I recently listened to a couple photographers discuss the issue of “it’s all been done.” So what am I going to do now to set myself apart from other photographers?¹
Half of me says, who cares? I’m having fun and I hate competition anyway.
The other me says, I like the challenge.
Actually, I do both. I’ve been thinking two thoughts about this statement. One is that currently most of my photography are of my family and no one has ever taken pictures of them like I have. And two, I would like to tell a story with my photos. The latter will take me some time to figure out, but I’m not worried about it. It’s fun to think about and meanwhile I’ll just continue my photography training.
As for my family, I hope to one day have a huge record of how we all grew up together: me, my wife, and our kids. When I’m gone, I want to leave that behind for them and our descendants. So I guess I’m training as a photostoryteller as well.
My wife has been printing books every year and I’m currently exploring how to best keep a digital copy alive forever. That’ll be tricky, but we’ll see. Because of my wife’s influence, I’ve also started printing books in the form of (what I call) Project 52. Each year is a book with each page presenting one photo per week. I’ll go back as far as I can and perhaps have to slim it down to Project 12, depending on the frequency of images I produced years ago. But again, I’ll see.
“We’ll see” has been an important phrase not only for me as a parent but as a photographer too.²
I can get ahead of myself if I’m not careful, especially with technology and gadgetry, but with photography I’m trying to be calm and steady. I try to think things through. I ponder the different avenues I can take with my photography and I try different things. If I don’t like it, dump it. If I like it, keep at it. Likewise, I have been researching new cameras for a couple years now and am still using my 2009 Canon 500d. A new one is on the way, finally.³
But I’m trying not to force things and though I’m totally aware that there are millions of photographers out there now, I’ll let my destiny come naturally.