikon, a lens or two extra and even a remote release, but it seems an impossible dream and irresponsible to even think about..  And let’s face it, I will just never be able to crassly market myself.  So, I will never be a Serious Photographer.  But that is fine because I am a Serious Mother and I have a place with God.  And that is more than enough.

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15 thoughts on “The Serious Photographer

  1. I don’t recall ever disagreeing with you before, Cyndi, but you’re dead wrong. You are a serious photographer. Art is subjective. What one person regards as talent or profundity is not another’s. I, for example, regard the “art” of successful millionaire “artists” such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, which is lauded and displayed in galleries, as absolute, worthless crap. Your work has feeling, imagination, care and love woven into it. That makes you a serious artist in my book. Artistic talent is not about what equipment you own, or how well you market yourself. It is something deep and intrinsic to who you are and how you reflect your vision of the world to other people.

    Nigel xox

    • I thank you for the kind words, Nigel, and really want to assure that you I was not trolling for compliments by any means. It is a conclusion that I reached as I lay awake. So I am going to respectfully agree to disagree with you and then tell you what a wonderful man and friend you are. xxxooo

  2. I understand your concept and the distinction you’re making. My counterpoint – it is society that measures our accomplishments against the results others achieve. I don’t have any published books. My short stories haven’t appeared in the New Yorker. I don’t give over whole years of my life to the written word. I am still a writer. And I define myself as a Serious Writer. In part because I do write. And in part because I pay attention to writing, celebrate writing and encourage writing. If it were something I used as a tool to communicate but didn’t say anything worthwhile, I would not be a Serious Writer. Anyone can pick up a camera and take a picture. Few can bring the viewer into the moment with an image the way you can. And I can say this with some authority as my husband is a Professional Photographer. And he likes your work.

  3. Hi Cyndi. Seriously, I don’t agree with you on this at all! You do have a lot of talent as the picture above clearly shows! And it’s really not about the equipment at all. You don’t need the lighting set-up. In fact a lot of serious photographers never worked with artificial lighting in their artistic work.

    As for the right camera, that’s another issue altogether. Nowadays when digital is all that seems to matter it might seem strange, but you can find good and cheap equipment in the film sector. A Canon EOS 850 film camera costs only 35€ on ebay, and EF kit lenses you can get cheaply as well, because everyone wants to trade up for good prime glass. This is much better equipment than a lot of famous photographers had to deal with in their time.

    If you don’t need the automatic functions you can also go with older film cameras like the EXA or Practica SLR models, the soviet Zorki rangefinder, they all have nice glass and are cheap thanks to being Eastern block productions (50-100€). Yes developing film in a lab is expensive, but you can learn to develop black and white films yourself easily. With that you’d be much closer to being a “serious photographer” than any random person with a Canon or Nikon pro model who self-markets like crazy.

    In fact it just comes down to your definition of “serious”. Does “serious” mean that you sell your work? That you have a studio? That you have exhibitions? None of that actually. It means that you yourself take it seriously. Think about Vivian Maier for example who never made any attempt at any such thing as an exhibition. Her work still was recognised as exceptional after her death and would also have been recognised as such earlier if she had made attempts at showing her work.

    • I do have three high quality film cameras, but as you have noted, it is very expensive to process. I used to have the equipment to develop black and white film, however it has disappeared with the moves I have made.
      I am still going to consider myself a hobbyist, but as I told a friend further down the thread, I will amend it to Serious Hobbyist!

  4. You may not be a Serious Photographer, but you certainly have Serious Talent. Your images are wonderful, and you often manage to do something I’ve yet to be able to do and that’s create images that seem to tell a story.

    I am not a Serious Photographer either, for the same reasons. I’ve tried, but without the more expensive camera, it’s not likely to happen, and I’m not sure I’ve got the backbone or talent for it. I’m learning to be happy sharing my images and words via my blog. For now, that’s enough. 🙂

    • And you understand exactly how I feel, Robin! I am taking quite a bit of flack for this post here and on Facebook, so it feels good to have just one person who knows where I am.
      And for the record, I for the life of me, can not recreate the glow you capture in every photo you edit for your posts. And it drives me crazy trying!

      • Oh, that’s easy! Early morning sunlight and white balance set to “open shade.” Your camera may have another name for it (cloudy or some other form of shade). It gives the photos a warmer look (just as tungsten makes them cooler). I take the photos a little on the dark side so the light seems to glow. Sometimes you can cheat to get that look, too, by using an Orton Effect. A lot of the online photo editing programs have some form of it, and it can also be done in Photoshop through a series of steps that aren’t too complicated.

      • I have tried using diffuse glow in Photoshop as well as using a Gaussian blur set to overlay or soft light then adding color overlays, but nothing quite does it. You have something that is pretty uniquely yours!

  5. I love you, Cyndi. I believe you do have the talent but I totally understand where you’re coming from. I still look forward to seeing your photos and still want YOU to do my family pictures!!

    • And I am still planning on doing those photos! Just because I consider myself more of a hobbyist, does not mean that I am not going to still freelance my services. It is just that I am not pinning any great aspirations to my art! Muah and love you too!

  6. I know you are not trolling for compliments but I also have to disagree with your comment about talent. You may consider yourself a hobbyist BUT it is undeniable that you HAVE talent and a creative eye. You see things that other people miss. I understand what you are saying…it’s just the ‘talent’ remark that I am rebutting! 🙂 Unfortunately believing that you need more gear doesn’t get better even when you acquire a full frame and L lenses….there are still so many lenses I think I ‘need’ and now that the 5DMk3 has come out, I have to keep telling myself I don’t need it…I just want it (damn that good advertising and awesome AF system!). I’ve said it many times…It’s the photographer not the camera and that’s when I realised that I don’t actually need more equipment.

    So, even though you may not have THE camera or THE lens….you certainly have THE eye…and that is what makes a photographer….Serious or Hobbyist….

    Or Serious Hobbyist 🙂

    p.s. Thanks for continuing your blog after 365…I have missed you!

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