Discussion » Art & Design » Do you consider Photography is an art, a hobby, a

  • Philippe
    Philippe wrote:
    Is it worth investing in expensive gear?
    Is it worth investing in the long learning curve?
    Do you think talent should be rewarded?

    Many of us are interested in photography. For various reasons I guess. Would you share your opinion here about the above questions?
  • Yuki Inés
    Yuki Inés wrote:
    It is a complicated question.
    To answer your question,first depend on what you think about photography.

    I love film photography, I gave it priority to other forms of photography since it has a unique way of production more than ever, which fits my little narcissism aesthetics. :P

    Answer1: I only invest on film camera, a mju2, a Nikon, and a half-frame. among them, my favorite..is Mju2, a auto foolproof, actually I love it! convience, and I can take it everywhere, and the performance is amazing!

    Answer 2+3: I also use DSLR, borrowed from friends, Danwei during works... I should say, if photography is your job, u need to use DSLR anyway to ensure the quality. But sometimes travelling with such a heavy thing it is kinda Zhuangbility.

    I never really learn how to shot, just talk to friend and go to practics. When I take photoes, I emphasize on constrcution of images, but I am not good at using light and dark, so i all the time think I need to go to learn more professionally. And, Once I interview a Lu Nan, a magnum photographer, he said, it takes no more then 10 min to learn his technic. But as u may know, he started to learn photography since 10 years old.

    Answer 1+3 :One of my favorite photographer is Mariyama Daido, whoes collection Farewell Photography is touching...but he uses foolproof only. Of course not everybody can acheive that with lo-fi equipment, as a typical saying, the brain and eyes behind the camera merits, not the camera itself.
  • Philippe
    Philippe wrote:
    Thanks girls. And what about the forms of rewards?
  • Kent Løset
    Kent Løset wrote:
    Is it worth investing in expensive gear?
    Yes! Expensive gear give you way more flexibility and control of the end result of the image. For instance - a cheap lense will never give you as good pictures at a nightclub as a more bright, more expensive lense. An adjustable flash is also highly recommended :-)

    Is it worth investing in the long learning curve?
    Experiment and force yourself to use manual settings - that's both fun and educating :-)

    Do you think talent should be rewarded?
    I think of photos as memories that I get to keep the visuals of - that's rewarding enough for me ^^
  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)

    Good morning ... just finished coffee and saw this one ...

    Both my father and sister are into photography, oh, and my father-in-law too ... I am not, so I cannot directly answer your questions ... however ...

    As far as cooking is concerned, I am prepared to pay for a very expensive piece of steak fillet (if there is no cheaper alternative from other shops), and then make the best possible meal out of it ...

    Or ...

    When I was young (many years ago), I was into stripping my old XT down, replacing the mother board, CPU, memory, hard disk etc, although it is not much less than buying a new computer, but it gave me the satisfaction of putting something together (achievement), and some learning curves (challenges) ...

    Now the answers:

    Q: Is it worth investing in expensive gear?
    A: Yes, but only as long as you can afford it ... or if you are rich, well, the word "expensive" probably dont apply to you ...

    Q: Is it worth investing in the long learning curve?
    A: Sorry, dont really know what it is ... but refer to above if it is expensive ...

    Q: Do you think talent should be rewarded?
    A: Yes ... but the talent must be discovered by someone who can truly recognise and appreciate it ... otherwise, the reward might only be very little ...

  • Iain Bonner
    Iain Bonner wrote:
    this is a kind of a weird question.

    i don't think you should really be looking at the long term problems here. of course photography is an art form. or course its also a hobby. it depends on how you feel about it if you want to spend the money. and you can only find that out by taking pics. and an expensive lens won't make a bad idea look good. of course higher quality images can be very nice, but it is always the idea/the mood/the emotion that matters. with higher quality images you can achieve better results in regard to colour information, detail, depth etc. but just as cool things can be achieved through using the opposite, noisy images, lack of colour, no depth.

    its the eye and the idea that matters. don't be fooled by shiny things !
  • Philippe
    Philippe wrote:
    And what do you think it takes to live from photography?
  • Kkg
    Kkg wrote:
    u know someone's cut out for sth. do u think u have an eye for art? if so, stick with what u wanna do. u'll make it.
  • Philippe
    Philippe wrote:
    Thanks Kkg, I made it already. But not yet in China. I asked these questions because I feel photography is more considered in China as a kind of expression, an art, or a hobby, than as a real profession. I mean it seems very few people live from photography here, and I would like to understand the fundamental reasons for that.
    I don't consider myself as an accomplished artist (this can take a life time), but this is 10 years I have been living from my pictures, and nothing else. Maybe the market here is organised in another way.. so I have to understand it better. Of course all started with passion for me, and of course the passion is still driving me. But I must consider incomes, investments, practice, positioning, etc.. on the long term. What is working in my country is not necessarily working here. And vice versa.
    Maybe this forum is not the right place to discuss these things. Thank you all anyway. Please have a very good day, and a great Christmas.
  • Saravana K
    Saravana K wrote:
    Interesting discussion here.. I'll chip in with a few thoughts of my own..

