Am I a photographer?

I like criticism because it makes me think and allows me to better know myself.

An interview of mine was gently published in a couple of great web magazines such as Design You Trust and Bored Panda. The thing went viral so I also found myself on other mediums such as Viralbandit and some Russian or Spanish blogs.

So inevitably (when things go viral) the question “why they call you a photographer” came up and it allowed me to think deeply about it. So here are my perspectives (complex questions require complex answers, that social media — such as Facebook — doesn’t give us enough space to explore).

First of all, who can be a photographer?

From my point of view: everyone can be a photographer. You don’t need any particular camera or gear to do that. Daido Moriyama took his picture with the same old camera for years.

However, unless you are Daido Moriyama or Vivian Maier, before claim yourself a photographer you need at least to know a few basic rules about composition and how your camera works. You need to know a few things about aperture, shutter speed, and focal length (not much, just the basics to go out and shooting). After that, you need to shoot A LOT.

Now consider these two scenarios:

Scenario A
1. You know the photography basics
2. You shoot a lot
3. You experiment with your camera
4. You experiment with different styles and moods
5. OTHERS claims you a photographer BEFORE YOU claim yourself a photographer

Scenario B
1. You know the photography basics
2. You rarely go out and shoot
3. You focus more on gear rather than shooting
4. YOU claim yourself a photographer BEFORE OTHERS claim yourself a photographer

So if you’re in scenario A (the 4th point it’s not mandatory) congrats you’re a photographer!

A friend of mine — a photographer too — also told me this once (less or more):

If you took that moment with your camera, then you’re the photographer of that moment

Back to the original question

So back to the original question “Why do they call you a photographer?” here is why I think do they call me like that, and why I think it’s fair:

1. I’m in scenario A
2. I agree with my friend’s quote
3. People are happy when I gift them my prints or photos
4. I regularly sell and make some money from my pictures
5. I got published online
6. I have a consistent niche on social media
7. I had my first exhibition this year (despite the COVID)
8. I keep spending money and time and sleepless nights in photography
9. I study and read about photography

Last but not least, I work hard and sweat and spit blood all the time to achieve these small results: in life, nothing comes easy or for free.

Is it enough? It’s never enough but it’s fair.



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MattCarella photo

MattCarella photo

Taking pictures is a form of meaning creation.