In our quest to take better photographs and learn new techniques with our camera, do we ever stop and think ‘why do people become photographers in the first place?’.
It may sound like a heavy and deep question to ask but isn’t it interesting to look at the reasons why photography is such an attractive hobby to millions of people.
Now there aren’t thousands of hobbies that have as many participants as photography does so there must be some sort of attraction outside of the norm which brings so many people to the industry year on year.
Our discussion isn’t just aimed at professionals, we’re looking at the wider audience of anyone who considers themselves an amateur, enthusiast or hobbyist as well. People like this are just important to the thread of photography as those who make a living off it too.
We’ve designed a list, after much discussion of the 5 most popular reasons as to why people become photographers.
We’ll start with, what we think, is the most popular reason why people become photographers. The urge to create something is inherently human. If you look past photography and think about what humans create – babies, buildings, transport, islands, homes, countries, political movements – pretty much everything apart from trees, animals and plant life.
This massive urge to create stems from humans wanting to leave a legacy behind when they pass. It makes us feel that we made an impact on the word and our names will still be remembered like Greek Gods.
Photography gives us this platform a) to create and b) to leave something tangible for future generations. Especially with the internet, anything that gets uploaded is almost guaranteed to remain in somewhere forever more.
Photographers generally aren’t extraverts meaning we like to stand in the shadows and watch (which we’ll come on to in our next point). Though some of us lack the confidence and social skills to be a Lady Gaga we still want to be noticed whilst not put our hands up.
So, to use photographs as a proxy of sorts to represent our feelings and interest is a comfortable way of potentially being recognised for our artistic talents.
This can also be extended to photographers who are physically disabled. They can use their camera to express creativity despite their limitations.
Photographers are voyeuristic, no debate. The camera is an extension of our eyes and it has the ability to peer, zoom or sneak into other scenes to capture permanent memories of private moments.
Some may think this shows up a perverted side to photographers but if we’re all honest, there is some level of voyeurism in all of us.
We’re not calling anyone perverted but think about gossip magazines, celebrity news feeds, leaked information, secrets about your next-door neighbour.
These are all examples of people being voyeuristic, so how wrong are photographers actually?
This hankering to look into the lives of others is an innate desire that drives people to become a photographer.
They don’t have to experience the moment once, but they can review it over and over with their pictures in private. It’s like borrowing a moment in time of someone else’s life.
It’s up to you to decide if that’s natural or not, we’re just saying it happens.
As an extension to voyeurism, there is also a draw to photography that allows people to live their lives through their pictures. We’ll try and explain this as simply as possible.
There are some of us who struggle, like introverts, to express emotions verbally and find it easy to do it through visuals instead.
Many famous pro photographers use their backstory to frame the style of their work. Street photographers invariably grow up in big cities and similarly for landscape shooters. They use their shots to express their feelings about their surroundings and how they see their environment.
Street photographers sometimes use the lives of others to capture moments that they envy and characteristics they’d like to see in themselves. This fills their libraries with moments of ‘missing parts’ to their own personality.
We’ve included this in our list as we can speak from experience. Not all of the iPhotography tutors would class themselves as classically artistic, meaning we aren’t brilliant with a pen, pencil or paint brush.
As much as we love being artistic, some of us struggle to draw a good portrait or landscape and the idea of painting a mural fills us with fear.
This is why photography is an ‘easier’ medium to express creativity. We say ‘easier’ but photography isn’t ‘easy’, it takes time to learn about your tools and the way to compose your shot.
We can still frame a scene, fill it with colour, add lighting, direct our subjects with a camera so how different is it to be a painter? It’s just a different way to create art.
Those are our 5 reasons as to ‘Why do people become photographers?’, so which one is yours?
Why did you become a photographer?
If we’ve missed any good reasons though please let us know. You can get in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too and drop us a comment. We’d love to hear your stories about how you came to be the photographer you are.
Was there someone who got you into this? A picture that inspired you to pursue this direction or something else? Either way, let us know.