    For me.. photography started out as purely personal quest to document my travels. It was thrilling to be able to freeze moments of your life and to be able to relive them anytime in the future. But recently, i'am also opening up to the possibility that it can help me make some money on the side and that for me is an exciting prospect. So photography, i'd say, for me is an 'hobby with earning potential' :)

    Q: Is it worth investing in expensive gear?
    As an hobby it doesn't, the best camera is the one you have with you. You're in it for the moments rather than the technical quality of the pictures.

    But otherwise, i'd agree that its important to have the 'right' gear for the job. It need not be expensive though...

    Q: Is it worth investing in the long learning curve?
    Absolutely, the experimenting and learning part is one of the most enjoyable aspects of photography. Its just fun to try.. try and get it right finally.

    Q: Do you think talent should be rewarded?
    If you mean money wise, then i don't think so. To be more precise, i dont think the rewards would be in proportion to the talent a person has. Once u have the basic set of expertise, i think it'd be the guy with the better contacts and the lucky ones at the right place at the right moment, who's rake in the 'rewards'.
  • Kkg
    Kkg wrote:
    it's worth doing anything u mentioned above. however, i think most ppl here r struggling to live, though the quality of living r getting better than before. and some say it's great if i live from my hobbies. yep, that'd be terrific, but u might get bored coz it also bring u much pressure while u r earning moeny. the thing u r always into becomes a job. for me, i can't combine the two.
    have a field day, Philippe!
  • Philippe
    Philippe wrote:
    Saravana K, maybe you have a lot of talent. And I hope it will be duly discovered and appreciated some day. You are right on something: it is always the one with better contacts, at the right place, at the right moment, that takes the reward. At least if he has the minimum required talent and competence to do the job, otherwise he will not be rewarded twice... This is true for many businesses, and is not particular to photography. Some are lucky, some others are not lucky. However, on the long term, some are often "lucky", and some are often "unlucky". Some decide it must remain a hobby, others are courageous enough to make it a full time profession. Because they have enough passion. But this is not easy at all, especially with so many people who consider this activity as a hobby, and not willing to pay the benefits of what they get. Also, many have no taste at all... As KKs wrote, pleasure can transform itself into pressure, as for any job. But at least here, there is also pleasure.
  • Jeff Fried
    Jeff Fried wrote:
    Phillippe, I'm also a professional photographer. I support myself entirely off of the images I take. I've met several professional photographers in China. I've met photojournalists, ad/fashion photographers, art photographers, etc. The market definitely exist in the Middle County. It would be naive to believe that photography doesn't have a place in such a rampantly developing country/economy. But I think I'm in accord with you when it comes to looking for ways into this market. but wouldnt that be true for any outsider trying to find refuge in a market? the ability to do so typically take some cunning thought and diligent energy.

    But with that said, if you have been surviving off of photography for ten years then you clearly know how to promote yourself ad how it get the job done.

    As for your questions:

    gear - if you're pro then you should already have some basic gear. expanding your 'tool box' isnt always the way to go. in my experience, having clients willing to cover rental expenses is.
    knowing the different tools in the photography tool box is important. knowing what the desired image requires is part of being a pro. a point and shoot Polaroid or a broken down Holga might be just what the client's look needs. the ability to provide the right images for a particular requirement is more important than owning expensive gear.

    The Learning Curve: the learning curve never stops. if you stop learning then you've stopped growing. if you think you already know enough, you dont know much.

    Talent and rewards: in terms of passion seeking photography - don't do the action for the fruit of the action, do it for the action itself. with that said, good work is most always appreciated and peer respect and appreciation is a wonderful reward. in terms of commercial photography - if its your bread and butter your going to need to be compensated or 'rewarded'. there is no shame in that.
    also, there is a difference between talent and skill. talent is a natural ability while skill is an ability coming from practice. in other words, the reward of practice is ability.

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