This weekend, during the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, I had some interesting conversations with other photographers. One in particular was with Frederick Van Johnson. As we walked down the shaded street I asked him a simple question, but his answer was quite compelling. The question was: “Why do you like photography?” His answer came quickly; I’m quite sure he’d been asked this question many times before. His answer was:
"To be a good photographer I think you have to have some mastery over at least these three things: 1) An Artist - you have to know and understand the concepts of photography. 2) A Psychologist - when shooting (photographing) people, one has to have the ability to connect, build trust, and relax the subject in order to show them at their best. And 3) A Geek - You just HAVE to love computers, and gadgets to be in this field. Things change so quickly, if you didn't lust for the next "shiny object", then it would quickly become tiresome."
What resonated with me was the part about making the connection with people. I think the camera is a tool we use to get closer to each other. I'm often amazed at the places I've been able into get to just by asking if I can take a picture. People seem genuinely willing to show me around, to share a little bit of their world with me. I often feel their pride as I listen to their story. Perhaps they use my camera as a tool to connect with me as well. Perhaps they appreciate being noticed. Perhaps we all just want to be recognized, to be liked, and to belong!