I’ve been getting some nice compliments on my photography lately, and I have to admit I feel like something of a fraud when someone refers to me as a “photographer.” A photographer, in my mind, is someone who knows how to control light and understands how a camera works. I am not one of those people. I’ve been pondering the schism between the many digital camera photographers who have no idea what they’re doing versus the actual photographers who do. I discovered that the dichotomy resembles that of punk musicians versus “real” musicians. Punk and indie rockers freely and proudly admit that they don’t know the first thing about basic music theory, yet they still create compelling music. Like them, I’m just getting the idea across, and not paying any attention to technique. Heck, I only know what a few of the buttons on my camera do.
As someone who has always approached music from an insider standpoint, I’ve always been a little leery of people who take pride in their ignorance. Now, in the realm of photography, I’m one of them (well, I take no pride, but I’m still ignorant). I guess I’m just too lazy or too busy to sit down and really learn. I wonder if this is becoming something of an epidemic in the world of art as technology makes everything so much easier. I remember an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where there was this tool that sculpted automatically from whatever was in the artist’s mind. No technique required, only the content of the idea. I guess art doesn’t necessarily require technique and training, but with my digital camera I can’t help feeling like I’m cheating.