I was asked a question recently; ‘Do photographers specialise or can you change genre as you wish?’
It got me to thinking about the shallow labels we give ourselves..
So, in answer to the question I said this; “Every photographer has one thing in common. We all shoot light. But, this is where the common ground mostly ends, as each genre of photography has its own unique challenges. We don’t NEED to specialise but in time we become specialised, as our shooting focuses on the thing we love most.“
It’s fair to say there are some photographic specialists, but I don’t think that’s because of a need to specialise.
Some of the greatest joys in photography, are the infinite possibilities to explore and learn.
Personally, as a woodland photographer I also enjoy shooting abstracts, monochrome, street & product.
I don’t consider myself a specialist, but as I spend 80+% of my time shooting woodland, so I develop a greater understanding of the relationship between natural light & the landscape. I don’t feel the need for a label.
Does this makes me a “Landscape Photographer”? – most of the time yes! But, I’m not a landscape photographer when I’m shooting products or wandering the street looking for a night time shot.
There’s only one true label that fits…
We shoot what brings us joy and as a result, that becomes out speciality. We don’t choose it, it chooses us!
It’s time, experience and perseverance that bring us successful images.
I’d go a little further to say; DON’T specialise!
Every single style of photography has something valuable to teach us.
Explore & adventure… build your knowledge around the way you view light & above all enjoy the journey.
I think we all return to our speciality.. that one true subject that satisfies our creative spirit.
The best photographers were all specialists – specialists in the study of light.