“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved” – Ansel Adams
With this statement, Adams is capturing the very essence of photography.
“Photography” is not simply the use of a camera to record a permanent image of a subject. Images that justify any length of time spent looking at them require effort on the part of the photographer. Photography inescapably involves some level of technical knowledge, which expands with experience, and familiarity with one’s photographic equipment means that important images aren’t lost at the “decisive moment” as a result of fumbling about with various controls. But photography is so much more than the equipment or knowing how to use it.
It takes time to develop as a photographer. During that time, the individual is exposed to a huge variety of experiences which shape and refine the way in which they view things. Perspectives are changed, personal paradigms are shifted. Our experiences change the way in which we interact with our subjects. Reflecting on our experiences helps us to grow as we understand not only our subjects, but ourselves as both photographers and individuals.
We are products of our environment and, as is the case with so many disciplines, there is an element of “nature and nurture” (“nature” being that we are products of our environment), how proficient the practitioner becomes in a particular discipline is dependent upon how the individual not only strives for successes, but also embraces failure, analysing it and the reasons for it, accepting ambiguity and enthusiastically seeking as many questions as answers, in other words, “nurturing” ability through enriching understanding.