Over the past couple of decades, I’ve been into photography to varying degrees. I’d never really consider myself a photographer (although maybe I should) but more of a moderately talented amateur.
It’s never been my primary hobby, and I wonder if I would have been drawn back to it so many times if it wasn’t for the internet. Photography is everywhere now, in a way that I couldn’t have imagined even ten years ago. Suddenly, it seems, it has gone from the province of a small subset of talented people to something that everyone carries in their pockets.
Think about all the industry and practicalities that have been superseded by this technology boom. Before, you’d have to buy a decent camera, with a lot of ancillary hardware, set aside time for development and so on, and then maybe if you were lucky get your work displayed in a gallery or included in a magazine or photography book.
Today it’s a 10 second process: snap the shot on your phone, apply a filter, upload to the internet where potentially millions of people have instant access to your work.
Now that everyone has an Instagram account, the world is awash in photos. All the filters make it easy to fake it even when your equipment isn’t great, or you’re not really that talented a photographer. You might think that would lead to an overabundance of good photographs, maybe even feel that it’s hardly worthwhile to bother.
Recently, Conor McLure’s 365Project reminded me of an important truth that’s still relevant, even today. It’s not just enough to have the means to take photos. It’s also essential to build photography into your lifestyle. It’s rare that great photos will just leap at you. You need to look out for them — and sometimes you have to go out of your way to find them.