What is expected of a photographer?
To shoot, of course! No amount of teaching, courses, tips and tutorials can replace actual, hands-on practice which leads to experience, which leads to knowledge and which leads to understanding. But are there certain norms, conducts and codes that a photographer must be aware of? I’m not referring to shooting in places or of people where and when its not allowed. We certainly are law abiding citizens (I can’t say the same thing for paparazzis whose job is to shoot for scoop). I thought there were no particular demeanors or beliefs for photographers per se, until I found this article from Warren Krupsaw, one-time student of the great Ansel Adams, who presents 16 Behaviors of the Serious Photographer. All are wisdom-laden, and one of the things in the list that Krupsaw proffers is that a serious photographer “Takes care not to abuse the Power of Photography” which “can interpret, convey a message, evoke emotion, inspire, depress, etc.” Wow! Dig the truth in that. And last on his list is “disregard any (or all) of the above” if it does not apply to your situation. Huh? We may scratch our heads on certain contradictions and backtrackings in this world of photography but that is how it is – there are rules and there are no rules, there are guidelines but you are free to do what you want, there are fundamentals but you have the choice to discover, experiment and explore for yourself. These words of wisdom are again guideposts culled from the years of experiences of photographers who were shooting even before we were born. They share with us their discernment, acuity and observation not to make us perfect photographers (because there is no such thing) but to make our photographic journey a worthwhile and meaningful one. (Photo location: Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)