I must admit, I’ve had a fair share of activities in my life that turned out to be “just a phase.” When I look back, all of them involved something creative, but I ditched each of them after a few years tops. But there’s one thing that’s been around for almost a decade now, and I’m still in love with it: photography.
From time to time, I get to wonder – why photography? Of all the creative activities I pursued, what made this one stay appealing to me for so many years? I think I’ve managed to come up with some of the answers. And if you’ve been through all sorts of stages before photography stole your heart completely, you may recognize yourself in this article.
It keeps me curious
The first thing that crossed my mind while I was thinking about this topic is that, with photography, there’s so much to learn. Sure, the other activities I tried require constant learning and upgrading, too. But that learning would always begin to tire me after a while.
I don’t know why, but with photography, the learning process stays exciting after all these years. I feel thrilled when I discover something totally new, learn how to do it and end up with the final image. I feel I’ll never lack topics for exploring, like a curious little child who’s just discovering the world. And it’s the feeling I never wanna lose, and I believe I never will as long as I take photos.
I feel the progress
It feels like another life now, but I used to learn to play the guitar. It’s challenging, there’s always something to learn, and you evolve if you practice. But I just couldn’t stick with it.
When I would learn new chords and learn how to play a song, it wasn’t fulfilling enough. The process of learning was painstaking, and even when I would eventually play something without mistakes, it made me think “meh, so what.” With photography, the feeling of progress and accomplishment is different. It’s actually there, and it’s strong.
When I bump into a challenge, I enjoy the process of trying to overcome it. It’s easy for me to track my progress over the years, spot the mistakes and try to correct them. And when I end up with the photo I was trying to take, even if it’s not perfect, I have the feeling I’ve actually learned something new.
A constant challenge
This is in a way connected to the previous two points. With photography, I always feel there’s a challenge in front of me. Of course, I’m not saying playing an instrument isn’t challenging, or making jewelry (yup, I did that, too). But for me, only photography made me actually want to overcome any challenge I encounter. And when I manage to do it, the feeling I’ll describe below comes.
Butterflies in the stomach
Every time I learn something and make a photo with this knowledge, I feel those “butterflies in the stomach”, like falling in love. I believe this feeling is the product of all the above, and the reason why I’ve been into photography for this many years.
I don’t remember the exact moment I felt it for the first time because the love for photography came silently. But over the years, I’ve had a lot of moments like this. For example, whenever I discover a new awesome location, buy a piece of gear or some gadget, or learn a new technique in Photoshop, I feel like I’m walking on sunshine. Another feeling I never want to lose.
Last but not least, photography turned out to be the best method for me to express myself. I also write a lot, but it’s more than a hobby, I also do it for a living. Photography is something I chose to do just for myself, and I play with it in all the ways I can. It allows me to express feelings and thoughts in a way no other medium could. Or simply experiment and see what I’ll come up with. So, while my brother took over playing the guitar to express his feelings, it has turned out that the best choice for me is the camera.
I am aware I still don’t know much and there’s plenty to learn. But unlike all my other endeavors – I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not impatient to learn it all, which would eventually make me give it all up. Instead, photography has taught me to be patient, look forward to every new skill I’ll gain, and enjoy both the journey of learning and the destination.
Now it’s your turn. What makes you love photography after so many years? Do you remember the first time you knew this would be your calling (or a lifetime hobby)?
[Cover image credits: Milica Vujicic, used with permission]