Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Self Imposed Limitations

I hear it time and again, "I only photograph that" or "I only photograph that". While I understand that specializing helps you to become a master of that trade, I believe that by refusing to photograph anything outside of the "this" or "that" specialty or primary interests makes a photographer's skills weaker all around; including your specialty.

So why do photographers impose these limitations on themselves? Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of ridicule from their peers? Or is it a fear of their ego? I say yes to all of the above. It is one thing to have a primary interest like People, Landscapes or Abstract Macros, but it is a different thing to refuse to shoot them. This refusal is the direct result of fear more times than not.

A landscape photographer refusing to shoot macros is the result of the photographer either not having the equipment, the knowledge or past failures. By not pursuing this to master it, their landscape photographs are likely to lack an attention to detail, a special insight to the detail of a scene. This isn't to say that the landscape photographer won't take beautiful landscapes, but rather that their landscapes could miss something that would have been there had they known and applied knwoledge of macro to the scene.
I think another, more appropriate example would be a photographer who refuses to shoot and process HDR simply because of the over-processed look, instead of looking at more realistic examples of HDR that produce stunning results. The prejudice that this type of judgment stems from is stunningly strong and even more restrictive to a photographer’s body of work.
If you are a photographer, you should be willing to shoot anything. If you are good photographer you do shoot anything for the simple reason as to put another tool in your photographer’s arsenal. Anything less, and you are just a person with a camera who isn’t living up to their potential.

So if you are a photographer, be a photographer. Remove the limits of what you shoot, within the the limits of your morals; in doing so, you will become a better photographer in your area of specialty and expand your realm of interest in what you love.

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