Whew, that was tough.
It took me a long time to move from “I take pictures,” to “I am a photographer.” Some part of me feels like there should be an application process to prove I’m qualified, or some criteria out there that I can check off to feel confident that what I’m saying is true.
But, no, instead I had to dig deep and face my monsters – the ones that say that I can never be anything – just to admit that, no, I don’t JUST hit the button, I compose, communicate, handle all the settings myself, choose my effects, see the world differently, and whatever else you want to throw in there to become a Photographer. Somewhere along the line my pictures went from being “snaps” to being “photography.”
I did it, though. I can say it, without flinching or scuffing my toes in the dirt like a liar – I can look people in the face and say “I am a photographer.”
But now I’m struggling with what I think of as the next step. Going from “I am a photographer” to “I am an artist.” Is what I do REALLY Art? Art has always been this mystical Other kind of thing that I never really understood. I know emotions have colors because I’ve been told they do, I don’t know it instinctively. I suppose it’s near to instinctive, now, but it didn’t used to be. I don’t automatically think outside the box, I’m not all that creative. If you sit me down and tell me to create Art, I will become overwhelmed by the terror of a blank page. I don’t know what to do. I’m just someone who sees things and captures them in a way that tells their story. I am a Photographer. But am I an Artist?
Can I be a Photographer without being an Artist? Did I just insult all the other photographers out there by even asking the question? Will I end up on the blacklist now? Are some Photographers Artists and other Photographers not? Isn’t that the same kind of stuff that separates “I take pictures,” from “I am a Photographer?” What other criteria is there?
I don’t know. I just know that Artists are these amazing, wonderful, otherworldly beings and they don’t really care for me that much.
Am I an Artist? Do I want to be one?