This sudden urgency to sneak into my father’s office, swipe his camera, and compose some series of images featuring myself in ballerina slippers. The motivation to do so has since drifted beyond me, but every since that night, I’ve had one true passion: to photograph.
Five years, three cameras, five lenses, two mediums, and one collection of vintage cameras later, I’m lost in an ocean of self-pity, hating the accessibility of dlsrs and the current trend of casual instagram “faux-tographers” trying to bank on their (lack of) artistic ability.
Anyone can be a photographer. Anyone is a photographer. Everyone is an artist, in some aspect.
And as I see the growing amount of mediocre or less photography facebook fan pages emerge, watch as these mediocre or less “professionals” continue to make money off of awful blurred black & white wedding portraits and over-photoshopped senior potraits, like a tear-soaked sap I hold my camera to my head like a gun, swearing to myself I’ll never photograph again. That my passion will never get me work, that I wasn’t cut out for the competition, that I’m too weak and my ideas are too ambitious, thatI am too ambitious.
But oddly, today I came across a book calledLetters to a Young Poetby Rainer Maria Rilke, and one quote in particular shook me to my core…
“There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.”
And I knew that this is what I was made to do. I am not merely a photographer that sells captured moments for money. I am an artist, as DiVinci, Bottecelli, or Polluck, and if I do not photograph I fear life will rot and dry up inside of me till I have nothing left. I expel my creativity into the world through a lens, and in return it gives me breath. I tirelessly compose an image, and in return its frame flows into my veins and blesses me with another day. My life - my passion - is not the title of “photographer”, it is my art in the mediumofphotography. I am more. I am an artist. I am not competitive. I am ambitious.
And today, I have decided, “I must.”